Could A Visit To The Chiropractor Increase Your Chance Of A Stroke?

Chiropractor

Photo by doctorwonder / CC BY

Chiropractic care has been in practice since 1895, when Daniel Palmer became convinced that manipulation of the spine could cure diseases. The Palmer School of Chiropractic started teaching methods of chiropractic care to others in 1898, and by the 1930’s chiropractic care became a leading healing profession in the United States.

Chiropractic care has always been considered an alternative healing practice and it wasn’t until the 1970’s that the methods used were seriously researched. Chiropractors will argue that there is nothing alternative about what they do and in fact a chiropractor usually has more technical schooling than a general physician. There are several different methods of chiropractic care, most involving hands-on manipulation along with “activators”, or hand-held devices. The tables used during a chiropractic adjustment are much like a massage table, and some chiropractors will use what is known as a drop-table which literally drops at a certain point when pressure is applied.

There is a great deal of controversy surrounding chiropractic care in regards to strokes. Some physicians will insist that manipulating the spine, particularly in the cervical area is extremely dangerous and can lead to strokes. This is called cervical arterial dissection and is caused when an artery which winds through the neck begin to tear, leading to a blood clot which then will cause a stroke.

While it is true that some patients have reported a spinal manipulation shortly before experiencing a stroke, it is also true that many had stroke like symptoms before going to see their chiropractor such as dizziness, severe headaches, blurred vision, and paralysis of one side of their body. When an individual is experiencing these symptoms they will be much better off paying a visit to their general physician for diagnosis. A general physician may suggest a visit to a neurologist for an MRI or CT scan to evaluate the causes of the patients’ discomfort.

It is worth noting that several studies have been taken and concluded that during a spinal manipulation of the neck or cervical area the force that is used to perform the manipulation is much less than what is required to actually tear the vertebral artery. This in turn has lead to the conclusion that most victims of stroke were already mid-episode when they paid a visit to their chiropractor.

For many years chiropractic care has battled mainstream medicine for recognition. With the plethora of non-traditional medicines and practices available today, chiropractic care is finally gaining respect in the mainstream medicinal community.