Some groups that are opposed to chiropractic care have made claims that spinal manipulations can cause stroke, especially among seniors. However, a report released by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) refutes that argument. Their report, first published in the Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics, January 15, 2015, and updated on March 3, stated that “an analysis of Medicare claims data from older Americans who sought care for neck pain from chiropractors suggests that cervical spine manipulation is unlikely to cause stroke.”
The Stroke Study
The study involved 1.1 million claims dated 2006 through 2008 received by Medicare. The patients’ ages were 66-99. Each of them had a diagnosis of neck pain. Each patient had either visited a chiropractor or a medical doctor due to this pain. Researchers from Dartmouth College and the Southern California University of Health Sciences analyzed the data to determine the number of patients who had suffered a stroke within either 7 days or 30 days of their M.D. or chiropractic visit.
Vertebrobasilar stroke is the type some have suggested was associated with chiropractic adjustments. This study showed that these types of strokes were extremely rare. There was also no difference in frequency of stroke between those treated by an M.D. versus those treated by a chiropractor. The researchers summed up their results by stating that “chiropractic cervical spine manipulation is unlikely to cause stroke in patients aged 66 to 99 years with neck pain.”
The president of the International Chiropractors’ Association, Dr. Michael McLean, stated, “For many years, there have been opponents to chiropractic who have tried to falsely claim that chiropractic is dangerous. The facts show that chiropractic is the safest form of healthcare available.” Dr, McLean also commented that “while no procedure in healthcare is 100 percent risk free, this well-done large study should finally put to rest any speculation that chiropractic care creates an increased risk for stroke.”
If you are considering chiropractic to help with your neck pain, please give us a call at 864-963-9304. We would love to answer any questions you may have.