Stroke from Chiropractic Manipulation

August 27, 2015

Stroke patient due to chiropractic manipulation

Chiropractic Manipulation Results in Stroke

A chiropractor can sometimes provide relief for pain. Most commonly, people will visit a chiropractor when they are having back pain in an effort to relieve their suffering. For the most part, if you see a chiropractor who knows what he is doing, spinal manipulation and other chiropractic care is considered safe. However, if a chiropractor is not properly trained or is not cautious, this kind of manipulation can do more harm than good.

When Not to See a Chiropractor

spinal manipulation

When performed properly and under the right circumstances chiropractic manipulation can relieve pain.

There are certain types of situations where patients should not have chiropractic manipulation performed.

  • Osteoporosis
  • Spinal cord compression
  • Inflammatory arthritis
  • Take blood thinners
  • Increased risk of stroke
  • Numbness, tingling or loss of strength in an arm or leg.

You should always check with your medical doctor before you see a chiropractor so you can make certain that the sort of manipulation you will receive is safe for you.

Common Risks

For the most part, serious complications from seeing a trained and licensed chiropractor are rare, but they can occur and when they do can be very harmful. For example, manipulation can caused a herniated disk or worsen a pre-existing one. In addition, you can experience compression of nerves in the lower spinal column. A very serious, but rare risk involves a stroke called a vertebral artery dissection. This is caused by neck manipulation. This brings us to the malpractice case.

Chiropractic Malpractice and Stroke – An Expert Addresses the Issue

Stroke due to chiropractic manipulation

The patient had a stroke due to chiropractic manipulation of the cervical spine. The damage is focused on the lateral medulla of the brain. (Click for full size.)

Recently a 62  year old man suffering from a pinched nerve went to a chiropractor who tore the patient’s vertebral artery. This resulted in a stroke. The patient now has serious deficits.  According to an expert opinion, this is a clear case of chiropractic malpractice. The patient experienced the “most common form of stroke following cervical spinal manipulation.” The improper manipulation included twisting “the neck in such a way as to tear  the vertebral artery.” This, in turn resulted in something called Wallenberg syndrome.

Also called lateral medullary syndromeWallenberg syndrome is rare, but it is caused when the arteries that lead to a specific part of the brain are blocked and so oxygenated blood cannot get to lateral medulla. There is no cure for Wallenberg syndrome. In this case, the patient is slowly recovering, though he is likely to always experience deficits. In the case of this kind of stroke, the ability to recover will be directly connected to how serious the infarction was. Certain kinds of health issues increase the chance of a vertebral arterial stroke.

  • Artery disease
  • Heart disease
  • Blood clots
  • Minor neck trauma (common cause for patients under 45.)

In the malpractice case, the patient was experiencing neck issues, including a pinched nerve.

Contact L&A if you Experience Chiropractic Malpractice

In most cases, chiropractic manipulation, when performed by a trained and licensed provider, is perfectly safe. But, please see your regular doctor before you decide whether such treatment is safe for you. If the worst does happen and you experience harm due to chiropractic malpractice, please contact our medical malpractice lawyers here at Lowenthal & Abrams.





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