Chiropractors provide alternative medical care that centers on the correction of so-called “subluxations” in the spine. Chiropractors are primarily known for treating back and neck pain, but some believe that chiropractic care can also resolve other medical problems because the spine is the nerve center of the body.
Manipulation of the spine performed by chiropractors does not come without risk. One concern is that manipulation of the neck and spine can cause a stroke, especially if the neck is twisted sharply or suddenly. The link between chiropractic care and stroke is something that few chiropractors want to talk about and that almost no chiropractors warn their patients about. It is also an issue that appears to be under-reported in medical journals and other literature.
The Risks of Chiropractic Care
Chiropractic care dates back to the late 19th century when Daniel David Palmer developed a technique for adjusting the neck and spine. Palmer had no formal medical education or background, but he believed that the nervous system and the brain played an integral role in keeping the body healthy. Palmer expanded his reasoning on the importance of the nervous system and developed a belief that illnesses and pain in the body were caused by blockages in the nervous system or by the spine’s being out of alignment.
Working off his theory that spinal misalignments could block the nervous system and cause health problems, he developed a method of correcting misalignment in the spine. The system centered on a series of adjustments intended to relieve spinal misalignments, which he referred to as “subluxations.”
Today, the chiropractic profession is still based on the techniques of Daniel David Palmer. Students can learn how to identify subluxations and make adjustments by attending chiropractic colleges. The requirements vary by state, but in some cases students can attend these colleges without completing an undergraduate degree first and may graduate from chiropractic training programs after a short series of academic courses that could be completed in as little as two years.
Chiropractors are not licensed to administer medications, prescribe drugs or perform surgery. The general medical education they undergo is much more limited than the education of a medical doctor. There are no residency requirements for chiropractors either, although there are state licensing requirements that must be met.
How Chiropractors Can Hurt You
Chiropractors learn only about spinal adjustments, and this is their primary method of treating patients. Unfortunately, this presents serious risks to patients. Some of the risks to chiropractic patients include the following:
- The chiropractic adjustment itself can be dangerous. When a chiropractor adjusts a patient, the head may be moved sharply in order to adjust the upper vertebrae in the spine. This action can cause the inner lining of the vertebral artery to tear slightly. A small tear, also referred to as a dissection, may also occur in the carotid artery. The damage to the artery can cause bleeding, which can form a clot that causes a stroke.
- The chiropractic adjustment can make an existing medical problem worse. If you have a herniated disc or other pre-existing medical problems, your chiropractor may not be aware of these issues and may be unable to diagnose them with his or her limited medical training. The chiropractor might adjust you anyway, making your medical problems worse.
- The chiropractor may not diagnose problems that a medical doctor would identify based on your symptoms. Patients might believe they are getting all the care they need from their chiropractor and may not see a medical doctor. Since chiropractors have limited medical training, this could compromise a patient’s health, as symptoms of dangerous medical problems might be missed.
Determining the number of people who have been injured by chiropractic manipulation is difficult or impossible. This is because often the injury often does not manifest right away. For example, when a patient suffers a stroke due to chiropractic manipulation, the stroke may not happen until days or weeks after the adjustment. Sometimes, the link between the adjustment and the stroke may be missed entirely due to this delay and due to the fact that little is known in the public about chiropractic stroke.
Get Help from Our Chiropractic Malpractice Lawyers Today
If a chiropractor causes you to suffer any type of harm, including a stroke, it could be possible to sue for chiropractic malpractice. At The Abelson Law Firm, we have extensive experience handling chiropractic malpractice claims. We work with a board-certified physician who will help determine the extent of your injuries due to a chiropractic manipulation.
Your consultation is free, and you pay no legal fees if we represent you unless we win your case. Contact us online or by phone at (202) 331-0600 for a free consultation.