Chiropractic Injury Lawyer

Cervical manipulation or neck adjustment techniques employed by chiropractors can be unreasonably dangerous, with the devastating consequence of stroke. A neck adjustment by a chiropractor can cause a dissection of the vertebral or the carotid artery, resulting in a stroke. While the first signs of a stroke can occur before the patient leaves the office of the chiropractor. However, a stroke is more likely to occur well after the chiropractic neck adjustment, perhaps days or weeks after the chiropractor has manipulated the patient’s neck. This is so because a dissection of the vertebral artery or carotid artery will cause a bleed, resulting in thrombus and emboli, which eventually will break off causing lack of blood flow to the brain, resulting in the stroke. A major concern in manual therapy by a chiropractor is the sudden manipulation of the joints between the skull and the first vertebrae in the neck and manipulation of the joints between the first and second vertebrae. Some therapists have banned all high velocity upper neck rotation when the head is held in a position of extension.

  • Visual Strokes: A chiropractor manipulates the patient’s neck, followed by mild visual changes. Or, perhaps a week or two later the patient notices he or she cannot see off to the side as he/she could before. In both cases, the patient may have suffered a stroke due to damage caused by the chiropractor to the artery in their neck. The insult to the vertebral artery likely caused a small clot or thrombus to form which was then cast off into the area of the brain responsible for vision.
  • Brain Stem Strokes: The vertebral artery plays an essential role in the blood supply to the brain stem. There are multiple types of symptoms that can result from damage in the brain stem, and immediately adjacent areas. Symptoms may include facial weakness, dizzy spells, loss of balance, decreased gag reflex, hoarseness of the voice, changes in temperature sensation, etc. etc. Body paralysis may result.
  • Cerebellum Strokes: Blood clots can travel from an injured artery in the neck up to the back of the brain called the cerebellum. This may produce a wide variety of strokes which affect balance and co-ordination.
  • Cartoid Artery Strokes: The carotid artery is positioned in the front of the neck. It can be damaged by a sudden chiropractic neck rotation or a thrust. The chiropractic profession has apparently attempted to ignore, or minimize the realities of the devastating consequence of stroke due to neck manipulation. Chiropractors often state that a stroke occurs in only one out of one million cervical manipulations, or that a person is more likely to be struck by lightning. To the contrary, medical journals from around the world have documented the connection between cervical manipulation and stroke.

The number of strokes caused by chiropractor neck manipulations is vastly under reported in the medical literature, for a simple reason. The victim of the stroke may suffer irreparable brain damage whereby he or she cannot remember the chiropractic manipulation. (The stroke may result in the death of the patient). Moreover, the family of a stroke victim is not likely to be aware that a chiropractic manipulation had been performed at an earlier time or date. The family would have no reason to make the connection.

The medical literature is clear that chiropractic neck manipulations carry the risk of a life threatening vascular accident. There appears to be no scientific proof that these neck manipulations are appropriate to treat the myriad of symptoms with which patients present. The public has a right to be informed about this risk/benefit analysis of cervical manipulation by chiropractors.

The real concern should not focus on the frequency of this occurrence but rather on risk/benefit ratio. No matter how infrequent the complication, if there is little or no benefit to the chiropractic procedure, then a complication as severe as stroke and/or death cannot be risked. This is the case with regard to chiropractic manipulation of the highest part of the neck. Chiropractors frequently adjust the neck to treat low back pain. It is a procedure used by many chiropractors to treat everything from ear infections in babies to high blood pressure and epilepsy in adults. There is no scientific evidence of benefit for the majority of the ailments for which chiropractors utilize the neck adjustment procedures.

Get Legal Help From Experienced Attorneys Today

The Abelson Law Firm, has successfully handled chiropractor malpractice cases resulting in stroke. If you or a loved one has been the victim of a stroke which you have reason to believe was triggered by a chiropractic neck manipulation or adjustment, please contact us online or by phone at (202) 499-6577 for a free consultation.


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