Vertebral Artery Dissection Lawsuits

The vertebral artery passes through the upper vertebrae of the neck and supplies blood to the brainstem. The life-sustaining blood then travels through the brainstem to the brain, making the vertebral artery a vital artery.

Although often not immediately apparent to patients, the sudden, violent, twisting of the neck during an adjustment by a chiropractor can cause a tear in the intimal lining of the vertebral artery. In fact, the injury can go unnoticed for hours, even days, yet the injury can be deadly. This small tear, known as a “vertebral artery dissection,” can eventually result in blood clotting around the site of the tear. If the blood clot dislodges and begins to travel, it can end up in the brainstem, where it can trigger a brainstem stroke.

Although for years largely ignored by medical professionals as a potential cause of stroke, vertebral artery dissections are finally being recognized as a cause of strokes in otherwise healthy patients, many who are under the age of 45.

If you or a loved one had a chiropractic adjustment or manipulation not long before suffering a stroke, it is possible that you have been the victim of a chiropractor’s malpractice. The chiropractic malpractice attorneys at The Abelson Law Firm, have devoted their practice to assisting victims of chiropractor negligence.

Strokes Caused by Chiropractic Neck Adjustments

Chiropractors do not like to discuss the direct connection between strokes and chiropractic neck manipulation. However, this connection is finally beginning to receive the recognition it deserves in medical literature, and by the public in general, despite efforts by chiropractors who have fought regulatory efforts to require disclosure of the potential risks associated with chiropractic neck adjustment.

Vertebral artery dissection (VAD) is just one of many serious injuries that a chiropractic neck adjustment can cause. A dissection of either the vertebral or carotid artery can cause life-threatening injuries, including a stroke, to the victim. In order to fully understand the risks involved in a chiropractic neck manipulation, you must understand how important these arteries are. The two vertebral arteries, along with the basilar artery, provide the main blood supply to the lowest area of the brain. If a blood clot forms in one of these arteries, the end result is often that the blood flow to the brainstem is slowed or completely blocked.

The brain requires oxygen to function properly. When a blood clot forms in the brainstem, vital functions such as the ability to breathe and the regulation of the heart rate will be affected. Other functions, such as the ability to move or to speak, can also be impacted. A brainstem stroke can even lead to paralysis to part of the body, facial weakness, and an inability to chew food or swallow, or it can cause damage to areas that control breathing or alertness. At its worst, a brainstem stroke can be fatal to the victim.

In the time between the actual injury and the time the blood clot breaks loose and causes a full-blown stroke, a victim may experience symptoms such as persistent headaches, vertigo, nausea or dizziness, or visual disturbances, as well as various other symptoms. Although the available medical literature indicates that vertebral artery dissection is more common among young women, young men can also suffer from VAD.

Chiropractic Strokes Lack National Reporting System

Medical doctors are held to very strict reporting standards when it comes to injuries caused by their malpractice or negligence. The same is not true for chiropractors. The result is that no nationalized database exits for searching, studying or researching strokes caused by chiropractic manipulation.

The attorneys at The Abelson Law Firm, are certain that chiropractic strokes are grossly underreported due to the fact that most victims, or family members of victims, do not recognize the nexus between the recent chiropractic manipulation and the subsequent stroke. We hope to call more attention to this serious problem through our website,

If you have been injured or have lost a loved one as a result of what you believe to be chiropractic malpractice as a result of a chiropractic neck manipulation, you could be entitled to compensation for the injuries you have suffered.

Contact one of the chiropractic malpractice attorneys at The Abelson Law Firm today for a free initial consultation. Based in Washington DC, our law firm serves clients from all over the United States.

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