Stroke chiropractic

DCs don’t raise stroke risk, researchers say.

Stroke chiropractic makes the point that patients die every day after even the most basic medical procedures, and it is never commented on.

It's completely accepted that thousands of patients die daily after surgery and as a result of side effect of drugs.

For example 14 000 Americans die every year from gastric bleeds directly caused by anti inflammatory drugs but it NEVER reaches the press. It's simply not newsworthy.

At a recent World Congress of Anesthetists in Cape Town, South Africa, the world's top surgeons are admitting that the incidence of serious cognitive dysfunction after surgery is very real, especially amongst the very young and the elderly. ANAESTHETIC ALZHEIMERS ...

"Add a few drops of venom to a half truth and you have an absolute truth."

- Eric Hoffer

But stroke chiropractic is so rare that every incident, infrequent though they are, always reaches the press. That is precisely why chiropractic is so safe. The exception proves the rule. "Statistical scientific research concludes that Chiropractic manipulation is one of the safest medical procedures."

Why is it so safe? Two reasons spring to mind. The first is simply that in the correct hands manipulation of the spine is relatively much safer than drugs or surgery. And secondly, because of the high standard of chiropractic education ...

Neurologist describes her stroke

For a stunning interview with a neurologist who herself had a stroke and, afterwards was able to describe in the most amazing detail what was happening, follow this link. Read more at NECK PAIN and HEADACHE …

Scroll down to MY STROKE OF INSIGHT. This is NOT one to miss.

Is Chiropractic safe?


The Vertebro Basilar Artery (VBA) threads its way through the vertebrae of the neck ( NECK PAIN ANATOMY ...) on the way to the posterior or basilar part of the brain, hence its name.

VBA stroke as it is called is an extremely rare event. One in a million manipulations of the neck. To put it into perspective: Stroke chiropractic may happen once in the whole career of one in ten chiropractors.

In comparison medicine's own research shows that a patient dies after medical treatment every year at the hands of one in five medical doctors. Every year!

As chiropractors we need to be vigilant, however, as neck pain and headache are common symptoms that VBA dissection is occurring, and a stroke is imminent.

Little is known about the incidence and time trends of VBA stroke diagnoses in the population. Chiropractic manipulation to the neck is believed to be a risk factor for VBA stroke, but no study has yet found an association between chiropractic utilization and VBA diagnoses at the population level. On the contrary ...

"Researchers conclude that: “We found no evidence of excess risk of VBA stroke associated chiropractic care compared to medical care.”

Stroke chiropractic is still being peddled by our critics as a common event after a chiropractic adjustment. It’s still considered ‘high risk’ having your neck adjusted.

Tens of millions of people worldwide receive chiropractic adjustments every day for relief of headache and neck pain. Yet medical critics claim that the risk of stroke is so high that manipulation should be severely curtailed because it is extremely dangerous!

Chiropractic care is popular for neck pain and headache, but may increase the risk for VBA dissection and stroke, critics of manipulation say.

However there is no increased risk of stroke chiropractic after manipulation of the neck, state two new Canadian studies, reporting in the world’s most influential medical journal, Spine.

Stroke Chiropractic

Study I

Researchers say patients are no more likely to suffer a stroke following a visit to a chiropractor than they would after stepping into their family doctor’s office.

Stroke after manipulations is an important issue. Bone and Joint Decade 2000-2010, a team of internationally renowned specialists, mostly medical orthopaedists and researchers, including top chiropractors of course, initiated the research to enquire into the incidence of stroke, after earlier studies cast a cloud over the chiropractic profession suggesting there was a close link between stroke and manipulation. Hence the widely discussed topic of Stroke Chiropractic by our detractors.


Cassidy et al conclude: Stroke associated with the Vertebro Basilar Artery (VBA) is a very rare event in the population. It has been alleged that stretching or impingement of the VBA by manipulation could cause a chiropractic stroke. The researchers conclude that: “We found no evidence of excess risk of VBA stroke associated chiropractic care compared to medical care.”

Study II

A second study concerning Stroke Chiropractic by Boyle PhD et al also reporting in Spine, comparing stroke due Vertebro Basilar Artery dissection in two Canadian provinces found that:

• In Saskatchewan, we observed a dramatic increase in the incidence rate in the year 2000. However, there there was only a corresponding relatively small increase in chiropractic utilization.

• In Ontario, there was a small increase in the incidence rate; however, chiropractic utilization decreased.


  • There were 818 VBA strokes hospitalized in a population of more than 100 million person-years (or 1 per 100 000).
  • In those aged <45 years, cases were about three times more likely to see a medical practitioner or chiropractor before their stroke than controls.
  • There was no increased association between chiropractic visits and chiropractic stroke in those older than 45 years.
  • Positive associations were found between medical practitioners visits and VBA stroke in all age groups. Practitioner visits billed for headache and neck complaints were highly associated with subsequent VBA stroke.

In conclusion

  1. VBA stroke is a very rare event in the population. Authoritative sources speak of 1-2 Strokes Chiropractic per one million manipulations.
  2. The increased risks of VBA stroke associated with chiropractic and medical practitioner visits is likely due to patients with headache and neck pain from VBA dissection seeking care before their stroke. We found no evidence of excess risk of VBA stroke associated chiropractic care compared to medical care.
  3. At the ecological level, the increase in VBA stroke does not seem to be associated with an increase in the rate of chiropractic utilization.

The upper neck is an extremely sensitive area. Hence so many people with severe neck pain and headache. It behoves all chiropractors to tread warily when dealing in the area, if they want to avoid being the 1/20 who may inadvently cause, or simply be present as Stroke Chiropractic is happening.

To be realistic, stroke chiropractic is an extremely rare phenomenon. Extremely. A cracked rib, an aggravation of a disc condition, dizziness after the treatment ... these can and do happen.

For more about chiropractic management of the dizzy patient, click here. VERTIGO DIZZINESS ...


Mrs P, aged 52, consulted me two months ago with neck pain and headache of some three months. The condition was getting worse, but nothing unusual there.

What was unusual was the fact that Mrs P was absolutely terrified. Not of Chiropractic treatment, but that she was about to have a stroke. Why?

Six months previously her husband woke one morning with severe neck pain and headache. They owned a large barge-tanker that ferried diesel between a refinery in Rotterdam and Basel, Switzerland, along the Rhine river. They managed to pull in at some small town in Germany where he consulted a doctor. By 11am he was dead; of an aneurism in the Vertebro Basilar artery, so the biopsy declared.

No one accused the doctor of causing Mr P's death by the treatment given, or for not diagnosing the condition. But had he consulted me, I would certainly have been accused of Stroke Chiropractic.

Oh, and Mrs P is fine. Within two weeks the pain in her neck was over. She had a simple facet syndrome of the second bone in the neck, the Axis.


The thought of a chiropractor treating tiny babies gives some people the shudders! Just fancy that!

The chiropractic management of the colicky baby is extremely gentle. There is no manipulation as one would normally understand it. Research show that chiropractic has an extremely safe and effective treatment of the colicky baby. COLIC CHIROPRACTIC ...

However, early in 2009 the press in the Netherlands reported that a small baby died after a manipulation by a 'cranio-sacral' therapist (not a Chiropractor), and the person was certainly not registered with the Netherlands Chiropractic Association. In fact what happened, was the therapist forced the child's head onto her chest for ten minutes, blocking the windpipe. The child died of asphyxiation.

I stand to be corrected but I find it extremely unlikely that any Chiropractic Help institute would advocate the 'manipulation' of babies, as we would understand the word. Stroke chiropractic in babies is, to my knowledge, unheard of. I treat babies on a regular basis and the treatment is singularly gentle and non-invasive, yet very effective.

STROKE - an anecdote

It's a brave doctor who is prepared to write about one of his mishaps, for the betterment of the profession. Chiropractic Coalface stroke

Chiropractic Help

What other conditions than neck pain and headaches do chiropractors treat?

Magnesium and your blood vessels

Interesting research, Magnesium Heart shows that a diet deficient in magnesium greatly increases the incidence of both heart disease and stroke. And that eating magnesium-rich foods like spinach and broccoli is more effective that swallowing magnesium pills. Along with radishes and green beans, spinach belongs to my trio of easiest to grow healthy vegetables.

Omega-3 and your blood vessels

Likewise, there is now overwhelming evidence that omega-3 fatty acid foods reduce the risk of stroke, improve the cholesterol profile and lower blood pressure.

The best sources are fatty fish like salmon ( Ways to cook Salmon including a delicious Salmon and broccoli soup), walnuts ( Walnut blood pressure ...) and flax seeds ( Grinding flax seeds ... )


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Did you find this page useful? Then perhaps forward it to a suffering friend. Better still, Tweet or Face Book it.

Interesting challenges of the day

1. Mr S is a 76 year old man with neck pain of some 9 months duration. Luckily, most of the discomfort is upper cervical which is only rarely arthritic; his lower cervical spine is a degenerative mess that I've left alone. After seven treatments his pain and stiffness is 50 percent better, and he's happy in the circumstances. He can sleep through the night now and that makes a huge difference.

2. Mr P is 32 year old man with very severe lower back pain radiating to the big toe which is 30 percent numb. He had an episode three weeks ago, took anti inflammatories and was soon better as is typical of the medial disc herniation. But before it healed, after a trivia it came roaring back, much worse. The characteristic crossed sign was evident; sitting in a chair, straightening the right leg provoked severe left back pain and tingling in the leg. He's doing well.

3. Severe lower back pain is scary; just ask Mrs P. Just watching her get out of the car I she was in trouble; she had a slipped disc at L4 making her lean towards the opposite side; luckily she had no pain in the leg. Despite family pressure that this was far too severe for a chiropractor, she persevered. Within five days she was standing upright, and after two weeks almost painfree. 

Despite a hectic job, she wisely took my advice and stayed home for what I call exercising bed rest.

4. Mr S has had lower back, groin and back of thigh and calf pain for fourth months.

He has a pincer deformity in the hip causing the stabs in the groin, and a degenerative facet causing the sciatica. Both are responding well to chiropractic and he's well pleased; sixty five percent better after three treatments.

5. Mr T is a wise man; he's taken a warning TIA seriously and has lost 15 pounds, and has at least as much again to lose. A change to a low starch diet and half hour daily walk has made the difference; but the walking is making his foot and back miserable. The expensive orthotic is hopeless; luckily his hips and back are fine, but he needs a simple heel lift.

6. I too have had serious lower back issues, luckily fixed by my own chiropractor; so I too have to do my exercises, take care when lifting supers full of honey, gardening and using the chainsaw. Regaining the function of your spine is just as important as the pain.

7. My own granddaughter, only 7 is hypermobile giving her pelvic, knee and ankle issues. Xrays show a mildly dysplastic hip. Years ago we would have called it growing pains. She too regularly needs chiropractic care and luckily responds well. Increased range of motion is more difficult than too stiff in my opinion. Our care is for kids too.

8. This 65 year old lady is a serious gardener; every day she is bending, lifting and digging for 2 to 3 hours a day. It regularly catches her in the sacroiliac joint, so she has a treatment once a month that sorts it out. She does her lower back exercises faithfully.

9. This 88 year old lady is an inspiration; every day she is busy in the community. With a nasty scoliosis she manages very well with a chiropractic adjustment every six weeks and exercises faithfully done.  

10. Mr X is a 71 year old retired man who wants to continue with maintenance care every six to eight weeks; he had suffered from two years of lower back pain when he first came a year ago. He has no discomfort now after 8 chiropractic treatments, but is aware that danger lurks.

11. Mrs C has been having severe headaches, and taking a lot of analgesics. It's a non complicated upper cervical facet syndrome, and she's doing well.

12. Mr D is a 38 old year man with chronic shoulder pain after a rotator cuff tear playing cricket. It responded well to treatment, but he knows he must do his exercises every day; for two years he couldn't sleep on that shoulder.

13. Mr D, a 71 year old man, has a severe ache in the shoulder and midback since working above his head. Trapped nerve tests are negative but he has advanced degenerative joints of Luschka; after just two treatments he is 50 percent better. Can we reach 90?

And so the day goes; chiropractors shouldn't be treating the elderly most medical sites state but that's so much bunkum.

Have a problem that's not getting better? Looking for a different slant on your pain? Want to pose a question?

Interesting questions from visitors

CLS writes:

Greetings, Dr B.
You helped me quite some time back with a soothing and professional response which turned out to be exactly correct. I now consult a local chiropractor. You write a superb newsletter, too.

Your own unresolved problem. Pose a question

Knowing that up to 70% of the time the correct diagnosis is made with no examination, no special tests, no xrays, but just from the history, there's a fair chance I can add some insight to your unresolved problem. But at least 30% of the time, I may be quite wrong! Give plenty of detail if you want a sensible reply.

You visited this chiropractic help site no doubt because you have a problem that is not resolving and want to know more about what chiropractors do.

The quickest and most interesting way is to read one of my ebooks of anecdotes. Described by a reader as gems, both funny and healthful, from the life and work of a chiropractor, you'll love them. Priced right at $2.99, though Kindle fiddles the price without telling me.

Interesting letters from readers


  • 1 in 5 deaths - half a million Americans per year

Just one cigarette per day ...

"Even brief exposure to tobacco smoke causes immediate harm to the body."

Surgeon General

"Lying to ourselves is more deeply ingrained than lying to others."

Fyodor Dostoevsky

$193 billion per year

Health care costs + lost productivity

"Occasional smoking or just second-hand smoke damages DNA causing cancer."

"Most smokers are already well aware of their increased risk of acquiring lung cancer. Fewer people know about the patients I see every day, those with cancer of the lips, mouth, nose, throat, sinuses or larynx (where the voice box is located).

These cancers account for about 6 percent of all cancer diagnosed annually in the U.S. Ninety percent of these cancer victims can blame their illness directly on tobacco use."

Paul Donald, M.D.

Over 1,000 Americans per day die directly from smoking.


 - worse than cancer


"Tobacco smoke damages every organ in your body - not just your lungs"

Surgeon General



Obesity + smoking = disaster


Chiropractic manipulation + smoking?

Will Tweety have a stroke?