Stroke chiropractic

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 the side effect of drugs.

Chiropractors don’t raise stroke risk, researchers say.

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 because it's really not uncommon.

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 ...

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 education chiropractic.

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

- Eric Hoffer

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 vertebral artery.


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, 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[4].

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, walnuts and flax seeds.

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"There is a protective relationship between consumption of fruit and vegetables, particularly cruciferous and green leafy vegetables and citrus fruit and juice, and ischemic stroke risk."

- Journal of the American Medical Association[4].

CHIROPRACTOR Bernard Preston

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