Summary List Placement
A 35-year-old man had an unexpected stroke after seeing a chiropractor for neck manipulation and upper back massages, according to a case study in the journal BMJ Case Reports.
He told the doctors who treated him that he’d seen the chiropractor for two weeks before he experienced trouble reading, writing, and talking. After two days of those symptoms, and one day of pain on his right side, a friend expressed concern, so the man went to see a neurologist.
According to his medical history and some brain scans, the man wasn’t predisposed to a stroke, leading the doctors to believe his chiropractor visits contributed to the event, they wrote in the case study.
To treat the man, who was not named in the study, the doctors first used a nasal feeding tube to give his body nutrients and aspirin to prevent future strokes. He also attended speech and physical rehabilitation to regain function in his body and face. Three months later, he showed “significant improvement,” according to the doctors.
Doctors have warned of neck manipulation risks before
This isn’t the first time doctors have warned about the risks of stroke for young people who get cervical manipulative therapy, where a healthcare professional moves the neck with quick and forceful movements.
In October 2014, the American Heart Association published a statement saying cervical manipulative therapy has been linked to neck blood vessel tears. These tears increase the chance of an otherwise healthy young person having a stroke, according to AHA.
The doctors who wrote the AHA statement also said the chances of having a stroke related to neck manipulation is low, but healthcare professionals offering the procedure should make patients aware of the risks beforehand.
Strokes due to neck trauma from car accidents, falls, over exercise have also been reported, according to the Cleveland Clinic.