Dr. Matthew Gianforte
The medical scope of chiropractic care has proved to be a fundamental benefit to health for people of all ages. There is no longer any question that chiropractic care can be beneficial, if not life-changing. Public media and other medical models continue to dispute its benefits, but all is done needlessly only to continue spreading myths and untruths.
In the case of chiropractic care and stroke risk, the myths and fears abound as some still believe that chiropractic care can instigate a specific type of stroke called Vertebral Artery Dissection (VAD). This is a myth that is well refuted in research as well as logic and common sense. Here are some facts about VAD and chiropractic care:
- In a nine-year study including 110 million people per year, there was found to be no greater risk associated with chiropractic adjustments and ischemic stroke or transient ischemic attack (TIA).
- VAD has occurred from coughing, rotating the head, movement at the hairdresser, and other normal daily activities.
- Most incidents of VAD have an underlying preexisting disease already in progress like a thrombus or embolism.
- VAD is considered by the medical community as a whole to be random and unpredictable complication of any neck movement.
Let’s unpack this a bit more.
When there is an underlying issue already occurring in the brain or neck such as a thrombus or embolism, it often produces neck pain or a headache. The cause for neck pain or headache is vast and very rarely is the sign of a pending stroke. When neck pain or headache occurs, a person seeks care from either a medical doctor or a chiropractor.
However, if a thrombus or embolism is present, the rate at which a stroke will progress is the same regardless of which doctor is seen. In this study covering over 12 million people, it concluded that in 30 days prior to a stroke occurring, four percent of stroke victims had visited a chiropractor and 53 percent had visited their primary care provider (PCP)
The argument that chiropractic care caused a stroke is a convenient one, but an incorrect conclusion. The truer conclusion is that a stroke is caused by compromised blood supply to the brain provided through the vertebral and carotid arteries. It is always a traumatic event even when a full recovery is made. The health of blood flow to all arteries, the good function of the central nervous system, adequate enzymes and nutrient activity involved in clotting, and a myriad of other body functions are all known to be improved with chiropractic care.
Primary risk factors for a stroke include:
- Heart disease
- High blood pressure
- High blood sugar
Chiropractic care is well known to positively impact each of the areas of risk for stroke through the balance and improved health of nerve signaling to the body. If you’re looking for customized health services or a chiropractor in Shawnee and Overland Park, look no further. Contact LifeWorks Integrative Health today.
Cassidy, J.D., Boyle, E., Cote, P., He, Y., Hogg-Johnson, S.Silver, F.L., & Bondy, S. J. (2008). Risk of vertebrobasilar stroke and chiropractic care: Results of population-based case-control and case-crossover study. Spine, 33(45), S175-S183.