For many years, manual therapists have experienced varying degrees of apprehension about the relationship between cervical manipulation and stroke. Fortunately, the preponderance of available data has shown that strokes occur at a similar rate regardless of whether a patient sees a chiropractor for manipulation or their primary care physician for consultation. Spinal manipulation does not generally cause strokes, however, patients with symptoms of an impending stroke have a higher likelihood to seek care from a variety of providers, including chiropractors.
Unfortunately, not all physicians and media outlets have recognized these facts and some continue to spread sensationalized stories that dissuade patients from receiving safe and effective treatment. Patients who have not abandoned the idea of visiting a chiropractor pose serious questions that we must address with serious answers.
To help you with these discussions, ChiroUp has compiled the following evidence-based “Facts about Stroke” patient handout that you can use as a supporting reference to guide your next discussion.
Please forward this blog & handout to one or more of your evidence-based peers. By working together, our profession can dispel the myths that hold us back. We must also remember that although these facts provide a sense of assurance, we must remain vigilant. To revisit the advice from an earlier VBAI blog:
“We must not allow these studies to lull us into a false sense of security. We should not dismiss the risk of stroke or any other reasonable threat. We must continue to carefully assess each patient’s history, adequately screen for vascular pathology prior to treatment, recognize & refer patients who require medical consultation and choose alternatives to cervical manipulation for higher risk patients. By remaining clinically vigilant, we will continue to provide patients with safe, effective treatment options.”
For more information, visit the prior ChiroUp blog 3 steps for responding to safety concerns about stroke, and Login to ChiroUp.com to review the condition protocol for Cervicogenic Vertigo, detailing the current chiropractic best practice assessment and management of this and 90 other common musculoskeletal conditions.