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Is There a Connection Between Neck Adjustments and Strokes?

Odds are greater that you’ll be struck by lightning than suffer a stroke from a chiropractic neck adjustment!

From time to time the enemies of chiropractic attempt to scare chiropractic patients with claims about the safety of chiropractic care, especially with regard to neck adjustments. These efforts have become increasingly creative, attempting to convince the public of an increased risk of stroke in those who receive cervical (neck) adjustments.

In response to these claims, and in an attempt to quantify the incidence of stroke related to cervical chiropractic adjustments, countless studies have been conducted in the United States, Denmark, Holland, Canada and England. Their findings? That stroke may result in as many as one in a million cervical adjustments or in as few as one in almost six million, with a newsworthy event occurring only in a very small number of cases.

One such study, published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal in October 2001, reported that the risk of stroke from a cervical chiropractic adjustment was far less likely than the risk of death as the negative side effect of taking several different types of painkillers. In addition, this and similar studies concluded that:

  • The risk of being struck by lightning is greater than the risk of stroke from a cervical chiropractic adjustment
  • The risk of death resulting from several common diagnostic tests is greater than the risk of stroke from a cervical chiropractic adjustment
  • If our practice is more than a mile from your home, you are more likely to be involved in a car accident going to or from your appointment than you are to suffer a stroke from a cervical chiropractic adjustment
  • The odds of dying from a cervical chiropractic adjustment are about the same as dying in a crash while on board a commercial airplane
  • The risk of death from gastrointestinal bleeding from NSAIDS (non-steroidal, anti-inflammatory drug) usage, the most common treatment for pain, is 400 in one million – far greater than the risk of stroke from a cervical chiropractic adjustment

Considering the fact that the average annual insurance premium for a chiropractic is 1/10th of that for a medical doctor, even risk-adverse insurance companies recognize the safety of chiropractic care. After all, rates are based on the number of claims made against a particular health care specialty.

If you have any concerns about the safety of chiropractic care, please raise them with me at your next visit.

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