Spinal manipulation (“spinal manipulative therapy” or “SMT”) is used by chiropractors, osteopathic physicians, naturopathic physicians, physical therapist and medical doctors to relieve pain and improve physical functioning. By using their hand, or device, a medical professional “adjusts” the spine by wiggling, popping, stretching, tapping and more.

Risks are associated with SMT performed on both the lower back and the neck. However, SMT on the neck has higher risks that are potentially lethal. SMT risks include paralysis or death and life-threatening injury to the brain stem or vertebral arteries causing stroke.

Strokes caused by SMT are usually due to a tear of the vertebral artery wall by rotating the neck and/or a forceful thrust. The tear causes a blood clot to form. The blood clot eventually breaks free and blocks a blood vessel to the brain. Chiropractors downplay the occurrence of stroke associated with SMT when in fact it is a serious issue.

According to one author’s article here, this may be more prevalent than people realize:

Chiropractic’s Dirty Secret: Neck Manipulation and Strokes, Stephen Barrett, M.D.

In 1992, researchers at the Stanford Stroke Center asked 486 California members of the American Academy of Neurology how many patients they had seen during the previous two years who had suffered a stroke within 24 hours of neck manipulation by a chiropractor. The survey was sponsored by the American Heart Association. A total of 177 neurologists reported treating 56 such patients, all of whom were between the ages of 21 and 60. One patient had died, and 48 were left with permanent neurologic deficits such as slurred speech, inability to arrange words properly, and vertigo (dizziness).

Any medical professional who performs SMT on a patient that results in injury is negligent.

If you or someone you know is or has suffered injuries resulting from spinal manipulative therapy (“SMT”) contact Chicago Spinal Injury Attorney Phil Berenz today at 312-888-6058 so we can help.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Post comment