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Moving Toward Better Health

The official blog of Konicki Schumacher Chiropractic


Chiropractic and Strokes

Posted by Dr. Tom Konicki
Dr. Tom Konicki
Dr. Thomas Konicki earned his B.S. in Biology at the University of Cincinnati and then went on to the Los Ange...
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in Chiropractic Care

Recently, a 34-year-old model, Katie May, died as a result of a stroke. She had taken a nasty fall the week before and went to the chiropractor thinking she had a pinched nerve. The Los Angeles County Coroner said she died because of "an injury sustained during a neck manipulation by the chiropractor." It appears the carotid artery dissected (split apart) and then formed the clot, blocking the blood to her head and causing a stroke and later death.

Our hearts go out to her family, friends and daughter that she left behind. We are always on the lookout for our patients who should not have the "cracking type" of manipulation to their neck. We have other low force techniques that do not twist the neck at all if we suspect you are high risk for stroke. If you have uncontrolled high blood pressure or a history of stroke or Transient Ischemic Attacks (mini stroke called TIA) we will not rotate your neck for manipulation.

We are proud to say that we have practiced chiropractic care safely for 29 years.

The following facts support that chiropractic is a very safe treatment:

The association between neck manipulation and vertebral artery dissection is about 1 in 5.85 million adjustments (less than one in 1 million patients).

Chiropractors have some of the lowest malpractice insurance premiums in healthcare because of the low risk associated with our treatment.

One of the largest and most credible research studies to date by Dr. Cassidy published in Spine 2008 showed that people will have a stroke in progress and experience a severe headache and/or severe neck pain. Equal numbers of these patients visited their medical doctor and an equal number went to the chiropractor. Both groups suffered strokes. There was no manipulation by the medical doctor and the stroke continued to proceed.

There are other studies that refute the assertion that rotation on extension to the neck during cervical manipulation can cause an arterial dissection (Herzog et al. and Piper/Howarth /Triano).

Someone in America dies from stroke every 4 minutes. Most of these are older adults, but 10% affect adults 45 years or younger. The vast majority of these cases are spontaneous, meaning the underlying cause is unknown.

It is still considered a theory that a chiropractor could cause a stroke. Neither the clinical or basic science research available to date has established a cause – and – effect relationship.

Millions of neck manipulations are performed safely in the United States every year. This tragic event is such a rare occurrence that it has made national news.

We value the trust you place in our care.  As doctors, we are taught "first do no harm". Our concern is always to provide effective yet safe treatment on your behalf.

Thank you for your continued trust in our care.

Yours in health,

Thomas A. Konicki, D.C., DABCO                                   Bethany Schumacher D.C.

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