Chiropractic neck manipulations in the News Chiropractic Neck Manipulations in the News Science Based Medicine

The neck is kinked when it turns and strains the vertebral arteries.

I’ve been watching the reports on Caitlin Jensen, who is disabled in the ICU one month after visiting her chiropractor. She’s 28 years old who completed her studies at Georgia Southern University in May with an advanced degree in biology and chemistry.

The first article I found, on Yahoo reported that “It’s not clear if Jensen’s injury occurred prior to or during the visit to her chiropractor.” According to the reports repeated the same details and quotes from relatives, but they didn’t contain crucial details. I read all the information I could find on the internet, and here’s the way I put it all together.

On the 16th of June, she went to the chiropractor on the outskirts of Savannah. While the majority of news articles did not mention the chiropractor however one did. I will not. He’s refused to speak and has stated that HIPAA regulations do not permit him to share details about patients. Evidently, the reason she went at chiropractor chiropractor was “neck stiffness,” which she attributed to studying for long periods for tests. (But according to one report, she sought treatment for back discomfort?) The exact sequence isn’t known However, Caitlyn’s mom says the chiropractor phoned her to inform she he’d called 911 and that an ambulance was going to take Caitlyn into the hospital since she was suffering from a negative reaction after the treatment.

She was in an insanity, suffered an arrest of the heart and was unable to beat throughout the 10 minute.

They were able bring her back to. They identified dissections of four neck arteries and repaired a few of the tears, and placed an artery with a stent. (A dissection is an injury to the lining inside the arterial. The blood clots that result can cause blood clots, obstruction of blood flow, and even strokes.) There are four major neck arteries, two vertebral and two carotid arteries. So it is possible that all four of them were dissectioned.

After one month, she’s not able to speak and only wiggle her left feet or blink their eyes. the remainder of her body is completely paralyzed. In addition to her weakness she also suffered trauma to the brain. The family has set up an GoFundMe page on which they provide regular updates about her health. The page has already raised more than $60,000 to fund the treatment.

The doctors who examined Caitlin believed they were right that chiropractic cervical manipulations were responsible for the dissections.

The risk of sustaining a stroke due to manipulating the neck has been discussed several times in an excellent summary of the topic in 2017. In addition, Jann Bellamy wrote about the findings of a study conducted recently:

“adds to the increasing body of evidence to suggest that manipulation of the neck is a risk component to cervical arterial dissection as well as stroke. They conclude that

Based on our findings those who have attended chiropractors to perform cervical spine manipulation should be aware of the possible risks and the necessity to seek medical attention immediately should symptoms that suggest stroke or dissection occur following or during manipulation.

They even suggested that patients could be able to avoid chiropractors completely:

In the meantime, until the precise amount of risk associated with chiropractic manipulation is established those suffering from neck pain might be better served by equally effective passive therapy.

Remember it is true that chiropractors manipulate necks for correcting “chiropractic subluxations” which have not been proven to be present.

It’s interesting to read all the comments that follow the articles on the internet on Caitlin Jensen. The patients who are happy with their treatment rave about what chiropractors did to assist them, usually claiming miraculous solutions of treatments evaluated in controlled studies and proved to be ineffective. Unsatisfied patients complain that chiropractic treatments either did not help or worsened their condition. Certain chiropractors acknowledge the possibility that neck manipulations could cause strokes, but they insist that this is extremely very rare, estimated to be 0.05 up to 1.46 strokes per 10 millions neck adjustments. Because they believe neck manipulations can be effective and effective, they seem to believe that the small risk is sufficient. Some chiropractors do not believe there is any risk whatsoever. They say that these patients already had dissections within the neck’s arteries and that’s why they suffered neck pain and went to the chiropractor. However, it appears my opinion that, if a patient has suffered a tear in a vertebral artery, the most dangerous thing you can do is to subject the neck to manipulations with a rapid thrust which would put additional pressure on the artery and further damage it.

There isn’t a reliable method to determine the patients most at risk of suffering from stroke. Also, chiropractors aren’t able to detect or cure a vertebral arterial dissection. For that advanced imaging equipment as well as surgical and medical specialists are needed. It is believed that there’s no longer any need for chiropractors in modern medicine because physical therapists are able to do all the things they can do that a chiropractor can do. They also make an effort to base their practices on research-based evidence, not on an unscientific belief system.

Chiropractic practitioners remind us of the fact that dissections spontaneously may be found in vertebral arteries and can be seen in the so-called beauty parlor strokes in which the neck is stretched out in anticipation of shampoo. The simultaneous dissections of the neck arteries of all four are extremely rare and require case reports such as this one in which the cause of the stroke was the inexplicably vomiting.

A study by Edzard Ernst concluded that “With the possibility of excluding back tension, chiropractic spinal manipulation has been found to not be beneficial for any medical disease.” The chance of suffering a stroke as a result of neck manipulation isn’t clear however, a substantial risk cannot be completely ruled out as well as there could be an enormous under-reporting of strokes due to the fact that chiropractors aren’t required to report strokes , and might not even know that a patient suffered an accident resulting from neck manipulation.

Conclusion The risk/benefit proportion is not favorable.

Because the high velocity low-amplitude (HVLA) cervical manipulations commonly employed by chiropractors haven’t been proved to be effective in any way and since a substantial risk cannot be eliminated, a precise assessment of the risk/benefit ratio is not possible, and patients aren’t able to give informed consent. The best course of action is to stay clear of neck manipulations that are rapid-thrust and opt for other techniques which have proven to be effective with gentle manipulation.

  • Harriet Hall, MD

    Also known as the SkepDoc also known as The SkepDoc, who is also known by the name The SkepDoc is an ex-family doctor who writes about the bogus science and medical practices that are questionable. She earned the BA as well as her MD in The University of Washington, did her residency in the Air Force (the second female ever to complete it) as well as being the first female to graduate from The SkepDoc, the Air Force family practice residency at Eglin Air Force Base. In her long time in the field of Air Force physician, she was in various roles, including flight surgeon and DBMS (Director of Base Medical Services) and was involved in everything from the birth of babies to directing the operations of the B-52. B-52. She retired in the title of Colonel. In 2008, she released her memoirs.

    Women Aren’t Required to Fly