American Cervical Arterial Dissections and Association With Cervical Manipulative Therapy
Stroke. published online August 7, 2014;
Author: Long, Lori D. et
Statement for Healthcare Professionals From the American Heart Association
After a neck adjustment — also known as cervical manipulative therapy and typically employed by chiropractors and other healthcare providers — people are at increased risk for cervical dissections, which can lead to stroke, according to a scientific statement released by the American Heart Association and American Stroke Association.
Current knowledge about cervical dissection is limited to case-control studies and clinical reports, making it impossible to establish a cause-and-effect relationship. In some cases, an alternative explanation may be that patients in the early stage of cervical dissection may go to a chiropractor or other healthcare provider for relief of their neck pain. Nonetheless, the statement advises healthcare providers to tell their patients about the association before starting the procedure.
In an AHA press release, the study’s lead author said, “Although a cause-and-effect relationship between these therapies and [cervical dissection] has not been established and the risk is probably low, [cervical dissection] can result in serious neurological injury.”