Chiropractic, the Playmate, and Risk of Stroke

It was and still is big news that the model, Katie May’s cause of death was by a chiropractic adjustment.  That was the finding of a coroner who most likely has never treated a live patient.  A neurovascular surgeon at Mt. Sinai Hospital in New York, Dr. Carolyn Brockington, stated on national television, on the Dr. Oz show to be exact, that the chiropractor did not cause the stroke.  She did not think anyone should be concerned about having a stroke at the chiropractor for many reasons.

She is a stroke specialist and treats stroke victims every day.  Some of the strokes have known causes and many do not.  The arterial dissection experienced by Katie May can occur in healthy people between the ages of 30 to 50 with no prior history.  Maintaining a stressed position for a period of time can yield this type of injury, but it is very rare.  Chances are in this model’s case it was a dissection in progress that occurred while she was at work on a photo shoot.

Most dissections do not lead to a stroke, but a cervical artery dissection accounts for 1 in 5 strokes in middle-aged people.

The most important information for a practitioner to know is the history of stroke, aneurysm, dissection, and collagen disorders.  It is much wiser to visit the Emergency Room when your neck pain is accompanied with the following.

Diplopia (double vision),

Dysphagia (difficulty swallowing)

Dysarthria ( trouble speaking)

Drop Attacks

Dizziness

Nausea

Numbness

Nystagmus  (rapid involuntary eye movement)

Chiropractic Colleges have performed millions of cervical adjustments without incident.  Many more have been performed by practitioners and the staggering number of adjustments performed compared to the amount of strokes occurring makes Chiropractic the safest treatment known to medical science.

Keep in mind that many people are not feeling well when the stroke is beginning its prodromal phase.  They seek care.  Many people actually have the stroke in the waiting room of a medical doctor, or at the hair salon, etc.  In life, strokes occur and this event with the Playboy model is the first time the press actually treated it rather rationally.  I suspect because even though they need a sensational story, the science is in on vertebral artery dissection and it turns out that a chiropractic adjustment does not deliver the amount of force necessary to tear the inner muscles of those arteries.

This means it would be foolish to give up all the amazing benefits of chiropractic because of an irrational fear.

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