How common is vertebral artery dissection from chiropractic?

Vertebral artery aneurysms and dissections are known complications of spinal manipulation procedures (1, 2). An estimated 1 in 20,000 spinal manipulations results in a vertebral artery aneurysm/dissection and ischemic infarct, but the exact incidence of this complication is unknown (3).

Can chiropractic cause artery dissection?

A retrospective study of stroke cases at two major academic medical centers, led by University of California, San Francisco neurologists, indicates that chiropractic manipulation of the neck can cause vertebral artery dissection, a tearing of the vertebral artery leading to the brain that causes stroke or transient …

What is the most common cause of vertebral artery dissection?

[4][5][6]Blunt trauma to the neck is the most common reported precipitating event. Patients with connective tissue disorders are also at increased risk. Ehlers-Danlos syndrome is the most common connective tissue disorder that can cause vertebral artery dissection.

Can chiropractic neck adjustments cause a stroke?

If you’re in the habit of having your neck adjusted by a chiropractor, Michigan Medicine neurologist Mollie McDermott, M.D., wants to share some important information: High-velocity neck manipulation can result in a vertebral artery dissection, which can lead to stroke.

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How common is Artery Dissection?

The annual incidence of symptomatic spontaneous internal carotid artery dissection is 2.5-3 per 100,000. The incidence of carotid artery dissection as a result of blunt injuries (mainly high-speed motor vehicle accidents) ranges from less than 1% to 3%.

How is vertebral artery dissection detected?

Computed tomography (CT) scanning – Identifies subarachnoid hemorrhage ; CT angiography (CTA), along with magnetic resonance angiography (MRA), are the imaging modalities of choice for vertebral artery dissections; however, CTA is less accurate in the presence of calcified arteries.

Do I have vertebral artery dissection?

The symptoms of vertebral artery dissection include head and neck pain and intermittent or permanent stroke symptoms such as difficulty speaking, impaired coordination and visual loss. It is usually diagnosed with a contrast-enhanced CT or MRI scan.

How long does it take for a dissected vertebral artery to heal?

Yamaura et al. proposed that a ruptured dissecting aneurysm enters into a healing stage approximately 1 month after the initial SAH. In Mizutani’s series21), only 10% of rebleeding occurred more than one month after the initial hemorrhage.

Can you tear an artery in your neck by cracking?

Popping your neck can cause a small tear (dissection) in the inner lining of an artery, which leads to blood clots forming.

How do you check vertebral artery?


  1. Place patient in supine and perform a passive extension and side flexion of the head and neck.
  2. Perform passive rotation of the neck to the same side and hold for approximately 30 seconds.
  3. Repeat test with head movement to the opposite side.
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How common is stroke from chiropractor?

Chiropractic adjustments causing strokes are rare, according to Haboubi. “Yeah, we do see it. It is a rare complication. It occurs in about 1 in ever 20,000 spinal manipulations.

When should you stop chiropractic treatment?

In general, it is advised to discontinue chiropractic care if any of the following is true:

  1. Increased pain. It is not uncommon to note mild discomfort after the initial manipulation treatment for the first 24 to 48 hours (similar to starting a new exercise). …
  2. No improvement within 2 to 4 weeks. …
  3. Symptoms have gone away.

What are the risks of chiropractic neck adjustments?

The high velocity thrust used in cervical manipulation can produce significant strain on carotid and vertebral vessels. Once a dissection has occurred, the risk of thrombus formation, ischemic stroke, paralysis, and even death is drastically increased.

What does an artery tear feel like?

A vertebral artery tear may feel like something sharp is stuck in the base of your skull. If you experience such pain — especially if you also have stroke symptoms such as dizziness, double vision, jerky eye movements, unsteadiness while walking, or slurred speech — call 911 immediately.

Can Massage cause vertebral artery dissection?

This is the first reported case of bilateral vertebral artery dissection and stroke to be associated with massage. This case also suggests, unlike many reports in the literature, that significant vascular pathology can result from massage even without cervical spine manipulation.

Can stress cause vertebral artery dissection?

Brain-supplying arterial dissection is considered one of the most common vascular causes of stroke in younger patients. Dissections are usually preceded by trauma or mechanical stress; the vascular stressor may be trivial as this condition has been described in association with manipulation and stretching the neck.

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