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Study: Chiropractic care can result in worsened condition

Many Houston-area residents use a chiropractor as part of their medical care. Chiropractors can provide a range of services including pain management. But patients who do use a chiropractor should be aware that, according to some researchers, some types of service may result in a worsened condition for the patient. Some can even lead to a stroke.

A common procedure done by a chiropractor is a neck manipulation. Neck manipulation is a procedure done on patients who are complaining of neck and back pain. The chiropractor adjusts the joints in the neck to improve motion. Although this can lead to less pain and more motion for patients, it may also lead to a stroke.

The neck manipulation may cause a small tear in the neck's artery walls. This condition is known as cervical artery dissection, or CD. CD is caused by sudden movements to the neck that cause trauma including whiplash or vomiting. Some researchers believe that improper chiropractic care may also result in CD; their findings have recently been published.

The greatest danger of CD is that it can cause a blood clot. A blood clot can get loose and block a blood vessel in the brain, causing a stroke. Blood clots are the leading cause of a stroke in younger and middle-aged adults.

Patients who receive chiropractic care should know what to look for in case a medical emergency arises. This includes pain in the neck or head, double vision, slurred speech, dizziness and nausea or vomiting. If a patient believes they have been harmed because of chiropractic malpractice, they may want to speak with a legal professional skilled in medical malpractice. If a chiropractor does not follow a standard of care serious injury or even death can occur.

Source: American Heart Association, "Neck manipulation may be associated with stroke," Darcy Spitz, Aug. 7, 2014

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