Chiropractic Causing Stroke Myth
Dr. Ferris’s comments:
There has long been a myth or scare tactic used to deter people from utilizing chiropractic care, which is actually one of the most conservative and least invasive/dangerous options for an individual. I have been to numerous med-legal seminars and not once has there been reported a peer-reviewed study that can scientifically link chiropractic with stroke, yet I still occasionally hear the comment being made. Below is a recent article that puts this debate again into perspective.
In 2008, a peer reviewed study out of Spine journal studied the correlation of stroke and a previous visit with a chiropractor or medical doctor in the province of Ontario over a nine year period with a database representing almost 110 million person-years (12.2 million people, studied over 9 years equals 110 million person-years).
The purpose of this study was to investigate if an association between chiropractic care and vertebral basilar artery stroke exceeded the association between medical primary care providers and vertebral basilar artery stroke.
The premise was that if there was a greater association between chiropractic care and this stroke then one could logically say there was a cause and effect relationship between chiropractic care and this problem.
The results were conclusive that there was substantially less likelihood of a patient experiencing a stroke following a visit to his/her chiropractor than there was after a visit to his/her primary care physician.
The research did conclude that overall, 4% of stroke victims had visited a chiropractor within 30 days of their strokes, while 53% of the stroke cases had visited their medical primary care providers within the same time frame. The authors offer the perspective that because neck pain is associated with some stroke, patients visit their doctors prior to the development of a full-blown stroke scenario.
Cassidy, J. D., Boyle, E., Côté, P., He, Y., Hogg-Johnson, S., Silver, F. L., & Bondy, S. J. (2008). Risk of vertebrobasilar stroke and chiropractic care: Results of a population-based case-control and case-crossover study. Spine, 33(45), S176-S183.