Chiropractic and Stroke – Reality or Scare Tactic

My standard disclaimer, the below is simply my opinion, and my record of someone else’s opinion. Before acting on it, ask your doctor!

Every decade or so, there appears in the media attacks against chiropractic. Bottom line, chiropractic is very, very, very safe. After 15 years in practice, and after doing by my estimates, over 700,000 adjustments, I have never had anyone get worse from a chiropractic adjustment except that they got sore for a few days, like they exercised too hard, which is actually very, very common. The worst we ever had was an older woman who was sore for a week.
I have known a chiropractor who adjusted an older man really hard on his upper back, who ended up with a small fracture of the rib. The older man was still thrilled, because in the process his back pain which he had had forever went away, and he knew over the next weeks, the fracture would heal. People also fall off chiropractic tables and break bones each year in the U.S. The above things are true and real.

Since the 1950’s various anti-chiropractic groups have been trying to prove chiropractic is dangerous. Now ask yourself, how many people do you know who have been killed by a chiropractor? Now I don’t mean the friend of a friend of a friend who claims to have known someone who was killed by a chiropractor, I mean who do you know who was killed by a chiropractor?

There was recently an article in one of these supposed health magazines called “True Health Prevention Magazine” 🙂 or something like that. It used very general language, and some pretty strong adjectives to try to link a woman’s bizarre supposed story to her having been injured by a chiropractor.

If you look at this, or any of the other major magazines that try to show chiropractic causes strokes, at who are the ADVERTI$ER$ it does not take long to see who pays for those magazines. This is why you can get subscriptions for a little more than the price of postage. The real money comes from the advertisers. Just ask yourself which of the advertisers would rather that you never went to a chiropractor? HMMMmmm…….
Over the past couple of years there have been stories popping up in magazines trying to make connections between chiropractic and strokes. Who is probably behind it is pretty obvious if you look at who would benefit, but there is no proof that I know of.

Gerald Clum D.C. , past president of Life West Chiropractic College, gave a talk today at the California Chiropractic Association annual conference. He pointed out a few important things.

First off, the type of stroke that is claimed can be caused by chiropractic takes place as follows. There are three layers of one of the arteries in the neck. These layers are tubes within tubes. The center tube tears in certain situations. If it tears, blood can flow behind it. This can cause turbulence, and the formation of a blood clot. If the clot breaks free, it can block off some part of the blood flow of the brain. This is what is called a stroke.

Dr. Clum states states that if you look at the literature it appears that the people that this happens to have some type of predisposing weakness of the center lining of the artery. The scientific literature shows that people with weakness in this area can have strokes caused by the weakness tearing. The literature shows that people have had these types of strokes after, judo, yoga, ceiling painting, nose blowing, hypertension, oral contraceptive use, sexual activity, receiving anesthesia, use of resuscitation activities, receiving a shampoo, vomiting, and sneezing.

Dr. Clum states in his notes,

“Current thinking holds that the majority of patients who develop frank symptoms of a vertebral artery dissection (thing that happens just before stroke) following chiropractic care were in the process of dissection when they presented for care.”

In my opinion this means that people who have strokes after visiting a chiropractic office probably would have had them anyway the next time they sneezed, had sex or stepped off a curb.
Dr. Clum stated that Life Chiropractic College clinic does and has done millions and millions of adjustments. In the multi decade history of this very, very busy chiropractic clinic, they have never had a patient have a stroke.

I have done hundreds of thousands of adjustments over my career, and I have never had a patient have a stroke.

Of the over a thousand chiropractors I have either trained or spoken to, I have never known a chiropractor to have a patient with a stroke.

Dr. Clum stated that a new research article will be coming out soon that he was privy to at the world chiropractic association meeting, will show that the incidence of of having a stroke after visiting a chiropractor and after visiting a medical doctor were identical which would imply that neither one of them cause strokes.
I am sitting next to Dr. Dean Wines who has been a chiropractor for 53 years, his dad was a chiropractor and 8 people in his immediate family are chiropractors. Any of these chiropractors ever seen a patient who had a stroke caused by chiropractic, I just asked him? “Nope”

5 Comments

  1. Hello and thank you for your blog entry. I am a C.A. at House Family Chiropractic in Michigan and am also in the process of becoming a student at Life University in GA. I was surfing the web recently and came upon the unfortunate site Quackbusters.com which features multiple articles about the dangers of Chiropractic. I’m a relatively objective person, so I took the information with a grain of salt and have been surfing the web for more about (alleged) Chiropractic-induced CVA. Your personal experience is very reassuring.

    Warmest regards,
    Amie Koncsol

  2. I am a practicing chiro in the state of Connecticut. Newspaper ads, billboards and commercials are popping up stating chiro is dangerous. Can I file a class action law suit for the defamation of a profession? I know Chicago did this in 1980 and won. What is your opinion. I truly believe this is the work of the pharmaceutical industry as they are teaching med student far prior to graduation.

  3. dk

    Dr. Mark,
    I would not be surprised if you were correct. When I was an associated staff member at UCSD school of medicine, I saw first hand examples of drug companies influencing activities at the medical school.

    It is challenging for us to attack them in the courts without knowing, exactly “who” is behind it.

    The most powerful group I have seen in chiropractic is one that I belong to. It is David Singer Enterprises. David has a lot of power, because of strong clients like myself who stand behind him. David also is in contact with some amazing people, who often give him the inside scoop on exactly “who” the enemy is.

    Most medical doctors I meet are not actually against chiropractic, but are often very confused and slightly afraid of it. Some of them actually embrace it, and I have many M.D.’s and medical professors as patients.

    My strongest suggestion is to check out David Singer Enterprises 800-326-1797, and if you love them as I do, hook up with them to fight the really big fight. If you go to their seminars you will understand what I am talking about.

    In the meantime be a big success and help as many people as you can.

    Bottom line, if we help and educate enough people about what chiropractic really is, then no one will even stand a chance against us.

    Much Love,
    dk

  4. Lady says to pharmacist: “Why does my prescription medication have 40 side effects?”
    Pharmacist replies: “Cause that’s all we’ve documented so far.” Prescription drugs, surgery, pain killers, etc, just numb your pain and don’t do anything to fix the problem, yet they are responsible for 106,000 deaths per year.

    Records form insurance and court cases have constantly shown that
    chiropractic is the safest portal of entry health care available to the
    public today. Although no healthcare procedures are 100% safe, chiropractic
    stands on its record of safety and effectiveness unmatched in
    healthcare.

  5. As long as rumors about the safety of chiropractic exist, we must work to educate the general public. The Foundation for Chiropractic Progress is doing a great job with campaigns by Jerry Rice and others. Every doctor DC needs to post articles proving efficacy of chiropractic and the fallacy of the stroke connection onto their website and work to educate the public, one patient at a time. In time, the public will come to know that chiropractic is the safest and most effective health care system available.

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