20 February 2011


I read with growing and alarming interest on the risks of chiropractic neck manipulation in an article 'Perils of chiropractic neck manipulation' on page A21 of the 21st Jan 11 issue of The Straits Times.

Written by Senior Writer Andy Ho, he was warning readers against going for such treatment because of the risks involved.

I quote the following verbatim from his article:
  • In 2001, a large study published in Stroke found neck manipulation to be a leading cause of strokes in people under 45. In this age group, the risk of a stroke was quintupled if one had seen a chiropractor in the preceding week. This is because chiropractic manipulation can cause a tear to develop in the inner lining of the vertebral arteries that supply blood to the brain. Blood then enters into the flap-like tear and clots there. This narrows the artery, which decreases blood flow to the brain. If the blood clot subsequently comes loose, it may travel into the brain to block a smaller artery, thus causing a delayed stroke.
  • Chiropractic neck manipulation may involve as much as a third of the force that hanging a man exerts on his neck.
  • A big and sudden tear in the vertebral artery lining can cause one to collapse on the spot. Tiny tears may see only mild symptoms develop, which worsen over time. If the tear is such that a clot forms over it, a stroke may set in days later should the clot dislodge itself.
I don't know about you, but everytime when I was at the chiropractor and I anticipated the neck manipulation was coming up, I would tense up a little bit and had a slight feeling of fear and apprehension of the sudden jerk, even before I knew about this article. Not that I asked for the neck twisting anyway, but it seems to be part of the package. Now, it seems the fear was not unfounded afterall.