Chiropractors Don’t Raise Stroke Risk, Study Says

Opponents of Chiropractic have attempted a smear campaign over the last several years by suggesting that chiropractic adjustments to the neck increased the risk of a certain type of stroke. This campaign was never based upon any scientific evidence, but rather on biased opinions. A new study to be published in the medical scientific journal “Spine” on February 15, 2008 puts those false accusations to rest and clearly shows that chiropractic does not increase the risks of these types of problems.

The story only received limited press coverage including a story in the January 19, 2008 issue of the Globe and Mail out of Canada. The scientific journal “Spine” is an international journal and recognized as one of the most prestigious publications on spinal health matters. In this study, published on February 15, 2008, researchers conducted one of the largest studies of this kind. They looked at 818 patients with a specific kind of stroke that some suggested might be the result of neck manipulations. The difference in this study was that the researchers checked the prevalence of visits to chiropractors and to medical doctors related to this problem.

Dr. Frank Silver, one of the researchers and a professor of medicine at the University of Toronto and director of the University Health Network stroke program, noted that there was no incidence of increased stroke for a visit to the chiropractor than for a visit to the medical doctor. He explained the results, “We didn’t see any increased association between chiropractic care and usual family physician care, and the stroke.”

This scientific study shows that past assumptions attempting to relate chiropractic care with certain types of strokes were not due to the care, but rather to the fact that the people who went to chiropractors and medical doctors with certain types of problems were slightly more likely to suffer this type of problem anyway. Dr. Silver explained, “The association occurs because patients tend to seek care when they’re having neck pain or headache, and sometimes they go to a chiropractor, sometimes they go to a physician. But we didn’t see an increased likelihood of them having this type of stroke after seeing a chiropractor.”

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