A new report in the well known Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics (JMPT) just came out in February 2015.  This U.S. study is the first of it’s kind to examine the risk of stroke in older patients (aged 66-99) following a chiropractic neck adjustment.  The study suggests that:

“[c]hiropractic cervical spine manipulation is unlikely to cause stroke in patients aged 66 to 99 years with neck pain. For patients who saw a chiropractic physician, the adjusted probability of any type of stroke was lower than those who saw a primary care physician at days 1 through 24 after office visit, but higher at days 25 to 30, but these temporal associations are of doubtful clinical significance.”

The study looked at Medicare data on patients between the ages of 66 and 99 who used chiropractic or medical care for neck pain in 2007.  The study indicated that, as found from previous studies, vertebrobasilar stroke (VBS) is generally uncommon in the older population.  The incidence of VBS was too low to report but was estimated at 9.8 per million with office visits for neck pain which is consistent with other reports.  It stated that

“our findings support current best evidence suggesting that manipulation of the cervical spine is unlikely to be a significant cause of stroke in older adults.” 

As well the study stated: 

“The true probability of stroke is probably unaffected by an office visit to either type of provider.” (chiropractic or medical doctor)

Although evidence points to the fact that a significant cause of stroke from chiropractic neck adjustments is unlikely and no different than that of one visiting a medical doctor for neck pain, it is still important to “recognize symptoms of stroke to provide early detection and when necessary refer patients for appropriate treatment.”

Is chiropractic safe for the older patient?
Tagged on: