Ours is one of the few law firms in Georgia that holds accountable members of the chiropractic community who have downplayed the risk of stroke through cervical manipulation. One of the most common claims we see are allegations of a vertebrobasilar injury caused by chiropractic cervical manipulation. A cervical manipulation is a chiropractic adjustment to the spine located at the neck. Death or injury due to a chiropractic adjustment rises to a legal claim when a chiropractor violates the standard of care by failure to take a proper history, failure to do a thorough examination with vascular screening, failure to avoid rotation and extension during cervical manipulation, or failure to closely monitor post treatment progress.
A stroke, arterial dissection or other vascular damage caused by a chiropractic treatment is a tragic, life-altering event. Vertebrobasilar injuries caused by a chiropractor account for under 10% of the malpractice suits filed each year against chiropractors, but they are among the most serious. Vertebrobasilar injuries often result in permanent neurological deficit, psychological trauma, quadriplegia, or death.
For years it was incorrectly thought that the elderly were at a higher risk of stroke from cervical manipulation. Demographics now indicate that those most at risk are men and women 30-45 years of age. The symptoms to watch for after a cervical manipulation are severe headache, neck pain or cervical muscle spasms. Call 911 if you have any of these symptoms after a cervical manipulation.
There are many patients who should not undergo cervical manipulation because of a high potential for injury. Please make sure your chiropractor does a proper history prior to any cervical manipulation. Call 911 if you have severe headache, neck pain or cervical muscle spasms after a cervical manipulation.