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Monroe, NY
A 37-year-old member asked:

is going to a chiropractor for adjustments dangerous? my chiro days he dies gentle adjustments but i read u can risk stroke, the treatments have helped my neck pain greatly though

5 doctor answers14 doctors weighed in
Dr. Will Moorehead
Orthopedic Spine Surgery 52 years experience
No: Chiropractic medical treatment can be very beneficial. It is very effective in conservative treatment of facet sydrome. Studies have shown that short term treatment to as effective & in some cases more effective than physical therapy for back pain. If there is disc herniation with compression of a nerve root, then adjustments may be counter intuitive.
Dr. Craig Cohen
Emergency Medicine 25 years experience
Maybe: Any procedure has risks. Especially for older people, a sudden movement of the neck may cause a stroke, or damage the vessels in the neck. For younger patients, chiropractors pose a risk because x-rays are routinely ordered. Primary doctors should only obtain x-rays when they will change the management of the patient (i.e., discover a broken bone or alternate diagnosis) because it's radiation.
Dr. Joseph Eastern
Dermatology 44 years experience
Potentially yes.: With all due respect, there is no credible evidence that chiropractic adjustments are beneficial. Back and neck pain tends to resolve spontaneously, whether treated or not. When chiropractors allow scientific analysis of their methods i might change my opinion, but until then i see no benefit and substantial risk.
Dr. William Newton
Pain Management 19 years experience
Manipulation is a minimally invasive technique and in the right hands can be very beneficial. The evidence is all over the board on its effectiveness and it depends on the resource or journal you read. Given the amount of manipulations or adjustments done every day the incidence of catastrophic outcomes from cervical manipulation is very low. It sounds like your Chiropractor is doing more muscle energy techniques and myofascial release rather than HVLA (cracking). I would discuss the risks with your Chiropractor.
Jul 30, 2012
Dr. Michael Korona
Interventional Radiology 33 years experience
Increased risk: Of vertebral artery injury and stroke with neck manipulation.
Dr. Kevin Vaught
Neurosurgery 28 years experience
Keep going: Well trained and reputable chiropractors provide excellent conservative care for neck and back pain. It sounds like you are benefiting from your current care. There is a very small risk of stroke with cervical manipulation from a injury to the arteries in the neck. This is very uncommon.

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