Do Chiropractors Cause Strokes?



In the 1990s, two deaths in Canada attracted national attention when the cause of death was stroke following a chiropractic neck adjustment. This resulted in a call from neurologists to avoid cervical adjustments for neck pain. Some individuals avoid chiropractic care due to this risk or were warned never to let a chiropractor adjust their neck. However, the question that must be answered is if the stroke was truly caused by the chiropractor’s adjustment or was it just a correlation between the stroke and the adjustment. The odds of an individual having a stroke in their lifetime is about 1-in-100,000. So roughly .001%. Does going to a chiropractor increase your chances of stroke?


The main artery at risk for stroke during any head movement is the vertebra-basilar artery. The vertebra-basilar artery travels up through these small holes next to the bones of the neck. The prevailing theory is that as the artery transcends from the top of the neck into the skull, adjusting the neck with rapid rotation causes damages to the artery.