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Neck Manipulation Could Lead to Stroke

Morgan Cain2 years ago

According to the American Heart Association (AHA), neck manipulation has been associated with cervical artery dissection, a tear within the arteries of the neck that can potentially lead to stroke.

About the Debate Over Neck Manipulation and Strokes

Medical News Today reports that neck manipulation has recently been associated with a risk of cervical artery dissection that is believed to be an important cause of strokes in young and also middle aged adults.

What is Cervical Artery Dissection?

Cervical artery dissection (CD) is a small tear that occurs in the layers of walls within the arteries of the neck.  If the tear is dislodged into the bloodstream, it can potentially cause a stroke from blocked blood vessels in the brain.

There are several ways in which CD occurs:

  • Trauma
  • Stretch
  • Mechanical stress
  • Whiplash
  • Certain sports movements
  • Violent coughing or vomiting

Techniques in neck manipulation therapy can enact these movements or movements similar to the ones listed.

An Uncertain and Unproven Debate

The relationship between CD and neck manipulation is difficult to study due to one of the symptoms of CD being neck pain reports Medical News Today. 

Neck pain often leads people to seek out neck manipulation as a viable option to reduce pain, but neck pain is also a symptom of a preceding stroke.

According to Medical News Today, the American Heart Association (AHA) recommends that people seek urgent medical evaluation if symptoms of neck manipulation or trauma occur.  These symptoms include:

  • Dizziness
  • Double vision
  • Erratic eye movements
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Pain in the neck or head
  • Speech slurring
  • And unsteadiness

Although no definite link has been proven between neck manipulation and the possibility of strokes, it is important to keep in mind the association that has been taken to debate.

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