No basis found for conlusion that chiropractic is linked to strokes

The implication that chiropractic care is linked to stroke is totally unsupported by clinical research, according to a leading chiropractic organization.

The World Chiropractic Alliance (WCA), responding to a paper in the May 2001 issue of Stroke, emphasized that chiropractic is among the safest of all health care disciplines. "The Stroke article was so littered with erroneous assumptions and speculation that it has no scientific value," stated Terry A. Rondberg, D.C., WCA president. The article concluded that, in people under age 45, cervical manipulations may increase -- by as much as fivefold -- the risk of a rare type of stroke called a vertebrobasilar accident.

To reach that conclusion, the researchers looked at 582 people admitted to hospitals with vertebrobasilar stroke, and found that "only 9 had a cervical manipulation within 1 week of their VBA."

However, in an interview with WebMD contributor Jeanie Davis, they admitted, ""We don't actually know that spinal manipulation was performed during the chiropractic visit. It's quite possible to go in with a neck complaint and not have a manipulation done. Some patients go to a chiropractor without a neck complaint and have a neck manipulation done... we can only infer based on the timing of events," stated lead author Deanna M. Rothwell, MSc."

According to researcher Christopher Kent, D.C., president of the Council on Chiropractic Practice, "The fact that a temporal relationship exists between two events does not mean that one caused the other. After evaluating the available literature, an expert panel found no competent evidence that specific chiropractic adjustments cause strokes."

The study's researchers also admitted they based their conclusions on assumptions and estimates. "This study design does not permit us to estimate the number of cases that are truly the result of trauma sustained during manipulation," they wrote. "Positive validation of the type of stroke wo

Contact: Dr. Terry A. Rondberg
World Chiropractic Alliance

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