The Myth of Stroke Following Chiropractic Adjustment

I was walking towards a local award ceremony when a women standing outside greeted me by name. She continued,” So the MD’s are at it again trying to discredit chiropractors, did you see the science report on NBC the other night?”

“Yes,” I said, “I caught part of it and I thought one of the M.D’s was honest enough to say that he did think there was not enough proof that chiropractic caused strokes.”

I continued” You know in my practice, I take a detailed medical history looking for hypertension, headaches, bad diet or other factors that I may suspect predispose the patient to a stroke and then in the exam, I include blood pressure, pulse rates,  and I do a number of vertebra-basilar tests and have the patient move their head in all ranges of motion, and note any signs of nausea, tinnitus, vertigo, light headaches, slurring of speech, dizziness or nystagmus may indicate vascular compromise or stenosis of the carotid or vertebral arteries

Here’s some more information on some of those tests:

The second thing that I talk to people about when they ask about chiropractic causing strokes is I ask if they have seen newspaper articles about this and then I ask if they read the complete article. Because I say in every article that I have seen with the headline screaming “Stroke Caused by Chiropractic” it will say, at the end of the article, who did the chiropractic adjustment that supposedly caused the stroke.

And guess what? It’s never a chiropractor.

It’s a personal trainer, a physical therapist or some other person who has not had the training in how to do an adjustment safely.

Chiropractors go through two years of intensive training on how to do adjustments and we practice for those two years on each other before we are allowed to touch a patient in the school clinics for another two years. So that is a total of 4 yrs of practicing how to adjust before we get our licenses.

And the third point that I put across to people is I ask if they know how malpractice insurance premiums are calculated and if they know the difference in premiums between different medical specialties and chiropractic.

Insurance premiums are calculated via actuarial science which is the discipline that applies mathematical and statistical methods to assess risk in the insurance and finance industries; they involve in malpractice the risk of the procedure to cause mortality and injury. group vs. individual practice, involvement w/ an HMO, etc.

A family physician or an internist may have a malpractice premium of $20,000 to $40,000. This premium goes up depending on their specialty; surgeons have the highest premiums.

As a chiropractor in solo practice, not signed up w/ an HMO, my malpractice premium is $3000. So according actuarial science, chiropractic adjustments done by properly trained doctors of chiropractors is a fairly safe procedure.

Who then, I ask, are doing the dangerous procedures??

“Not the chiropractors” said the women. “That’s right, pass it on!” I said, and headed inside to the ceremony.

© 2010-Dr. Vittoria Repetto

Risk of Carotid Stroke after Chiropractic Care: A Population-Based Case-Crossover Study   

J Stroke Cerebrovasc Dis. 2017 Apr;26(4):842-850. doi: 10.1016/j.jstrokecerebrovasdis.2016.10.031. Epub 2016 Nov 21.

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25 responses to “The Myth of Stroke Following Chiropractic Adjustment

  1. Long before I became a reflexologist, I would visit a chiropractic, and always felt relief; sometimes in unexpected ways. I hate hearing about articles like this, and I’m sorrier still to know that someone who isn’t trained in chiropractic is making adjustments on unsuspecting people.

    I hope it didn’t taint the good feelings you started off with attending an award ceremony.

    Best Wishes


    • Linda,
      Unfortunately there are a number of people who think that a cervical adjustment looks easy to do and they put the people they do this to in harm’s way.

      The ceremony was very nice (not for me…lol) and the discussion with the woman didn’t affect my enjoyment in any way.

      Have a great day!


  2. As the mainstream press often misrepresents alternative medicine (if it follows it at all), it is so imperative to communicate these messages as you have done on your blog. I will tweet it for you. Can you add a “share” option to your blog to make it easier to share on Twitter and Facebook? It’s great info that deserves a wider audience.


  3. Pingback: Dr. Vittoria Repetto’s Newsletter #34 « Dr. Vittoria Repetto's Blog

  4. It is certainly interesting for me to read the article. Thank you for it. I like such themes and everything connected to them. I definitely want to read a bit more soon. BTW, pretty good design that blog has, but don’t you think it should be changed from time to time?

    Jeff Stepman


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  6. Pingback: Chiropractic adjustment – Specific Questions to Ask an Upper Cervical Chiropractor

  7. As long as rumors about the safety of chiropractic exist, we must work to educate the general public. The Foundation for Chiropractic Progress is doing a great job with campaigns by Jerry Rice and others. Every doctor DC needs to post articles proving efficacy of chiropractic and the fallacy of the stroke connection onto their website and work to educate the public, one patient at a time. In time, the public will come to know that chiropractic is the safest and most effective health care system available.


    • Thanks. The actarial comparsion is important cause there will always be an “idiot chiropractor” or personal trainer who will hurt someone w/ a bad adjustment but compared to the possible and real hurt done by “standard” medical proceduces…no comparsion


  8. Thank You for this!!!! I have a friend who’s a well known chiropractor in CA & I’m in IN just finally now seeing a chiropractor & have NEVER felt better!!! A lady at my church has a husband who “just so happened” to have a stroke after an adjustment and they blame it on the chiropractor….reading this & other references on the internet I’ve utilized, I know there’s no conceivable way an adjustment can cause a stroke unless the “DC” doesn’t know what they’re doing!! I’ve had nothing but GREAT results & my DC is now adjusting my husband and also our 9 year old son!!!!!!!


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