A number of high-profile cases have frightened the public regarding chiropractic and a supposed risk of vertebrobasilar artery system stroke.
VBA stroke is rare but can occur following violent neck movements that apply unusual forces to the neck. However, a number of studies have already demonstrated that there is no assocation between chiropractic visits and VBA strokes in older patients.
A new case control study reviewed the care of nearly 2,000 patients who suffered a VBA stroke and who had also recently seen a chiropractor or a primary care physician. This new study confirmed earlier findings but went a step farther, finding no association between chiropractic visits in general and VBA strokes. Thus, according to these findings, chiropractic is an unlikely cause.
Data from approximately 5% of the US population, over 39 million persons from 49 of the 50 US states (only North Dakota was excluded) were used. Three years’ worth of data were searched to find cases, which were all patients admitted to an acute care hospital with VBA occlusion and stenosis strokes (chosen by ICD-9 codes).
Four age and gender matched controls were randomly selected. Exposures were encounters with either a chiropractor or a primary care physician (in the US a medical doctor who is typically an internist or family practitioner) prior to the VBA stroke.
The cases included 1,159 VBA strokes in the commercial health plan and 670 in the MA plan. Consistent with previous research, no significant association was found between chiropractic visits and VBA strokes in the older population. However, contrary to other case control studies Kosloff and colleagues also found no association between chiropractic visits and VBA strokes.
This article excerpt, by Stephen Perle, originally appeared here: http://blogs.biomedcentral.com/on-health/2015/06/19/chiropractic-care-and-the-risk-of-vertebrobasilar-stroke/