Online commenters were left conflicted after a man said he had a life-threatening emergency that left him in the hospital for a week after a final visit with a chiropractor.
On November 17, Twitter user Dorion Nowell (@DorionNowell) said he noticed troublesome symptoms days after the visit and advised others receiving chiropractic care to reconsider.
“If you are a chiropractor, please never allow them to manipulate your neck or cervical area,” Noel wrote on Twitter. “Last week, at the age of 32, I suffered a stroke from a chiropractic injury. After being in the ICU and on a feeding tube for a week, I was finally released today.”
He added in a separate tweet: “I actually went in for the adjustment Monday and had a stroke Thursday night.” “The first symptom I noticed was that I was out of balance… It was like a drunken feeling that I couldn’t get over.”
Noel’s initial tweet has garnered nearly 12,000 retweets, and has been liked more than 52,000 times.
With more than 70,000 registered chiropractors and high rates of successful pain relief, chiropractic care is popular throughout the United States.
According to data published by the health research website The Good Body, 35 million Americans visit a chiropractor annually, and more than 1 million chiropractic adjustments are performed each day.
However, while The Good Body notes that 77 percent of chiropractic patients describe their care as “very effective,” there is a risk of injury associated with spinal manipulation, even though pain relief can be achieved.
said Dr. Jessica Shepherd, Chief Medical Officer of Verywell Health Newsweek Chiropractic care can be especially beneficial for athletes, those with chronic neck and back pain and those with symptoms of scoliosis.
She also noted that some existing conditions can increase the risk of infection, and that in some scenarios, alternative care may be less risky and more effective.
“Risks of chiropractic treatment are very rare but may include stroke or worsening of a herniated disc,” Shepherd said. “Stroke resulting from chiropractic treatment is extremely rare but there is a small risk. These types of strokes are usually the result of vertebral artery dissections which are small tears in the vertebral artery that runs along the back of your neck and supplies your spine and brain with blood.
“If someone is at high risk for cardiovascular disease or has other underlying conditions, it may be best to seek other treatment options and avoid chiropractic,” Shepherd added.
As for the perception among medical professionals, Shepard said that while questions have been raised about safety, chiropractic care has become a necessity for those with back pain.
“In the context of rising health care costs, chiropractic care is an effective and relatively inexpensive treatment for increasingly common issues like back pain,” Shepherd said. Newsweek. “However, there were some notions that additional evidence of chiropractic care’s efficacy was still required in order to substantiate its scientific claims.”
These concepts, as well as the proven effectiveness of chiropractic care, have been mentioned in responses to Nowell’s account about his experience, with Twitter users on both sides of the fence digging in their heels.
“It’s posts like this that make people miss out on the miracles of chiropractic,” lamented @GlennCoco4Real. “Studies show that there is no greater risk of stroke from a chiropractic adjustment than from sitting on a couch.”
“A quick reminder that chiropractors are not medical professionals,” tweeted @NWterror. “They’re hardly any different from a massage therapist and…they’re not healthcare providers. It’s a service, not a procedure.”
Newsweek Nowell has reached out to comment.