Regarding chiropractic neck manipulation and stroke, This pops up in the news frequently and has been proven false. In all cases, the stroke was in progress prior to the visit to the chiropractor. Multiple studies have been done that were unable to find a link between the two.

Researchers from the Departments of Neurosurgery, at Penn State Hershey Medical Center, Loma Linda University Medical Center and The Pennsylvania State University, in conducting a systematic review and meta-analysis of chiropractic neck manipulation and cervical artery dissection, found no convincing evidence to support a causal link. Further, the authors conclude that the unfounded belief in causation may lead to episodes of litigation.156

Church et al. (2016) Cureus

Whedon et al. in a 2015 cohort study published in Spine Journal found that, “among Medicare beneficiaries aged 66 to 99 years with an office visit for a neuro-musculoskeletal problem, risk of injury to the head, neck, or trunk within 7 days was 76 percent lower among subjects with a chiropractic office visit than among those who saw a primary care physician.”157

Whedon et al. (2015) Spine Journal

In a separate 2015 cohort study, Whedon et al. found that “among Medicare B beneficiaries aged 66 to 99 years with neck pain, the incidence of vertebrobasilar stroke was extremely low. Small differences in risk between patients who saw a chiropractor and those who saw a primary care physician are probably not clinically significant.”158

Whedon et al. (2015) Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics

The results of a case-control study in U.S. commercial and Medicare Advantage patient populations by Kosloff et al. concluded, “We found no significant association between exposure to chiropractic care and the risk of vertebrobasilar artery (VBA) stroke. We conclude that manipulation is an unlikely cause of VBA stroke. The positive association between primary care provider (PCP) visits and VBA stroke is most likely due to patient decisions to seek care for the symptoms (headache and neck pain) of arterial dissection. We further conclude that using chiropractic visits as a measure of exposure to manipulation may result in unreliable estimates of the strength of association with the occurrence of VBA stroke.”159

Kosloff et al. (2015) Chiropractic Manual Therapy

In a 2008 population-based, case-control and case-crossover study published in Spine Journal, Cassidy et al. concluded that “Vertebrobasilar Artery (VBA) stroke is a very rare event in the population. The increased risks of VBA artery stroke associated with chiropractic and primary care medical provider visits is likely due to patients with headache and neck pain from vertebrobasilar artery dissection seeking care before their stroke.”The authors found no evidence of excess risk of VBA stroke associated chiropractic care compared to primary care.160

Cassidy et al. (2008) Spine Journal