How safe is Chiropractic? Can it cause Strokes?

Once in a while, I get a patient who comes to see me for the first time stating that they heard from an medical doctor, friend or collegue that a chiropractor killed or caused someone to have a stroke after an adjustment.  I normally don’t like to post anything with a negative connotation but after hearing this a couple of times in the past couple of months, I wanted to address it.

First of all, chiropractic care is safe and natural.  We are not moving the neck or body in any way that is not the normal range of motion for each person.  I have also not heard, seen or experienced anyone having a stroke after receiving care from a chiropractor.   There is also no actual proof out there that we have caused a stroke after an adjustment.   I have read stories which claim stroke after an adjustment but the there are way too many variables to lay claim on the chiropractor.

We also do not “break necks” as I have heard people state to me when coming to me the first time with fear of a chiropractic adjustment.  We are highly trained and board certified.  We go through rigourous training and have been taught to adjust safely and efficiently.   So efficiently that our malpractice insurance is very low compared to other doctors because the risk of harm is so low.

I have been seeing numerous chiropractors for years and have never experienced a stroke after an adjustment, not even close.  I know hundreds of chiropractors who have never killed or caused a stroke and I have personally seen thousands of patients, none of them have had any severe side effects other than a bit of soreness after care which does happen when the body is treated.

So, what are the risks of injury after getting chiropractic treatment? Well, mostly soreness that goes away in a couple of days. Here is the latest data on the risks of chiropractic care:

7 body areas affected by alcohol

How is your body impaired by alcohol?

Alcohol is not a natural nutrient for the body. Even in small amounts alcohol can have an affect on the body. Alcohol when ingested goes into your bloodstream and is sent through your whole body Even a small amount of alcohol has an affect on your body. When you drink, alcohol is absorbed into your bloodstream and distributed throughout your body.

How quickly alcohol is metabolized is different for each individual. Height, weight and gender are all factors on how your body deals with alcohol.

If you have ever been to a bar, gone to a college party or holiday party you may have noticed that when someone partakes in alcohol consumption there is a change in physical and emotional state. Long-term alcohol consumption can lead to serious health problems like cirrhosis, memory issues, malnutrition, chronic pancreatitis, alcoholic liver disease, and cancer. This puts your health in serious jeopardy and can be fatal.

Here are some of the systems highly affected by alcohol:

1. Excretory System:
The Pancreas:
This system is responsible for getting rid of waste in the body. Part of this process includes the pancreas. The pancreas secretes digestive enzymes which work with the gallbladder bile to help in digestion. The pancreas also regulates the release of insulin.

Excessive use of alcohol use can cause inflammation (pancreatitis). This is a serious problem that can destroy the pancreas.

The liver:
The liver breaks down harmful substances and tries to filter these out of your body. Alcohol is considered a toxic substance. Excessive drinking can cause alcoholic hepatitis which can lead to jaundice. This results in the yellowing of the skin and eyes.

Long term liver inflammation can lead to severe scarring on the liver known as cirrhosis. This scar tissue disrupts the livers ability to work properly. When the liver fails to perform, toxins will accumulate in your body and it can become life threatening.

Women are at higher risk for alcoholic liver disease than men. This is because women tend to absorb more alcohol and take longer to process it.

The result of the liver and pancreas not functioning properly can lead to hypoglycemia or what is known as “low blood sugar”. A damaged pancreas can cause the body to be unable to handle sugar due to a lack of amounts of insulin secretion. This can lead to hyperglycemia or “high blood sugar”. This can become highly impactfull on the body and cause diabetes which can also lead to death.

Alcohol abuse also raises your risk of liver cancer because of the stress added to the organ.

2. Central Nervous System:
As stated above, alcohol goes into your bloodstream and travels through the body easily including your brain and spinal cord. Speech can be altered and slurred. Coordination is impaired making it hard to balance and walk.

Thinking clearly is impaired and impulse control is hampered. This is why your ex may “drunk dial” you on nights they are out on the town. Chronic drinking can actually shrink the frontal lobes of your brain.

Acute alcoholic withdrawal can lead to seizures and delirium. Chronic alcoholism can progress to permanent brain damage, causing dementia which is highly debilitating.

Damage to your nervous system can result in pain, numbness, or abnormal sensations in your feet and hands. Thiamine (vitamin B1) levels can become deficient, which can result in involuntary rapid eye movements, weakness, or paralysis of the eye muscles.

Men and women metabolize alcohol differently. It generally takes less alcohol to affect women based on size, height.

Alcohol is addictive and if an alcoholic stops drinking abruptly, they’re likely to experience symptoms of withdrawal, such as:

Nausea
Anxiety
Nervousness
Tremors

In severe cases, confusion, hallucinations and seizures may occur. Detoxification can take between two and seven days and is very painful to endure.

3. Digestive System:
It doesn’t have to be someone who is drinking for a long period of time to impact the digestive system. One incidence of heavy drinking can injure parts of your digestive tract.

Alcohol abuse can damage the salivary glands and irritate the mouth and tongue. Gum disease, tooth decay and even loss of teeth can occur. Heavy drinking can cause ulcers esophageal ulcers, acid reflux, and heartburn. Gastritis (inflammation of the stomach) and stomach ulcers can also be present.

Pancreatitis interferes with the pancreas in its ability to help with digestion and regulate metabolism. Digestive damage can cause gassiness, fullness of the abdomin and diarrhea. Internal bleeding can occur as well which can lead to ulcers, hemorrhoids, or esophageal dilated veins caused by cirrhosis.

Alcohol makes it harder for you to absorb B vitamins or control bacteria in the gut. Malnutrion is not rare for alcoholics. Risk of mouth, throat and esophagus cancer risk is higher for Alcoholics.

4. Circulatory System:
Even a single episode of heavy drinking can cause enormous stress on your heart. Chronic drinkers are more likely to have heart issues. Women are at a higher risk of heart damage than men.

Some of the problems with the system may be:
Cardiomyopathy (disease of the heart)
Irregular heartbeat
High blood pressure
Stroke
Heart attack
Heart failure

Deficiencies in vitamin B6, vitamin B12, Thiamine (B1), and folic acid (B9) are all affected by alcohol use. Anemia may occur.

5. Sexual and Reproductive Health:
For men, erectile dysfunction is common with chronic alcohol use. Hormones, testicular function can occur and cause infertility.

Women may stop menstruating and also become infertile. Risk of miscarriage, premature births and still born babies increase.

If drinking while pregnant, fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASD), can happen to the fetus. This includes physical abnormalities, learning difficulties, and emotional problems. These can last a lifetime. Risk of breast cancer rises with alcohol use.

6. Skeletal and Muscle System:
Long-term alcohol use makes it harder for your body to generate new bones and increases the risk of Osteoporosis (thinning bones) and risk of fractures. Muscles become weaker, cramping occurs more frequently and muscles may become atrophic.

7. Immune System:
This system is responsible for fighting off illnesses. When weak viruses, germs, and all types of illness may occur more frequently. Heavy drinkers are more likely to get pneumonia or tuberculosis than the general population.

New Evidence Showing “No Excess Risk Of Carotid Artery Stroke After Chiropractic Care”

In this article they state that patients with carotid artery dissection can present with neck pain and/or headache before experiencing a stroke. These are common symptoms seen by both chiropractors and primary care physicians (PCPs). This study aimed to find out what risks there are of a carotid artery stroke after chiropractic care by comparing association between chiropractic and PCP visits and subsequent stroke.

Here is what happened:

A population-based, case-crossover study was undertaken in Ontario, Canada. All incident cases of carotid artery stroke admitted to hospitals over a 9-year period were identified. Cases served as their own controls. Exposures to chiropractic and PCP services were determined from health billing records.

Results

We compared 15,523 cases to 62,092 control periods using exposure windows of 1, 3, 7, and 14 days prior to the stroke. Positive associations were found for both chiropractic and PCP visits and subsequent stroke in patients less than 45 years of age. These associations tended to increase when analyses were limited to visits for neck pain and headache-related diagnoses. There was no significant difference between chiropractic and PCP risk estimates. They found NO ASSOCIATION between chiropractic visits and stroke in those 45 years of age or older.

Conclusions

No excess risk of carotid artery stroke after chiropractic care was found in this study. Associations between chiropractic and PCP visits and stroke were similar and likely due to patients with early dissection-related symptoms seeking care prior to developing their strokes.

References: 2016 National Stroke Association. Published by Elsevier Inc.

How Can Emotional Stress Effect You? Here Are 50 Ways….

People come to see me mostly because they start out in pain and then figure out that health is connected to their nervous system and lifestyle choices.  Most of the time, patient understand how falling, tripping, sleeping wrong or any other type of physical stress can effect them but in a lot of cases, they are not connected to how emotional stress can play a part in their health.

It has been shown over the years that there are numerous emotional and physical disorders that have been linked to stress.  Some of the most common health issues are because of increased emotional stress in our lives.   Depression, anxiety, heart attacks, stroke, hypertension as well as immune system disturbances that increase susceptibility to infections.   The common cold, herpes, AIDS and certain cancers, as well as autoimmune diseases like rheumatoid arthritis and multiple sclerosis can be linked with emotional stress.

We have all heard stories of friends or loved ones who have “broken out” with a rash because of stress or have had skin outbreakes like rashes, hives or atopic dermatitis.  Stress can contribute and exacerbate the gastrointestinal system (GERD, peptic ulcer, irritable bowel syndrome, ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease).  Sleeping patterns can be disrupted leading to insomnia.   Degenerative neurological disorders like Parkinson’s disease have been shown to be linked to emotional stress. In almost all health issues, emotional stress can be a huge factor.

Here is a diagram of areas effected by stress and 50 common signs and symptoms:

Here is another list of issues that are caused by stress:
1. Frequent headaches, jaw clenching or pain (TMJ)
2. Gritting, grinding teeth (also can lead to TMJ)

3. Stuttering or stammering

4. Tremors, trembling of lips, hands

5. Neck ache, back pain, muscle spasms

6. Light headedness, faintness, dizziness

7. Ringing, buzzing or “popping” sounds in ears

8. Frequent blushing, sweating…feeling hot

9. Cold or sweaty hands, feet

10. Dry mouth, problems swallowing

11. Frequent colds, infections, herpes sores

12. Rashes, itching, hives, “goose bumps”

13. Unexplained or frequent “allergy” attacks

14. Heartburn, stomach pain, nausea

15. Excess belching, flatulence

16. Constipation, diarrhea, loss of control of systems

17. Difficulty breathing, frequent sighing. Feeling like you don’t get enough air

18. Sudden attacks of life threatening panic

19. Chest pain, palpitations, rapid pulse

20. Frequent urination

21. Diminished sexual desire or performance

22. Excess anxiety, worry, guilt, nervousness

23. Increased anger, frustration, hostility

24. Depression, frequent or wild mood swings

25. Increased or decreased appetite
26. Insomnia, nightmares, disturbing dreams

27. Difficulty concentrating, racing thoughts

28. Trouble learning new information – (it is hard to concentrate if you are upset or stressed)

29. Forgetfulness, disorganization, confusion

30. Difficulty in making decisions

31. Feeling overloaded or overwhelmed

32. Frequent crying spells or suicidal thoughts

33. Feelings of loneliness or worthlessness

34. Little interest in appearance or punctuality

35. Nervous habits, fidgeting, feet tapping

36. Increased frustration, irritability, edginess

37. Overreaction to petty things in life – becoming annoyed

38. Increased number of minor accidents

39. Obsessive or compulsive behavior

40. Reduced work efficiency or productivity

41. Lies or excuses to cover up poor work

42. Rapid or mumbled speech

43. Excessive defensiveness or suspiciousness

44. Problems in communication or sharing information

45. Social withdrawal and isolation

46. Constant tiredness, weakness, fatigue

47. Frequent use of over-the-counter drugs

48. Weight gain or loss without diet

49. Increased smoking, alcohol or drug use

50. Excessive gambling or impulse buying

I am sure we have all experienced at least one of these symptoms in our life and if you think about it, we were pretty stressed.  FYI: Chiropractic care decreases stress that has accumulated in the body and is effecting your systems.   If you are experiencing anything above and want to be healthier and function as efficiently as possible, give us a call.  We are here to help you with your health and wellness goals.

References: http://www.stress.org/stress-effects/

5 Warning Signs Of Stroke

The American Stroke Association suggests that if you see these signs on a love one, you call 911 immediately.  It is a medical emergency!

1. Sudden numbness or weakness of the face, arm or leg, especially on one side of the body
2. Sudden confusion, trouble speaking or understanding
3. Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes
4. Sudden trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination
5. Sudden, severe headache with no known cause

Be prepared:

  • Keep a list of emergency rescue service numbers next to the telephone and in your pocket, wallet or purse.
  • Find out which area hospitals are primary stroke centers that have 24-hour emergency stroke care.
  • Know (in advance) which hospital or medical facility is nearest your home or office.

Take action in an emergency.

  • Not all the warning signs occur in every stroke. Don’t ignore signs of stroke, even if they go away!
  • Check the time. When did the first warning sign or symptom start? You’ll be asked this important question later.
  • If you have one or more stroke symptoms that last more than a few minutes, don’t delay! Immediately call 9-1-1 or the emergency medical service (EMS) number so an ambulance (ideally with advanced life support) can quickly be sent for you.
  • If you’re with someone who may be having stroke symptoms, immediately call 9-1-1 or the EMS. Expect the person to protest — denial is common. Don’t take “no” for an answer. Insist on taking prompt action.

For stroke information, call the American Stroke Association at 1-888-4-STROKE or contact the ASA