Death of social media celebrity raises concerns about chiropractic neck manipulation

By William J. Price

On Feb. 4, 2016, model and social media celebrity Katie May died at the age of 34 after suffering a stroke. Last month, a new Los Angeles Coroner’s Office report suggested her death was potentially caused by chiropractic neck manipulation to relieve a pinched nerve.

According to the American Chiropractic Association, this type of injury only occurs in one out of 5.85 million upper neck manipulations. These incidents are extremely rare, and it cannot be said with certainty that neck manipulation causes strokes, but the American Heart Association has outlined how a cervical arterial dissection, a type of arterial tear which can lead to stroke, could result from chiropractic neck manipulation.

Victims of rear-end collisions are often treated by chiropractors, who use cervical manipulation to help relieve pain caused by whiplash injuries. Follow these precautionary steps to find a qualified chiropractor who can safely perform this type of treatment and further reduce your risk of suffering a related stroke:

6 Steps for Choosing a Chiropractor:

  1. Ask your primary care physician or surgeon for their recommendations of board-certified chiropractors.
  1. Research the recommended chiropractors and their qualifications.
  1. Visit your state’s Board of Chiropractic Examiners website to investigate any disciplinary actions that may have been filed against the chiropractors.
  1. Interview the chiropractors you are considering to determine which type of therapy they would use to treat your injuries, and perform extensive research on those types of therapy.
  1. After selecting a chiropractor and beginning treatment, ask yourself if any of your pain has been relieved and if you feel the treatment has been effective. Different chiropractic colleges teach different techniques for relieving pain, and the method used by your doctor may not always be the best fit for you.
  1. Be cautious if your chiropractor pushes you to pursue a long-term treatment program. If chiropractic treatment does not relieve your pain within a few weeks, you may need to seek a more specialized course of treatment from an orthopedic or neurological surgeon.

Chiropractic treatment is a viable and worthwhile treatment for many accident victims, and is widely recognized as one of the safest drug-free, non-invasive therapies. Taking a proactive approach when selecting a chiropractor will help reduce the risk of any injuries related to treatment.

William J. Price focuses his practice on personal injury litigation for people who have been seriously injured or killed as a result of medical malpractice, nursing home neglect, defective products, negligence in construction sites and trucking and auto accidents. He has been recognized by Super Lawyers, Martindale-Hubbell, AVVO and is a member of the Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum and Million Dollar Advocates Forum.

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