ICS Response to American Heart Association
On August 7, 2014, the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association (AHA/ASA) issued a statement entitled, “Cervical Arterial Dissections and Association with Cervical Manipulative Therapy.” The statement may be found at on the American Heart Association website.
The AHA/ASA states that “Manipulating the neck has been associated with cervical dissection, a type of arterial tear that can lead to stroke.” Although the AHA/ASA acknowledges that a direct cause-and-effect link has not been established between neck manipulation and the risk of stroke, the ICS shares the American Chiropractic Association’s (ACA) concern regarding the AHA/ASA conclusions. In addition, the AHA/ASA statement fails to compare the risk of cervical manipulation as a conservative treatment option with risks associated with surgery, prescription drugs and steroid injections.
The ICS is alerting members because we believe that the public will be best served if chiropractic physicians respond in a consistent manner, citing well-documented facts and scientific studies. The American Chiropractic Association (ACA) has made available a number of resources that may be helpful for ICS members who want to provide their patients with information on this issue. In addition, the ICS strongly urges chiropractic physicians refer any media inquiries to the ACA.
You may view the response of ACA President Anthony Hamm, D.C, to the AHA/ASA statement here. For other ACA resources to assist physicians in providing stroke information to patients, see the ACA stroke link here.
The ICS shares the ACA’s message that all health care providers attending to patients with head or neck pain should be vigilant for early signs of stroke. As always, the ICS continues to support the use of informed consent by all physicians. ICS members may obtain forms and articles about informed consent, including information about cervical manipulation and stroke, on the ICS website at: https://ilchiro.org/cervical.