In this series, we are taking a look at the deadliest diseases in America. We have already covered cancer, diabetes, and heart disease. According to the CDC, “someone in the United States has a stroke every 40 seconds. Every 4 minutes, someone dies of stroke.” This is a difficult topic in the chiropractic world, however, we aim to provide valuable, scientific information on these subjects.
What Is A Stroke?
A stroke can be caused by an embolism or an aneurysm. An embolism is a clot of blood or fat that travels from the extremities, like the leg, up toward the heart or lungs. Because the veins are widen here, it can keep going. This clot can be pushed from the heart to up to the brain. Here it clogs an artery, depriving everything downstream of oxygen.
An aneurysm happens when a blood vessel is under stress, becoming thin and fragile over time. That could be from emotional or chemical stress: from smoking, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, or diabetes. At some point, the fragile vessel bursts open. This causes a stroke, with bleeding out onto the brain.
This Healthline article gives this explanation: “A stroke happens when blood carrying oxygen is unable to get to part of the brain. Brain cells get damaged and can die if left without oxygen even for a few minutes. A stroke requires immediate medical care, is potentially deadly, and can affect several parts of the body well after the event is over.”
While there are differing views on what causes strokes, what is known is that pharmaceuticals reduce the strength of the vessel walls, increasing the risk of stokes. Hormone replacement therapy, such as estrogen, is one such drug that increases strokes. There is concern about the risk of blood-thinning drugs weakening the walls of the blood vessels. Even something as seemingly harmless as a daily baby aspirin can have a devastating effect on the body’s ability to clot in an emergency.
Strokes and Chiropractic
While there have been stories in the media linking strokes with chiropractic as a cause, the factors that surround each case are so specific that it would be tough to connect it to a particular adjustment. The chiropractor’s technique has a lot to do with ruling out the adjustment as a variable. Those who do not practice the kind of high-velocity, high-rotation adjustment techniques put their patients at significantly less risk. Studies show that chiropractic care does not significantly increase strokes. Dr. Ryan and Dr. Denise both practice low-force techniques that are safe and effective at reducing the subluxation, while not compromising the patient’s health.
Chiropractic as been safely used for post-stroke rehabilitation. One patient at Dopps Chiropractic NE has suffered two strokes (30 and 20 years ago) and has seen phenomenal results by the use of a special low-force technique to adjust her. Her chiropractor’s adjustment is “smooth and easy,” with no rotation, using the Sacral Occipital Technique to bring her spine into alignment without physical or emotional stress on the joints or the soft tissues (muscles, arteries or veins).
Identifying a Stroke
Rapid intervention is key in helping someone who is having a stroke. This parody uses humor to help educate you about stroke symptoms as FAST – facial droop, arm weakness, slurred speech, time to call 911.