How Many People Have Died From Chiropractor Treatments?

March 20, 2024

When a high profile death or injury is linked to a medical treatment, it prompts more studies and even changes to some treatments that may have previously been deemed safe. The death of Playboy model and Snapchat queen Katie May is a perfect example. The 34-year-old died last February after a visit to her chiropractor. A coroner determined that her neck manipulation tore an artery that supplies blood to her brain.

While it is true that chiropractic spinal manipulation of the neck can lead to narrowed arteries, tears in blood pathways and blood clots (which can cause strokes) it has never been shown to be the cause of any type of death. In fact, according to a study in the International Journal of Clinical Practice, there have only been 26 deaths linked to chiropractic spinal manipulation reported to the medical literature. Despite the low number of reports, many more cases may have gone unreported.

It should also be noted that the risk of a stroke from cervical neck manipulation is much lower than the risk of dying from a stomach ulcer due to prescription non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs like Motrin. In addition, the odds of getting killed or injured in a car accident on your way to and from a chiropractic appointment are far greater than that of suffering a serious complication from a neck adjustment.

Regardless of the small chance of a side effect from neck manipulation, it is important for patients to be informed and to weigh the pros and cons of any health treatment. Whether or not you choose to visit a chiropractor for back pain, remember that the benefits often outweigh the risks and that more research needs to be done in order to fully understand any potential dangers.


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