This is an old myth that has been thoroughly dismissed by research, but is still propagated as an effective “scare campaign” by enemies of chiropractic.
“But wait? Aren’t there cases where people experiences a stroke after seeing a chiropractor?” Yes there are, so let me explain the apparent contradiction.
There is a very small percent of the population - 0.00002% - who have genetic or acquired anomalies (e.g., smoking, hormone therapy or certain other medications) with the lining of their arteries. As a result, there is a chance of spontaneous bleeding that may occur with any movement of the neck … and that is with or without neck manipulation. Similar events have been reported by people who were having a haircut or just backing their car our of the driveway.
It has been said that its just as likely that one of these people may suffer a stroke after seeing a chiropractor as they would when walking into their GPs office.
Based on my own research there is not a single reported case of a person experiencing stroke after seeing an upper cervical specific chiropractor. It is also one of the reasons that we do not rotate the neck when providing upper cervical specific adjustments.
Is it still important to screen to make sure that you don’t have the risk factors that could lead to stroke? Absolutely! But s it cervical manipulation that causes strokes? No.