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J R Soc Med. Mar 2001; 94(3): 107–110.
PMCID: PMC1297923
Neurological complications of cervical spine manipulation.
C Stevinson, W Honan, B Cooke, and E Ernst
Department of Complementary Medicine, University of Exeter, 25 Victoria Park Road, Exeter EX2 4NT. C.D.Stevinson@ex.ac.uk
Abstract
To obtain preliminary data on neurological complications of spinal manipulation in the UK all members of the Association of British Neurologists were asked to report cases referred to them of neurological complications occurring within 24 hours of cervical spine manipulation over a 12-month period. The response rate was 74%. 24 respondents reported at least one case each, contributing to a total of about 35 cases. These included 7 cases of stroke in brainstem territory (4 with confirmation of vertebral artery dissection), 2 cases of stroke in carotid territory and 1 case of acute subdural haematoma. There were 3 cases of myelopathy and 3 of cervical radiculopathy. Concern about neurological complications following cervical spine manipulation appears to be justified. A large long-term prospective study is required to determine the scale of the hazard.
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