Does Cracking Your Neck Increase Your Chances of Suffering From A Stroke?
Do you find neck cracking to be soothing? Does it stop neck pain or stiffness? Many people today crack their own necks or seek assistance from a licensed chiropractor. But is this safe? Can it lead to serious health risks such as a stroke?
While the chance of suffering a stroke from neck cracking is very slim, it is indeed a definite possibility, according to Wade S. Smith MD, PhD, neurologist and director of the neurovascular service at the University of California, San Francisco.
The majority of those who have suffered a stroke before the age of 45 have suffered from
cervical arterial dissection. This occurs when one of the two arteries in the back of the neck that travel to the brain form a bleeding tear in the artery that then forms a clot. If this clot enters the brain it can lead to a fatal stroke.
Smith found an earlier study in Canada that attributed some of these strokes to chiropractic patients. Smith then conducted his own study, which concluded that a spinal adjustment increased the risk of a stroke by 6.62%.
Cervical spinal manipulation, or neck-cracking is a technique in which the chiropractor will twist the neck with a high force, which can indeed cause damage if not correctly performed. In light of the risk of stroke, a great number of chiropractors are using less forceful techniques for neck cracking.
Those who try to crack their own necks are at higher risk for stoke than those who visit a licensed chiropractor, according to research. However, once again, the risk is lower than getting struck by lightning. Experts do advise that neck-cracking is not something to be taken lightly. Any number of things can go wrong by those who try to manipulate their neck as it can cause spinal damage, neck sprain, and yes, even the possibility of a stroke.