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J Manipulative Physiol Ther. 2015 Feb;38(2):93-101. doi: 10.1016/j.jmpt.2014.12.001. Epub 2015 Jan 14.

Risk of stroke after chiropractic spinal manipulation in medicare B beneficiaries aged 66 to 99 years with neck pain.

Author information

1
Instructor, The Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy & Clinical Practice, Dartmouth College, Grantham, NH. Electronic address: james.m.whedon@hitchcock.org.
2
Research Associate, The Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy & Clinical Practice, Dartmouth College, Grantham, NH.
3
Associate Professor, The Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy and Clinical Practice, Dartmouth College, Grantham, NH.
4
President Emeritus, Southern California University of Health Sciences, Whittier, CA.
5
Associate Professor of Neurology, Geisel School of Medicine, Dartmouth College, Grantham, NH.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

The purpose of this study was to quantify risk of stroke after chiropractic spinal manipulation, as compared to evaluation by a primary care physician, for Medicare beneficiaries aged 66 to 99 years with neck pain.

METHODS:

This is a retrospective cohort analysis of a 100% sample of annualized Medicare claims data on 1 157 475 beneficiaries aged 66 to 99 years with an office visit to either a chiropractor or primary care physician for neck pain. We compared hazard of vertebrobasilar stroke and any stroke at 7 and 30 days after office visit using a Cox proportional hazards model. We used direct adjusted survival curves to estimate cumulative probability of stroke up to 30 days for the 2 cohorts.

RESULTS:

The proportion of subjects with stroke of any type in the chiropractic cohort was 1.2 per 1000 at 7 days and 5.1 per 1000 at 30 days. In the primary care cohort, the proportion of subjects with stroke of any type was 1.4 per 1000 at 7 days and 2.8 per 1000 at 30 days. In the chiropractic cohort, the adjusted risk of stroke was significantly lower at 7 days as compared to the primary care cohort (hazard ratio, 0.39; 95% confidence interval, 0.33-0.45), but at 30 days, a slight elevation in risk was observed for the chiropractic cohort (hazard ratio, 1.10; 95% confidence interval, 1.01-1.19).

CONCLUSIONS:

Among Medicare B beneficiaries aged 66 to 99 years with neck pain, incidence of vertebrobasilar stroke was extremely low. Small differences in risk between patients who saw a chiropractor and those who saw a primary care physician are probably not clinically significant.

KEYWORDS:

Chiropractic; Medicare; Neck Pain; Spinal Manipulation, Adverse Effects; Stroke; Vertebral Artery Dissection

PMID:
25596875
PMCID:
PMC4336806
DOI:
10.1016/j.jmpt.2014.12.001
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
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