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Non-cerebrovascular complication in chirotherapy manipulation of the cervical vertebrae


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Structural and chiropractic

Z Orthop Ihre Grenzgeb.2001 Jan-Feb;139(1):8-11.


C N Kraft, R Conrad, M Vahlensieck, L Perlick, O Schmitt, O Diedrich


Purpose: Chirotherapy is a popular and successful management option for reversible functional disorders of the cervical spine. Though rarely observed, complications do occur, mainly involving the cerebrovascular system. By means of the here described case and a literature survey, we aim to highlight non-cerebrovascular complications of chirotherapeutic cervical spine manipulation.Results: A 43-year-old male initially consulted an ENT specialist, suffering from tinnitus aurium and loss of hearing ability. His hearing significantly increased after intravenous drug therapy, but the tinnitus remained. During chiropractic manipulation of the cervical spine by an orthopaedic surgeon for the tinnitus, the patient described severe neck pain following a clearly audible clicking sound. Scans of the cervical spine prior to and after manipulation showed an intracapsular/intraosseus oedema of the facet joints C2/C3 with lesion of the nerve root C3, most probably induced by chirotherapy.Conclusion: Although complications after chiropractic manipulation are extremely rare, treatment of the spine, especially the cervical spine, is not wholly harmless. An adequate history taking followed by clinical and radiographic patient evaluation is necessary to keep the risk of iatrogenic trauma at a minimum. Above all, the chiropractic manipulation of the cervical spine belongs in the hands of a qualified and experienced medical practitioner.

Publication Date: 

2001 Jan-Feb



Kraft, NC., Conrad, R., Vahlensieck, M., Perlick, L., Schmitt, O., Diedrich, O. (2001) 'Non-cerebrovascular complication in chirotherapy manipulation of the cervical vertebrae', Z Orthop Ihre Grenzgeb.2001 Jan-Feb;139(1):8-11.

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