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Lopez-gonzalez, A., Peris-celda, M. (2011) 'Acute paraplegia after chiropraxis', Eur Spine J.2011 Jul;20 Suppl 2(Suppl 2):S143-6.

Eur Spine J.2011 Jul;20 Suppl 2(Suppl 2):S143-6.

Acute paraplegia after chiropraxis

A Lopez-Gonzalez, M Peris-Celda


Spinal manipulation is a form of back and other musculoskeletal pain treatment that often involves a high-velocity thrust, a technique in which the joints are adjusted rapidly. The main objective of chiropractors is to correct spinal malalignment and relieve the nerves, allowing them to function optimally (Ernst In: Expert Rev Neurother 7:1451-1452, 2007; Oppenheim et al. In: Spine J 5:660-666, 2005). The evidence for the effectiveness of this treatment based on randomized clinical trials still remains uncertain (Cassidy et al. In: Spine 33(4 suppl): S176-S183, 2008; Dupeyron et al. In: Ann Readapt Med Phys 46:33-40, 2003; Ernst et al. In: Expert Rev Neurother 7:1451-1452, 2007; Hurwitz et al. In: J Manipulative Physiol Ther 27:16-25, 2007; Thiel et al. In: Spine 32: 2375-2378, 2007). Several case reports and series have been focusing on the risks of chiropraxis, especially on the cervical spine, although the risk/benefit ratio for certain selected patients could be acceptable (Powell et al.In: Neurosurgery 33:73-78, 1993). We describe the case of a 45-year-old woman who suffered complete paraplegia shortly after a chiropractic maneuver in the thoracic spine. Dorsal CT showed a calcified disc herniation at the T8-T9 level and MRI revealed a diffuse spinal cord ischemia from T6 to the conus medullaris without spinal cord compression at the level of herniation. Despite a normal arteriography, authors suggest a vascular injury as the cause of the deficit.

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