WHIPLASH Cervical Artery Dissection

WHIPLASH Cervical Artery Dissection should be kept in mind by doctors of chiropractic, particularly after whiplash injuries.


  • WHIPLASH Cervical Artery Dissection,

  • vertebral artery dissection,

  • stroke chiropractic

What is Cervical Artery Dissection ?

A diagram of arteries that supply blood to the brain.

There are four arteries supplying the brain with oxygen-rich blood. Two carotid arteries anterior to the spine, and two vertebral arteries (in red) which wind their way up the transverse vertebral foramena within the spine ultimately forming the basilar artery located in the brainstem .

A dissection occurs when a tear forms in the innermost part of the arterial wall, the tunica intima, allowing blood to collect behind the intima and the next layer of the artery, the tunica media. This can lead to a complete blockage of the artery, neurological complications are common and an embolism can occur further complicating the condition.

Arterial dissection.

How common is Cervical Artery Dissection?

It is a very uncommon condition, 4 cases per 100 000 people. It can occur spontaneously particularly in smokers and people with high blood pressure and certain medical conditions such Fibromuscular dysplasia. Cases have been reported after extension of the neck, such as in washing the hair at the hairdresser, painting the ceiling or extreme yoga movements; after chiropractic manipulation of the upper cervical spine (1/ 5 million manipulations); coughing and sneezing;

And most important for the chiropractor, after whiplash .


In the European Neurology journal (October 2010) it has been reported that researchers did a retrospective study of 500 whiplash cases, searching for the occurence of Cervical Arterial Dissection during the following 12 months.

They found 8 cases / 500 whiplashes in the twelve months following the whiplash. That is 1600 cases per 100 000, or four hundred times (400 x) greater than the norm for the general population.

In the period 4-12 months after the whiplash the incidence was 600 per 100 000, still relatively high. In the first four months it must have been much higher (not reported in the abstract).

The authors, Kargel et al conclude: "The victims of car accidents should be screened for arterial dissections."

Cervical artery dissection occurs also spontaneously in certain medical conditions such as Polycystic kidneys.

Common symptoms of Cervical artery dissection

  • Pain on one or both sides of the neck, face or head

  • Eye pain, or one unusually small pupil

  • A droopy eyelid or double-vision

  • A sudden change in ability to taste food

  • Ringing in the ears, dizziness or vertigo

  • Paralysis of any of the muscles of the neck and face on one side (e.g., inability to close one eye)

About.com: Arterial Dissection and Stroke

Chiropractic questionaire after whiplash

Ask questions concerning:

  1. Dizziness and tinnitis

  2. Double vision

  3. Changes in taste

  4. Pain in the eye.

Chiropractic examination

Pay special attention to

  1. Anisocorea (unequal pupils)

  2. Ptosis and general weakness of facial muscles

  3. Hallpike Dix test


It has been accepted by the Chiropractic profession that there is a very small chance of stroke after an upper cervical manipulation (about 1 / 5 million manipulations, depending on the research). However, new research shows conclusively that the incidence of stroke was no higher after a Chiropractic consultation than after a Medical consultation. At least some of these very rare strokes occurred spontaneously and had nothing to do with the Chiropractic or Medical treatment. HOW SAFE IS CHIROPRACTIC ?


WHIPLASH Cervical Artery Dissection

Go from WHIPLASH Cervical Artery Dissection to BERNARD PRESTON home page …

Go from WHIPLASH Cervical Artery Dissection to CHIROPRACTIC BOOKS home page …


WHIPLASH Cervical Artery Dissection

CHIROPRACTIC HELP and CHIROPRACTIC BOOKS send out a monthly newsletter. Scroll down to the bottom of this page to sign up: CHIROPRACTIC HELP home page, scroll down to sign up...


Issue #18 Shoulder pain /Good health is not rocket science.

Issue #17 Facial Pain / Mussel Facts

Issue #16 Obesity in the Chiropractic Clinic / Flax seed

Issue #15-Breastbone-pain / Broccoli

Issue #14-Hip-and-Groin-pain /Statins for lowering cholesterol

Issue #13-Can-a-DC-help-your-Lumbar-Facet-Syndrome / Strawberries, a wonder food.

Issue #12-Help-Baby-Colic-Cures-2 / Eggplant for high cholesterol

Issue #11-Groin-and-Thigh-Pain / Hummus

Issue #10-Friday-Fun-Stone-in-my-Clog. / Cucumber

Issue #09 – Friday Fun: Headache

Issue #08- Spinal Stenosis/ Celery

Issue #07- Root-of-all-Healing/ Garbanzo beans /Chickpeas

Issue #06 - Safety-on-the-Stairs/ Ginger

Issue #05 - Safety-in-the-home/ Red foods

Issue #04 - Whiplash-and-the-Joints-of-Luschka/ Parsley

Issue #03 - How to stop falling/ Danger of a low fat diet

Issue #01 - Tingling in the arms and hands/ Apples

(PS. If you find them irrelevant to your needs or an exercise in tedium, one click will de-list you.)

Physical Therapists providing a Chiropractic adjustment?

Many insurance companies now only pay for physical therapists to provide a chiropractic adjustment; that's in the face of powerful research proving that inclusion of DCs to perform their own technique would save them a good deal of money. One has to conclude that political medicine has gone off on another tack to contain our profession.

It's being successful with some doctors of chiropractic quitting. Others become involved in some dodgy practices, like demanding that patients sign up for a whole year of treatment in advance, in order to stay in business.

In recessionary times, the going is tough when the insurance won't pay.

Is the day approaching for a new Wilk versus the AMA and the insurance companies?

The chiropractic profession has tried hard to stay on the moral high ground; those who stoop to unscrupulous practices need to be exposed and disciplined if we are not to stoop to the low blows that medicine has often resorted to contain and eliminate us.

We do not use cookies at this site, though our Adsense advertisers almost certainly do, but EU law states that we must make the following statement: “We use cookies to personalise content and ads, to provide social media features and to analyse our traffic. We also share information from your device with our social media, advertising and analytics partners. [OK]”