Thirty-nine-year-old Jennifer Saake (founder, Hannah's Prayer Ministries), experienced 6 strokes via vertebral dissection at a chiropractic office, including brain stem and cerebellum bleeds, in Oct. 2011. Jenni remained hospitalized for nearly 2 months and was not expected to live (near death experience) nor recover, but if she even survived, she was slated to live out her days in a nursing home or, best case, to maybe come home but wheelchair-bound and needing 24-hour care. At 5 years, 7 months God showed how He was writing her story from the beginning.

Jenni is currently writing more books and stays active on both Facebook and Pinterest. Here is her resume.

Since Jenni's chiropractor carried no insurance and moved out of the country soon after the accident (thus avoiding any legal or financial consequences), if you would like to help contribute to the Saake (pronounced like the two small words, say and key) family's massive financial needs (medical expenses alone are estimated to cost between $1- and $1.5- Million in Jenni's lifetime), please visit Jennifer Saake's Stroke Survivor GoFundMe Page. (This support information has been added in direct response to several reader requests.) The Saakes sincerely thank you for your prayers and if God prompts and equips you to send any monetary assistance as well, this is a significant added blessing.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Chiropractic Strokes: How

I shared the details of my story on my two year stroke-a-versary, but since that posy was SO long, here's the forth section (out of 8 sections) of the main body of the post, for your easier reference. If anything here confuses you or you want more information, please remember to visit the original post for full context! http://strokeofgrace.blogspot.com/2013/10/2-years-rest-of-story.html

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------

I so wish I had known about this alternative before I went!

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------


4. Mechanics and Statistics

How could this happen and how rarely does it happen? Well, according to many chiropractic groups, it simply does not happen at all, is only casually associated (why it is so important to note the headache that sent me to the chiropractor was on the opposite side of my head than the severed artery, because no one can then say my headache was a precursor to a stroke that was about to happen anyway, as the artery that was severed was not even on the side that was painful enough to send me in), or is so incredibly rare that adjustment is still worth the risk (the most extreme estimates I've read to persuade you of low likelihood sight between 1 in 1-5 million odds). This video arrogantly explains an adjustment from the chiropractic perspective (assuring you why it is so safe and telling you all the reasons why it is the patient's fault and not possibly the manipulation that causes a stroke) and goes so far as to say any link between an adjustment of the neck and stroke is just another "urban legend." His description of all that an adjustment should ever entail is not consistent with what I remember experiencing on my right side. :(



Facebook 



According to the Chiropractic Stroke Awareness Group web page, "1-to-3 people each working day in the United States have a stroke caused by chiropractic, or 260-to-780 people each year, or 2,600-to-7,800 per decade." So no, it is not terribly common, but not surprisingly uncommon either, literally an every day occurrence (some reading we have done from this side of the fence indicates the incidence at between one in every 20,000-40,000 neck adjustments result in arterial dissection leading to strokes), but when you become that "one," the fact that it does sometimes happen, whether it is 1 in 5 million or 1 in 20 thousand), becomes much more pertinent than the being comforted by the low likelihood! More videos telling similar stories of vertebral dissection leading to stroke after a chiropractic adjustment, sometimes even with fatal endings, are documented on the Chiropractic Stroke channel on Youtube, including actor Kevin Sorbo's (stroked after a chiropractic adjustment, while staring as Hercules in the t.v. series) story.
 


Facebook

Here's mechanically, how easily it could happen, so this is a risk I would never be willing to take now. The thing I didn't understand about human biology, prior to my strokes, was that your two vertebral arteries (back of neck) run directly through the top three vertebrae. This means that these arteries are vulnerable to any kind of trauma to the neck (car accident, domestic violence, chiropractic adjustment, self-manipulation (popping your own neck), etc.).

Wikipedia

Any sudden, forceful movement to the neck in a twisting motion, has the real potential of over-stretching and over-taxing an artery (think rubber band that has been stretched out repeatedly and then is stretched beyond maximum capacity, so snaps) and combine that with the edge of hard bone from a vertebrae that should act to protect the artery, but instead becomes a catalyst for pressure against that over-stretched "rubber band." The artery is then dissected, cut, snapped, caused to rupture, or in one doctor's descriptive of my own injury, "shredded." [Edited to add: The Dirty Dozen Contraindications of Spinal Manipulation]

Facebook
 
I understand that ischemia (lack of blood flow) is often the cause of post-manipulation strokes and I imagine that this might have to do with the artery somehow becoming "pinched off" or clotted as a direct result of the manipulation, maybe a bleed contained within the artery walls that then clots, or a complete severing of the artery, preventing blood flow to the brain (?), but as these explanations are only my own attempt to understand the causes behind a kind of stroke other than the rarer ones (20%) I initially had, I will not try to explore vertebrobasilar ischemia following MCS further. Wikipedia gives a general explanation of the most typical verterbal artery stroke dissection. (If anyone cares to further clarify in the comments, please be my guest!) I just felt it prudent to say that arterial damage does not always present as a bleed as mine did.

Facebook 

Post-manipulative stroking seems to be a fairly slow process for some people, starting to exhibit stroke-like symptoms in the waiting room after the manipulation, on the car ride home, not until that evening, within the next few days, or even not diagnosed for up to a full month later, according to several personal accounts I have read. I would imagine that in these cases the artery was significantly weakened via manipulation, perhaps bulging and forming some sort of aneurism or clot, then only obstructs or produces bleeding at a later point.
Facebook 

For some of us, it is much more immediate, like my massive bleeds before I could even sit up on the table, and the artery's extensive damage that was so severely injured that it took about a month and 4 more strokes (clots formed as the artery attempted to repair itself) before two semi-emergency surgeries were required on Thanksgiving morning to allow the artery to heal enough (another 6 month process) to keep from throwing more clots!
Facebook
 
According to this article on risk versus benefit of this kind of adjustment, "Although the risk of injury associated with MCS [Manipulation of the Cervical Spine] appears to be small, this type of therapy has the potential to expose patients to vertebral artery damage that can be avoided with the use of mobilization (nonthrust passive movements). The literature does not demonstrate that the benefits of MCS outweigh the risks." Or as I have repeatedly read and heard, if you are going to pursue chiropractic treatments, never allow the doctor to manipulate your neck. It might initially help, but it just isn’t worth the risk! (To add insult to literal injury, in my case, the left side of my neck still bothers me tremendously, has required HOURS of physical therapy attention, two years and all the strain of six strokes later! So going that day didn’t more than very momentarily address the issue of why I ever went in the first place!) “Nonthrust movements” would encompass tradition stretching and physical therapy that does not take the body past its own natural range of movement. One therapist explained me how the body has 4 levels of normal movement and this is all physical therapy will strive to achieve, while chiropractic adjustment purposely seeks to move the body into unnatural 5th levels.
Facebook
 
Article from Stroke Smart magazine: chiropractic stroke
 
More information and resources shared in July, 2014 here.

If you would like to read more of my story, please select from Basics and Why I've Not Shared Before and Story Details, Medical ExpectationsGoalsLegal, Reflections on Forgiveness, or My Victory Declaration. Thank you for walking a little piece of this journey with me.

7 comments:

  1. In manitoba Canada, there is a grop called the Manitoba Chiropractic Stroke survivors. Within only the last few years five young adults, with no risk factors for arterial damage and/or stroke joined our group. All suffered arterial damage and stroke because they believed their chiropractor when he said the risks were no greater than shoulder checking while driving a car. We can be contacted at mbchiropracticstroke@gmail.com. We are presently lobbying our provincial government to initiate changes as to when / how and on whom a chiropractic can manipulate the neck. We have 2 1/2 inch buttons that say "neck manipulation = stroke" - if anyone would like to help spread the word, please contact us. We will send you some buttons, free of charge.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I tried this email address and it bounced back. :( Thank you for reaching out though!

      Delete
  2. It is very unfortunate that this happened to you, and I do believe with a thorough examination it could have been avoided at all costs. Chiropractors do help, but you have to make sure to find a good one. Usually asking around will help lead you in the right direction, but also talking to your primary care provider. A full history and examination should be performed before every adjustment to eliminate the risk of serious injury. Unfortunately in the field of Chiropractic, there are very good ones, and there are very bad ones with a few in between.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I found your blog through HopeKeepers. My grandfather died from a stroke after an adjustment at a chiropractors office. I have avoided them because of that. I am so sorry for the pain you have gone through but thankful to see how God is redeeming your situation for His glory. I'm enjoying your blog.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I am so very sorry to read of your grandfather's death!

      Delete
  4. he blog was absolutely fantastic! Lot of great information which can be helpful in some or the other way. Keep updating the blog, looking forward for more contents...Chiropractic soap notes

    ReplyDelete
  5. Excellent tips. Really useful stuff .Never had an idea about this, will look for more of such informative posts from your side.. Good job...Keep it up
    chiropractic soap notes  

    ReplyDelete