Skeptic News: Questions over chiropractic care

From: Winnipeg Free Press

Laura Brownson ran a successful dog grooming business on North Main Street for two decades. She would occasionally visit a chiropractor to deal with the aches and pains from handling the frisky canines, some weighing as much as 70 kilograms. She felt the visits helped her.

But that changed when the chiropractor — whom she had seen off and on for 20 years — manipulated her neck during an appointment in March 2010. “I had an instant headache and I didn’t feel right, but I didn’t think a lot of it (at first),” Brownson recalled. The pain refused to go away. She returned to the chiropractor, thinking he could fix it. He couldn’t. She visited her doctor, telling him it felt as though a bone in her neck was broken. An X-ray revealed nothing. The pain in her neck was unbearable. “I was crying. I was hysterical. I was begging for my life,” she said. An ugly lump formed in the middle of her neck. Her ears blocked and she had vision problems. Her balance failed her and she had a nasty fall. Her speech was affected for months.

Brownson saw a series of doctors looking for answers. Finally, after eight months of searching, a St. Boniface Hospital neurologist told her she had suffered a stroke. More than one of her neck arteries had been dissected. “She (the neurologist) told me that I was lucky to be sitting in the chair across from her.”

Brownson is part of a small group of former chiropractic patients and family members that is lobbying the Manitoba government to withdraw subsidies from chiropractic care. The group’s members are demanding a review of the profession’s practices and seeking a ban on what they term ‘high neck’ manipulations.

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