Stroke: Know What to Do
What is a Stroke?
Stroke is caused by a lack of blood supply to a portion of the brain, which causes that portion to die within just a few minutes. This lack of blood supply, also known as ischemia, results in long term neurological effects because the cell in the brain do not regenerate. The outcome of stroke depends on the person’s age, general health, the region of the brain affected by the stroke, the type of stroke, and the extent of the brain damage. Common long term effects include difficulty speaking, poor memory, altered emotions, poor recognition of previously familiar objects and people, amnesia, deformities of the extremities, and difficulty with movement, including weaknesses and paralysis. The weakness and paralysis often affect one side of the body usually opposite the stroke location. Some of the effects can be permanent, while others may resolve with time and treatment.
What are the Warning Signs of Strokes?
Sometimes people experience a “pre-stroke” a short term lack of blood supply to the brain, also called a transient ischemic attack. The loss of blood supply lasts from seconds to just a few minutes and does not result in permanent damage. This condition is often a precursor to a full scale stroke, so any symptoms associated with it should be investigated immediately.
Warning signs of stroke include ANY of the following:
- Sudden difficulty speaking (slurred speech) or understanding what people are saying
- Sudden onset of confusion or altered mental status, such as loss of consciousness
- Sudden onset of dizziness or unsteadiness, loss of balance or coordination
- Sudden difficulty walking or standing upright
- Sudden severe headache
- Sudden severe unexplained upper neck pain
- Sudden trouble with vision or sight
What should I do if I have any of the symptoms?
If you, your friend or a family member is having any symptoms, seek medical care immediately: dial 911 or have someone take you or your friend to the nearest emergency room. Do NOT let the person with the symptoms drive or stay home.
- Try to remember the time of onset of your symptoms and what symptoms you’re having. This information will help the treating doctors provide the best possible care for you.
Remember: the sooner you seek emergency medical assistance, the better the chances of minimizing the damage from a stroke. The person with the symptoms should seek medical care even if:
Not all symptoms are present
The symptoms go away after a short time
He or she has the symptoms with no real pain
He or she denies the symptoms
Is there Risk of Stroke from Neck Manipulation?
Neck manipulation is a remarkably safe procedure. Although some reports have associated upper high velocity neck manipulation with a certain kind of stroke, or vertebral artery dissection, there is not yet a clear understanding of the connection. While we don’t know the actual incidence of stroke associated with high velocity upper neck manipulation, the occurrence does appear to be rare, based upon the clinical reports and scientific studies to date. The chiropractic professions is actively researching stroke and neck manipulation available safe alternative conservation therapies. If you are visiting your doctor of chiropractic with upper neck pain or headache, be very specific about your symptoms, so that he or she can provide the safest and most effective treatment, even if it involves referral to another health care provider.