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Daily Archives: October 17, 2014

Vertebral Artery Dissection in a Patient Practicing Self-manipulation of the Neck

By |October 17, 2014|Vertebral Artery|

Vertebral Artery Dissection in a Patient Practicing Self-manipulation of the Neck

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SOURCE:   J Chiropractic Medicine 2011 (Dec);   10 (4):   283–287

John S. Mosby, DC, MD, Stephen M. Duray, PhD

Division of Clinics,
Palmer College of Chiropractic,
Davenport, IA 52803, USA


OBJECTIVE:   The purpose of this case report is to describe a patient who regularly practiced self-manipulation of her neck who presented with shoulder and neck pain and was undergoing a vertebral artery dissection.

CLINICAL FEATURES:   A 42-year-old female patient sought care for left shoulder pain with a secondary complaint of left lower neck pain. Twelve days prior, she had had “the worst headache of her life,” which began in her left lower cervical spine and extended to her left temporal region. The pain was sudden and severe, was described as sharp and burning, and lasted 3 hours. She reported nausea, vomiting, and blurred vision.

INTERVENTION AND OUTCOME:   Initial history and examination suggested that the patient’s head and neck pain was not musculoskeletal in origin, but vascular. She repeatedly requested that an adjustment be performed, but instead was referred to the local emergency department for further evaluation. Magnetic resonance angiogram revealed a dissection of the left vertebral artery from C6 to the C2-C3 interspace and a 3-mm dissecting pseudoaneurysm at the C3 level. She underwent stent-assisted percutaneous transluminal angioplasty combined with antiplatelet therapy (clopidogrel) and experienced a good outcome.

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