A neck twist can cause stroke

Arteries are the blood vessels through which blood flows towards organs such as the kidneys, heart, and brain. Any problem with blood flow in these arteries can cause a stroke. A relatively uncommon type of defect of the arteries, called an arterial dissection, can cause a stroke. Arterial dissection refers to the abnormal, and usually abrupt formation of a tear along the inside wall of an artery.

Causes

In some cases, patients suffer from hypertension, weak arteries or jerks of the neck can also lead to dissection. Unusual yoga manoeuvres, massage or twisting of the neck are known reasons for dissections. The carotid arteries can be damaged by neck injuries or even forceful neck movements. The following are some situations that have been associated with dissection of the carotid arteries:

  • Neck extension during a hair-wash session at a beauty parlour
  • Chiropractic manipulation of the neck
  • Whiplash injuries
  • Blunt trauma to the neck
  • Extreme neck extension during yoga

Each year in India, 12,000 to 15,000 people are affected by spontaneous dissection of the carotid arteries.

Symptoms

Initially, the symptoms can be non-specific, and then one may experience severe pain in one side of the neck, blurry and fluctuating vision, intermittent weakness on one side of the body and difficulty in speaking, leading to a stroke. 

Most of the patients can be treated with medicines. Medications prevent the extension of the blood clot in the area of the dissection. 

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