Caitlin Jensen, 28, was having a neck adjustment when she had a tragic reaction which cut off the blood supply to her brain. Photo / Darlene Jensen / Facebook
A 28-year-old woman has been left paralysed after she had a tragic reaction to a routine chiropractor adjustment.
Caitlin Jensen was having a neck adjustment when she had a traumatic reaction which cut off the blood supply to her brain.
The 28-year-old from the US had read a text from her mum at 9am that morning. Just 21 minutes later she suffered a stroke.
Jensen’s mum Darlene, 49, said she can no longer walk, talk, eat or breathe on her own.
“I just thought she’s probably got vertigo or something,” Darlene told The Independent.
“It just never occurred to me that it was a serious issue so I just said, ‘you know I’m gonna run up and check on her. I’ll be back in a little bit’.”
But it wasn’t vertigo. Jensen’s chiropractor manipulation resulted in vertebral artery dissection which caused the stroke and saw her condition rapidly declining.
Darlene rushed to the location of her daughter’s appointment and when she arrived Jensen was already in an ambulance.
The mother didn’t realise her usually healthy daughter was having a stroke when her speech had been affected with sweats, nausea and vomiting.
She was then put on a ventilator and has been moved to a brain injury unit.
Jensen had just finished studying and went to a chiropractor to help loosen up after being sat at a desk studying for months on end.
Her first few visits went well. However, despite believing she didn’t need another session, she was told not to cancel her follow up.
Within an hour she was in hospital.
Darlene told WSB-TV: “The surgeon that saved her life, and every other doctor that has looked at her, have all agreed that this happened as a direct result of the neck manipulation.”
More than two months on, Jensen is relearning the alphabet. Her cognitive abilities have remained intact despite the horrific accident.
Jensen can also mouth things, nod and give the thumbs up, helping with communication, and gets lots of joy from her support dogs.
According to Darlene, the hard reality of her future has been emotional and upsetting for Jensen, but she continues to fight each day.
A GoFundMe was set up to raise funds for her ongoing medical care and bills, with more than $100,000 raised so far.
The family are working with her to build her muscles associated with swallowing to protect her own airway, diaphragm, sneezing, coughing and other functions that will help her to breathe independently.
While she has been removed from the ventilator, she is still breathing through a trach.
Jensen remains at risk of choking on her own saliva due to her muscles remaining weakened.
Darlene has now warned others of what could happen from neck adjustments.
“I had never heard of anything like this happening, I didn’t know it could happen so it just wasn’t on my radar.”
She claims that “chiropractors should not do them at all”.
However, some chiropractors argue that dissection itself can be the cause of the pain that brings patients to seek their services – claiming their own adjustments had helped a larger problem in many cases.