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Carotid dissection associated with a handheld electric massager

updated

Tags: treatment, massage, harms, devices, manual therapy, pain problems

Three articles on PainSci cite Grant 2004: (1) Dammit, Jim, I’m Not a Doctor!(2) The Complete Guide to Neck Pain & Cricks(3) Massage Therapy Side Effects

original abstract Abstracts here may not perfectly match originals, for a variety of technical and practical reasons. Some abstacts are truncated for my purposes here, if they are particularly long-winded and unhelpful. I occasionally add clarifying notes. And I make some minor corrections.

The extracranial internal carotid artery (ICA) is susceptible to injury and dissection from external shear forces applied to the neck. Traumatic ICA dissection usually occurs in the setting of a sudden, high amplitude force causing significant distortion of surrounding soft tissues. Weaker, repetitive forces applied for longer intervals may also pose a risk for ICA dissection. A 38-year-old woman with no significant stroke risk factors had sudden onset of severe dysarthria and left hemiparesis several days after receiving an approximately 20-minute neck massage with a handheld electric massager. The moving elements consisted of two approximately 2-cm-diameter spheres that percuss the skin with low amplitude and high frequency. Magnetic resonance imaging and angiography demonstrated acute infarction in the right middle cerebral artery territory and dissection of the extracranial right ICA. Handheld electric massager units may cause ICA dissection and disabling stroke.

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