LOS ANGELES, April 6 (UPI) -- Neck injuries -- even from aggressive massage -- can lead to stroke, a U.S. doctor warns.
Dr. David Palestrant of Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles says when a sports or other neck injury causes small tears in the wall of the carotid or vertebral arteries, blood clots can form. If dislodged, a clot could travel to the brain, causing a blockage and stroke.
"Stroke is the third leading cause of death and the number one cause of adult disability," Palestrant says in a statement. "Recent studies have found that early intervention can improve outcomes by about 30 percent. Therefore, any time a person is having symptoms of a stroke, getting immediate help at a specialized stroke center is critical."
Palestrant notes smoking, the use of illicit drugs and excessive consumption of alcohol have been linked to increased stroke risk. Women who are pregnant have a slightly increased risk of stroke and women over age 30 who smoke and take high-estrogen oral contraceptives have a stroke risk 22 times higher than average.
While across all age groups, more men than women have strokes, stroke is a fatal occurrence in more women than men, Palestrant says.