CLINICAL FEATURES: A 21-year-old woman with hemiparesis from an internal carotid artery dissection that occurred as the result of a motor vehicle accident had neck pain and headaches. Moderate range of motion restrictions in the neck were present along with articular restrictions to movement palpation.
INTERVENTION AND OUTCOME: After a year of soft-tissue treatment, we obtained detailed, informed consent from the patient to attempt diversified manipulation to the neck. The patient described greater and more immediate relief and longer pain-free periods than could be achieved by soft-tissue treatment alone.
CONCLUSION: Patients with previous cervical artery dissections may present with unrelated neck pain and headaches and request treatment. In selected cases, with complete informed consent, manipulation of the neck may relieve these symptoms. A review of published case reports on recurrent dissections suggests that trauma is not a significant factor in the second dissection. Care must be taken in extrapolating the results from this case to any other patient with a history of cervical artery dissection.
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