LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — Playboy model Katie May died as a result of an injury caused by a chiropractor who manipulated her neck, according to Los Angeles Assistant Chief Coroner Ed Winter.
Just days before the 34-year-old died in early February, she posted on Twitter that she had a pinched nerve in her neck and was going to see a chiropractor.
Winter cited “neck manipulation by [a] chiropractor” as the cause of May’s injury that led to a certain type of deadly stroke.
May’s sister, Jenny McKerrow, said “I would have never in a million years have thought I would lose my baby sister to something like this. You have a vibrant, healthy single mom, who was at the brink of stardom, who lost her life. It’s heartbreaking.”
McKerrow said her family is angry and hopes talking publicly about it will prevent someone else from having the same fate.
“Chiropractic is very safe. I do it to my little children. I do it to my mom, who’s almost 90 years old. I do it to all my patients,” said Jeffrey Benton, Vice President of the L.A. Metro Chapter of the California Chiropractic Association.
He said complications from getting adjusted by a chiropractor are extremely rare and wondered if May had other underlying conditions.
“There are more deaths to opioid medications than there are to chiropractic manipulations,” he added.
The Mayo Clinic calls chiropractic adjustments safe but says there are possible serious yet rare complications such as a herniated disk, compression of nerves in the lower spinal column and a certain type of stroke after neck manipulation.
The website advises against getting adjustments if you have severe osteoporosis, numbness and tingling, cancer in the spine and increased risks of stroke or excessive motion in the spine.