January 2014


Resolution of Hypertension Following Chiropractic Care: A Case Study

On Jan. 2, 2014, the Journal of Upper Cervical Chiropractic Research published a case study documenting the improvement of hypertension with chiropractic care.  This study adds to the body of literature showing chiropractic as a possible alternative to medications for people with hypertension.

The study authors begin by noting that 37 billion dollars are spent each year on the treatment of hypertension. They also report that, "According to the World Health Organization (WHO), hypertension is the most common cause of preventable death in developed countries. It is a major risk factor for cardiovascular conditions such as heart attacks and strokes which are the first and third leading causes of death in the US."

In this case, a 57-year-old man went to the chiropractor with a primary complaint of sciatic pain for a year and a half.  He was also suffering from pain in both wrists for two years, and high blood pressure for the previous five years. The sciatic pain was sharp, and the wrist pain was affecting the man's daily activity. The case history revealed that his hypertension was being treated with Lisinopril and Simvastatin.

A chiropractic examination revealed postural abnormalities including a short left leg, right head tilt, left lower shoulder, and a weight distribution problem that showed his right side to measure 20 pounds more than the left. Palpation of the spine revealed problems and sensitivity in the upper neck area. X-rays of the neck were also taken and confirmed malposition of the upper neck vertebrae, confirming the finding of subluxation in the upper neck.

Specific chiropractic adjustments were initiated to correct the subluxations. After 8 weeks of chiropractic care, a re-examination was performed. This examination revealed that the man's sciatic pain had reduced by 90 percent, his wrist pain reduced by 70 percent, and his blood pressure had improved by 70 percent from his initial visit to the office.

After a few additional months, the study reports that the man's blood pressure had improved 100 percent, and was to the point that the patient decided to take himself off all his blood pressure medications. His blood pressure continues to remain between normal and pre-hypertensive levels without the use of medications.

The study authors wrote in their conclusion, "Since hypertension is a growing health concern for the public and billions are spent annually, the findings presented in this paper help support the role of chiropractic management beyond pain syndromes."


Parkinson’s Sufferer Helped with Chiropractic

A case study published in the research periodical the Annals of Vertebral Subluxation Research on Dec. 9, 2013, documents a case of a patient suffering from Parkinson’s disease (PD) being helped with chiropractic care. According to the Parkinson's Disease Foundation, "Parkinson's disease (PD) is a chronic and progressive movement disorder, meaning that symptoms continue and worsen over time. Nearly one million people in the US are living with Parkinson's disease."

In this case, a 68-year-old woman was involved in a car accident three years before going to a chiropractor. The case history records that the woman was traveling in a car going approximately 10 miles per hour (mph) and decelerating when her vehicle was rear-ended by a car traveling roughly 65 mph.  After the accident she was experiencing neck stiffness, pain radiating into the left arm, and low back pain.  She also started experiencing tremors which were diagnosed as Parkinson’s disease a year later.

A chiropractic examination was performed which included palpation, spinal range of motion tests, functional leg length testing, gait analysis, thermography, and surface electromyography (sEMG). Spinal x-rays were also taken to evaluate spinal position and to determine the presence of pathology or contraindication to chiropractic care. The results of the examination showed significant reduction in certain spinal ranges of motion, as well as positive findings in the thermography and sEMG studies. Palpation also showed areas of concern in the spine. The x-rays revealed multiple areas of decreased disc space in the cervical spine (neck) and a reversal of the neck curve.

Based upon the findings of subluxations, specific chiropractic care began with the woman being initially seen twice per week for 2 months. At that point, the patient underwent a re-examination. During this exam she reported a decrease in hand tremors, and an improved range of motion in her neck. She also reported a reduction in her back pain, and an increase in her energy levels.

In addition, the study noted that the woman reported improved mental acuity, a sharper vocabulary, and a renewed passion for life. She went on to explain that since beginning chiropractic care, her health had actually improved. She had seen no negative changes in her balance. She reported improvements in motor abilities, and a clearer mental state.

"Spinal subluxation may be a contributing factor in the symptomatic expression of Parkinson’s disease," the study authors note in their conclusion. "This case report adds to the growing body of evidence that chiropractic care can be used as a means of alternative treatment in lessening the side effects experienced by Parkinson’s disease patients."


The Public's Opinion of Chiropractic According to Study

On Dec. 16, 2013, the Journal of Philosophy, Principles & Practice of Chiropractic published a study that examined how the public viewed chiropractic. The study authors were a chiropractor and a medical doctor who also had a chiropractic degree.

In explaining why they conducted the study, the authors stated, "The purpose of this study was to explore the attitudes, perceptions and opinions toward the chiropractic profession from the standpoint of the general public. We wanted to gauge whether or not those attitudes, perceptions or opinions might affect consumer decision making and how that might relate to consumer utilization of chiropractic services." 

The study authors noted, "Firstly, we set out to simply gauge the general opinions and perceptions of members of the general public towards the chiropractic profession – focusing only on those who had never before been to a chiropractor or received chiropractic services."

In this study, a survey was created consisting of one question and 23 statements about chiropractic. This survey was intended to gauge the responses and attitudes of the general public toward chiropractic. The first question asked if the participant had ever received chiropractic care.  Participants who answered "Yes", were thanked and dismissed from the remainder of the survey.  The researchers' intent was to gauge responses from those who had never been to a chiropractor before.

For those who participated in the survey, responses to the statements were limited to only "disagree, neutral, or agree." Those volunteering to participate in the survey were asked for a response to statements regarding chiropractic subjects such as: scope of practice; levels of education; perceived income; safety of chiropractic care; marketing methods used by chiropractors; fees for treatments; chiropractic care for children; and perceived ethics of chiropractic business practices. In total, 537 surveys were returned.

One of the interesting responses from people who had never been to a chiropractor before was to the totally false statement, "In order to see a D.C. for treatment, you require a referral from a medical doctor." The response was that 12 people disagreed, 10 were neutral, and 78 people agreed with this statement. Among the other misconceptions, the survey revealed that a high percentage of those participating underestimated the level of education needed for a Doctor of Chiropractic degree. 

For the most part, the public did perceive chiropractic as a safe form of healthcare and they viewed chiropractors as ethical in their business practices. However, a majority did not know that chiropractors are licensed and regulated by their state licensing boards.

In addressing the gross misconceptions revealed in the study the authors commented, "The results of the survey show that members of the public who have never before utilized chiropractic services appear to have a number of misconceptions, negative preconceptions and opinions of chiropractors and the chiropractic profession. One particularly glaring aspect was the overwhelmingly negative preconception of a chiropractor’s level of education and training."

In their conclusion, the authors wrote, "Our preliminary findings have given us tremendous insight into some of the opinions the public has toward the chiropractic profession."


Bedwetting Helped with Chiropractic - A Case Study

The Journal of Pediatric, Maternal and Family Health, published  a study on Dec. 23, 2013, documenting the case of chiropractic helping with childhood nocturnal enuresis, more commonly referred to as bedwetting.

According to the study authors, "Nocturnal enuresis is defined as repeated voiding in clothing or bed that occurs in a child over the age of 5, and occurs at least 2 times per week for more than 3 months. Bedwetting is one of the most frequent problems seen in childhood, and affects roughly 10 percent of all children at the age of 7."

In this case, a 10-year-old boy was brought to the chiropractor with the complaint of neck pain. The issue of bedwetting was not mentioned when the child was brought in for chiropractic care, even though the problem was chronic in nature, and he was wetting his bed 2 to 3 times per week. The boy was also having diurnal enuresis, also known as daytime wetting, which the mother described as "leakage."

A chiropractic examination was performed including posture observation, palpation, functional leg length analysis, and spinal range of motion.  Based on the examination, it was determined that the child had multiple vertebral subluxations that caused nerve system interference.

Chiropractic adjustments were begun for the correction of the boy's subluxations. On the second visit, the boy's mother mentioned the bedwetting and reported that her son only had one incident of bedwetting after the first adjustment. For various reasons, there was a break in the boy's care, during which time he had several episodes of bedwetting. Upon his return to chiropractic care, these episodes decreased and eventually discontinued. Over the next eight weeks of care, only one incident of bedwetting was reported, and no daytime wetting had occurred.

The study also recorded that after the boy's first adjustment, his neck was not hurting. At his third appointment, he stated that his neck was again hurting from sleeping wrong. After the adjustment on his third visit, he never mentioned any more trouble with neck pain.

In their conclusion, the authors sum up this case by stating, "The case report of a ten-year-old boy who is dealing with a history of nocturnal enuresis is presented. Chiropractic evaluation and care is presented with subluxations noted and adjusted. A decrease in severity and frequency of enuresis was noted. While more studies need to be performed, chiropractic care appears to be beneficial in the effects on nocturnal enuresis in children and adolescents."


Rare and Painful Nerve Disorder Resolved Under Chiropractic Care

The Journal of Upper Cervical Chiropractic Research published a case study on Jan. 6, 2014, documenting the case of Glossopharyngeal Neuralgia, a rare and extremely painful condition, being totally resolved under chiropractic.

According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, "Glossopharyngeal neuralgia (GN) is a rare pain syndrome that affects the glossopharyngeal nerve (the ninth cranial nerve that lies deep within the neck) and causes sharp, stabbing pulses of pain in the back of the throat and tongue, the tonsils, and the middle ear. The excruciating pain of GN can last for a few seconds to a few minutes, and may return multiple times in a day or once every few weeks." 

In this case an 83-year-old woman went to the chiropractor with a diagnosis of right-sided Glossopharyngeal Neuralgia which she had been suffering with for ten years.  The woman noted that her pain was helped by medication, but made worse by talking, swallowing, coughing, quick head movements, and air conditioning.

The woman’s daughter explained that her mother had given up speaking two years prior, because even whispering two or three words would send electrical shock pains through her right throat, tongue, cheek, and temple.  Her condition was causing her to sleep most of the day. When she was awake, she would spend most of her time trying to swallow one cup of water.

Her pain rating on examination was 10 out of 10 on the pain scale. The examination also showed postural abnormalities, as well as positive thermography readings along her cervical spine. X-rays were taken, and with the examination results, confirmed the presence of subluxation in the upper neck. Specific chiropractic analysis and adjusting were initiated to correct her subluxation.

Immediately after the woman's first adjustment, the study notes, "The patient got up and started talking normally with a pain level of one, and went home with her daughter."  This miraculous change continued, as it was reported that just two days later, the pain was completely gone.  Because of her complete recovery, and under the supervision of her neurologist, she started reducing, and eventually eliminated, Neurontin, the drug she was taking for the condition. Seeing her results, the woman's neurologist even encouraged her to continue with chiropractic care.


More Children Being Diagnosed and Medicated for Mental Health Disorders

The increasing diagnoses of mental health issues in children, along with the prescribing of psychotropic and antipsychotic medication, is beginning to cause alarm. In 2010, children were two times more likely to receive medical care for mental health conditions than they were 15 years earlier. The mental health diagnosis rate for adults remained stable. However, the use of medications for mental health diagnoses doubled during this period.

The November 2013 issue of JAMA psychiatry published a study indicating that young people are being diagnosed and treated for mental health issues more often than adults, and are increasingly being prescribed psychotropic medications.

The study raises questions about mental health diagnosis and treatment, according to the Brain Balance Center's online article. "While the study did not investigate causes of the increases in mental health care and drug interventions, the results of the study raise important questions about mental health diagnosis and treatment in the U.S. for both children and adults. More research is needed to establish the cause or causes of the rising rates, but developmental and behavioral issues in children leave parents asking what they can do NOW to help their children."

In agreement with the JAMA study, the CDC reported a rise in the diagnosis of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) in children, as well as a rise in medication usage. The CDC reported that two-thirds of the children diagnosed with ADHD were using medication which is an increase of 28 percent from 2007 to 2011.

The trend of increases in diagnoses and medication of mental health issues in children caused a group of college students at the University of Nebraska at Kearney to begin a campaign to raise awareness about the potential dangers of psychotropic drugs in children, Kearney Hub author, Josh Moody, reported on Dec. 7, 2013.

"A psychotropic drug is a drug used to treat a psychiatric condition such as ADHD, bipolar, schizophrenia. How the drug is working is it's changing the chemical structure of the human brain; it's adding synthetic serotonin, dopamine, norepinephrine, or it's inhibiting the release," explained Jeanne Stolzer, a family studies professor at UNK.

“The interesting thing about this whole psychiatric paradigm that we're enmeshed in right now is the theory that mental illness — ADHD, depression, anxiety — is caused by low serotonin levels or low dopamine levels," said Stolzer. "We cannot measure the serotonin in your brain, so the theory is flawed at the onset."

ConsumerReports.org reported on the use and overuse of antipsychotic drugs in children with the number of children taking antipsychotic drugs tripling over the last 10 to 15 years. According to ConsumerReports.org, "The increase comes not because of an epidemic of schizophrenia or other forms of serious mental illness in children, but because doctors are increasingly prescribing the drugs to treat behavior problems, a use not approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). And a disproportionate number of those prescriptions are written for poor and minority children, some as young as age 2."

ConsumerReports.org also stated, "Antipsychotics have become huge moneymakers for the drug industry. In 2003, annual U.S. sales of the drugs were estimated at $2.8 billion; by 2011, that number had risen to $18.2 billion. That huge growth was driven in part by one company—Janssen Pharmaceuticals— and its aggressive promotion of off-label uses in children and elderly patients, relying on marketing tactics that according to the federal government, crossed legal and ethical lines."

Drug companies benefit from the use of the drugs, and push the drugs by emphasizing the benefits of the drugs and not emphasizing the risks of drug use-especially in children. The trends of the increase mental health diagnoses, and increases in the use of psychotropic and antipsychotic drugs in children attracted nationwide attention.  This is reflected in the many publications that have reported on these issues, and pointed out the unanswered questions and research that needs to be done to clarify these issues.

Jeanne Stolzer, a family studies professor at University of Nebraska at Kearney stated, "The fact of the matter is this, we don't have any idea of the long term effects of what we're doing right now, because we've never done it before. We do know that the earlier you start a drug the more likely there is to be brain atrophy, we know that, it's a scientific fact. And we know that the earlier you begin a drug the more likely there is for addiction processes to occur."


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