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December 2015

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Disc Protrusion With Extruded Fragment Helped by Chiropractic Care

The Annals of Vertebral Subluxation Research published a study on November 19, 2015, documenting the case of a patient suffering from left-sided low back pain that radiated down the left leg being helped by chiropractic.

The authors of the study report that lower back pain (LBP) is one of the most common health issues in society. It is estimated that between 6.3% and 15.4% of the general population suffers from low back pain for the first time each year. The National Board of Chiropractic Examiners' Practice Analysis of Chiropractic 2015 reports that LBP is the most common condition seen in a chiropractor's office accounting for 23.6% of new patients.

In this case, a 43-year-old man went to the chiropractor complaining of severe pain in his lower back that radiated down his left leg to his ankle and foot. The man had received an MRI and was diagnosed with a left L4-L5 focal disc protrusion with an extruded fragment. The man rated the pain on a 1 to 10 scale (10 worst) as being between 8 and 10. The pain was worse upon sitting and lying down.

The medical care the man received consisted of prescription drugs including 200 mg. of Advil, 5 mg-325 mg of Percocet , 5 mg. of Valium,  and Tramadol. The drugs only provided minor help for short periods of time. Due to the lack of progress, a friend told the man to see a chiropractor.

Upon entering the chiropractor's office, a history and examination were performed. It was noticed that the patient had an antalgic lean due to the pain.  He also had muscle spasms and swelling in the lower back area. Motion of his lower back was reduced and painful.

Based on the results of the chiropractic examination and the severity of his condition, chiropractic care was initiated daily for the first week followed by three times per week for the next three weeks, after which a reassessment was performed.

At the time of the reassessment, the patient had improved to the point where he was able to work 12-hour days feeling slightly stiff and was able to sleep through the night without pain. He also reported that he was able to sit and lay down without any pain. His slight remaining pain at the one month point of care was rated as only a 2 out of 10, and his muscle strength and movement were greatly improved.

In their conclusion the authors wrote, "This case report described the successful chiropractic care of a patient with a chief complaint of low back pain associated disc protrusion at the L5-S1 functional spinal unit."

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Surprise: Chiropractors Can Treat These Five Conditions

The headline above comes from a November 30, 2015, article on the U.S. News and World Report website in the Health section. The article begins by stating, "You might think chiropractors are only able to help with back aches, stiff necks, slipped discs and whiplash injuries. If so, you're not alone but you're missing out."

Although probably not surprising to many chiropractors, the article's author, David Starr, points out that many people are unaware that chiropractic may be able to help them with conditions that may not seem immediately related to the spine. Migraines and tension headaches are the first on the article's list. "Research shows that spinal manipulation the primary form of care provided by chiropractic doctors is an effective way to treat tension headaches and headaches that begin in the neck." Starr continued, "In a clinical trial conducted at Macquarie University, 72 percent of migraine sufferers experienced either substantial or noticeable improvement after a period of chiropractic treatment."

The second condition listed is stress and anxiety. The article explains how chiropractic helps by noting, "Chiropractors work primarily with the spine the root of the nervous system through which nerve impulses travel between the brain and the rest of the body and can help the body manage and process this stress in a healthier way."

The article also mentions that chiropractic can help with a weak immune system. To explain the connection, the article relates spinal subluxations to immune function.  "Subluxation is the term for misalignments of the spine that cause compression and irritation of nerve pathways, affecting the body's organs. Subluxations are an example of physical nerve stress that affects neuronal control. According to researchers, such stressful conditions lead to altered measures of immune function and an increased susceptibility to a variety of diseases."

Starr recants the study that shows the connection between subluxation and immune function. He states, "Another study measured the effects of six months of regular chiropractic care on the immune system function of HIV patients. At the end of six months of care, the patients who had received regular adjustments showed a 48 percent increase in the number of CD4+ T cells, whereas patients who had not been adjusted showed an 8 percent decrease in CD4+ T cells."

The remaining two conditions include fibromyalgia and flexibility. The explanations offered in the article deal with both nerve function and improved range of motion. Chiropractic can specifically remove interference to the nerve system from subluxations while returning the spinal joints to as near to normal range of motion as is possible with a patient.

Dr George Curry, president of the International Chiropractors Association, summed up the chiropractic approach by stating, "People suffering with a wide variety of health issues have responded to chiropractic care. The chiropractor actually isn't treating these conditions. By removing interference to the nerve system from subluxation, the chiropractor allows the body to function more normally and, therefore, self-correct many health problems naturally."

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Abdominal Migraines and Concentration Resolved by Chiropractic Care

Abdominal migraines are a variant of migraine headaches that occur in the abdomen instead of the head. They are more common in children and usually occur in children who have a family history of migraines. The November 23, 2015, issue of the Journal of Pediatric, Maternal & Family Health published a case study of a young girl suffering from abdominal migraines, concentration problems, and learning issues being helped by chiropractic.

The study authors note that long-term, recurrent abdominal pain occurs in approximately 9 to 15% of all children and adolescents. Between 4 to 15% of these cases are considered to be abdominal migraines. The condition is more common in girls than boys, and many of the children diagnosed with this condition eventually get classic head migraines.

In New Zealand, where the case study was conducted, it is estimated that between 15 and 20% of children in the classroom have some form of learning difficulty, and as high as 52% of disabled children have a learning issue. There is no reason to believe the numbers in the U.S. are any better.

In this case, a 6-year-old girl suffering from problems of poor concentration and learning difficulties since beginning school fourteen months earlier was brought to the chiropractor. It was reported that in her first year of school she was "unable to achieve anything" and required home tutoring. The young girl was described as being anxious and withdrawn; however, she was not medically diagnosed and was not on medications for these issues.

Additionally, the girl suffered from a secondary complaint of long-term, recurrent abdominal pain over the prior two months with daily episodes of severe pain and nausea. Her family MD diagnosed abdominal migraines, but no medications were prescribed.

Based on an examination and chiropractic analysis, chiropractic care was initiated. By the third visit, the case study documented changes in the girl's posture and breathing. By the fifth visit, the girl's parents and grandmother reported significant changes in the child's mood and behavior. By the seventh visit, it was reported that the girl had a complete cessation of all abdominal pain and symptoms, and a marked improvement in her concentration and learning.

In their discussion, the authors summed up this case by stating, "In this case report, the child's initial difficulties with concentration and learning began during a period of emotional trauma and prolonged family stress. Twelve months later there was no improvement in the child's ability to focus or learn, and a secondary complaint of chronic, recurrent abdominal pain developed." They continued, "This positive change in mood and behavior was immediately followed by improved concentration and learning, and a cessation of abdominal migraines."

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Resolution of Hypertension Following Chiropractic Care

In the November 12, 2015, issue of the Annals of Vertebral Subluxation Research is a case report and literature review of chiropractic care for hypertension. The researchers note that hypertension is related to 9 million deaths world-wide each year.

The study authors report that diet and exercise are the primary focus for reduction of high blood pressure, but often the patient does not create enough change to reduce their hypertension, and medications become the norm of medical treatment. Chiropractic, on the other hand, is not usually viewed as care for hypertension. However, the study authors have noted that chiropractic has gained much interest for patients with organic type problems such as hypertension.

This case involves a 72-year-old man who went to a chiropractor in Auckland, New Zealand, for his high blood pressure. He was concerned as his condition was preventing him from properly exercising over the past 3 years. His medical doctor had prescribed medication that he had been taking for the past year. The result of the medication was a modest drop in blood pressure from 174/94 to 150/90.

The man's history included a previous car accident, a fall from a tree, trauma to his shoulder two years earlier, and a 20 year history of being involved with judo. He had also suffered emotional trauma from the recent death of his wife.

A chiropractic examination was performed which included a baseline blood pressure check, thermal scans of his spine, and a Surface Emg test. From the tests, it was determined that subluxations were present and chiropractic care was started.

As care progressed both the thermal scans and the Surface Emg scans began to balance and look more normal. This coincided with an improvement in his blood pressure that reduced down to 132/80 in a little more than 6 months time.

In their review of literature and studies on chiropractic and hypertension, the authors noted that a growing body of evidence points toward chiropractic care being effective for patients with hypertension. In their conclusion they wrote, "This case report describes the successful chiropractic care of a patient with vertebral subluxations concomitant with improvements in medically diagnosed hypertension and decreased medication."

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Resolution of Frozen Shoulder Following Chiropractic Care

From the Annals of Vertebral Subluxation Research, December 3, 2015, comes a study documenting the resolution of a case of frozen shoulder following chiropractic care. The study authors point out that shoulder problems are common with up to 67% of the population experiencing some type of shoulder issue over a lifetime.

The study reports that common medical treatment usually consists of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and/or analgesic drugs in combination with activity modification, manual therapy, and/or physical therapy. If this type of care is ineffective, they report that injection with local anesthetics and corticosteroids are considered.

This case involved a 51-year-old man who sought chiropractic care due to suffering from right shoulder pain and restricted motion. His shoulder pain was of short origin having started only 2 days earlier. He could not move his arm more than 90 degrees due to the pain, and he was having a pinching pain in his lower neck on the opposite side. He rated his pain as 9 out of 10, with 10 being extreme.

After examining the shoulder and neck area, the chiropractor determined that subluxation was present and offered the patient chiropractic care to for correction of subluxation. The patient received a specific neck adjustment and noticed a positive result immediately. The man reported that just seconds after his adjustment, his pain dropped to just 3 out of 10. In addition, he was able to move his shoulder much more than before the adjustment. All this occurred even though no treatment was rendered to the man's shoulder.

By the second visit, the man's shoulder had regained even more movement and his pain had further reduced to only 2 out of 10. On a two week follow up, the patient had reported regaining full shoulder range of motion along with being pain free. As a result of the outcome of his care, the man elected to continue chiropractic on a wellness basis.

In their conclusion the authors wrote, "This case report provides supporting evidence that upper cervical (upper neck) adjustments may benefit patients with sudden insidious shoulder pain and limited range of motion."

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Meniere's Disease Helped with Chiropractic - A Case Report

In the November 30, 2015, issue of the Journal of Upper Cervical Chiropractic Research, is a case study showing a patient suffering from Meniere's disease being helped with chiropractic. According to the Mayo Clinic website, "Meniere's disease is a disorder of the inner ear that causes episodes in which you feel as if you're spinning (vertigo), and you have fluctuating hearing loss with a progressive, ultimately permanent loss of hearing, ringing in the ear (tinnitus), and sometimes a feeling of fullness or pressure in your ear."

The authors of this case study discuss how common this condition is by reporting that there are currently approximately 615,000 people in the United States diagnosed with Meniere's disease and 45,500 new cases are diagnosed each year.  In many cases, Meniere's disease is associated with dizziness, nausea, vomiting, visual disturbances and severe equilibrium dysfunction.

In this case, a 63-year-old woman suffering from Meniere's disease went to a chiropractor after unsuccessful surgical management for her condition. She had been suffering with this problem for 14 years without relief. The woman's symptoms included unsteadiness, nausea, ongoing hearing loss, anxiety, and a jerking or twitching of her eyes. Upon her first visit to the chiropractor, her condition was so bad that she was unable to walk unassisted and required her husband's assistance.

A chiropractic examination was performed and showed a restriction in the motion of her neck as well as pain upon neck pressure and positive palpation findings, muscle tone changes, and functional leg length deficiencies. X-rays of the upper neck were taken and it was determined that subluxation was present in the upper neck.  Based on the examination and x-ray findings, specific chiropractic adjustments were begun to correct subluxation.

The results were nearly immediate in this case. In describing the results of her first chiropractic adjustment the woman stated, "As soon as I sat up I was normal again." She continued, "It was great to have the feeling that I would not have to take medication any longer to make it go away." Her recovery was so complete that she was able to discontinue her medications for the Meniere's disease she had been treating medically for 14 years.

In noting how unsuccessful medical care is for cases of Meniere's disease, as well as the possibility of  medical and surgical side effects, the authors note in their discussion that, "There needs to be more awareness and improved education toward helping those individuals whom suffer with Meniere's disease to find a safer and less invasive solution to their problem."

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