February 2015


One Chiropractic Adjustment Causes Lowering of Blood Pressure - Study Shows

The January 19, 2015, issue of the Journal of Upper Cervical Chiropractic Research documents the case of a single chiropractic adjustment causing a long term lowering of high blood pressure in a patient with chronic hypertension. A previous study published in the Journal of Human Hypertension in 2007 showed positive changes in 25 patients over a 8 week period. This study followed the changes over a longer period of time.

According to the study, "...one in three people are diagnosed as hypertensive and are at risk for other cardiovascular related diseases such as heart attack, renal failure, stroke, and increased mortality." The study reports that 55% of people being treated with drugs for hypertension still have the problem - meaning they continue to be at risk.  The cost to the U.S. economy is estimated to be at $63.5 billion annually.

In this case study, a 55-year-old man came to the chiropractor with a history of having hypertension for 20 to 25 years. He did not have any other conditions or ailments that made him seek chiropractic. The man reported that he had been under regular medical care for his hypertension and had been put on a number of medications with no perceivable result in his blood pressure.  The study noted that the man had also been on a restrictive diet to help with his blood pressure.  His history also included a blow to the head 25 to 30 years ago.

A chiropractic examination was conducted which included a physical analysis, a postural analysis, leg length analysis, spinal x-rays, and thermography. The conclusion of these tests was that subluxation was present in the upper neck area.

A specific chiropractic adjustment was given to the patient and the patient was instructed to rest for 45 minutes.  Prior to the first adjustment, the patient's blood pressure was measured as being 180/110 mm Hg. After the first adjustment and the rest period, the patient's blood pressure was again taken and was reduced down to 164/94 mm Hg.

The patient was seen regularly over a seven month period to monitor his subluxation and blood pressure. During this time, no additional chiropractic adjustments were given. At the end of the seven month period, his blood pressure continued to lower and was measured as 136/82 mm Hg. The study recorded that after 2 months of care, the patient discontinued some of the medication he was taking for his blood pressure. By the fourth month, he had discontinued all blood pressure medications.

The authors of the study summed up the results by saying, "This case report outlines a 55 year old male undergoing upper cervical chiropractic care with 20-25 years of hypertension not successfully managed with medication. After seven months of care and one upper cervical chiropractic adjustment his chief complaint of high blood pressure was reduced from 180/110 mm Hg to 136/82 mm Hg. This reduction occurred even though all hypertensive medications were eliminated and no change in the patients diet or weight."


Prescription Painkillers' Overuse Has Become Silent Epidemic - US Warns

The headline above is from a January 16, 2015, article in the U.S. edition of the British news publication The Guardian. The article is based on a position paper released on January 13, 2015, titled, "National Institutes of Health Pathways to Prevention Workshop: The Role of Opioids in the Treatment of Chronic Pain."

The Guardian article begins by reporting that in 2012, Americans received nearly 260 million prescriptions for opiate painkillers.  This high number stands in contrast to the  National Institutes of Health (NIH) statement that there is "scant" research supporting the use of these drugs for chronic pain. The NIH paper is based on the work of a seven member panel of experts who studied the use of opioids in medicine. "Chronic pain affects an estimated 100 million Americans, or one-third of the U.S. population."

One of the key factors  the panel found was that there were no studies comparing the use of opioid therapy or no opioid therapy versus placebo for evaluating long-term outcomes related to pain, function, or quality of life.  "Unfortunately, a lot of these drugs are approved on the basis of short-term trials," stated Roger Chou, MD, associate professor, medicine, Division of General Internal Medicine and Geriatrics, Oregon Health & Science University, Portland, in an interview he gave to Medscape News.

In the paper summary, the panel states, "The rise in the number of Americans with chronic pain and the concurrent increase in the use of opioids to treat this pain have created a situation where large numbers of Americans are receiving suboptimal care." They continue, "At the root of the problem is the inadequate knowledge about the best approaches to treat various types of pain, balancing the effectiveness with the potential for harm, as well as a dysfunctional health care delivery system that encourages clinicians to prescribe the easiest rather than the best approach for addressing pain."

Perhaps the most disturbing comment from the paper speaks to the daily experience of a patient who is visiting a doctor for chronic pain.  The panel notes, "Particularly striking to the panel was the realization that evidence is insufficient for every clinical decision that a provider needs to make about the use of opioids for chronic pain, leaving the provider to rely on his or her own clinical experience."

An article titled, "Mandatory Use of Prescription Drug Monitoring Programs" in the January 26, 2015, issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) looked at the problem. It reported that, "The rate of fatal prescription drug overdoses involving opioids almost quadrupled from 1.4 deaths/100,000 people in 1999 to 5.4 deaths/100,000 people in 2011."

"Chiropractic represents a drugless approach to health," notes Dr. Michael McLean, president of the International Chiropractors Association. "The problem is not just the use of these dangerous and powerful drugs, the problem is a culture that looks to eliminating the symptoms rather that searching for the underlying cause of pain and other health issues."


Motion X-rays Verify Spinal Changes with Chiropractic According to Study

A study published  on February 2, 2015, in the Annals of Vertebral Subluxation Research was designed to see if chiropractic adjustments could cause verifiable changes to the  way spinal segments move.  Motion x-ray, known as video fluoroscopy, was used to document any changes in motion of the spine after chiropractic adjustments.

The authors begin by saying, "The goal of many chiropractic techniques or systems is to restore the proper structure of the spine in order to restore proper function to the nervous system." They note that many chiropractic facilities use x-ray to determine the spinal condition and changes due to chiropractic care. They point out that static pictures lack the aspect of motion in determining if individual spinal segments are locked or suffer from some abnormal motion.

In this case series, four patients, suffering from a variety of symptoms, came in for chiropractic care. The subjects included three women and a man, ages 17 to 38 years. Three had symptoms of neck pain and one had lower back pain. Each participant agreed to be part of the study and to stay in the study long enough to have a follow up examination and motion x-ray.

Each of the patients were evaluated for vertebral subluxation utilizing examination, thermography, static x-rays, and video fluoroscopy. In each of the four patients, a "locking" of a vertebral segment was observed on the video fluoroscopy in either the neck or upper back region. Specific chiropractic adjustments were rendered to correct the subluxations found based upon the findings for each case.

A second follow-up video fluoroscopy study was done at some point after the adjustments. With all four of the patients, the follow-up studies documented visible positive changes in the motion of individual spinal vertebrae from the chiropractic adjustments.  The study also recorded that all four of the patients got relief from their original symptoms that brought them in for chiropractic care.

The authors wrote in their outcome section, "All four subjects in the study had a significant degree of positive and measurable change with intersegmental motion following chiropractic intervention."


Bedwetting Helped with Chiropractic - A Case Report

The Journal of Pediatric, Maternal & Family Health published a case study on January 8, 2015, documenting the case of a young girl with chronic bedwetting being helped by chiropractic. Nocturnal enuresis, more commonly known as bedwetting, is diagnosed when a child wets the bed three times or more per week. 

Nocturnal enuresis is common in younger children, occurring in about 10% of children up to age seven. Bedwetting affects about 5 to 7 million children in the US, and 200,000 in Canada. Some sources believe that the underlying cause is related to the central nervous system.  Common medical treatment is a drug called Desmopressin, which can carry certain side effects including headache, belly pain, nausea, slight rise in blood pressure, vomiting, hives, trouble breathing, and swelling of the face, lips, tongue, or throat.

In this case, a 10-year-old girl was brought to the chiropractor after recurrent right ankle sprains and primary nocturnal enuresis. The young girl started having the bedwetting issue after a number of urinary tract infections that she had at age four. She had received several rounds of antibiotic treatments at that time. Her mother noted that the bedwetting started immediately after her daughter started taking antibiotics.  At the time of her initial visit to the chiropractor, the young girl was wetting her bed about 5 times per week.

A chiropractic examination was performed which included postural observation, range of motion tests, static palpation, paraspinal surface electromyography (sEMG) and rolling paraspinal thermography scans. Based on the findings, and with the mother's consent, chiropractic care was begun.

Following the girl's first adjustment, her mother reported that her daughter only experienced one night of bedwetting. Her mother also reported that her daughter felt the urgent need to urinate on the car ride home from the chiropractor to the point where the mother had to make a quick stop for her daughter to find a restroom.

Following the girl's second visit, her mother reported that her daughter did not have any more wet nights and no more increased urgency to urinate. The study records that after her second chiropractic adjustment, the girl had all dry nights. Given the success of chiropractic in addressing their daughter's bedwetting issues, her parents decided to continue their daughter on a wellness chiropractic care program.

Citing the results of this study, the authors make the point in their discussion that chiropractic should be included in cases of bedwetting. "When left unresolved in childhood, adolescents may continue night time bedwetting and can be very difficult to manage," state the study authors. "Given the effect of compromising the quality of life and risk for psychological and physical abuse in these children, there is a need for an integrative approach [chiropractic] to their care."


Case Report Documents Vaginal Pain being Alleviated with Chiropractic Care

A case report published on January 15, 2015, in the Annals of Vertebral Subluxation Research documents chiropractic care helping a woman with vulvodynia.  Vulvodynia, the study authors explain, refers to unprovoked pain in the area of a female's vagina.  This can be a soreness at any time with no known cause or pain with sexual intercourse.

Because many women do not discuss this issue with their doctor, the number of women that suffer with vulvodynia vary with study estimates from 200,000 to six million women in the USA. The authors suggest that between 9 to 12% of women suffer from vulvodynia.

Common treatments for this condition include avoidance of all possible irritants like soap, perfumes, and deodorants. Additionally, recommendations also include wearing cotton underwear in the day time and none at night. Medical treatments can include medication either applied topically, or taken orally or administered by injection. Additional approaches can include biofeedback, physical therapy, diet, or even surgery.

This case reports on a 50-year-old female who went to the chiropractor for complaints of internal and external vaginal pain and discomfort.  Her pain had radiating sensations to her low back. Her history reports that she has never had any sexually transmitted disease. She did not take any medications, nor did she have any allergies. Prior to her chiropractic care, the woman had seen a number of medical professionals and been subject to a battery of tests, all of which came back negative.

The authors noted that due to the area of the woman's complaint, no physical exam was performed by the chiropractor in that region. This is because it is out of the scope of chiropractic practice. The chiropractor informed the woman that he would be assessing her for vertebral subluxations.

A chiropractic spinal examination and x-rays were performed. It was concluded that the woman did indeed have subluxations affecting her nervous system with a possible correlation to her issues. Chiropractic adjustments to address her subluxations were initiated.

The study reported that,  "Since her initial consultation at the chiropractic office, she has since been asymptomatic of all her vaginal pain and has a healthy sexual relationship with her husband. She is extremely happy with the results and wants other women to know her story."

In their conclusion the study authors state, "Chiropractors have the ability to provide beneficial, noninvasive care to the public with low risk. They treat patients in an integrated manner regardless of the cause of their condition.  In this case study; chiropractic treatment was successful in removing subluxation indicators as well as providing vaginal pain relief to the patient."


Breech Pregnancy Corrected with Chiropractic - A Case Study & Literature Review

On January 13, 2015, a study was published documenting the case of a pregnant woman with a transverse breech pregnancy being corrected under chiropractic care. The study also reviewed a number of other such cases documented in research adding to the body of evidence showing chiropractic helping with this issue.

A Transverse Breech Pregnancy is when a fetus is lying across the womb with the spine perpendicular to the mother's spine. Later in pregnancy, the baby should be head downward in preparation for birth. The authors report that by the 28th week of pregnancy, about 4% of women have a breech pregnancy. Of these, it is expected that 86% will deliver via cesarean section. Nationally, the rate of cesarean birth continues to rise, being at 31.6% in the year 2010.

In this case study a 31-year-old pregnant women went to a chiropractor for help. She had been diagnosed by her obstetrician with transverse breech malposition, confirmed by ultrasound, at 30 weeks gestation.  She was also suffering from lower back pain.

A chiropractic examination was performed involving a postural analysis which showed imbalances in her posture. Additionally, palpation showed tight lumbar musculature and spinal malpositioning. Static electromyography, or sEMG, along with thermographic scans were performed that revealed areas positive for the presence of subluxations. Based on the examination, it was determined that the woman had subluxations at the top and bottom of her spine.

Chiropractic adjustments were begun to correct the subluxations along with a specialized technique called the Webster technique. This technique addresses the subluxations in the base of the spine as well as easing tender nodules in the round ligament of the pelvis, thus addressing in-uterine constraint. This care was given to the woman twice per week for the remainder of her pregnancy.

On her eighth visit, the woman reported that her baby was no longer in the breech position and had turned into the normal vertex presentation. As a result the study noted, "The patient continued care and was able to have a natural, assisted homebirth and healthy vaginal delivery of a baby boy, in the presence of her midwife and family."

The author summed up this study in their conclusion by saying, "This report of a 31 year old multiparous [having borne more than one child] female patient presenting with transverse breech presentation utilizing Webster technique during her pregnancy proved to be effective. Receiving chiropractic care during pregnancy, specifically utilizing the Webster technique, helped to reestablish normal sacral alignment and biomechanics of the female pelvis."


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