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May 2015

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Infertility Helped with Chiropractic - A Case Study

A case study published in the Annals of Vertebral Subluxation Research on April 27, 2015, documented the case of a woman who was struggling with infertility being able to become pregnant due to receiving chiropractic care.

The study authors report that as many as one in six couples may need to seek help from a specialist because of the inability to conceive.  They also report that it is generally accepted that one in four women are affected by infertility lasting up to 29 months. 

In this case, a 27-year-old woman who worked as a bank teller came to the chiropractor after suffering from lower back pain for years. She also had complaints of occasional neck and mid-back pain after activities such as lifting. In addition, she would occasionally suffer from headaches when waking up, sinus problems, left wrist pain with numbness, frequent sore throats, and dizziness.

Her history revealed that she had been medically diagnosed with infertility and was taking several prescription medications given by her medical doctor. She had been under medical care for 6 months with no help for her infertility. She reported having several types of accidents years prior, and her first child had been born via cesarean.

A chiropractic examination consisting of palpation, range of motion, and spinal x-rays was performed to determine the presence of vertebral subluxations. It was determined that subluxations were present in multiple areas of her spine and a course of specific chiropractic adjustments was begun to correct the subluxations.

The patient was initially seen three times per week, which was reduced to twice per week later in care. Specific types of adjustments were used depending on the findings of that particular visit and the original x-ray findings.

The study records that the patient conceived after approximately 19 chiropractic adjustments. She also noted improvement in many of her additional symptoms and continued with her care through pregnancy.

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A Visit to the Chiropractor Could Improve Your Sex Life

The headline above is from an article published on April 15, 2015, in Shape magazine. The article begins by noting that most people do not come into a chiropractor's office specifically for sexual issues, but many report improvements in that area after care has begun.

Dr. Jason Helfrich, a chiropractor in Colorado, commented in the article, "People come in with back pain, but after adjustments, they come back and tell me their sex life is so much better." He explains, "Itís no surprise to usóitís amazing what the body will do when you take away the pressure on the nervous system."

The article goes on to explain that what chiropractors do is to correct "subluxations."  Every function of your body is controlled by the nervous system. It is therefore essential that the messages traveling from the brain to the parts of your body can do so without any interference.

A subluxation is when one of more of the spinal vertebrae become misaligned and cause pressure or irritation on nerves resulting in interference to the normal nerve function. Interference to normal nerve function from subluxations can cause parts of your body to either experience pain or to not function properly. Dr. Helfrich points out in the article that, "Every chiropractor's goal is to remove these subluxations, since they can both cause pain and impede feeling."

The Shape article explains two mechanisms where subluxations can have an effect on sex life. The first involves the lumbar or lower back region. Subluxations in this area can not only cause lower back pain but interference to those nerves can also affect function and blood flow to the sex organs.

But lower back subluxations are not the only area that can affect sexual function. The article also points out that the top of the neck can have a large role in this as well. The first two vertebrae in the neck are located right below the brain stem. Subluxations in this area can affect hormonal functions as well.

"Libido and fertility require a delicate balance of estrogen, progesterone, and other hormones, many of which are released in the upper cervical and neck area," explains Dr. Helfrich. He concludes the article by stating, We want to improve peopleís health, and health is about living life as its intended. Having a great sex life is huge part of that."

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Chiropractic Adjustments Better Than Self-Manipulation - Study Shows

A common question from patients in a chiropractic office is, "Can I adjust myself?"  A study published on April 22, 2015, in the Annals of Vertebral Subluxation Research demonstrates that self-manipulation of the spine is not as effective as a specifically given chiropractic adjustment.

The study begins by pointing out that forms of spinal manipulation have been used in the treatment of lower back pain by many different types of practitioners. The study authors stated the purpose of the study by saying, "It is hypothesized that self-manipulation of the lumbar spine, without the utilization of an experienced practitioner, can result in therapeutic benefits but can also cause instability and chronic low back pain."

The authors report that prior to this study there have been no scientific studies showing that self-manipulation is either beneficial or harmful. They note that there has been much research on the benefits of spinal manipulation for those suffering from back pain. The difficulty in a study of self-manipulation is that there is a wide variety of variables in self-rendered care of any kind.

In the specific case documented for this study, a 17-year-old boy came to the chiropractor suffering from chronic lower back pain that he had been experiencing for over a year. The boy was very active in sports and his problem may have coincided with a weightlifting injury he sustained near the time his problems started to appear.

The boy was treated with pain medications and injections, but these provided little help.  As a result, he resorted to self-manipulation of his lumbar spine. Multiple times per day, the boy would twist his body to create tension in his lumbar spine resulting in a popping sound in his lower back. This procedure seemed to create some relief and an increased range of motion. He would perform this self-manipulation as frequently as every 20-30 minutes every day in order to get relief.

Upon going to the chiropractor, the boy was instructed to discontinue the self-manipulation. A chiropractic examination with x-rays was performed to evaluate the boy's condition. The examination did show that several segments of the boy's lower spine was less movable than normal, while the entire area of the spine was more movable than normal. This was probably the result of the self-manipulation.

Chiropractic care was begun at the rate of 3 visits per week for 3 months. Adjustments were given to the areas of the boy's spine that were less movable. The results reported in the study showed that the boy improved significantly from the chiropractic care with a reduction in his back pain. Additionally, there was an increased  stability of his spine due to the chiropractic care without the self-manipulation.

In their conclusion the authors wrote that specific chiropractic adjustments are different from self-manipulation in several ways including safety, specificity, and effectiveness. They note that while self-manipulation can produce similar popping sounds in the spine, the effects of a specific, "...chiropractic adjustment cannot be reproduced without the expertise of a skilled practitioner."

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Disc Height Improved with Chiropractic - Case Study

Spinal disc degeneration is medically thought to be non-reversible and permanent. However, a documented case study published on April 13, 2015, in the Annals of Vertebral Subluxation Research showed increased disc spaces on a patient due to chiropractic care. Intervetebral discs are important pads between each of the vertebrae that allow movement and absorb shock.  Discs are firmly attached to the edges of the vertebrae and therefore can not "slip" which is a common misconception.

MRI studies show that when discs begin to degenerate there is a loss of water in the center of the disc known as the nucleus. The goal of care for a person with disc degeneration is to re-hydrate the disc.

In this study, a 59-year-old man suffering from lower back pain, went to the chiropractor. His pain also radiated down into the back of his thigh. His lower back had caused problems for 20 years, but had progressively gotten worse over the previous 6 months. His history showed a number of falls and accidents over the last 20 years or so.

A chiropractic examination was performed which included palpation, range of motion, surface EMG, heart rate variability, thermography, and spinal x-rays. The results of the x-rays showed phase two spinal degeneration and curvature changes. From these tests, it was determined that subluxations were present in multiple locations and chiropractic care was begun.

During the course of chiropractic care, the patient noticed considerable improvement in his symptoms.  After four months of care, he reported a complete recovery from his back pain as well as reporting that he was not getting as many colds as before the chiropractic care

Additional re-evaluations were performed and improvement was noticed in all the test results. Follow-up x-rays showed an improvement in the man's spinal curvatures with multiple areas of his spine starting to correct toward more normal curves. The man's disc heights were measured on both his initial and follow-up x-rays. The dates on the x-rays were blocked out so the examiner would not know if he or she was looking at the first or second set of x-rays. The comparison, after the measurements were made, showed that the patient's second set of x-rays had a measurable increase in disc height at several levels of his spine.

The increase in disc height shows evidence of regeneration of the intervertebral disc. In their conclusion the authors wrote, "The patient reported a complete remittance of low back pain concomitant with increased disc height at multiple levels and improved autonomic function."

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Uncontrollable Muscle Movements, Jerks, and Tics Gone after Chiropractic Care

From the Annals of Vertebral Subluxation Research comes a case study published on April 9, 2015, documenting a case of a patient with Functional Movement Disorder (FMD) being helped with chiropractic. The study authors define FMD by stating, "A FMD is described as abnormal movement or positioning of the body due to the nervous system not working properly, but not due to any underlying neurological disease."

FMDs are not uncommon, accounting for over 16% of patients who get referred to neurology clinics. Due to the absence of an underlying pathology, medical care for patients with these conditions is often a challenge.  Because of the lack of a medical explanation in many of these cases, some medical experts suggest that the causes of these issues is psychological in nature.

In this case, a 36-year-old woman went to the chiropractor suffering from uncontrollable body shakes (hyperkinesia) with tics and uncontrollable muscle jerks. The woman's problems began 5 months earlier during a time when she reported a high level of work stress. Her condition had gotten so severe that she was unable to work at the time of her visit to the chiropractor. Her history revealed that she was also suffering from anxiety and chronic neck pain.

The woman consulted a medical doctor who referred her to a neurologist. After not finding a medically known physical cause, the neurologist referred the woman to a psychiatrist, suspecting that her problems were psychological in origin. The patient decided not to see a psychiatrist and began chiropractic care instead. She did not follow up with the neurologist after his referral.

The patient began chiropractic care and was seeing visible progress by the eight week of her care. By the 20th week of care, all her symptoms of FMD were gone and she had returned to normal. Additionally, she reported that her secondary complaints of anxiety and chronic neck pain had also corrected.

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2015 Masters Tournament Winner, Jordan Spieth, Credits Chiropractic Care for Good Health and Peak Performance

On April 12, 2015, Jordan Spieth became the second youngest golfer to ever win the Masters Tournament. Spieth did it by tying the Masters record with 18 under par.  After his win, Spieth thanked several people including his chiropractor.

The Foundation for Chiropractic Progress issued a release on May 4, 2015, with the headline above and and stated, "Following a record-breaking win at the 2015 Masters Tournament, 21-year-old Jordan Spieth recognized those who significantly contributed to his victory, including his doctor of chiropractic Troy Van Biezen, Dallas, Texas. Since the age of 14, Spieth has relied upon chiropractic care to prevent injuries as well as optimize overall health and athletic performance."

The Star Tribune reported in an  article on April 13, 2015, that Spieth made a home video when he was just 14-years-old, stating that he would one day win the Masters. His boyhood proclamation would have to wait until he was 21 to become a reality.

In thanking his chiropractor, Spieth commented, "Dr. Van Biezen is an important member of my team and, thanks to his care, my all-time dream of winning the Masters Tournament has now become a reality." Dr. Van Biezen currently travels full-time with Spieth and several other professional golfers, providing chiropractic care as regularly as once or twice per day. 

Dr. Van Biezen noted that 4 out of 5 golfers will experience some form of back pain from the repeated motion of the sport. Van Biezen commented on Spieth's determination to win the Masters, "Since a very young age, Jordan has aspired to win the Masters and has since applied great discipline to achieve this goal. Many athletes, and especially golfers, understand the significance to spinal and pelvic motion to functional performance." 

"Jordan finds that an individualized chiropractic care plan including prevention and recovery-focused techniques is essential for maintaining good health and a competitive edge," stated Dr. Van Biezen. "Regular chiropractic care helps to alleviate back pain and greatly improve an athleteís game." Dr. Van Biezen, goes on to say "Back pain is the most common complaint among golfers, but isnít the only pain experienced. Neck, shoulder, elbow and hip pain are also common complaints among golfers of all ages. Regular chiropractic care offers an effective non-pharmacologic solution for golfers seeking to rid themselves of pain and properly prepare for a successful and enjoyable game."

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