November 2017

Resolution of Hypothyroidism & Irritable Bowel Syndrome with Chiropractic

The Annals of Vertebral Subluxation Research published a study on October 26, 2017, documenting the case where a woman suffering from hypothyroidism and irritable bowel syndrome was helped by chiropractic.

The thyroid gland is a small butterfly-shaped gland in the front of your neck which controls how the body uses energy. The thyroid has an effect on every organ of your body and can therefore create a number of varied health problems when it is not working properly.  According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, "Hypothyroidism, also called underactive thyroid, is when the thyroid gland doesn�t make enough thyroid hormones to meet your body�s needs." 

The study authors report that in 2011, hypothyroidism affected approximately 10% of women and 6% of men under the age of 65 in the United States. This condition is more than twice as common in women than in men. Some of the problems associated with hypothyroidism include fatigue, weight gain, puffy face, trouble tolerating cold, joint and muscle pain, constipation, dry skin, dry, thinning hair, decreased sweating, heavy or irregular menstrual periods, fertility problems, depression, and a slowed heart rate.

From the U.S. National Library of Medicine's MedlinePlus website comes the description: "Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a problem that affects the large intestine. It can cause abdominal cramping, bloating, and a change in bowel habits. Some people with the disorder have constipation. Some have diarrhea. Others go back and forth between the two. Although IBS can cause a great deal of discomfort, it does not harm the intestines." Estimates in the U.S. put IBS as affecting between 10 and 15% of the population, with little more than half ever being diagnosed.

In this case, a 34-year-old woman who was 22 weeks pregnant presented herself to a chiropractic office with her chief complaints being low back pain, hip pain, and upper back pain. Her medical history revealed that the woman also suffered from irritable bowel syndrome, which was medically diagnosed in 2013, and secondary hypothyroidism, which was medically diagnosed in 2014. She was prescribed Nature-Throid by her medical doctor, which she had been taking since her diagnosis.

A chiropractic examination was performed which included a postural examination, spinal range of motion tests, spinal palpation, and paraspinal thermography. Since the patient was pregnant, no x-rays were taken at that time, but neck x-rays were performed 4 months after the woman gave birth. The initial findings of the examination led to the determination that subluxations were present and specific chiropractic adjustments were started.

After two months of care, the patient reported that she noticed great improvement in all of her complaints including her irritable bowel syndrome. Upon a yearly visit to her MD for a thyroid test, it was reported that her thyroid levels had returned to normal, and she was taken off of her thyroid medication.

In the study conclusion, the author described the premise of chiropractic, by explaining, "Chiropractic is an art, science, and philosophy that is created on the vitalistic premise that the human body is a self-healing and self-regulating organism and observes that the cause of disease is from inside the body.  D.D. Palmer, the discoverer of chiropractic stated that living organisms are born with an innate intelligence that runs through the nervous system and allows the body to heal itself when given the right conditions. Interference with the nervous system would affect one�s ability to heal and adapt to the environment, resulting in disease. This interference is termed �vertebral subluxation."


Placental Insufficiency Reduced and Fetal Growth Rate Normalized Following Chiropractic

The Journal of Pediatric, Maternal & Family Health published a case study on November 2, 2017, documenting the improvement of a woman's pregnancy as well as her unborn child's growth. The growth of a fetus is determined by genetic factors and the mother's ability to supply quality nutrients to her unborn baby.

When a fetus does not achieve the expected growth rate during pregnancy, the condition is called Fetal Growth Restriction (FGR). The study reports that FGR is fairly common, occurring in about 1 in 300 pregnancies. The condition is usually detected by routine ultrasound.

According to WebMD, the delayed growth of a fetus puts the unborn at risk for a number of conditions including low birth weight, difficulty handling the stresses of vaginal delivery, decreased oxygen levels, hypoglycemia (low blood sugar), low resistance to infection, low Apgar scores, breathing problems, trouble maintaining body temperature, abnormally high red blood cell count, and long-term growth problems.

According to the study authors, the most common cause for FGR is placental insufficiency. This is an inadequate supply of nutrients and oxygen from the mother to the fetus to sustain normal fetal growth.  A study published in the American Famiily Physician reported that FGR is the second leading cause of perinatal morbidity and mortality, followed only by prematurity.

In this study, a 29-year-old woman who was 32 weeks pregnant went to the chiropractor because she was concerned about her unborn baby's growth rate after being diagnosed with placental insufficiency. An ultrasound confirmed a slowed growth rate from 28 weeks to 30 weeks and a reduction in the unborn baby's head circumference from weeks 30 to 32. The obstetrician was so concerned that he had suggested an emergency caesarean section be performed if the fetus' growth rate did not improve by week 32 of pregnancy.

A chiropractic examination was performed. From this examination, it was determined that multiple vertebral subluxations were present. Specific chiropractic adjusting techniques were applied to address the woman's subluxations.

The study reports that one day after the initial chiropractic adjustment, the patient returned to the hospital for a scheduled Doppler ultrasound. The results of that ultrasound showed that the placental resistance had returned to normal limits. Measurements taken during additional ultrasounds in weeks 32 to 36 of the woman's pregnancy indicated an increase and normalization in fetal growth.  The woman was able to continue her pregnancy through to 37 weeks, giving her fetus 3 to 4 more weeks in utero, after which she elected to give birth via cesarean section.

In the study discussion, the authors wrote, "This case describes the normalization of FGR concomitant with chiropractic care for the management of vertebral subluxation." They continued, "Chiropractic care aims to optimize health and wellbeing through the enhancement of the nervous system function by removing nerve interference caused by vertebral subluxations."


Reduction of Seizures in a Toddler with Chiropractic

A case study documenting chiropractic helping to reduce seizures in a toddler was published in the October 30, 2017, issue of the Journal of Pediatric, Maternal & Family Health.  The toddler had been diagnosed with Lissencephaly, a rare brain birth defect.

Lissencephaly is a rare condition where during embryonic development, the brain does not develop the usual convolutions seen in a normal brain. This leads to a brain that is smoother and normally smaller. A large variety of problems can occur as a result of lissencephaly, which includes seizures.  It is believed that lissencephaly comes from either a genetic abnormality passed down over generations, or a severe infection during the early part of the second trimester of pregnancy. The condition is usually seen on an MRI scan during the third trimester or after birth where the brain looks smoother than normal.

Medical treatment for children with lissencephaly is geared toward helping with the various issues that are also present. Assistance in feeding may be needed, and due to aspiration, lung infections may occur. The prognosis for a child with lissencephaly depends on the severity of the condition. More severe cases may prevent a child from developing beyond the 3 to 5 month function mentally. With severe cases, the life expectancy is only about 10 years.

In this case, a 2-year-old girl was brought in for a chiropractic evaluation. She had been diagnosed via MRI with lissencephaly and was suffering from daily seizures. To treat the seizures medically, the girl had been placed on corticosteroids, which seemed to help from the age of six months until she was one year of age. At one year, the girl again started having seizures The seizures lasted from 15 to 30 seconds and were accompanied by foaming at the mouth. At one year of age, the child was being fed by a tube as she would vomit her food if fed via her mouth.

Chiropractic and neurological testing were performed which noted the significant neurological deficits this girl was suffering from. With the determination of the presence of subluxations, chiropractic care was started to specifically address the subluxations.

On the second visit, four days after her initial chiropractic adjustment, it was reported that the girl's seizures had decreased. Her third visit was eleven days later where it was reported that the girl had not suffered a seizure since her last chiropractic visit. By the next visit, it was reported that the girl did again suffer several seizures. The study reported that over the course of eleven chiropractic visits, the girl was able to lie face down, showed improved head control, and demonstrated an improved range of motion. In addition, the girl experienced extended periods of time without seizure activity.

In their conclusion the authors wrote, "Two months of chiropractic care assisted in the reduction of seizures, improved motor control, and coordination in a two-year-old patient with a diagnosis of lissencephaly." In the study discussion, they explained how chiropractic helped by noting, "A correction of such vertebral subluxation through an adjustment reduces aberrant nerve impulses to the brain, which in turn leads to a decrease or ceased seizure activity."


Sleep Teeth Grinding and Clenching Helped in Child Through Chiropractic

On October 19, 2017, the Journal of Pediatric, Maternal & Family Health published a study reporting on a case of chiropractic helping a child with teeth grinding at night, which is called sleep bruxism. According to the Mayo Clinic, "Bruxism (BRUK-siz-um) is a condition in which you grind, gnash or clench your teeth. If you have bruxism, you may unconsciously clench your teeth when you're awake (awake bruxism) or clench or grind them during sleep (sleep bruxism)."

The authors of the study begin by defining this condition by saying, "Sleep bruxism (SB) is described as a movement disorder resulting in habitual, non-functional and forceful teeth contact (grinding and clenching of teeth) during sleep."  They report that there is a wide variation on pinpointing how common this issue is as estimates range from 5.9% to 49.6% of the pediatric population.

The diagnosis of this condition, according to some studies, is based upon the parent's report of their child's sleeping habits. However, the American Academy of Sleep Medicine uses four criteria to determine a diagnosis of sleep bruxism. They include, 1) anterior teeth wear, 2) posterior teeth occlusal wear, 3) parents� report of frequent noises of teeth grinding during sleep, and 4) a white line at buccal mucosa. The common medical approach for treatment of sleep bruxism can include use of certain dental appliances, behavior modification, and medications.

In this case, a 9-year-old boy was brought to the chiropractor by his mother for a consultation. Her initial question was, "Why does my son grind his teeth so loudly at night?" Upon questioning, it was revealed that the boy had been exhibiting this behavior at night for the past 4 years. In addition, the boy had been experiencing regular and heavy nose bleeds over the recent months for no apparent reason.  It was reported that the boy had "Autism Spectrum Disorder tendencies." However, his condition was not deemed significant enough to be formally diagnosed.

A chiropractic examination was performed which included a postural analysis, spinal range of motion, palpation, thermographic and sEMG studies.  It was determined from the tests that subluxations were present and a series of specific chiropractic adjustments were given.

After the first adjustment, the parents reported a one-third reduction in their son's grinding of his teeth while sleeping. Over the next three visits, the parents reported a continued improvement with their son showing a decrease in intensity and frequency for his sleep bruxism. Additionally, they reported that the boy was less hyperactive with his behavior being more relaxed. The boy's sleep bruxism continued to reduce as his chiropractic care continued.

In their discussion the authors noted, "Sleep bruxism is an increasingly common condition reported in children, and has been associated with other long term psychological conditions that can have serious effects on the individuals quality of life." They explained the chiropractic approach by adding, "Chiropractic care aims to optimize health and wellbeing through the enhancement of the nervous system function by removing nerve interference caused by vertebral subluxations. The correction of vertebral subluxations by chiropractic adjustments are a fundamental component of personal enhancement and wellbeing."


Increased Lung Function and Quality of Life with Chiropractic

The Annals of Vertebral Subluxation Research published a study on October 26, 2017, documenting chiropractic helping improve lung function and improve quality of life in a series of patients. The patients in this study all had an increased mid-back curvature known as hyperkyphosis and sometimes referred to as a hump.

The middle part of the back, known as the thoracic or dorsal spine should have a normal "c" shaped curvature from front to back with the apex of that backward curvature being near the center of the middle back. This normal curvature is referred to a thoracic kyphosis. When that curvature increases, giving the person a hunched over look, that is referred to as a hyperkyphosis.

Hyperkyphosis in children is usually due to some underlying pathological, or developmental issue. It is more common in seniors as it is estimated that age-related hyperkyphosis affects 20 to 40 percent of the elderly population. The authors of the study point out that there is no consensus on an exact proper amount of curvature for the thoracic spine. However, it is accepted that a curvature of between 20 to 29 degrees from childhood till age 30 is within normal. An angle above 40 degrees in adolescence is considered to be hyperkyphosis. This curvature will normally increase with age.

This study followed three separate cases of patients who were totally symptom-free, but had a measurable hyperkyphosis of the mid back. Two men, ages 42 and 49, along with a 55-year-old woman were included in this study. Due to their hyperkyphosis, none of the three patients were able to have their upper thoracic spines make contact with the chiropractic table while they were laying on their backs.

In all three patients, the initial examinations and x-rays were, as the researchers stated, "...focused on the collection of objective information to assess neurological dysfunction and determine the presence of vertebral subluxation."  They went on to note that, "According to the Association of Chiropractic Colleges, a subluxation is defined as a 'complex of functional and/or structural and/or pathological articular changes that compromise neural integrity and may influence organ system function and general health'." Lung volumes were also measured on these patients as a baseline for comparison later.

Using a similar protocol on all three patients, specific forms of chiropractic care were done on these three individuals. Follow-up evaluations with x-rays were taken 10 weeks after the initiation of chiropractic care. Lung volumes were also measured again. One man and the one woman showed an increase in lung volume. The remaining man had traveled overseas and contracted pneumonia. Therefore his lung volume had not improved when tested. However, the study recorded that all three of the patients showed a reduction of their hyperkyphosis ranging from 12.1% to 22.7% improvement.

In their summation of the results, the researchers stated, "Reduction of the thoracic kyphosis angle was recorded in all patients with an average decrease of over 10 degrees. Increased lung function in both peak expiratory flow (PEF), and forced expiratory volume (FEV) were recorded along with improvements in SF-36 scores documenting improved quality of life."


Even Moderate Alcohol Usage Increases Risk of Cancer

A paper published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology on November 7, 2017, stated that drinking alcohol, even in small amounts, increases the risk for cancer. In a release, the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) stated that between 5-6% of new cancers and cancer deaths globally were directly attributable to alcohol.

The study received press coverage from a number of outlets within the first 24 hours, including a story in Newsweek titled, "Even Light Drinking Increases Your Risk of Cancer, Doctors Warn."  The Newsweek article began with the light-hearted warning, "Happy hour just got a little bit sad with news that any alcohol (yes, that includes the glass of wine at dinner) is linked with increased cancer risk."  

A New York Times article on this issue quoted Dr. Noelle LoConte, an associate professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the lead author of the ASCO statement, who said, "The message is not, 'Don't drink.' It's, 'If you want to reduce your cancer risk, drink less. And if you don't drink, don't start." Dr. LoConte did point out that the ASCO warning is different than their stance on cigarettes, "It's different than tobacco where we say, 'Never smoke. Don't start.' This is a little more subtle."

The ASCO conducted a  National Cancer Opinion Survey earlier this year which showed that 70% of Americans were unaware that there was a link between drinking alcohol and cancer. The ASCO release points out that alcohol usage, whether light, moderate, or heavy, is linked with increasing the risk of several leading cancers, including those of the breast, colon, esophagus, and head and neck.

In the release ASCO president Bruce Johnson, MD, stated, "People typically don't associate drinking beer, wine, and hard liquor with increasing their risk of developing cancer in their lifetimes." He continued, "However, the link between increased alcohol consumption and cancer has been firmly established and gives the medical community guidance on how to help their patients reduce their risk of cancer."

The ASCO paper reported that, in reviewing evidence from multiple studies, there is a conclusive link between alcohol use and several cancers, including cancer of the oral cavity, pharynx, larynx, esophagus, breast, and liver. Heavier drinking has been associated with lung cancer, pancreatic cancer and gastric cancer.

Dr. LaConte summed up the ASCO position by noting, "ASCO joins a growing number of cancer care and public health organizations in recognizing that even moderate alcohol use can cause cancer.  The good news is that, just like people wear sunscreen to limit their risk of skin cancer, limiting alcohol intake is one more thing people can do to reduce their overall risk of developing cancer."

The Newsweek article did offer a silver lining, although difficult, to those who enjoy regular drinking. They noted that those who drink can reduce their risk for cancer to equal those who have never drank alcohol if they stop drinking completely for a period of 20 years.