October 2017

Resolution of Anxiety, Depression, Insomnia and Headaches with Chiropractic

The October 4, 2017, issue of the Annals of Vertebral Subluxation Research published a case study documenting the resolution, under chiropractic care, of a patient suffering from anxiety, depression, insomnia, scoliosis and cluster headaches, who also had an opioid addiction.

This study begins by noting that anxiety is one of the most commonly diagnosed psychiatric disorders, affecting 18.1% of the population. Anxiety disorders are often diagnosed with other disorders such as depression and substance abuse. According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 4th edition - Text Revision, there is 12 different diagnoses that fall under the general heading of anxiety disorders.  

The typical medical treatments for anxiety involve drugs. The problems and side effects with such medications are well documented, as is their highly addictive nature. For these reasons, and because there can be significant withdrawal issues, many of these drugs are not recommended for long term use.

In this case, a 21-year-old man presented himself to a chiropractor for a variety of issues. The man was suffering from cluster headaches, anxiety, depression, and insomnia. At that time, he was also recovering from treatment for substance abuse of opioid painkillers. He reported that he had been suffering with his issues for the prior 14 months.

The patient reported that medication seemed to reduce his symptoms. However with medication, he rated his headaches as a 10 out of 10 with 10 being the most severe. He also rated his anxiety as a 10 out of 10, and he rated his insomnia issues as 10 out of 10 when not treated with medications. Due to his complaints and his treatment for opioid addiction, the man had dropped out of college 11 months earlier.

A chiropractic examination was performed which included spinal palpation, range of motion, and spinal x-rays. The x-rays showed a loss of normal curvatures in the side views of the neck and mid back of the man’s spine. It was also noted that a scoliosis was present when viewed on the front-to-back x-rays. From these findings, it was determined that subluxations were present. The man was started on a series of specific chiropractic adjustments to address his subluxations. After a specific time period, a reassessment and follow-up x-rays were done to monitor the progress.    

The follow-up x-rays taken showed a 24% improvement in the neck curvature, and a 10 degree improvement in his scoliosis. Over time, all x-rays showed improvements in the various improper curvatures seen on the original x-rays.

The study reports that one month after starting chiropractic care, the man had improved to the point where he was able to restart college. After 12 months of care, he reported being off all headache medication. He also stated that his anxiety and insomnia had drastically improved to the point where he was able to lower his medications.  The report noted that after 20 months of regular chiropractic care, the patient was off all medications except for small amounts of anxiety medication as needed.

In their conclusion, the study authors wrote, "Subluxation-based chiropractic care played a role in the resolution of the patient’s complaints. The patient was able to stop all medications and leads a productive life symptom free." The study reported that the changes in this man’s life were profound enough that he enrolled in chiropractic college 20 months after starting chiropractic care himself.


Child with Asthma Helped with Chiropractic - A Case Study

The Journal of Pediatric, Maternal & Family Health published a case study on September 11, 2017, documenting the care of a young girl suffering from asthma, who was helped by chiropractic. This case report was written in the earlier stages of care in order to document initial responses to care. The study does not include a report on the long-term benefits of chiropractic for these types of cases.

This study begins with a brief definition. "Asthma is a chronic inflammatory disorder of the respiratory airways."  The result is an increase in mucus production along with an over-responsive airway leading to reduced airflow. This produces the noticeable wheezing, coughing, and shortness of breath.

The number of sufferers with asthma has continued to increase over the years. In 2001, about 7.3% of the population suffered with this condition. By 2011, that number had jumped to 8.4% of the population suffering with asthma. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimated that in 2015 there were almost 24.6 million people suffering with asthma. Of this, approximately 6.2 million are children below the age of 18, with 18.4 million being adults over 18. In 2015, 11.5 million people suffered an asthma attack.

In this case, a 6-year-old African-American boy was brought to the chiropractor by his mother for a chiropractic consultation and possible care. His mother reported that her son had allergies since birth and was diagnosed with asthma at the age of 2. She reported that his asthma was noticeably worse in the winter months. Certain foods seem to trigger his asthma, so his mother removed both dairy and glutens from his diet. At the time of his initial chiropractic consultation, the boy was on five different medications as well as a respiratory inhaler.

During pregnancy, his mother suffered from gestational diabetes and had to take insulin three times per day. His delivery was via cesarean with no reported complications. His mother breast fed her son until the age of two, and he never drank cow’s milk. As an infant, the boy suffered from eczema and was prescribed steroids. The boy would need his inhaler twice per day and would wake from sleep abut 4-5 nights per week.

A chiropractic examination showed a forward head posture, meaning that his head was further forward of his body than is normal. Palpation of his spine revealed a number of areas determined to be subluxations in his spine. Specific chiropractic care was started at the rate of three visits per week.

On the second adjustment visit, the boy's mother reported improvements in her son’s breathing with no sleep disturbances in the previous two nights. The study recorded that after three weeks of chiropractic care, the patient did not require his asthma medications at night and only used his inhaler one time while he was running and playing.

At the time of the writing of this study, the boy was still under chiropractic care. However, even at this early stage of care, the boy’s mother was able to report that her son only needed one breathing treatment since beginning chiropractic instead of usually needing several during the winter. As of the writing of the study, the boy’s medications had been reduced, he was rarely using an inhaler (only as needed), and was able to play in the park for three hours without use of his inhaler.

In their conclusion, the authors acknowledged the results of this study and called for additional research, "This case report illustrates the reduction of asthma symptoms and medication use in a pediatric patient under chiropractic care. It is recommended that the link between subluxation and visceral dysfunction, such as asthma be investigated further."


Successful In Vitro Fertilization Following Chiropractic

The Journal of Pediatric, Maternal & Family Health published a case series on October 9, 2017, reporting on two successful cases of in vitro fertilization following chiropractic care to reduce vertebral subluxations. The American Pregnancy Association defines IVF on their website as, "In Vitro Fertilization is an assisted reproductive technology commonly referred to as IVF. IVF is the process of fertilization by extracting eggs, retrieving a sperm sample, and then manually combining an egg and sperm in a laboratory dish. The embryo(s) is then transferred to the uterus."

The study report begins by noting that infertility affects between 10-20% of couples. According to the CDC, in the year 2000, approximately 7.3 million woman had problems conceiving. Infertility affects 11% of women between the ages of 15 to 29 and 23% of women ages 35-39. In a healthy couple trying to conceive, the success rate is normally between 20 and 25% per a woman's reproductive cycle, with a 90% chance of success per year.

For IVF, the success rate for each cycle of in vitro fertilization for a woman using her own eggs depends upon the woman's age. A woman's chances of having a live birth decline from a high of over 40% for a woman in her late 20s, to 30% by about age 38, and to 10% by age 43.

The first case in this series involved a 34-year-old woman who went to the chiropractor for consultation and possible care for neck stiffness and discomfort, and infertility. Her history revealed that she experienced two miscarriages and the loss of one fallopian tube due to ectopic pregnancy.  An ectopic pregnancy is when a fertilized egg attaches itself in a place other than inside the woman's uterus. The woman was overweight and also had high blood pressure. Additionally, she reported that she suffered from mental and emotional stress due to her infertility issue.

A chiropractic examination was performed and care was initiated for the correction of subluxations. After care had begun, the woman reported that, "Chiropractic has helped me deal with my stress in a positive way." Each successive re-examination showed improvement in her overall health. After a year of chiropractic care, the woman had her 1st in-vitro fertilization (IVF) procedure that resulted in a successful full term pregnancy.

In the second case, a 28-year-old woman sought chiropractic care for a sore left big toe that began two weeks prior. She also described a sore right elbow/hand/wrist that began three months earlier. She had two children but was having trouble trying to get pregnant for a third time. She had tried several infertility procedures that were not successful.

After a chiropractic examination and the start of chiropractic care for the correction of subluxations, the woman tried an IVF procedure but was unsuccessful on the first attempt. However, after 7.5 months of chiropractic care, she underwent another IVF procedure which resulted in a successful conception. The woman went on to have a successful delivery of twins.

In the discussion portion of the report, the authors note, "Infertility is a common issue for patients presenting to chiropractic offices. Although, the primary goal of chiropractic is not to treat symptoms and disease, many cases show success in conception of previously infertile women with chiropractic care." They continue their explanation by describing how the chiropractic approach to infertility is unique. "Unlike the medical model that views the female reproductive system as a unit to hormonally alter, chiropractors aim to restore proper functioning of the nervous system that will restore balance and allostasis within the body."


Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Helped with Chiropractic - A Case Study

The Annals of Vertebral Subluxation Research published a case study on September 28, 2018, of a combat veteran suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, (PTSD), who was helped by chiropractic. The National Institutes of Mental Health describe Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder by saying "PTSD is a disorder that develops in some people who have experienced a shocking, scary, or dangerous event."

The study authors begin this report with a startling statistic as to the frequency of overall mental health issues. "Mental Illness is a very relevant topic in health care today. In 2013, approximately 1 in 5 adults over the age of 18 were diagnosed with a mental illness and approximately half of all Americans will experience a mental illness in their lifetime."

According to this study, the frequency of PTSD is estimated to range between 8%-14% in the general population, with the military population suffering at a higher rate. A study done in 2010 of the Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF) and Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF) military veterans showed prevalence rates of PTSD between 13.3% and 19.8%. Some studies suggest the rates can be as high as 31% of veterans who have served in combat situations. PTSD is the second most common condition in the military, with the most common condition being depression.

The cost of treating PTSD over a protracted period of time will be staggering to the US military. In 2010, a study of US service members in Iraq estimated that the total cost of PTSD treatment per person ranged from $5,900 to $25,800 over a two-year period. The Congressional Budget Office estimates that total lifetime medical costs for veterans over the next 40 years to be between $300 and $600 billion dollars for all types of medical conditions. With PTSD being a large portion of that total expense, and with veterans suffering from PTSD averaging medical bills that are 60% higher than the norm, it is clear that this condition has a large financial impact.

In this case, a 35-year-old veteran sought chiropractic care for symptoms related to his PTSD attributed to his military deployment. One of the issues he listed was an "over stimulated nervous system." He further described his condition by describing it as an "...intense, never-ending anxiety which has bled into all areas of [his] life – mental, physical, emotional, spiritual, and into relationships with others." His symptoms began in 2004, 11 years prior to seeking chiropractic care.

After an examination, specific chiropractic care was started. Within two weeks of the start of the care, the man had several comments which included that he felt "less tension in his muscles at rest," as well as a "small increase in overall well-being." He noted that he was "much more relaxed at rest" and was able to "tolerate watching his kids." After about a month of care, his comments included that he was experiencing "improved digestion," he also felt that he was "more resilient overall" and was now able to "take a full breath."

When asked to evaluate his mental/emotional state, he stated that there was improvement in many areas compared to before starting his chiropractic care. He now noted that he "rarely" experienced the presence of negative feelings about himself, moodiness, angry outbursts, depression, lack of interest, restlessness, difficulty sitting still, or the experience of recurring thoughts or dreams.


Americans’ Views of Prescription Pain Medication and Chiropractic Care

On October 3, 2017, the Palmer College of Chiropractic released a report created with the Gallop survey organization with the above title. The full report, which can be seen on the Palmer College website at this address, www.palmer.edu/gallup-report, highlighted several facts about how Americans deal with pain, and view chiropractic.

The study was conducted based on a nationally representative Gallup Panel completed by 6,305 adults over the age of 18. Of the total, 5,826 were completed from the web and 479 from US mail. This study was conducted from Feb. 8 through March 13, 2017.

The report noted that 78% of Americans prefer not to address physical pain by taking prescriptions given by their medical doctors. Only 22% of those surveyed say they prefer to take medications for their pain problems. The report also noted that in the past 12 months, 27% of adults have seen a health professional for either neck or back pain. Of those, 54% have suffered with that problem for five years or more.

People who had never been to a chiropractor, or who have a high school diploma or less, along with those over 65 years of age, were more likely to prefer to take prescription medications over alternative approaches. As expected, the report also showed that there was a large difference of opinion between medical professionals and doctors of chiropractic about pain medications.  Patients reported that 47% of their medical doctors expressed a positive opinion about taking pain medications, while 19% of patients said their chiropractors expressed a negative opinion about pain medications. However, 64% of chiropractic patients said their chiropractor expressed no opinion one way or the other about pain medications.

When it comes to the issue of safety, 31% of Americans said that chiropractic care was safer than prescription pain medication for significant neck or back pain. Approximately 25% of all adults said that both chiropractic and prescription medications were equally safe, while 26% said they did not know which was safer.

When it came to what opinions health professionals expressed about each other to their patients, the responses were a bit surprising. When patients were asked if their chiropractor had ever expressed an opinion about medical care, 51% of the patients said their chiropractor expressed a positive opinion while only 3% expressed a negative opinion. Conversely, when patients of medical doctors were asked if their doctor ever expressed an opinion about chiropractors, only 19% said their MD rendered a positive opinion while 7% gave their patients a negative opinion.

When specifically looking at the public perception of chiropractic related to certain health issues, the report stated that 81% of patients thought that chiropractic is either very effective or somewhat effective for neck and back pain, while only 4% thought it would not help at all. When it comes to headaches, 57% thought chiropractic could help a great deal or help some. However, 34% did not know if chiropractic could help headaches, and 9% thought it could not help.

Compared to previous studies, this study showed that chiropractic care is being utilized by a growing percentage of the American population. Over the past 12 months, 18% of the population said they had gone to a chiropractor. Of those that had seen a chiropractor, 76% had seen a chiropractor in the past 6 months, and 32% within the last month.

In the conclusion, the study noted that more people would go to a chiropractor if they knew more about it. They stated, "...many Americans are largely unfamiliar with chiropractic care, which is likely a barrier for many considering chiropractic care. Half of adults in the U.S. (50%) do not know the philosophies that guide chiropractic care, and nearly half of adults who have not seen a chiropractor for care in the last 12 months (47%) say they would be more likely to go to a chiropractor for care if they knew more about what chiropractors do."


Spinal Pain, Sexual Dysfunction Pain, and Neck Curvature Improved with Chiropractic

The September 18, 2017, issue of the Annals of Vertebral Subluxation Research published a case study reporting on the improvement of a chiropractic patient who had been suffering with variety of health issues including sexual dysfunction pain. Pain during or after ejaculation is commonly referred to as post-orgasmic pain (PE), and is diagnosed as dysorgasmia, or orgasmalgia.

Post-orgasmic pain is generally believed to be underreported but may occur in up to 9.7% of the population at some point. Up to 74% of men who suffer chronic pelvic pain also suffer from ejaculatory pain either regularly or intermittently. The study reports that, according to the National Institute of Health, 58% of men with prostatitis were found to have experienced ejaculatory pain compared to only 17% of patients with benign prostate hypertrophy.

In this case, a 25-year-old man went to the chiropractic for help with with his chief complaints of thoracic spine pain, pelvic pain with ejaculatory pain, headache, and ringing in the ears. The man reported that he had been experiencing thoracic pain and pelvic pain with ejaculatory pain for approximately 1½ years.

Using a 1 to 10 scale with 10 being the worst, the man was asked to grade each of his health issues. He reported that his thoracic pain was "4-9", his pelvic pain with ejaculatory pain was "3-7", his headaches were "2-5', and his ringing in the ears was (tinnitus) was between "1-3".

The man's history showed that most of his issues were ongoing and constant. The level and frequency of his issues had led him to seek help from 14 other medical doctors, specialists, chiropractors, and other healthcare professionals, all to no avail. During the course of medical care, the man was given a variety of medications that offered little or no relief.

A chiropractic examination was performed which included thermographic heat studies, and both static and motion spinal x-rays. It was noted that the man's neck curve was reversed from the normal direction, measuring a -47 cm radius instead of the normal forward curve that measures +17 cm radius.

Specific chiropractic adjustments were given over the next 10 months determined mainly by the heat readings performed each visit. The study notes that no additional traction, therapies, supplementation, or other interventions were used in this case.

A re-examination was performed with follow-up x-rays of the neck being taken. It was noted on the new x-rays that the man's neck was no longer curved in the wrong direction but was not curved forward measuring to be a +24 cm radius curve. The man reported that his ringing in the ears was totally gone as was his pain on ejaculation. He also stated that his pelvic pain and headaches were "much improved."

In their discussion the authors wrote, "In order to understand the relationship between the remission of PE symptoms and the chiropractic adjustment, the concept of vertebral subluxation must be explored and understood." They continued, "Because vertebral subluxation involves many surrounding tissues including bone, muscle, connective tissue, nervous tissue, vascular structures, etc., the loss of function to these tissues lends to a variety of pathophysiological cascades, (health effects)."