September 2018

Resolution of Hearing Loss, Improved Speech & School Performance Following Chiropractic

On July 16, 2018, the Journal of Pediatric, Maternal & Family Health published the results of a case study showing the resolution of hearing loss along with the improvement in school performance in a child who underwent chiropractic care.

According to the study, “Hearing impairment refers to the loss of a person’s ability to hear tones at a normal level and this can be a partial or total loss of the ability to perceive acoustic stimulus.” The study points out that hearing is typically measured at specific frequencies, commonly 250, 500, 1000, 2000, 4000 and 8000 Hz as these are the frequencies that our ears are especially sensitive to.  A loss of hearing is expressed as decibels of hearing loss (dB) when compared to the hearing of the average person.

It is interesting to note that the very first chiropractic adjustment given in Davenport, Iowa, on September 18, 1895, was given to a man who had lost his hearing 17 years earlier. That first adjustment, given by Dr. D.D. Palmer, to a janitor, Harvey Lillard, restored the man’s hearing, and thus the profession of chiropractic was born.

In this case, a boy was brought to the chiropractor for a series of visits when the boy was 6-years-old, and again when he was 8-years-old. On each of those occasions, the boy was suffering from moderate hearing loss.

Prior to the child’s initial visit to the chiropractor, he had his hearing tested using Pure Tone Audiometry (PTA) to ascertain the level of hearing loss. The results of this test are given in decibels (dB) of pure-tone thresholds (PTTs), which indicate the softest sound the person being tested can hear at least 50% of the time. When first tested, the boy showed between a 30dB and 50dB hearing loss at various frequencies which classified him as a mild to moderate hearing loss. The medical recommendation made for the child was surgery to implant tubes into the ear canals. The parents rejected this recommendation and sought chiropractic care instead.

It was also noted that prior to the discovery of boy’s hearing loss, his teacher told his parents that their son was falling behind in class and that his speech was difficult to understand. The boy had been getting speech therapy for over a year with limited results.

Chiropractic care was started on the boy to specifically correct vertebral subluxations that were determined to be present. After 12 weeks of chiropractic care, the boy returned to an ENT specialist to have a follow up assessment of his hearing. On that test, it was determined that his hearing had improved to where the loss was only measured from between 5dB and 20dB leading the ENT to declare that they boy’s hearing had returned to normal.

After this episode of chiropractic and hearing recovery, the boy received infrequent chiropractic adjustments over the next two years. At that point, he was tested, and it was noted that there was once again a mild hearing loss. Because of this, more regular chiropractic care was restarted, and the boy’s hearing again returned to normal.

In their discussion the study authors note, “The association of chiropractic with hearing started back in 1895 when the first chiropractic adjustment was reported to have cured deafness.” They further concluded, “The patient’s hearing loss reversal in this study is consistent with the findings of the numerous papers published and the mechanisms discussed. This study demonstrates that chiropractic care may benefit/reverse hearing loss. Specific chiropractic adjustments to the spinal column to correct the vertebral subluxation can have positive effects on auditory processing.”


Why Do Seniors Seek Chiropractic?

The Journal of Chiropractic Education published the results of a study on August 1, 2018, that looked at the reasons that people over the age of 65 most sought out chiropractic care. The study was conducted at the New Zealand College of Chiropractic (NZCC) intern training center.

The authors of this study begin by defining the aging process. “Aging is a nonreversible fact of life that results in an eventual decline in the total capacity of various organs and systems, decreasing the body’s ability to adapt to the stresses of the environment.” They note that the world’s population is getting older with 8.5% of the population being older than age 65, which translated out to 617 million senior citizens world-wide.  It is expected that by the year 2050, there will be 1.6 billion people over 65 years of age representing 17% of the total world population.

An increase in the likelihood of injury as well as additional health challenges for an aging population means a large increase strain on the world-wide healthcare systems. Less expensive alternatives such as chiropractic could represent an area that could help with the issues of an aging population.

In this study, files were reviewed for patients at the NZCC intern training center who were over the age of 65 when they first started chiropractic care at that facility. Information from the file must have included the patient’s chief complaint for which they started chiropractic care. From a total of 3513 active patients at the clinic at the time of the study, 100 patients (2.8%) met the criteria and were eligible for inclusion into this study. The youngest patient in the study was 65-years-old and the oldest was 88-years-old when they started chiropractic. The average age of patients in the study as 69.5 years. There were slightly more women than men in this study.

According to the study, there were eight categories of chief complaints for which these patients sought chiropractic care. The most common reason that seniors looked to chiropractic in this study was lower back pain, with 45% listing this as their chief complaint. Of these patients, 28% sought chiropractic on their own and 17% sought chiropractic based upon a referral.

Neck pain was the second most common reason for seniors to seek chiropractic with 21% listing this as their chief complaint. Of these, only 4% did so because of a referral while the rest sought chiropractic on their own.

The third most common reason that seniors sought chiropractic care, representing 14% of the study participants, was for wellness care. These patients had no specific chief complaint or symptom that drew them to seek out chiropractic. It can be assumed that these patients were looking for preventative care and the benefits inherent in the drugless approach of chiropractic.

Other chief problems that brought seniors to chiropractic in this study included lower extremity pain (5%), upper extremity pain (3%), balance (4%), hip pain (3%), and a variety of other issues such as headaches, groin pain, and visceral conditions each representing 1% of those seeking chiropractic.

Portions of the finding in this study were similar to other studies performed in both New Zealand and in the United States and Mexico. The one main differences between the studies conducted in New Zealand, and the ones in the U.S. and Mexico was that the percentage of seniors seeking chiropractic for wellness purposes in New Zealand was much higher than studies conducted in the U.S. or Mexico.

With this one difference being noted between this study and those outside New Zealand, the study authors were able to conclude that, “In general, older patient characteristics and their chief complaints at our clinic appear similar to those of other chiropractic colleges studying all age groups.”


Slow Weight Gain and Difficulty Feeding Resolved in Two Infants Under Chiropractic Care

The Journal of Clinical Chiropractic Pediatrics published two case studies in their July 2018 issue that documented the resolution of issues related to poor breast feeding and weight gain in two infants as a result of chiropractic care.

The study begins by noting that, “Faltering growth, previously termed failure to thrive, has been defined as a slower rate of weight gain in infants and young children than expected for age and sex.”  It is common for newborns to lose weight in the first few days after birth. Large, or persistent weight loss is, however, a concern that should be addressed by parents and healthcare workers.

Organic health issues can cause faltering growth. However, this is rare and can be ruled out with an examination. Most cases of faltering growth in newborns have to do with a feeding or processing of food issues. In the past, many issues were blamed for faltering growth. However, several studies have concluded that there is no association between faltering growth and social economic factors such as parental occupation, education, maternal eating habits, or alcohol consumption during pregnancy.

The first case in this study involved a three-week-old male infant who was brought into a midwifery and chiropractic feeding clinic because of difficulty breastfeeding and slow weight gain. The baby boy’s mother was experiencing severe breast soreness due to the excessive time that feeding would require. Typically, it would take 45 minutes or longer to feed the infant with a frequency of every two hours in the day and three times during the night.   At birth, the baby weighed just slightly over seven pounds. After three weeks, the baby had lost weight and weighed only 6 lbs. 4 oz.

Chiropractic care was started on this infant with parental consent. Initially, in the first four weeks of care, the infant started to show signs of improved feeding and weight gain which were followed by a slowing of both feeding and weight gain.  Chiropractic care was continued, and the infant was given the addition of a high calorie formula supplementation. The mother eventually discontinued breastfeeding due to the length of time it was taking and her soreness. By 22 weeks, regular formula was being used and the baby’s eating and sleeping habits returned to normal.

The second infant in this study was an eight-week-old girl with irregular feeding habits, slow weight gain, and discomfort lying on her back. At eight weeks, the infant girl had still not returned to her original birth weight. During the day, she would feed nearly continuously, with each feeding session lasting between 40 and 90 minutes. At night, the girl would sleep through the night with only one feeding session lasting between 60 and 90 minutes.

A 4-week course of chiropractic care was initiated. During that time, the infant showed improvement that was progressive and continuous. The baby showed larger gaps between feeding and an increase in normal daytime sleeping. This allowed the mother to engage in additional normal daily activities.

In the discussion, the authors noted the importance of trying to continue breast feeding in cases of faltering growth, “If concerns present about faltering growth in an infant, a feeding assessment should be performed. Every effort should be made to continue breastfeeding for the health of the infant and mother.” They also noted the importance chiropractic played in such cases by stating, “Chiropractic care was key to improve the baby’s use of muscles of mastication and to allow for comfort in supine sleep.”


Higher Level of Health and Quality of Life in Children Under Chiropractic

The Journal of Pediatric, Maternal & Family Health published a retrospective analysis study on August 13, 2018, showing that children who are under chiropractic care since birth are statistically healthier than their counterparts who do not receive chiropractic care.

Although chiropractic is a separate, non-medical health care profession, it is often categorized under the umbrella of Complimentary and Alternative Medicine, (CAM).  CAM procedures also include many non-chiropractic approaches such as herbal medicine, vitamins, therapeutic massage, acupuncture, homeopathy, yoga and energy healing.

The authors of this study report that prior studies showed that 1 in 9 children received some form of CAM, with chiropractic being the most used CAM health care for children in the U.S. In another earlier study of chiropractors in the Boston area, it was shown that 11% of their patients were pediatric patients.

In this study, a survey was used to gather health data on five children from different families, who had been under chiropractic care since birth. Additionally, their mothers were under chiropractic care throughout their pregnancy. These 5 children were then compared to children who had not been under chiropractic, as well as siblings who had not been under the same chiropractic care since birth. All five of the children in this study were under chiropractic care for correction of subluxations for wellness purposes.

All five of the mothers were under chiropractic care throughout their pregnancy and reported feeling better during their pregnancy with a decrease in symptoms such as low back pain, extremity numbness, and generalized soreness.  Only one of the children was born via a cesarean, the other four were born vaginally. All children were breast fed to some degree during infancy. According to their mothers, all children ate a well-balanced diets with plenty of fruits and vegetables, water, and a limited amount of caffeine and sugar.

When compared to their siblings, the parents mostly rated the children who were under chiropractic care as somewhat healthier, or just as healthy as their siblings. The siblings of the children is this study did get chiropractic care, but it was not since birth. Overall, it seemed as if the children under care since birth had a small, but significant health advantage over their siblings.

When compared to children not in the same family who did not receive chiropractic care, the results were much more profound. Each of the parents of children under chiropractic since birth felt that their child’s health was much better than their friends and other children of the same age.  All the parents reported that their "...children’s friends were constantly getting colds and were all-around sicklier than their children."

In the conclusion, the authors wrote, "Parents in this study reported that their children experienced a higher level of health and quality of life than other children of the same age. These data show the need for continued studies into the health outcomes following long term chiropractic management before, during and after birth."


The More Chiropractors, The Less Hypertension

A unique study was published in the July 30, 2018, issue of the Annals of Vertebral Subluxation Research that showed that populations with a higher concentration of chiropractors in the community had fewer cases of hypertension.  The study looked at populations within the U.S. and compared concentrations of chiropractors and medical practitioners in certain communities.

The author of this study started with a stated basic premise, “As concentrations of health care practitioners increases, access to their services is expected to also increase, with an expected decrease in adverse health outcomes (such as hypertension mortality rates).” This study was designed to see if there was a correlating increase in health, as it relates to blood pressure, with an increase in the number of chiropractors.

The author notes that blood pressure was selected as a means of measurement because there had been prior studies showing that chiropractic adjustments caused a decrease in blood pressure. Prior research had shown that there was a statistically significant reduction in systolic and diastolic blood pressures in 18 patients with hypertension following chiropractic adjustments of the upper cervical spine.  Several additional case studies seemed to confirm these findings as well.

The study points out that about two-thirds of chiropractors in the U.S. address correcting subluxations. Since subluxations create neurological changes which have been shown to affect blood pressure, it is reasonable to assume that more chiropractors in a given area would be correcting more subluxations in the community, resulting in a decrease in the diagnosis of hypertension in that population.

In this study, mortality rates for hypertension per 100,000 were obtained for each U.S. state and the District of Columbia, except for Alaska and Wyoming, which did not have that data. The number of chiropractors for each of those states was then obtained from the Federation of Chiropractic Licensing Boards. In addition, the number of active medical doctors was obtained from the Statistical Abstract of the United States.

These numbers were then compared with the populations for each of those states to get the number of medical doctors and chiropractors per 10,000 people. The death rate for hypertension for each of those states and D.C. was compared to the practitioner numbers to see what the possible correlations could be.

After crunching all the numbers, it was shown that there was no statistical decrease in the number of hypertensive deaths with an increase in medical doctors in that state. However, the report notes that there was a statistically significant benefit and decrease in the number of hypertensive deaths associated with an increase in the ratio of chiropractors in that state’s population.

The study extrapolated these numbers to predict the benefits of having additional chiropractors in a given population, “Thus, for every average increase of one DC per 10,000 population nationally (within the range of these data, which was 1.0 to 5.2 DCs per 10,000 population), a corresponding average national decrease of approximately one death per 100,000 population is expected.”


Resolution of Infertility Following Chiropractic Care

The August 6, 2018, issue of the Journal of Pediatric, Maternal & Family Health published a case study showing the chiropractic facilitating conception in a previously infertile, or sub-fertile woman. The World Health Organization defines infertility as “…a disease of the reproductive system defined by the failure to achieve a clinical pregnancy after 12 months or more of regular unprotected sexual intercourse.”

Infertility affects a large portion of the child-bearing age population. The study reports that between 13.2% and 15.4% of the population is infertile. In the United States alone, infertility affects over 7 million women between the ages of 15-44 years. It is estimated that 40% of the fertility problems are related to women, 30-40% to men and 10-20% are for an unexplainable reason.

Medically, the treatment for infertility depends upon any underlying pathology or cause. However, according to the US Department of Health and Human Services, National Institutes of Health, “Treatments for infertility can range from medications to embryo implantation through assisted reproductive technology (ART).”

The cost of ART procedures can be large. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, there were 462 infertility clinics in the U.S. which performed 182,111 ART procedures in 2015. The average cost of a round of ART procedures ranged from between $10,000 and $15,000 per attempt.  

In this case, a 32-year-old woman presented herself for chiropractic care with a variety of musculoskeletal pains. As part of her health history, it was noted that she was trying to get pregnant but had been medically diagnosed as being subfertile.

A chiropractic examination was performed which included static and motion palpation of her spine in addition to a postural analysis. Based upon abnormal finding in her examination, it was determined that vertebral subluxations were present. At that time the woman consented to starting chiropractic care. Six weeks after the start of chiropractic, the study reports that the woman became pregnant.

This study also reviewed about a dozen additional case studies involving women who were considered infertile prior to chiropractic care. Each of these cases had different histories and timelines as to the length of the inability to conceive. The common threat of all these case studies is that after a period of chiropractic care, the woman was able to conceive and became pregnant.

In the conclusion to the study the authors wrote, “We described the chiropractic care of patient with a history of infertility and ART and following chiropractic care, was able to conceive without the assistance of reproductive technology.”