November 2019

  • Chronic Constipation Helped by Chiropractic
  • Neck Pain, Headaches and Vertigo Helped with Chiropractic
  • Posture Improved Under Chiropractic Care
  • Screen Time Linked to Lower Brain Development in Preschoolers
  • Mid Back Pain and Hunched-Over Posture Improved with Chiropractic
  • Excessive Lumbar Curve and Lower Back Pain Reduced with Chiropractic

Chronic Constipation Helped by Chiropractic

The Journal of Pediatric, Maternal & Family Health published the results of a chiropractic case on October 10, 2019, documenting the resolution of chronic constipation in a child undergoing chiropractic care. According to the study authors, "Constipation is considered more as a symptom rather than a disease. Some have defined constipation as less than 3 bowel motions per week or as difficulty in passing stools."

Functional constipation, sometimes known as chronic idiopathic constipation is constipation that does not have a physical, anatomical, hormonal or other body chemistry cause. The study reports that this issue is common in infants and can affect nearly 30% of the pediatric population and is one of the most common causes of visits to the pediatrician. Medical interventions commonly involve medications which have questionable results and are problematic when determining dosage and long term effects.

In this case, a 3½-year-old girl was brought to the chiropractor by her mother.  Her mother reported that her daughter was having trouble potty training. It was also noted that the little girl had never had regular consistent bowel movements and would go 3 to 4 days between movements. It was reported that the girl was afraid to use the toilet because her bowel movements were painful after not having gone to the bathroom for days.

The girl's mother had taken her to a pediatrician who had prescribed a laxative, recommended counseling and suggested a fiber supplement. However, the girl's parents were hesitant to place their daughter on medication or a regular daily fiber treatment, so they decided to seek chiropractic to see if it could help. They were concerned that if their daughter was not potty trained, she would not be able to enter preschool.

A chiropractic examination was performed which included an overall postural inspection, palpation, and some non-invasive neurological testing. From the examination, it was determined that subluxations were present. With the permission of the mother, specific age-appropriate chiropractic adjustments were started. 

The girl received two chiropractic adjustments per week for each of the first two weeks, followed by an every other month visit. The mother reported that because of the chiropractic care, her daughter was able to go to the toilet all on her own with non-painful bowel movements. She reported that her daughter was completely potty trained within three weeks of starting chiropractic. The girl was able to enter preschool and did not need to take any medications. A long-term follow up a year later reported that the girl was not having any issues with constipation.

Neck Pain, Headaches and Vertigo Helped with Chiropractic

On September 23, 2019, the Annals of Vertebral Subluxation Research published the results of a case study showing chiropractic helping a patient with neck pain, headaches, vertigo, and abnormal posture. Neck pain is one of the leading causes of disability in the general population.

The study begins by explaining how common and how debilitating neck pain is. "Neck pain sufferers have limited ability to participate in normal activities of daily living and some estimates suggest that close to 90% of the population may experience neck pain at some point in their lifetime."

The study reports that changes from the normal forward neck curvature is a key factor and directly related to neck pain. Correction of the normal neck curvature has shown to yield both short-term and long-term benefits to patients. Non-surgical approaches such as chiropractic have been shown to be the safest and most effective means to deal with neck curvature issues and resulting neck pain.

In this case, a 49-year-old man brought himself to the chiropractor for evaluation and possible care. He was suffering with acute neck pain that began two days before visiting the chiropractor. There was no history of immediate trauma or injury that could be associated as the cause of the pain. The man described the pain as severe, sharp and aching which he rated as a 7 out of 10 in severity, with 10 being the worst. He reported that the pain was constant and radiated down into his right hand causing numbness and limiting his range of motion.

The man did mention that he would have occasional headaches and vertigo. His pain was made worse when he turned his head, and he would get some minimal relief when he was standing straight and looking forward. He was using some over-the-counter drugs and heat packs to temporarily get some relief.

The examination of the man showed his head to be in a forward position more in front of his body than the normal over the shoulder position. Additionally, his neck range of motion was limited. Spinal x-rays were taken which confirmed the improper head positioning and vertebral malpositions.

Based on the findings of the examination and x-rays, specific forms of chiropractic care and adjusting were started. In a re-assessment done after one month of care, the man reported 90% relief of his neck pain and a complete resolution of his hand numbness. Chiropractic care was continued as the goal of the care was not just the alleviation of the symptoms, but also the correction of the underlying structural issues which had been present much longer than the man’s pain.

At a 6-month assessment, the man reported that his neck pain was nearly completely resolved going from a 7 out of 10 initially to an occasional 1 out of 10. He also noted that his headaches, vertigo and hand numbness had completely been corrected. Follow-up x-rays showed improvement in the curvatures and head positioning toward being in a more normal posture.

Posture Improved Under Chiropractic Care

A case study published in the September 26, 2019, issue of the Journal of Pediatric, Maternal & Family Health documented the improvement in abnormal posture in a young boy under chiropractic. The authors’ stated objective for the study was, "The purpose of this study is to report on the structural improvements made in a pediatric patient following reduction of vertebral subluxation."

In simplest terms, a subluxation (a.k.a. Vertebral Subluxation) is when one or more of the bones of your spine (vertebrae) move out of position and create pressure on spinal nerve roots or irritate the spinal nerves. Spinal nerves are the nerves that come out from between each of the bones of the spine. This pressure or irritation on the nerves then causes those nerves to malfunction and interfere with the signals traveling over those nerves.

Having normal curvatures and spinal posture has been shown to be very important for good overall health. The study explains this by saying, "The curves within the spine act as shock absorbers and natural resistance to gravity. They protect the spinal cord and nerve tissues by reducing forces acting on them."

In this study, an asymptomatic 9-year-old boy was brought by his parents to the chiropractor. The boy had no complaints or symptoms and no history of physical trauma. His parents brought him to the chiropractor because they were concerned about their son’s posture as he seemed to be slouching and hunching all the time. The boy had never been to a chiropractor before.

A chiropractic examination revealed a reduced passive and active range of motion of the boy’s lumbar spine. His lower back muscles were more pronounced than normal and his posture showed a slight forward flexion. Lower back x-rays showed a loss of the normal inward curve in the boy’s lower back and a reverse curve in the upper portion of his lower back.

Specific chiropractic care and spinal adjustments were given with a focus on correcting vertebral subluxations. The study describes this by noting, "Vertebral subluxations inhibit healing and recovery, and their correction results in improved neurological and biomechanical function."

After 20 visits, a follow-up examination was performed. The examination showed an improvement in the boy’s muscular tone, improvement in his lower back range of motion, and an improved posture. Follow-up x-rays showed a dramatic improvement in the lower back curvature with his lumbar spine returning to a near-normal state.

In their discussion the authors sum up the results and the importance of proper posture by stating, "Loss of the distal lumbar lordosis has been associated with decreased quality of life and deterioration of physical, emotional and social function. In patients presenting with reduced lumbar lordosis, an improvement of the lumbar curve may positively affect the patient’s quality of life and overall health."

Screen Time Linked to Lower Brain Development in Preschoolers

A study published on November 4, 2019, in the journal JAMA Pediatrics showed that toddlers and preschoolers who use screens such as televisions, tablets or smart phones for more than one hour a day without parental involvement had lower levels of development in their brain's white matter.

The study titled, "Associations Between Screen-Based Media Use and Brain White Matter Integrity in Preschool-Aged Children" starts off by asking the basic question, "Is screen-based media use associated with differences in the structural integrity of brain white matter tracts that support language and literacy skills in preschool-aged children?"

Lead author Dr. John Hutton, a pediatrician and clinical researcher at Cincinnati Children's Hospital noted that "This is the first study to document associations between higher screen use and lower measures of brain structure and skills in preschool-aged kids."

"This is important because the brain is developing the most rapidly in the first five years," Hutton said. "That’s when brains are very plastic and soaking up everything, forming these strong connections that last for life."

In this study, 47 healthy children between the ages of 3 and 5 underwent special MRI brain studies called diffusion tensor imaging designed to measure the brain's white matter tracts. White matter in the brain is associated with the development of language, literacy and cognitive skills. The results of the study showed that the white matter in the brains of children who spent hours in front of screens wasn't developing as fast as it was in the brains of kids who spent less time in front of a screen.

In addition to the MRI studies, the 47 children were also given cognitive testing to see if increased screen time had an effect on cognitive skills. The results of these tests showed that excessive screen times were significantly associated with poorer literacy skills, expressive language skills, as well as the ability to rapidly name objects.

Although TV has been around for decades, the introduction of tablets and smart phones has greatly increased the amount of screen time toddlers get. Dr. Hutton reports that by the first year of life, 90% of babies are using screens.

In one of many media interviews on this new study, Dr. Hutton sums up his comments by saying, "Screen-based media use is prevalent and increasing in homes, childcare and school settings at ever younger ages. These findings highlight the need to understand effects of screen time on the brain, particularly during stages of dynamic brain development in early childhood, so that providers, policymakers and parents can set healthy limits."

The American Academy of Pediatrics guidelines recommends that preschool children not spend more than one hour per day unattended in front of screens such as TVs, tablets or smart phones. These recommendations include: 1) Children younger than 18 months only use screens when it’s used for video chatting. 2) Children ages 2-5 years old only consume one hour of screen time per day of "high-quality programs." 3) Families should designate "screen-free" activities. 4) Parents should consume media with their children so they are able to provide context for what they are seeing.

Mid Back Pain and Hunched-Over Posture Improved with Chiropractic

The Journal of Physical Therapy Science published the results of a case study on October 31, 2019, documenting the reduction in mid-back pain along with the improvement of excessive mid-back curvature in a patient undergoing specific chiropractic care.

The authors of the study begin by noting that poor posture is a significant and common problem that can have profound effects on health. Reporting on other studies they stated, "Recently, the European spine study group published a report on poor posture having significant negative effects on the quality of life (QOL) of affected persons; moreover, in comparison to several other well-known diseases, including arthritis, chronic lung disease, diabetes and congestive heart failure, those with poor posture were more significantly affected by having a lower QOL."

In an article earlier in the year in the US News and World Report, 10 things were identified as problems that can result for poor posture. These include exacerbating arthritis, poor circulation, fatigue, negative mood, forward head posture, jaw pain, breathing efficacy, headaches, shoulder and back pain, and sexual dysfunction.

The issue of poor posture is not uncommon in children. This problem has increased with the addition of electronic devices such as smart phones and pads. Studies have shown that poor posture in early life has been shown to translate into back pain as an adult. The study points out that "Since back pain is a leading culprit of adult disability, the correction of poor posture in younger individuals should be a priority."

In this case, a 16-year-old girl went to the chiropractor for complaints of mid-back and lower back pain. She described the pain as an ache that was made worse by standing, resulting in it being very difficult for her to stand for more than an hour at a time. The girl also reported that the pain also occurred at night making it difficult for her to sleep through the night. She noted that her pain had been occurring several times per week over the past few months, and she rated the pain as a 7 out of 10 with 10 being the worst. There was no known past injury or incident that could be identified as the starting point of her problems.

X-rays of the girl’s spine viewed from the side showed a hunched-over appearance with an increase in the mid-back curvature, and an accompanied loss of the normal lower back curvature. Specific forms of chiropractic care were started to address the spinal postural deformities along with home instructions for exercises.

After 8 weeks of chiropractic care, as well as the patient being vigilant on the home exercises, a re-assessment was performed. The girl reported that her back pain had reduced from a 7 out of 10 to just 1 out of 10. She noted that she could now stand for extended periods of time and could sleep throughout the night without being woken up by the pain. She also volunteered that her mood had improved as well. Follow-up x-rays confirmed that the curvatures had started to improve toward the more correct positions.

Excessive Lumbar Curve and Lower Back Pain Reduced with Chiropractic

On October 31, 2019, the Journal of Physical Therapy Science published a case study showing the improvement in lower back pain and reduction of increased lumbar curvature in a patient receiving chiropractic care.

In the introduction, the authors to the study point out, "Low back pain (LBP) is an important source of disability in the modern world. Although there are many non-surgical treatments for low back disorders, few have evidence of successfully improving the proper biomechanical alignment after treatment." Specific forms of chiropractic care deal with correcting the underlying biomechanical issues responsible for creating the pain.

The study reports that many people with lower back pain also have a postural situation where their pelvis it tilted forward and they have an increase in their lower back curvature. This then forces the upper back to be further forward over the pelvis increasing the stress. This postural situation is known as lumbar spine hyperlordosis.

In this case, a 47-year-old woman went to a chiropractor seeking relief. Her primary complaints were lower back pain (LBP) and hip pains that had been constant for the last 5–6 years since the woman’s first pregnancy. She described the pain as an ache with tightness that would also feel like it was locked. Sitting seemed to make the condition worse and would also cause numbness and tingling in her legs and feet. She rated the pain as 3 out of 10 (10 being worst) at the time of her exam but noted that the pain did flare up as high as a 6 at times.

The examination showed a restricted lower back range of motion which caused some discomfort and tightness. Palpation of the woman’s lower back revealed tight musculature in her low back. X-rays of the woman’s spine confirmed the abnormal spinal positioning and the presence of subluxations. Based on the findings, specific forms of chiropractic care were performed as well as the woman being given specific exercises to perform.

After four months of care, a full re-evaluation was performed to monitor the progress. At that time, the woman reported marked improvement in her lower back and hip pain to the point where she commented that she felt her pain was "virtually gone."

Follow-up x-rays confirmed that there was a significant improvement in her lower back curvature and pelvic positioning. After 9 months of care, the woman’s spine continued to show positive changes on the x-rays and she commented that she rarely ever noticed any back pain at all.

In the discussion of this study, the authors summed up the case by stating, "This case documents the significant improvement in lumbar sagittal alignment in a patient presenting with anterior sagittal balance, lumbar hyperlordosis, and increased sacral tilt. The improvement in subluxated posture resulted in dramatic reduction of pain and an increase in functional ability after 73 treatments over a 13-month time period."