October 2019

  • Chronic Migraines Helped with Chiropractic
  • Meniere’s Disease & Trigeminal Neuralgia Improved Under Chiropractic Care
  • Earaches and Infection Gone and Ear Tube Surgery Canceled Due to Chiropractic
  • Babies' Gut Bacteria Affected by Delivery Method
  • Babies with Misshapen Heads Helped by Chiropractic According to Study
  • Spinal Pain Patients Under Chiropractic Care Less Likely to Use Opioids

Chronic Migraines Helped with Chiropractic

On September 2, 2019, the journal the Annals of Vertebral Subluxation Research published a study that documented the case of a woman who had been suffering with chronic migraines and hypnic headaches being helped by chiropractic.

Headaches have been described for over a millennium dating back to around 1200 B.C. The study reports that there is a 90% rate of the population suffering from a headache at some point in time. According to Healthline, "A hypnic headache is a rare type of headache that wakes people from sleep. They’re sometimes referred to as alarm-clock headaches. Hypnic headaches only affect people when they’re sleeping. They often occur around the same time several nights a week."

Migraine headaches are a severe form of headache that can be debilitating. The Mayo Clinic describes this severe form of headache by stating, "A migraine can cause severe throbbing pain or a pulsing sensation, usually on one side of the head. It's often accompanied by nausea, vomiting, and extreme sensitivity to light and sound. Migraine attacks can last for hours to days, and the pain can be so severe that it interferes with your daily activities." Migraines affect 10% of the global population and is the seventh leading cause of time spent disabled.

In this case, a 59-year-old woman presented herself to a chiropractor for evaluation and possible chiropractic care. At that time, she was suffering with migraine and hypnic headaches as well as nausea and skin rashes. She reported that she had been suffering with headaches "all her life" and they had gotten worse over the last five months. Her migraines began 15 years ago when she had gotten pregnant. She had tried a variety of over the counter medications and other therapies that had only given her limited short-term relief. The woman stated that the headaches were having a significant impact on her quality of life.

A chiropractic examination was performed which included a visual inspection showing that she carried her head more forward than is normal. Palpation and other examination procedures led the chiropractor to conclude that subluxations were present. Based upon the findings, specific forms of chiropractic adjustments were started.

The woman’s schedule for chiropractic care was initially twice per week for 6 weeks.  After a re-exam, the care proceeded at the rate of twice per week for 3 months, and then once per week for 6 weeks. The study records that the results of the care were a complete resolution of both the woman’s migraines and hypnic headaches. As a result of the chiropractic care and additional lifestyle changes, the study reports that the woman is "now living with rarely occurring headaches and able to perform work and every day duties uninterrupted."

Meniere’s Disease & Trigeminal Neuralgia Improved Under Chiropractic Care

The Annals of Vertebral Subluxation Research published a case study on September 16, 2019, documenting the case of a patient who was suffering with Meniere’s Disease and Trigeminal Neuralgia being helped by chiropractic. A similar case study published in the Journal of Upper Cervical Chiropractic Research on August 26, 2019, reported on an additional case of trigeminal neuralgia being helped with chiropractic.

According to Medline Plus, "Meniere's disease is a disorder of the inner ear. It can cause severe dizziness, a roaring sound in your ears called tinnitus, hearing loss that comes and goes and the feeling of ear pressure or pain. It usually affects just one ear."

In describing trigeminal neuralgia, Medline Plus states, "Trigeminal neuralgia (TN) is a type of chronic pain that affects your face. It causes extreme, sudden burning or shock-like pain. It usually affects one side of the face. Any vibration on your face, even from talking, can set it off. The condition may come and go, disappearing for days or even months. But the longer you have it, the less often it goes away."

In the first case, a 59-year-old woman went to the chiropractor seeking help with a variety of symptoms. She was suffering with episodes of Meniere’s Disease and Trigeminal Neuralgia (TN) following a fall on the stairs resulting in an impact to the base of her skull eighteen years ago. Additionally, the woman also reported hearing loss in the right ear, headaches, asthma and wheezing from occasional allergies, and arm tremors in both arms.

In the second case, a 62-year-old woman with trigeminal neuralgia went to the chiropractor. Her symptoms included chronic right-side facial pain for the past two years, pain in her left knee for 6 months, and irritation on the bottom of her right foot. She also reported having anxiety, bilateral cold hands and feet, and carpal tunnel syndrome.

In both cases, a chiropractic examination was performed which included a postural inspection, palpation, spinal thermography, surface EMG studies and spinal x-rays. In both of these cases, it was determined that vertebral subluxations were present. A unique course of care was created for each woman with specific forms of chiropractic adjustments.

The case studies both showed that the women got significant relief with their major complaints of trigeminal neuralgia. In addition, the other complaints that the woman were suffering with either resolved or were greatly reduced. Each study recorded how the improvements positively impacted the quality of life for each of the woman.

In the conclusion of one of the studies, the authors note the importance of correcting subluxation in patients suffering from trigeminal neuralgia or Meniere’s disease. "Meniere’s Disease and Trigeminal Neuralgia negatively affect the quality of life and ability to perform activities of daily living for those that suffer from them, either independently or concurrently. Treatment for these conditions can be quite invasive and with varying levels of success and therefore many of those suffering look for alternative therapies. The primary focus of the Chiropractic care is to reduce the VSC," (vertebral subluxation complex).

Earaches and Infection Gone and Ear Tube Surgery Canceled Due to Chiropractic

In the September 9, 2019, issue of the Journal of Pediatric, Maternal & Family Health appears a case study that documents how chiropractic helped a young girl who was suffering with ear infections recover and avoid scheduled ear tube surgery. 

Otitis media is the technical name for an ear infection. According to the Mayo Clinic, "An ear infection (sometimes called acute otitis media) is an infection of the middle ear, the air-filled space behind the eardrum that contains the tiny vibrating bones of the ear. Children are more likely than adults to get ear infections."

This study begins by the authors reporting that acute otitis media (AOM), is a common disorder with 23% of children will have experienced this condition by year one. Most of the cases of AOM are observed ages at 6 to 12 months. Not too long ago, common medical treatment of AOM was to give the child ongoing antibiotics in an attempt to prevent further infections. More recently, the quick antibiotic approach has been less common in favor of managing the pain and monitoring the problem in the hope that the problem self-resolves.

In a growing effort to reduce the usage of drugs by children, many parents have turned to other forms of care or treatment for their children suffering with otitis media. The study reports, "A popular option and highly utilized alternative care approach for children is chiropractic."

In this case, a 3-year-old girl was brought to the chiropractor by her mother for a chiropractic consultation and possible care. The girl had been suffering with chronic ear infections. According to her mother, the girl's ear infections were made worse by a cold or the flu. The child had been through multiple rounds of antibiotics. Each time antibiotics were used, the ear infections would appear to clear up but then return again after the therapy was discontinued. At the time of the chiropractic examination the little girl was scheduled for tympanostomy ventilation tube surgery.

Upon examination, it was noted that the girl was suffering with infections in both ears and was visibly in pain as she appeared agitated and was continually grabbing at her ears. In  addition to inspection of the ears, a spinal examination was performed which included both static palpation and light motion of the girl's spine. From the examination it was determined that subluxations were present in the girl's spine.

With the permission of the girl's mother, specific forms of age appropriate chiropractic adjustment were begun. The girl was scheduled for ear tube surgery two weeks after the start of her chiropractic care. Due to the results from her receiving chiropractic care in those two weeks, her medical doctor cancelled the ear tube surgery because the infection had cleared.

The study records the response of the girl's mother by stating, "Given the response of the patient to chiropractic care, the patient’s mother elected to have her child attend chiropractic care on a wellness basis. The child continues to receive chiropractic care on a wellness basis and has not experienced another bout of OM (otitis media)."

Babies' Gut Bacteria Affected by Delivery Method

The above headline came from a Science Daily article published on September 18, 2019. The article is based on a study published on the same day in Nature International Journal of Science.   The article begins by noting, "Babies born vaginally have different gut bacteria -- their microbiome -- than those delivered by Caesarean, research has shown."

The term "microbiome" is described by the The Center for Ecogenetics and Environmental Health, University of Washington, "The microbiome is the genetic material of all the microbes - bacteria, fungi, protozoa and viruses - that live on and inside the human body." They also report that there are over 100 trillion microbes in our body's which is ten times more that our human cells.

These microbiomes, which were not generally recognized to exist until the late 1990s, have many important functions in our body. The Center for Ecogenetics and Environmental Health describes some of these by stating, "The bacteria in the microbiome help digest our food, regulate our immune system, protect against other bacteria that cause disease, and produce vitamins including the B vitamins B12, thiamine and riboflavin, and Vitamin K, which is needed for blood coagulation."

Scientists from the Nature International Journal of Science study discovered that vaginally born babies got most of their gut bacteria from their mother. In contrast, those babies born via caesarean had more bacteria that came from hospital environments in their guts. It is obvious that the normal microbiomes associated with a normal vaginal birth offer better immune protection as well as facilitate the normal functions that are essential from these gut bacteria.

The researchers reported that by a cesarean baby's first birthday, the gut bacteria was finally similar to the baby born via vaginal birth. The study scientists, who were from the Wellcome Sanger Institute, UCL, the University of Birmingham in the United Kingdom, noted that the importance of the gut bacteria in infants is not fully understood. They did, however, note the important role they know it plays. "The gut microbiome is a complex ecosystem of millions of microbes, and is thought to be important for the development of the immune system. Lack of exposure to the right microbes in early childhood has been implicated in autoimmune diseases such as asthma, allergies and diabetes."

Professor Peter Brocklehurst, University of Birmingham and Principal Investigator summed up the importance of continuing research in this area by saying, "The first weeks of life are a critical window of development of the baby’s immune system, but we know very little about it. We urgently need to follow up this study, looking at these babies as they grow to see if early differences in the microbiome lead to any health issues."  

Babies with Misshapen Heads Helped by Chiropractic According to Study

A study published in the September 19, 2019, issue of the Journal of Pediatric, Maternal & Family Health showed that chiropractic care can help infants and babies who have misshapen heads known as plagiocephaly. When the deformation of a baby's head is not caused by a congenital anomaly, or it occurs during birth or after the infant is born due to positioning, it is referred to as positional plagiocephaly.

In describing this condition the authors of the study noted, "When the overall shape of the skull becomes asymmetrical as a result of direct pressure it can be termed deformational plagiocephaly. According to the International Society for Pediatric Neurology, 20% of infants at 2 months old have plagiocephaly and as many as 29.5% have it at 2 years old."

According to the study, the "Back to Sleep" program, which started in 1992, saw an increase of positional plagiocephaly as babies were made to sleep on their back earlier that was normal for them. The Back to Sleep program was an attempt to decrease the incidence of Sudden Infant Death syndrome, (SIDs).

Common medical treatment for positional plagiocephaly is having the baby wear a helmet for up to 23 hours each day for 2-6 months. This approach does carry some adverse effects including pressure sores, skin irritation, and infection.

In this case series, three babies were brought in for a chiropractic evaluation by their parents to see if chiropractic could help them. All three infants were 2.5 months old and were brought to the chiropractor by their parents who were concerned with the shape of their baby’s head as well as the possible consequences of leaving their babies' untreated.

All three babies were given specific forms of chiropractic adjustments with the goal of reducing vertebral subluxation that were detected to be present. In all three cases, the authors of the study reported that the babies' heads showed improvement and were more symmetrical within several weeks of chiropractic care. They also reported that other symptoms and health issues were also improved, creating an improved quality of life for the infants.

In the conclusion of the study, the authors wrote, "The results of this case series show the improvement of plagiocephaly in three infants following subluxation-based chiropractic care. This suggests that chiropractic care may be underutilized as a conservative management for children with plagiocephaly."

Spinal Pain Patients Under Chiropractic Care Less Likely to Use Opioids

A study published on September 27, 2019, in Oxford Academic's Pain Medicine showed that patients with spinal pain who utilized chiropractic were less likely to use opioids than those who did not receive chiropractic care.

The title of the study, "Association Between Chiropractic Use and Opioid Receipt Among Patients with Spinal Pain: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis" had the stated objective, "To investigate the current evidence to determine if there is an association between chiropractic use and opioid receipt."

According to the National Institutes of Health's, National Institutes of Drug Abuse, "Every day, more than 130 people in the United States die after overdosing on opioids." The problem has become so severe that numerous studies have been done to look at alternatives to opiod treatment for pain. In 2018, there were over 70,000 opioid drug overdose deaths in the U.S.

Chiropractic has long been the leading drugless approach for people suffering with pain. Recently a number of studies have specifically shown that chiropractic care reduces opioid usage in the general population. These studies have prompted health professionals and researchers both inside and outside of chiropractic to voice their support for the chiropractic non-drug approach.

Dr. Kelsey L. Corcoran, DC, VA Connecticut Health Care System and Yale Center for Medical Informatics, Yale School of Medicine, New Haven, who was a lead author on one such prior study commented in a recent Medline article, "Preventing opioid addiction and overdose continues to be a significant public health priority; and as part of a strategy to lessen opioid use, clinical guidelines now recommend many non-pharmacological options to be considered as front-line treatment ahead of any medication."

The study in pain medicine looked at 684 previous research articles and narrowed them down to the ones they felt were the most solid from a scientific basis. From looking at these studies, the researchers were able to show that people under chiropractic care with spine related pain had a 64% lower chance of receiving an opioid prescription.

In their conclusion, the authors of this study recognized the impact the results could have on the opioid epidemic we are now facing. They stated, "This review demonstrated an inverse association between chiropractic use and opioid receipt among patients with spinal pain. Further research is warranted to assess this association and the implications it may have for case management strategies to decrease opioid use."