Immune Function and Chiropractic
On March 28, 2020, the International Chiropractors Association (ICA) released a 26 page report titled, "Immune Function and Chiropractic, What Does the Evidence Provide?" This comprehensive report looks at how immunity works, its relationship to the nerve system, and how chiropractic can have a positive effect on immune function.
The report establishes that the immune system is influenced by the function of the nerve system. "Considerable evidence has mounted to support active communication between the nervous system and the immune system. The nervous system, including the brain and the peripheral divisions can either stimulate or inhibit various activities of both the innate and adaptive immune systems."
Dr Steven Welsh, president of the ICA, clarified the relationship between immune function and chiropractic by saying, "Although there are no clinical trials to substantiate a direct causal relationship between the chiropractic adjustment and increased protection from the COVID-19 virus, there is a growing body of evidence that there is a relationship between the nervous system and the immune system."
Chiropractic was founded in 1895 by D.D. Palmer, who asked the question 120 years ago as to the nature of infectious disease when he said, "One question was always uppermost in my mind in my search for the cause of disease. I desired to know why one person was ailing and his associate, eating at the same table working in the same shop, at the same bench, was not. Why? What difference was there in the two persons that caused one to have pneumonia, catarrh, typhoid or rheumatism, while his partner, similarly situated, escaped? Why?"
The report cites numerous other scientific studies and reports linking chiropractic to the effect on the nerve system, and in turn, the nerve system's affect on stress and immune function. The report notes, "As an essential health care provider, the chiropractor is in a unique position to assist their patients during this time of heightened stress. Although there are no clinical trials to substantiate a direct causal relationship between the chiropractic adjustment and increased protection from the COVID-19 virus, there is a growing body of evidence that there is a relationship between the nervous system and the immune system."
The reports conclusion states,
"Chiropractic is a health care discipline which emphasizes
the inherent recuperative power of the body to heal itself
without the use of drugs or surgery. The practice of
Human Motor Function
Improved with Chiropractic
The Annals of Vertebral Subluxation Research published the results of a study on March 23, 2020, documenting improvement of motor muscular function as measured in grip strength of patients receiving chiropractic adjustments. Muscular function is essential for mobility and a good quality of life.
The study begins by noting why most people seek chiropractic care. "Most people who visit a chiropractor complain of some form of discomfort, very commonly in the neck and lower back. Chiropractic adjustments have long been known to be a popular choice in helping to alleviate these discomforts. To date, numerous studies have suggested that other than symptomatic relief, chiropractic care can improve muscular strength."
One way of testing a specific aspect of muscular strength is by testing grip strength measured using a hand dynamometer. To use this instrument, the patient grasps the unit and squeezes it as hard as they can with one hand. The amount of pressure is recorded on the instrument thus showing the grip strength.
In this study, 100 volunteer chiropractic patients had their grip strength tested for both hands immediately prior to, and again after, specific chiropractic adjustments. The adjustments were given to correct subluxations that had been detected in the patients' spines with the purpose of reducing or removing nerve system interference. Any recorded differences in grip strength before the adjustment, and then immediately after the chiropractic adjustment would show how the adjustment affected nerve function and muscular strength.
The results of the study showed that all but two patients had some degree of grip strength increase with 95% of the 100 patients having at least a 5% increase. The results showed that most of the patients had a far higher increase in grip strength. Of the 100 patients tested, 19 patients showed a 6-10% increase, 31 showed an 11-15% increase, 13 showed a 21-25% increase and 7 patients showed an increased grip strength greater than 40%.
In the discussion section, the author noted that "Chiropractic has been considered to be an effective and safe therapy for musculoskeletal disorders with significant results in both short and long term. It is comparatively safe when performed on patients without contraindications." Correction of subluxations has been shown to have a positive effect of nerve system function and resulting muscular function and strength. In the study conclusion the author explained, "The correction of the vertebral subluxation can stimulate the corresponding spinal nerve roots responsible for grip strength."
Dysfunction Resolved Under Chiropractic Care
The Journal of Pediatric, Maternal & Family Health published the results of a case study on March 5, 2020, documenting the chiropractic resolution of a case of a mother who was unable to produce enough milk for her newborn twins.
The author of the study begins by noting the importance of the problem of milk production. "Unsuccessful breastfeeding is an issue that is affecting most of the world and is becoming more of a recognized problem by lactation consultants, pediatricians, midwives and alternative healthcare providers." The author reports that most of the studies related to chiropractic and lactation are related to the baby's inability to latch to the mother and suckle properly.
The positive effects of breastfeeding are well documented. The study reports, "The benefits of breastfeeding to the infant are not merely nutritional in value. When comparing breastfed to formula fed babies, studies also show a decrease in the risk of newborn diseases, such as ear infections, urinary tract infections, and diarrhea as well as many other long term conditions including obesity, diabetes, allergies, asthma and many other chronic illnesses."
In this case study, a 36-year-old woman who had delivered twins two weeks earlier sought chiropractic care because of her inability to produce enough milk during nursing. She also suffered from pain in her right upper back and neck into her right shoulder. The study noted that the woman was growing more depressed about the struggle to produce breast milk.
A chiropractic examination showed a reduction of spinal range of motion in the woman's neck along with multiple areas of muscle spasm. It was determined that subluxations were present in the woman's lower neck and upper back areas. Specific chiropractic adjustments were given to address the issues found.
The study recorded that immediately after her adjustment the mother felt more relaxed and had full range of motion in her neck, upper back and shoulder areas. She also commented that she felt an increased blood flow to her arm and hand.
Later after her first adjustment, the woman contacted the chiropractor's office to report that she was able to produce much more milk, doubling the amount she was previously able to produce. Follow-up evaluations showed continued improvement in her range of motions as well as continued success in breastfeeding. The woman also reported her stress levels were much lower and she was feeling happier and emotionally more stable.
In the study conclusion the author wrote, "An important and overlooked variable in successful nursing is the nursing mother's health and wellness. Removing subluxations in her nervous system has the potential to allow her body to respond properly to nursling and recover from the stress of labor and delivery. A healthy nervous system and a nursing relationship should be a priority to both the mother and the baby and also their healthcare provider."
Neck Pain and
Immobility Helped in Patient with Severe Degenerative Disc
On March 23, 2020, the Annals of Vertebral Subluxation Research published the results of a case study documenting chiropractic helping an elderly patient who was suffering from severe neck pain and immobility with significant spinal disc degeneration.
The authors of the study begin by noting how common musculoskeletal and spinal degenerative issues are in the population. "Musculoskeletal pain is a leading cause of disability in the United States. As age and degeneration progresses without proper care, the probability increases that degeneration of the spine ensues to the point of complete disability. Degenerative disc disease is a very common cause for neck pain."
Spinal disc degeneration is a progressive and worsening problem if not properly cared for. Web-MD explains the process on their website by saying, "Degenerative disk disease is when normal changes that take place in the disks of your spine cause pain. Spinal disks are like shock absorbers between the vertebrae, or bones, of your spine. They help your back stay flexible, so you can bend and twist. As you get older, they can show signs of wear and tear. They begin to break down and may not work as well."
The authors of this study explain the process of disc degeneration by noting "When there is a breakdown of the intervertebral discs in the cervical spine, it can lead to pain, immobility, osteophyte formation and even radiating arm pain and associated weakness; all of which can be associated with vertebral subluxation."
In this case, a 78-year-old woman suffering from neck pain for over 25 years went to the chiropractor hoping to get some relief. She told the chiropractor that her neck pain was so severe, rating it as a 7 out of 10 with 10 being the worst, that she was unable to perform normal duties at work which resulted in decreased work hours due to her pain and inability to function. Her pain was so severe that she was unable to turn her head while driving to view traffic and she was scared that she may have to surrender her drivers license.
A chiropractic examination and x-rays confirmed severe spinal degeneration with stenosis of the spinal canal and severe spinal subluxations. Due to these findings, age and condition appropriate specific chiropractic adjustments were given at the rate of two times per week for the first six weeks of care. The focus of the care was to address the subluxations found in her spine.
After four chiropractic adjustments, the woman reported no pain for the first time in over 20 years. After two months, the patient reported that she was able to return to work for a full day without pain. Follow-up examinations confirmed an improvement in her spinal ranges of motion and function.
In their study conclusion, the authors summed up this case by saying, "This patient initially viewed themselves as disabled with inability to perform her job and endangering the safety of others while driving. She can now resume activities of daily living such as working a full workday and driving with no complication following the delivery of chiropractic care."