Resolution of Failure to Thrive in Infant After Chiropractic
The Journal of Pediatric, Maternal & Family Health published the results of a case study on February 19, 2020, documenting the resolution of failure to thrive in a baby who has suffered birth trauma. The term “failure to thrive” (FTT) is when the weight or rate of weight gain of an infant or child is significantly below what would be considered normal for others of the same age or sex.
There are considered to be two types of FTT. The first type of FFT is nonorganic growth failure (NOFTT). This is when there is failure to thrive due to environmental issues such as neglect or poverty. The second type of FTT is organic growth failure (OFTT) This is when digestive issues may be the underlying reason causing the child to either not absorb food properly or not take in enough calories from their food to support their health.
The study reports that up to 5 percent of all infants in the United States are affected by a form of FFT prior to the age of 6 months. The percentage of FTT is higher in premature babies and those born into poverty. They note that approximately 5 to 10 percent of primary care pediatric physician visits and 3 to 5 percent of all pediatric hospital admissions are due to FTT.
According to the history of this case, a mother of a two-month-old infant brought her son into the chiropractor's office in the hope of getting her son some help. The case history described the mother as “desperate and distraught”, and seeking chiropractic as a last resort after all else had failed. Previous medical care included several emergency room visits when the infant had stop breathing, as well as a gastrointestinal physician, and three pediatricians.
The infant’s situation was that he was not gaining weight and had actually lost one pound since birth. He had profuse vomiting, often out of the nose, constipation, and irritability He would only sleep for 20 minutes at a time and would often stop breathing. He would often choke during feedings and was suffering with acid reflux. The infant’s hearing was noticeably deficient, and he was not responding to the sight or noise of others. He was obviously in distress as he was consistently in a balled position with his toes curled, knees up, fists clenched, and arms tightly locked to his body.
A chiropractic examination determined that areas of vertebral subluxation were present. Chiropractic care was started for the infant at the rate of twice per day for the first two weeks. Specific form of age and size appropriate adjustments were given to the boy.
Following the first adjustment, the mother reported that her son took his first nap ever which lasted five hours. Upon returning the same day for the second adjustment, the boy’s mother was crying tears of joy. After the second adjustment on the first day, the infant immediately had a large bowel movement that overflowed his diaper. After two weeks of only chiropractic care, the infant boy had recovered from all his symptoms except the breathing issues and his vomiting. It was later determined that the boy was allergic to certain foods. Once his diet was adjusted for this issue, the boy eventually recovered from all his symptoms.
In their conclusion the study authors wrote, “The current case study adds support to the utilization of chiropractic care in cases of children diagnosed with FTT when psychosocial and organic causes (chronic diseases, genetic disorders, pulmonary diseases, etc.) have been ruled out.”
Improvement in Arm
Pain, Weakness, Numbness, Tingling and Spinal Alignment with
The Annals of Vertebral Subluxation Research published the results of a case study in their journal on January 30, 2020, documenting the structural improvement of a woman’s spine who was suffering with arm pain, weakness, numbness, and tingling, known collectively as radiculopathy.
In most case studies, the focus of the researchers is the symptomatic resolution of the main complaints that the patient was suffering with when they first started chiropractic care. This published study focuses on the objective documented changes to the structure of this patient’s spine in addition to the symptomatic improvement the patient received.
According to the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons, “Cervical radiculopathy, commonly called a ‘pinched nerve’ occurs when a nerve in the neck is compressed or irritated where it branches away from the spinal cord. This may cause pain that radiates into the shoulder, as well as muscle weakness and numbness that travels down the arm and into the hand.” The study reports that cervical radiculopathy occurs in about 85 out of 100,000 people.
In this case, a woman was suffering with right arm numbness and pain, as well as tingling down into her fingers that started for two months prior to seeking chiropractic care. She went to her medical physician who took x-rays of her neck and prescribed anti-inflammatory medication, steroids, and performed an injection. She had also seen a physical therapist three times per week and had recently received an MRI.
A chiropractic examination was performed which included physical procedures as well as thermography of the spine and spinal x-rays. The results of these test along with the MRI that was previously done showed that there were degenerative changes with spinal cord narrowing in the woman’s neck. The chiropractic diagnosis was multiple areas of cervical subluxations. From this information, a course of specific chiropractic care was started to address the subluxations.
Inherent in the determination of a subluxation is the fact that vertebrae are out of their normal position and postural changes have often occurred. This case study specifically noted those changes and showed that in follow-up x-rays, there was a positive change in the physical positioning of vertebrae as well as the woman gaining symptomatic relief.
For the purpose of this study, the authors gave a definition of subluxation as the following; “A condition where a vertebra has lost normal juxtaposition with the one above or the one below or both, to the extent less than a luxation, occluding an opening, impinging nerves, and interfering with the normal flow of the mental impulses from the brain and tissue.”
In their conclusion, the authors noted that through specific correction of the subluxations found in this patient, there was improvement in both the patient’s subjective symptoms, as well as improved objective findings related to the structural spinal position as shown on follow-up x-ray studies.
Anxiety and Neck
Pain Helped with Chiropractic
The Journal of Contemporary Chiropractic published the results of a case study February 14, 2020, documenting the improvement of neck pain, anxiety and cortisol levels as a result of chiropractic care. Elevated cortisol levels are typically associated with stress and anxiety, and measuring cortisol levels is a good way to measure a reduction in anxiety levels.
The study begins by noting how common neck pain is, and the connection between neck pain and anxiety. “Neck pain is common and has a considerable impact on individuals and their families, communities, healthcare systems, and businesses. At least 33% and as high as 65% of people have suffered and recovered from an episode of neck pain within the last year.”
The study also points out that women are more likely than men to suffer from persistent neck pain and neck problems. The authors also report, “Of all 291 conditions studied in the World Health Organization (WHO) Global Burden of Disease 2010 (GBD) study, neck pain ranked 4th in terms of disability and contributes to an economic burden of billions of dollars in costs associated with treatment and lost work time.”
The American Psychological Association defines anxiety by stating, “Anxiety is an emotion characterized by feelings of tension, worried thoughts and physical changes like increased blood pressure. People with anxiety disorders usually have recurring intrusive thoughts or concerns. They may avoid certain situations out of worry. They may also have physical symptoms such as sweating, trembling, dizziness or a rapid heartbeat.”
In this case, a 40-year-old woman was suffering for the previous two weeks with chronic recurring neck pain and headache that was made worse by an increase of desk and computer work. She described her condition as constant pain with tension throughout the upper back and neck which was made worse by sitting or driving. She was also suffering with headaches. The pain, which the woman rated as 7 out of 10 with 10 being the worst, made sleeping difficult. The woman reported a history of anxiety which was getting worse as her pain was increasing.
A chiropractic examination was performed which included a postural inspection, spinal range of motions tests, static and motion spinal palpation, and spinal x-rays. The conclusion from these tests was that subluxations were present. The woman also submitted to a saliva test to establish a baseline salivary cortisol level so that this could be compared to future cortisol level tests as a measure of anxiety and stress levels.
Regular specific chiropractic adjustments were given over a 12-week period. As care was progressing, the woman reported that her symptoms were significantly improving and that her headaches had completely resolved. She also reported that she no longer had trouble sleeping and her anxiety was gone. To objectively measure the woman’s anxiety levels, a follow-up saliva study was performed to test the woman’s cortisol levels. This test showed a reduction of salivary cortisol levels, thus confirming her reduction in anxiety.
In their conclusion the authors noted, “Chiropractic management of chronic, recurring neck pain and headache in a patient with anxiety was associated with subjective improvement in both musculoskeletal and anxiety symptoms resulting in improved physical function.”
Harris Poll Shows
81 Percent Say Chiropractic Effective for Athletes
On March 4, 2020, the Foundation for Chiropractic Progress released the results of a Harris Poll Showing that 81 percent of the general public believe chiropractic is effective for athletes. The survey was commissioned by the Foundation for Chiropractic Progress (F4CP), a not-for-profit organization dedicated to educating the public about the value of chiropractic care.
In January of 2020, the Harris Poll conducted a survey of 2,015 U.S. consumers over the age of 18 to measure their opinions of chiropractic for both professional and amateur athletes. The results showed that more than 8 in 10 of them thought chiropractic was effective for both amateur and professional athletes alike.
The survey further showed that 49 percent of respondents thought that chiropractic was “very effective" for athletes to "restore joint function and support the neuro-musculoskeletal system."
Competitive athletes have known the benefits of chiropractic for some time. Currently all National Football League teams have a chiropractor as part of their training and medical staff. Additionally, most National Basketball Association teams and most Major League Baseball teams also have chiropractors on staff or available to help their athletes.
Top level individual athletes have also recognized the benefits of chiropractic as many Olympic athletes have chiropractors they depend on for peak performance. For over a decade, the Arnold Classic sports event held yearly in Columbus, Ohio, has been conducted in conjunction with the International Chiropractors Association Sports Symposium. At that event, Arnold Schwarzenegger himself speaks to the group of chiropractors and testifies as to the benefits of chiropractic.
Sherry McAllister, DC, executive vice president of F4CP, commented on the Harris poll by saying, “The Harris Poll results verify what amateur and professional athletes have known for years: not only does chiropractic care help them prevent and recover from injury, it also improves their performance in the competitive arena.” She continued, “This is exactly why doctors of chiropractic are on staff for various types of professional sports teams and will be in Japan this summer caring for our Olympic athletes.”
The study showed that a higher percentage of millennials ages 18 to 34 had favorable opinions on chiropractic. As many as 88 percent thought chiropractic was beneficial for athletes compared to 69 percent for those 65 and older.
“Chiropractic care delivers pain relief, improved mobility and overall better quality of life and athletic performance for millions of patients around the world, so I'm not surprised that so many consumers of different backgrounds have similar positive perspectives," said Dr. McAllister. "In some cases, patients may be required to pay more out-of-pocket for chiropractic care due to health plan restrictions, which may influence their opinion. My hope is that more health insurers look at the evidence of chiropractic care's superior patient outcomes and satisfaction so that more consumers and athletes of all ages can access our care in the future.”
Opioid Prescriptions by Half According to Study
The American Academy of Pain Medicine published the results of a study on March 6, 2020, in their journal Pain Medicine showing that utilizing chiropractic reduces the number of opioid prescriptions.
The stated objective of this study was, “Utilization of nonpharmacological pain management may prevent unnecessary use of opioids. Our objective was to evaluate the impact of chiropractic utilization upon use of prescription opioids among patients with spinal pain.”
The study begins by identifying the scale of the problem, “Drug overdose deaths in 2017 increased by almost 10% over 2016, with opioids accounting for almost 48,000 cases.” The authors point out that a need for a safe and drug-free alternative is needed to help reduce the opioid epidemic issue. They also note that the “Institute of Medicine has recommended the use of nonpharmacological therapies as effective alternatives to pharmacotherapy for patients with chronic musculoskeletal pain.”
The American College of Physicians also recommends non-pharmacological approaches to treating back pain. Presently, of all U.S. adults who are prescribed opioids, 59 percent are for back pain.
Several previous studies have shown that chiropractic reduces the use of opioids. One study of 165,569 adults diagnosed with low back pain found that utilization of chiropractic was associated with reduced use of opioids. Another study of 14,025 military veterans showed a reduction of opioid usage after chiropractic care was started.
This study was conducted by looking at 101,221 insurance claims of people in three U.S. states who were suffering with musculoskeletal complaints. The study compared to see the number of opioid prescriptions filled over a six-year period for those who went to a chiropractor compared to those who did not.
The results of this study showed that chiropractic recipients were at about half the risk of seeking an opioid prescription over the six-year follow-up period than those that did not get chiropractic. The study also showed that those who sought chiropractic earlier for their problem were even less likely to seek an opioid prescription than those that waited longer to see a chiropractor.
In their conclusion the authors summed up the results by stating, “Among patients with spinal pain disorders, for recipients of chiropractic care, the risk of filling a prescription for an opioid analgesic over a six-year period was reduced by half, as compared with nonrecipients. Among those who saw a chiropractor within 30 days of being diagnosed with a spinal pain disorder, the reduction in risk was greater as compared with those who visited a chiropractor after the acute phase had passed.”
Disc Herniation Helped by Chiropractic
The results of a case study were published on February 6, 2020, in the Annals of Vertebral Subluxation Research showing that chiropractic can even help a dog with disc herniation. Since dogs have a spine, they are susceptible to disc herniations like humans. Dachshunds are especially susceptible to this issue because of their long body shape suspended by a short set of legs at each end.
In humans, disc protrusion and herniations can lead to pain, numbness, tingling, and/or weakness in the extremities, pain in the buttocks, thigh or calf and can travel as far down the leg as the foot. Although the anatomy is somewhat different, dogs can suffer from disc herniations as well.
In this case a 7-year-old male Dachshund who was normally very active was slowing down and exhibiting signs of being in pain. The owner noticed that the dog’s gait had changed and that he began to yelp when jumping from a bed or other surface. His appetite also decreased, and he started to show less interest in treats that he was previously very excited to get.
His owner took him to a veterinarian who noted that his reflexes had diminished in his rear legs. The dog was prescribed anti-inflammatories, a steroid, and painkillers. A canine neurologist recommended an MRI which confirmed a herniated disc. The dog continued to get worse and cried throughout the night. He also started refusing all food. At this point, the canine neurologist agreed to refer the dog to an animal chiropractor.
After a chiropractic examination, it was determined that subluxations were present. The study defines subluxations as, “A subluxation is defined as a misalignment of a vertebra, in relation to the one above and below it. This causes a biomechanical change that in turn causes interference in the nervous system causing it to be unable to properly communicate with the different parts of the body”.
Chiropractic adjustments were started on the dog’s affected areas. It was observed that following the first adjustment, the dog walked better and gave a full body shake, which was something that he had previously been unable to do.
At the second visit to the chiropractor, the owner said that the dog seemed to be “totally back to normal.” The dog was taken back to the canine neurologist who stated that there was vast improvement, his hind leg reflexes were present, and he was eating normally. He had normal bladder and bowel movements.
It should be noted that the laws governing animals receiving chiropractic vary from state to state and jurisdiction. Some laws allow open access to chiropractors for animals while others require special certifications and a referral or partnership in care with a veterinarian.
In their conclusion the authors wrote, “This case report provides supporting evidence that the use of conservative chiropractic care to find and adjust subluxations can be beneficial to canines suffering from symptomatic lumbar disc herniation.”