February 2021

  • Painful Menstruation, Shoulder Pain and Lower Back Pain Helped by Chiropractic
  • Resolution of Failure to Thrive in an Infant Following Chiropractic Care to Reduce Vertebral Subluxation
  • Low Heart Rate, Fatigue and Lightheadedness Improved in Senior Under Chiropractic Care
  • Hockey Player Forced to Retire Due to Spinal Problems Able to Play Again with Chiropractic

Painful Menstruation,  Shoulder Pain and Lower Back Pain Helped by Chiropractic

On January 11, 2021, the journal Annals of Vertebral Subluxation Research published the results of a case study documenting the resolution of dysmenorrhea, shoulder pain and low back pain in a woman under chiropractic care. The authors of this study note that "Dysmenorrhea is divided into two types, primary and secondary. Primary dysmenorrhea is diagnosed when no obvious organic cause can be found. Secondary dysmenorrhea is caused by underlying pelvic disorders."

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists describes dysmenorrhea by stating "Pain associated with menstruation is called dysmenorrhea. More than half of women who menstruate have some pain for 1 to 2 days each month. Usually, the pain is mild. But for some women, the pain is so severe that it keeps them from doing their normal activities for several days a month."

In this case, a 37-year-old woman who was suffering from dysmenorrhea went to a chiropractor to seek help for her problem. The woman was also experiencing shoulder and low back pain, although she considered these less of an issue as the pain was not severe. The woman had no history of surgeries, car accidents or previous medical care for any of the issues for which she was seeking chiropractic. She did previously have a left ankle fracture and a right ankle sprain.

A chiropractic examination was performed which included spinal palpation, surface electromyography (SEMG), and para-spinal thermal scans. Based on the examination, it was determined that subluxations were present and specific forms of chiropractic adjustments were started on a regular schedule of care.

The study notes that at the woman's first reassessment, she reported better sleep, and a reduction in low back and shoulder pain. At her second reassessment, the woman reported that she was no longer experiencing debilitating menstrual cramps. Because of her improvement, the woman no longer had to take days off work due to her cramps. She also stated that her cycle had also reduced from five days down to just three days each month.

In the conclusion of the study, the authors explained the results by saying, "Subluxation-based chiropractic care does not simply treat symptoms but focuses on the function of the body as a whole. The reduction of interference within the nervous system allows for a better quality of life."

Resolution of Failure to Thrive in an Infant Following Chiropractic Care to Reduce Vertebral Subluxation

Above is the title of a case study published in the January 4, 2021, issue of the Journal of Pediatric, Maternal & Family Health. The U.S. National Library of Medicine's MedlinePlus describes the condition as "Failure to thrive refers to children whose current weight or rate of weight gain is much lower than that of other children of similar age and sex."

The study explains failure to thrive in more detail by noting, "Failure to thrive is a condition that affects 5-10 percent of US children in the primary care setting. Failure to thrive is a term used to describe inadequate growth or the inability to maintain growth, usually in early childhood, mostly children who are under the 3rd or 5th percentile in weight for consecutive weigh-ins."

In this case, a 13-day-old male infant was brought to the chiropractor by his parents. His parents were very distressed and reported that their son had lost 27 ounces since his birth. Both parents were losing sleep and were consumed with trying to keep their baby alive. The boyís mother reported that her infant son seemed uncomfortable all the time. When attempting to nurse her son, the woman reported that the experience was physically painful to her, and her son would detach and quickly fall asleep. She described her infant son as lethargic and with a very weak cry.

A series of medical tests including blood and stool samples, as well as computer tomography, showed no underlying pathology. The parents were advised that if their infant son continued to lose weight, he would need to be hospitalized for tube feeding.

An age-appropriate chiropractic examination was performed on the infant including palpation, ranges of spinal motion, and certain reflex tests. From the examination, it was determined that the infant had subluxations. With the parentís consent, a course of specific age-appropriate chiropractic adjustments was started. Due to the severity of the problem, and that the child would shortly be admitted to the hospital if there was not a change, the child was seen four days in a row by the chiropractor.

After the first chiropractic adjustment, the mother reported a huge improvement in her sonís ability to latch onto a nipple for feeding. She also noted that her infant son looked more comfortable and was able to feed for a full 45 minutes before detaching.  The study records that the mother "cried due to overwhelming emotions when she explained that the pain she had been feeling was gone and she felt hope for the first time since her child was born."

By the fourth visit, the mother stated that her son was feeling great and had gained one pound. After three months, the study reports that the infant had doubled in weight and now exceeded the normal standard. A long-term follow-up at age 2.5 showed that the boy was growing normally with a normal weight and normal neurological skills.

In their discussion, the authors summed up this case and its importance by stating, "Failure to thrive can be a devastating diagnosis. When the parents sought chiropractic care for their child, they were compromised in their mental and physical health. Medically, no pathology was found to explain the childís decline in health. After receiving gentle chiropractic adjustments, the parents felt hope for the first time since their child was born. This case demonstrates how beneficial chiropractic care can be for infants."

To further clarify the chiropractic approach in this case the authors added, "Understanding that chiropractic was not treating the FTT is an important takeaway from this case report. The approach to patient care was to address vertebral subluxations through adjustments to the spine."

Low Heart Rate, Fatigue and Lightheadedness Improved in Senior Under Chiropractic Care

The Journal of Upper Cervical Chiropractic Research published the results of a case study on January 18, 2021, documenting the improvement under chiropractic care of an elderly woman who was suffering with a lower heart rate that resulted in fatigue and lightheadedness.

The American Heart Association explains low heart rate by saying "Bradycardia is a heart rate thatís too slow. Whatís considered too slow can depend on your age and physical condition. Elderly people, for example, are more prone to bradycardia. In general, for adults, a resting heart rate of fewer than 60 beats per minute (BPM) qualifies as bradycardia. But there are exceptions. Your heart rate may fall below 60 BPM during deep sleep. And physically active adults (and athletes) often have a resting heart rate slower than 60 BPM."

The authors of this study explain the objective of this case study by stating "The purpose of this case report is to report on the positive health outcomes following chiropractic care in a patient presenting with a low heart rate and related symptoms." They further explain how they use the heart rate as a measurement of health. "Heart rate variability (HRV) analysis has been determined to be an effective measurement of the autonomic nervous system (ANS). There are two branches of the autonomic nervous system, the parasympathetic (PNS) and sympathetic (SNS) nervous system. Heart rate variability analysis has been used to determine the balance between PNS and the SNS and their control over the body."

 In this case, a 74-year-old woman went to the chiropractor because she was having a low resting heart rate. She did not know why her problem started but she did report that she noticed the problem shortly after cataract surgery a few months prior. She often felt fatigued and lightheaded with these symptoms becoming more frequent. She also reported that when she sat down, she often fell asleep. She claims that she did not any of these symptoms prior to her surgery. The woman was on medication for high blood pressure and diabetes. Out of concern for the possibility of congestive heart failure, her MD ordered an angiogram which showed no heart damage.

A chiropractic examination was performed which included both musculoskeletal and neurological tests as well as postural analysis, spinal palpation, ranges of motion, and spinal x-rays. From these tests, it was determined that a subluxation was present at the top bone of her neck called the Atlas. A series of specific chiropractic adjustments were then given over the next month to address the subluxation.

After a week of care, the study records that the womanís heart rate had started to increase. Follow-up x-rays also confirmed that the subluxation was improving. After a month of care, it was noted that the womanís heart rate had improved by 40% over what it was initially before chiropractic care. The woman also reported that she was feeling more alert. After two months of chiropractic, the study reports that the womanís heart rate had shown a 100% improvement. The woman noted that she was feeling stronger and less nervous overall.

Although many people initially think that chiropractic is just for back and neck problems, this study points out that growing research is showing chiropractic has an impact on overall health and body functions. The authors of the study explain, "Adjustments to the spine have been suggested to have positive effects on musculoskeletal and visceral health. There are few studies to link specific outcomes in autonomic function with certain spinal levels adjusted. Studies suggest change in autonomic function and the adjustment clearly has been associated with changes in heart rate, BP, pupillary diameter, distal skin temperature, endocrine system, and immune system effects."

Hockey Player Forced to Retire Due to Spinal Problems Able to Play Again with Chiropractic

The Journal of Physical Therapy Science published the results of a case study in their January 2021 issue that documented the case of a man who was forced to retire from playing ice hockey due to a spinal problem known as spondylolisthesis.  After chiropractic care, the man was once again able to resume playing hockey.

This case involves a condition known as spondylolisthesis. According to the U.S. National Library of Medicineís Medline, "Spondylolisthesis is a condition in which a bone (vertebra) in the spine moves forward out of the proper position onto the bone below it." If it places pressure on a nerve, it can cause pain. This condition is most common in the lower portion of the spine.

In this case, a 57-year-old man sought out chiropractic care for his severe lower back pain. The man was an avid ice hockey player. He reported that in the past ten years, he had sustained multiple injuries every year while engaged in his sport. Over time, his lower back pain had continually gotten so severe that he was forced to retire from the sport he had enjoyed for 50 years.

The man also reported that he had been involved in three previous auto accidents. The care he had received for his back problems included massage, medications, and physical therapy, which provided only limited temporary relief. In addition to his lower back pain, the man also suffered with high blood pressure, leg cramping, and ringing in the ears.

A chiropractic examination was performed which revealed a limited range of motion in all directions in the manís back. Upon attempting to bend backward, his pain would increase. Palpation of the spine showed significant tenderness in the lower back musculature. Spinal x-rays of the manís lower back showed that the L3 vertebrae had moved backward while the L4 vertebrae had moved forward compared to normal positioning.

Specific forms of chiropractic care were started with regular visits over a 7-month period. Follow-up examinations and x-rays were regularly performed to document changes. The x-rays taken over the time of care showed continual improvement in the positioning of the lumbar vertebrae.

During an assessment after three months of care, the man reported that his lower back pain and leg pain were substantially improved. After 7 months of care, the x-rays showed that the vertebrae had returned to their normal position. At this point, the man reported that his back and leg pain was not bothering him at all. As a result of his dramatic improvement, the man was able to resume playing hockey again. In a follow-up done a year and a half later, the man reported that he was feeling fine and had completed a season of injury-free hockey for the first time in ten years.

In the discussion section of the study, the authors noted the importance of this case study by stating, "This case is important as it shows that non-surgical, non-invasive manual therapy approaches may be proven to reliably reduce low-grade lumbar spondylolisthesis and represents only the second case reported in the literature showing the reduction of a lumbar spondylolisthesis; the first showing reduction of a double spondylolisthesis."