Post-Concussion Syndrome Helped by Chiropractic
Published in the October 2021 issue of the Asian-Pacific Chiropractic Journal were the results of a case study documenting the resolution of a young woman’s symptoms from post-concussion syndrome related to a sports injury.
The study begins by reporting that traumatic brain injuries are very common in the U.S. with 1.7 million occurring each year. Of that total, 52,000 die and 275,000 are hospitalized. Of the total number of head injuries, it is estimated that over 300,000 of them annually are sports related.
In 2012, the International Conference on Concussion in Sport created a definition for concussion. "Concussion is a brain injury and is defined as a complex pathophysiological process affecting the brain, induced by biomechanical forces." The conference listed several common features of concussion. "Concussion may be caused either by a direct blow to the head, face, neck or elsewhere on the body with an ‘impulsive’ force transmitted to the head. Concussion typically results in the rapid onset of short-lived impairment of neurological function that resolves spontaneously. However, in some cases, symptoms and signs may evolve over a number of minutes to hours."
In this case, a 21-year-old woman stood up abruptly and felt lightheaded causing her to fall forward into a desk hitting her head on the desk and then on the floor. She was knocked unconscious for a short period and awoke with severe head pain. She was transported to the hospital but was released without a CAT scan or an MRI.
Over the next several months, the woman began to feel light-headed and dizzy when she exercised. These symptoms progressively got worse until she was unable to exercise at all. She also started to develop headaches that were made worse by her school studies or even just using a phone. She progressively got worse to where driving was an issue, and she was forced to sharply reduce almost all physical and mental activities. Her cognitive problems got so bad that she was forced to discontinue school.
A chiropractic examination was performed and based upon the results of that examination specific forms of chiropractic care were started.
The study reports that in little over one month of care, the woman "was completely pain free with no symptoms of lightheadedness, brain fog, or nausea. She has been able to exercise, and has been lifting light weights. She was also able to run five miles." The woman’s significant improvement was in light of the fact that she was nearly non-functional for the previous six months.
The Annals of Vertebral Subluxation Research released the results of a case study on October 25, 2021, documenting the improvement of vestibular vertigo in a woman who had previously was diagnosed as having had a stroke two years ago. Vertigo is a symptom of the feeling of dizziness, off-balance, lightheadedness, disorientation, disequilibrium, or a spinning sensation.
The study reports that vertigo occurs in approximately 1.8% of the general population, up to as high as 30% in the elderly. Vertigo is often triggered by a change in the position of the head. Typical symptoms that people report with vertigo include a spinning feeling, tilting to one side, swaying, feeling unbalanced, or being pulled to on direction.
In this case, a 44-year-old woman went to the chiropractor because she had heard chiropractic might be able to help with her vertigo. Two years before seeking chiropractic help, the woman reported her problems to her MD. At that time, her MD gave her the diagnosis of a history of stroke, vertigo, and high blood pressure. The woman’s family did have a history of stroke and high blood pressure, so the woman was given blood pressure medication by her MD and scheduled to be monitored. Eventually, the stroke was ruled out as a cause of the vertigo, and she was referred to an ear nose and throat specialist.
The chiropractor performed an examination which included a history, observation, range of motion, postural analysis, and spinal palpation. From her examination, it was determined that subluxations were present.
Specific forms of chiropractic adjustments were performed over an initial three-month period. As the care progressed, the woman reported a decrease in her symptoms after each chiropractic visit. She reported that she was able to get back to a more normal routine which included driving, which she was unable to do with the severe vertigo. The woman was very pleased with the results especially since her medical physicians told her she might not ever get better and may have to learn to live with her situation.
In summing up this case, and the difference between a medical approach and a chiropractic approach to vertigo patients, the authors of the study related that the woman "…no longer has to worry about being dizzy while driving or typing at her desk, allowing her to relieve her stress of not accomplishing her daily tasks that require these two activities. While most patients with vertigo undergo vestibular neurectomy surgery or vestibular rehabilitation exercises to help with vertigo, this patient no longer has to do either and is enjoying her life free of vertigo."
Adolescent Idiopathic Scoliosis Helped by Chiropractic
The Asian-Pacific Chiropractic Journal released a study on October 9, 2021, with the title, "Chiropractic management as conservative care for adolescent idiopathic scoliosis: A cases report." The study documents multiple cases of children with scoliosis being helped with chiropractic care.
According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine’s MedlinePlus, "Adolescent idiopathic scoliosis is an abnormal curvature of the spine that appears in late childhood or adolescence. Instead of growing straight, the spine develops a side-to-side curvature, usually in an elongated "S" or "C" shape; the bones of the spine are also slightly twisted or rotated." The word "idiopathic" simply means that the cause is medically unknown.
In the study’s introduction, the authors explain the seriousness of scoliosis by stating, "Adolescent idiopathic scoliosis (AIS) is a spinal deformity which is commonly diagnosed in females from ages ten to fifteen. It accounts for over 80% of all cases of idiopathic scoliosis and has serious consequences for quality of life, limiting activities, causing pain, and significantly influencing respiratory function and self-esteem."
This study reviews chiropractic care for six young patients with idiopathic scoliosis who were under chiropractic care between 2019 and 2021. Included in the study were two boys and four girls all between the ages of 7 and 12 years old who had idiopathic scoliosis. They all received chiropractic care for a period of between 6 and 9 months.
The spinal curvatures were measured before the beginning of care, and again at the end of the care period, using a standardized system known as the "Cobb angle." The two measurements were then compared to see the percentage of change that took place from the months of chiropractic care.
The results of the cases showed as follows: Patient 1, an 8-year-old boy, had a 42% improvement in his curvature. Patient 2, a 12-year-old girl, had a 29% improvement. Patient 3, a 9-year-old girl, showed an 85% improvement. Patient 4, an 8-year-old boy, had an 84% improvement in his curvature. Patient 5, a 9-year-old girl, showed a 38% curvature improvement. Patient 6, a 12-year-old girl, showed an 77% improvement in her spinal curvature after chiropractic care.
It should be noted none of these adolescent idiopathic scoliosis (AIS) cases were considered to be severe at the start of chiropractic care. However, in many cases, scoliosis gets progressively worse. The medical approach for scoliosis correction is either bracing or surgery, both of which carry considerable hardships and significant side effects. In this study, the researchers reported no significant side effects from any of the children with AIS while under chiropractic care.
In their conclusion, the authors highlight how chiropractic care would be beneficial in the early care of scoliosis by stating, "Because scoliosis is more likely to worsen in growing children, early conservative intervention is suggested in AIS. Chiropractic appears to play a role in the correction and monitoring of early-stage scoliosis, despite the fact that there is no treatment for mild scoliosis in the medical community."
Concussion Helped with Chiropractic
The October 2021 issue of the Asian-Pacific Chiropractic Journal published a case study involving a teen who suffered a concussion during a volleyball game, who was helped by chiropractic after all else had failed. According to a 2015 study in PT in Motion News, concussions are becoming more common among volleyball players who are suffering concussions at the rate of 3.57 concussions per 10,000 exposures, with an exposure being each practice or match.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention defines concussion by saying, "A concussion is a type of traumatic brain injury—or TBI—caused by a bump, blow, or jolt to the head or by a hit to the body that causes the head and brain to move rapidly back and forth. This sudden movement can cause the brain to bounce around or twist in the skull, creating chemical changes in the brain and sometimes stretching and damaging brain cells."
In this case, a 14-year-old girl was brought into the chiropractor four months after being struck in the head by a volleyball. At the time of her chiropractic visit, the girl was suffering with headaches and nausea which she had been having since the volleyball incident.
The incident took place at a volleyball tournament that was 400 miles from the girl’s home. The girl was stuck in the front of her head, and she immediately lost vision, was nauseated and dizzy, and felt head pain. Her memory was affected as she remembers her coach standing in front of her, but not much else. Most of the account of the injury was from her coach and other players as she does not have a memory of the injury or immediate time afterward.
The accounts reported in the study were from other individuals as the girl has no memory of these incidents. "The patient served the volleyball one more time, then sat out the rest of the game. She left the court, drank water, and used a cold compress over her eyes. The bright lights and noise in the gym were bothersome and caused her headache to worsen. She went out for pizza that night with the team. She took children’s liquid Tylenol (acetaminophen) and slept 9 hours. She attempted play the next morning but was again overcome by nausea and dizziness, as well as a worsening headache, when she returned to the gym. She was driven home later that day and slept in the backseat for the 7-hour drive. The nausea, dizziness and headache persisted for the entire ride home."
The girl attempted to return to school multiple times but was unable to do so and had to return home each time. Her visits to an MD and referrals to specialist only led to a recommendation to take acetaminophen and continue to rest. She received no improvement from the medical attention or the acetaminophen.
The girl got a chiropractic examination and began specific forms of chiropractic care. The study records that the day following her first visit to the chiropractor, she was able to return to school for a full day. After her second visit, she reported her head pain was gone and she had less dizziness. Also, after her second chiropractic visit, she had a midterm exam at school where she scored a 90%. On a 5 month follow up, the study reports that the girl was completely symptom free.
In their discussion, the authors of the study highlight the fact that the girl had not been helped at all medically prior to starting chiropractic. "With the 14-year-old female patient in this case, the temporal nature of her symptoms from the time of the trauma is consistent with her having suffered a post-concussion syndrome with associated brain trauma. Of significance was that her symptoms had not changed for four months, until receiving her first chiropractic treatment."