October 2021

  • Woman in Wheelchair Suffering from Progressive Ataxia Helped by Chiropractic
  • Teenage Boy with Low Back Pain Helped by Chiropractic Despite Having Rare Health Issues
  • Can a Chiropractor Help with Migraine?
  • Cough-Variant Asthma Helped by Chiropractic

Woman in Wheelchair Suffering from Progressive Ataxia Helped by Chiropractic

On September 20, 2021, the Annals of Vertebral Subluxation Research published the results of a case study with the title "Resolution of Progressive Ataxia in a 64-Year-Old Female Undergoing Chiropractic Care for the Management of Vertebral Subluxation."

According to the National Ataxia Foundation, "Ataxia is a degenerative disease of the nervous system. Many symptoms of Ataxia mimic those of being drunk, such as slurred speech, stumbling, falling, and incoordination." They further explain, "People affected by Ataxia may experience problems with using their fingers and hands, arms, legs, walking, speaking or moving their eyes. Ataxia affects people of all ages. Age of symptom-onset can vary widely, from childhood to late-adulthood. Complications from the disease are serious and oftentimes debilitating."

In this case, a 64-year-old woman came to the chiropractor because she was suffering with the inability to walk or stand for any length of time, which caused her to rely on being in a wheelchair. The woman reported that she was also suffering with worsening dizziness and a progressively unsteady gait over the past two months. She reported falling when trying to walk and side to side dizziness with a feeling of severe instability. Her history also included history of hypertension, hyperlipidemia, and coronary artery diseases.

Prior to chiropractic care, the woman had a battery of medical tests which failed to detect a cause for her problems. In her most recent hospitalization, the woman was finally diagnosed with subacute progressive ataxia, along with unsteady gait, vertigo, migraines, and thyroid issues.

A chiropractic examination was performed which included inspection, palpation, range of motion, reflexes, and spinal x-rays. From this examination, it was determined that there were multiple areas of spinal subluxation present. With this information, a series of specific chiropractic adjustments was started. She had to be driven to the chiropractic office as she was unable to drive a car due to her condition.

The study documented the woman’s results under chiropractic care and noted that "Within three weeks, the patient was able to walk and was eventually driving herself to the clinic, even walking up the stairs without any assistance."

The study explains how subluxations could create these types of neurological problems. "In simplest terms, a subluxation (a.k.a. Vertebral Subluxation) is when one or more of the bones of your spine (vertebrae) move out of position and create pressure on or irritate spinal nerves.26 Spinal nerves are the nerves that come out from between each of the bones in your spine. This pressure or irritation on the nerves then causes those nerves to malfunction and interfere with the signals traveling over those nerves. The nervous system controls and coordinates all the functions of your body. If you interfere with the signals traveling over nerves, parts of your body will not get the proper nerve messages and will not be able to function at 100% of their innate abilities. In other words, some part of your body will not be working properly."

The authors of this study note that an increasing number of elderly people are seeking chiropractic. "Recently, more people are presenting to the chiropractor for other conditions, and not just back or neck pain. The elderly population, most specifically, has become keen to the idea of chiropractic and its beneficial effects." They continued in their conclusion by saying, "The findings presented in this study suggest that the chiropractic care may play a role in the management of patients who suffer from ataxia."

Teenage Boy with Low Back Pain Help by Chiropractic Despite Having Rare Health Issues

The Journal of Pediatric, Maternal & Family Health published the results of a case study on October 4, 2021, that documented the improvement of lower back pain in a young teenage boy who also had the rare conditions of May-Thurner Syndrome and Superior Mesenteric Artery Syndrome.

The website WebMD explains, "May-Thurner syndrome, also known as iliac vein compression syndrome or Cockett's syndrome, affects two blood vessels that go to your legs. It could make you more likely to have a DVT (deep vein thrombosis) in your left leg." This condition is basically when an artery in the leg blocks the blood flow from a vein in the leg which can cause a number of issues including pain, swelling and sometimes varicose veins in the left leg.

According to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, Genetic and Rare Diseases Information Center, "Superior mesenteric artery syndrome (SMAS) is a digestive condition that occurs when the duodenum (the first part of the small intestine) is compressed between two arteries (the aorta and the superior mesenteric artery). This compression causes partial or complete blockage of the duodenum. Symptoms vary based on severity, but can be severely debilitating. Symptoms may include abdominal pain, fullness, nausea, vomiting, and/or weight loss."

In this case, a 13-year-old boy was brought to the chiropractor primarily for lower back pain. The boy’s symptoms began approximately two months earlier while running playing baseball. The boy described that he felt a sharp, aching pain in his left lower lumbar back that caused him to "sit out" for the rest of the game. Although the boy’s back pain went away, it returned weeks later while playing basketball. He described the pain as sharp and aching pain that he rated as an 8 out of 10, with 10 being the worst.

After a chiropractic examination, and with the permission of his parents, chiropractic care was started on the boy. He noticed relief after each adjustment but continued to have reoccurrences of his back pain. A computer tomography (CT) scan was performed which showed Superior Mesenteric Artery Syndrome with external compression of the left renal vein and duodenum. The CT scan also demonstrated an external compression of the left common iliac vein suggesting May-Thurner Syndrome.

With these complicating factors, chiropractic care was continued. The boy’s progress was slower than expected, but he continued to improve. By his 10th and 11th visits, the boy reported experiencing only mild intermittent low back tightness with activity.

In describing their reason behind publishing this case study, the authors stated, "The primary purpose of this case report is to describe the clinical encounter and outcomes of a pediatric patient presenting with low back pain. Additionally, we wished to document the safety of chiropractic care in a patient presenting with concurrent May-Thurner Syndrome and Superior Mesenteric Artery Syndrome." In their conclusion they wrote, "This case report highlights the benefits of spinal adjustments in children with LBP without adverse events despite comorbidities of Superior Mesenteric Artery Syndrome and May-Thurner Syndrome."

Can a Chiropractor Help with Migraine?

Above is the headline of an article in Medical News Today that appeared on September 21, 2021. The author, Mary West, suggests that the research and information available points to chiropractic helping with this debilitating condition.

The Migraine Research Foundation lists the following facts about migraines on their website. "Migraine is the 3rd most prevalent illness in the world. Nearly 1 in 4 U.S. households includes someone with migraine." They also note that 12% of the U.S. population suffers from migraines at some time, and women are twice as likely to suffer with migraines than men. Migraines are such a debilitating condition that 90% of those suffering a migraine are unable to work or function normally.

The article suggests that the research on chiropractic helping migraines is limited. However, there are many case study research papers that document chiropractic care having a positive outcome with people who suffer with the condition. Aside from the volume of case studies documenting chiropractic helping migraine sufferers in the chiropractic research literature, the National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine published a case study of a patient who was completely free of migraines after chiropractic care.

The Medical News Today article notes that many people who go to a chiropractor with migraines also suffer from other related musculoskeletal conditions. Up to 75% of those with migraines also have neck pain and stiffness. "People may seek a chiropractor for migraine because they often have associated symptoms, such as neck pain and stiffness, which chiropractors commonly treat."

The common medical treatment for migraines is nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and muscle relaxants. These drugs may help to temporarily alleviate the symptoms, but they do nothing to get to the underlying physiology that may be at the source of migraines. Also, all drugs come with additional side effects that in some cases could be serious.

"Chiropractors commonly see patients with migraine headaches," states Dr. Braile, a chiropractor in Georgia and former president of the International Chiropractors Association. He explains, "Chiropractors actually do not treat migraine headaches. What we do is correct nerve interference and structural distortions at the spine, called subluxations, that then lead to migraines. Most chiropractors can report that they have had patients who were long-time migraine sufferers who no longer had the condition after chiropractic care."

The Medical News Today article seems to support Braile's claim when they state, "A 2017 survey questioned 1,869 chiropractors to determine the prevalence of migraine treatment and management. The results showed 53% had a caseload that was high in individuals with migraine headaches."  

Cough-Variant Asthma Helped by Chiropractic

A study released on September 18, 2021, by the International Journal of Traditional Chinese Medicine, examines the results of children suffering with cough-variant asthma who underwent chiropractic care.

The website WebMD best describes this condition by stating, "Cough-variant asthma is a type of asthma in which the main symptom is a dry, non-productive cough. People with cough-variant asthma often have no other "classic" asthma symptoms, such as wheezing or shortness of breath."

The US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health reports that "Cough variant asthma (CVA) is a form of asthma, which presents solely with cough. CVA is one of the most common causes of chronic cough. More importantly, 30 to 40% of adult patients with CVA, unless adequately treated, may progress to classic asthma."

A Medical News Today article on cough variant asthma notes that this condition can lead to  "sleep disruption, exhaustion, vomiting, lightheadedness, urinary leakage and incontinence." They also report that the typical medical treatment in the U.S. is very similar to the treatment for traditional asthma with a variety of drugs and inhalers.

This study was conducted in China from October 2017 to October 2018 at the department of Maoming Hospital of Traditional Chinese Medicine Affiliated to Guangzhou University of Traditional Chinese Medicine. The study involved 60 children who were suffering with cough variant asthma. About half of the children were in the group that received chiropractic care while the other group were in a control group that received traditional Chinese medical care. The children in both groups were treated for 6 weeks according to the group they were in.  There was a followed-up 2 months after care to determine how the children in each group did.

The results of the study showed that those children who received chiropractic care were significantly more improved as compared to the control group. The study reported that the symptoms and cough were "significantly lower than those in the control group."

In the conclusion of the study the researches state, "Chinese medicine chiropractic can improve the clinical symptoms and serum immune factor levels of children with cough variant asthma syndrome..."