September 2022

  • Feeding Tube Removed in Man with Bickerstaff’s Brainstem Encephalitis Following Chiropractic Care
  • Rare Neurologic Disease Causing Severe Shoulder Pain Resolved with Chiropractic
  • Child with Sway Back and Back Pain Helped Through Chiropractic
  • Chiropractic Aids Woman After Double Mastectomy

Feeding Tube Removed in Man with Bickerstaff’s Brainstem Encephalitis Following Chiropractic Care

The Annals of Vertebral Subluxation Research published the results of a case study on August 22, 2022, that documented the improvement in quality of life for a man suffering with Bickerstaff’s Brainstem Encephalitis (BBE). BBE is a rare autoimmune inflammatory disorder that affects the central nervous system and can also affect the peripheral nervous system.

According to this study, BBE is extremely rare, having less than 100 cases reported. It is similar in symptoms and effect to Guillain-Barre syndrome. Symptoms usually include issues with speech, vision, muscle strength, and a wide variety of other neurological symptoms. Due to the rarity of BBE, medical treatment varies greatly and is geared toward helping with the symptoms of the disease.

In this case, a 31-year-old man went to the chiropractor after the man had received a medical diagnosis of BBE. Three and a half months earlier, the man was reported to be a healthy individual. One morning, he woke up "feeling rundown" and "just did not feel right." The following day, he could only urinate sporadically despite feeling that his bladder was full.

A week and a half later, the man started having tremors and weakness in his right leg. He also reported that he started having trouble swallowing while eating dinner. This continued to get worse until he could no longer eat. Multiple medical visits during this time resulted in little help.

By the third week, the man was also having trouble speaking and was experiencing double vision. At this time, the issue was grave enough that a feeding tube was inserted, and he was sent home. Despite all the medical treatments, he did not see any progress over the next two months.

One day while walking up stairs, the man experienced extreme fatigue, a rapid heartbeat and light headedness which continued to get worse throughout the day. He was readmitted to the hospital where it was noted that he had left sided facial paralysis. With the variety of symptoms and no definitive findings, the man was given the diagnosis of BBE and treatments of plasma exchange were started.

Upon seeking chiropractic care and relating his history, a chiropractic examination was performed which included spinal x-rays. The x-rays noted multiple areas of malpositioned vertebrae and abnormal curvatures including a reversal of the normal forward neck curve. It was determined that subluxations were present, and a course of specific chiropractic adjustments were started.

As care progressed, the man was able to slightly swallow and eat solid foods for the first time since his BBE diagnosis. Chiropractic care was continued, and within weeks, the feeding tube was able to be removed and the man was able to eat solid food without trouble. Additionally, many of his symptoms improved including better motion and an absence of pain in his neck shoulders and lower back.

In describing how chiropractic was able to help this man with Bickerstaff’s Brainstem Encephalitis, the authors of the study explained, "The positive results as described in this case show the possible connection between the disease and its associated symptoms in the presence of a vertebral subluxation. With reduction of subluxation, the body’s innate intelligence is able to function and focus on healing."

Rare Neurologic Disease Causing Severe Shoulder Pain Resolved with Chiropractic

A patient with a rare and very painful neurological disease, Parsonage Turner Syndrome, was helped by chiropractic care. This according to a case study published in the Journal of Contemporary Chiropractic on August 11, 2022.

The National Organization for Rare Disorders (NORD) describes this rare condition. "Parsonage-Turner syndrome (PTS) is an uncommon neurological disorder characterized by rapid onset of severe pain in the shoulder and arm. This acute phase may last for a few hours to a few weeks and is followed by wasting and weakness of the muscles (amyotrophy) in the affected areas."

The study reports that the condition may occur in slightly more than 1 in 1000 people in a year and is twice as common in men than woman. The most common area affected is the brachial plexus which is the a complex of nerves in the shoulder that carry signals from the spinal cord in the neck to the arms and hands.

Parsonage Turner Syndrome, sometimes called plexus neuritis or neuralgic amyotrophy, typically begins with severe acute pain in the shoulder area that can either be unilateral or bilateral and that may last anywhere from a few days to a few months. Numbness and other sensory disturbances typically also occur. As the condition progresses, the person will experience severe muscular atrophy and weakness in the shoulders and arms. In many cases, this condition will self-resolve, but it may take years to do so.

In this case, a 37-year-old man was experiencing excruciating bilateral shoulder girdle pain. The man initially sought care from his primary care medical doctor and was given pain medication and a steroid pack. Although the pain medication did provide relief, the man noted that three days later, he had lost some range of motion of his right shoulder. After an MRI, a surgeon recommended cervical disc fusion surgery.

After declining to go the surgical route, the man sought chiropractic care. Chiropractic care, along with exercise, vitamins and therapy was started on a regular basis. During his care, regular evaluations were conducted to monitor his progress. The study noted that the man continued to improve over several months of care.

The study reports that at the conclusion of care, "…a final evaluation was performed in which all strength and range of motion returned and he was able to perform all previous activities of daily living."

One of the major issues today with the medical treatment of severe painful conditions is the addiction problems associated with opioid usage. The authors of this study address this issue by saying. "Currently, no global treatment exists for neuralgic amyotrophy. During its initial onset, opioids may help alleviate the pain, but offer no benefit in terms of recovery; in addition, the risk of addiction has to be considered."

Child with Sway Back and Back Pain Helped Through Chiropractic

The Journal of Physical Therapy Science published the results of a case study on September 5, 2022, that documented the improvement of lower back pain and swayback in a young girl who underwent specific forms of chiropractic care.

The term "sway back" is a commonly used term for an increase in the inward curvature in the lower spine. Other terms used are "lordosis", or "hyperlordosis", as used in this study, meaning a significant increase in the curvature of the lumbar spine. In many cases, this abnormal increase in lumbar curvature is associated with lower back pain as well as hip, leg, knee or ankle pains.

In their study introduction, the authors explain this issue as it affects children. "The prevalence of low back pain (LBP) in children is relatively common and some studies have shown it to be increasing. Although the risk factors of LBP in childhood are varied, children are often unaware of their posture while performing common tasks such as sitting and wearing a schoolbag which can be a direct cause of back strain. Regardless of causes of childhood LBP, without proper intervention as a child, there is a possibility that the LBP will progress and may increase in severity as the child ages."

This study documents the case of an 11-year-old girl who was suffering with mid-lower back pain, as well as sporadic pain in both her hips, knees, and ankles. Additionally, it was reported that the girl was experiencing weakness in both her legs.

An examination and x-rays revealed a definitive increase in the forward curve of the lower back which was diagnosed as hyperlordosis. With the presence of spinal abnormalities, and with the consent of the girl’s parents, specific forms of chiropractic procedures were started on the girl on a regular basis consisting of multiple visits per week.

Periotic re-evaluations were performed as well as follow-up spinal x-rays to evaluate the progress. As care continued, the study reports that there was a measurable improvement in the curvature in the lower back. Additionally, the study noted that the girl also showed improvement in her pain symptoms. The authors noted a direct correlation between the improvement in the girl’s lordosis and her decrease in symptoms which eventually were completely gone.

In their conclusion, the study authors summed up their findings by stating, "Lumbar hyperlordosis can be reduced in pediatric patients presenting with hyperlordosis and associated symptomatology."

Chiropractic Aids Woman After Double Mastectomy

A case study published in the Journal of the International Academy of Neuromusculoskeletal Medicine in June of 2022, documented chiropractic along with rehabilitation helping a woman recover from residual symptoms of a double mastectomy.

According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons approximately 144,000 mastectomies were performed in the US in 2020. The Mayo Clinic describes this procedure on their website as, "A mastectomy is an umbrella term used for several techniques to remove one or both breasts. In addition, the surgeon may also remove nearby lymph nodes to determine whether the cancer has spread."

This study notes that breast cancer is broken down into 4 stages. "Stage 1 is clinically non-invasive which means the cancer is isolated to the location in which it is found and is unlikely to spread to other parts of the body. Stage 2 is determined by the size of the cancer cells found; typically, the tumor will be measured between 2-5 centimeters to have this classification. Stage 3 is determined when the tumor is over 5 centimeters in size and more than 4 lymph nodes are involved. Stage 4 is classified when the cancer metastasizes beyond the breast and lymph nodes to other parts of the body."

In this case, a 67-year-old woman sought chiropractic care for lingering symptoms she was experiencing after her double mastectomy. The woman had previously had stage 2 breast cancer and had a double mastectomy which included removing all cancerous lymph nodes.

Her symptoms included radiating numbness and swelling that went down into her hands. Additionally, the woman’s shoulder range of motion was decreased in all motions. She reported that her condition was affecting her ability to perform normal daily activities as well as having a negative impact on her job performance.

After an examination, specific chiropractic care was started along with other therapies and home exercises. The woman reported that immediately after her first chiropractic care visit, she felt an increase in her shoulder motion as well as relief in tension throughout her upper body. After only two weeks of care, the woman reported that she no longer was experiencing any of her original symptoms.

In the study conclusions, the authors wrote, "While breast cancer is prevalent and well researched in many areas, this case offers a unique perspective as a chiropractic physician was an integral part of the rehabilitative efforts. The patient’s symptoms decreased after one treatment, and no symptoms were reported after 4 treatments."