Immunity & Chiropractic Clinical Practice
The title above comes from a paper published in the Annals of Vertebral Subluxation Research. The paper, published on March 29, 2021, reviews the scientific evidence showing how the chiropractic correction of subluxations has a positive effect on the immune system.
The paper begins by stating their recommendation for the practice of chiropractic relative to immune function. "A growing body of evidence supports our understanding of the role of the nervous system in immune system function. Basic science studies and clinical reports in the scientific literature provide supportive evidence of the beneficial effects of chiropractic care in improving function, including immune system function and quality of life."
The paper searched and reviewed the scientific studies and evidence that related to chiropractic care and the function of the immune system to see if there was evidence that chiropractic care influences a person's immune system. The researchers cited many experts and their findings which linked the correction of nerve system interference caused by vertebral subluxations.
Most of the reviewed research deals with the relationship between the autonomic nerve system and interference to nerve function caused by mechanical misalignments known as spinal subluxations. One such research paper, authored by a researcher Dr. Rome, stated that "This observation would tend to support the concept of a connection between the state of the somatic component, importantly a vertebral articulation, and at least the sympathetic nervous system – a somatosympathetic neurological circuit."
Many of the studies looked at various biomarkers and chemicals within the body before and after chiropractic care. In these research studies, the biomarkers that indicate immune response were improved after chiropractic care was initiated. The supposition can therefore be made that the immune system is functioning at a higher level with chiropractic care for the correction of subluxations.
One major study that was reviewed was conducted by Dr. Ron Pero. In that study, the immune response was tested on people who received chiropractic care verses healthy people who did not get chiropractic care. These results were then compared to the immune response of people with cancer or other serious health issues. The authors of this review commented on the Pero study by noting, "It was reported that the chiropractic patients had a 200% greater immune-competence than people who had not received chiropractic care and a 400% greater immune competence than people with cancer or other serious diseases."
The review study authors quoted Dr. Pero in his original study. "I'm very excited to see that without chemical intervention this particular group of patients under chiropractic care did show a very improved response. These changes come from chiropractic treatment."
In an overview of the recommendations the researchers made to chiropractors, they stated, "Evidence-informed practice involves the integration of the knowledge and experience of the chiropractor, the best available research evidence, and the needs and preferences of individual patients. Furthermore, chiropractors must be free to discuss, publish, and otherwise disseminate the best available evidence, and in practice, apply it to the needs of individual patients."
Reduction of Daily Headaches in a Patient with Type I Chiari Malformation
The Annals of Vertebral Subluxation Research published the results of a case study documenting the reduction of headaches in a patient who had significant skull birth defects including Arnold-Chiari Malformation (ACM) and was diagnosed with Ehlers Danlos syndrome.
According to the Mayo Clinic website "Chiari malformation (kee-AH-ree mal-for-MAY-shun) is a condition in which brain tissue extends into your spinal canal. It occurs when part of your skull is abnormally small or misshapen, pressing on your brain and forcing it downward." The Mayo Clinic's website also describes Ehlers Danlos syndrome as "Ehlers-Danlos syndrome is a group of inherited disorders that affect your connective tissues — primarily your skin, joints and blood vessel walls. People who have Ehlers-Danlos syndrome usually have overly flexible joints and stretchy, fragile skin."
This study points out the the common treatment for ACM depends on the severity of the situation and involves a fairly invasive surgery to the lower part of the skull. Conservative medical treatment often uses medications or physical therapy. The authors of this study propose that chiropractic care could also be a conservative form of care for patients with this condition.
In this case study, a 22-year-old woman who was suffering with weekly headaches sought out chiropractic care. The woman had been diagnosed with Type I Chiari Malformation and Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome. She was a graduate student who spent much of her time in front of a computer screen and was having difficulties due to suffering from headaches.
Initially her headaches occurred once or twice per week but had recently increased to daily headaches that were affecting all portions of her daily life. Her headaches would start in the middle of the day and would last the remainder of the day. They were brought on by activity or exercise and were severe enough to limit her ability to study or perform her job activities.
A chiropractic examination involving palpation, postural analysis, and spinal x-rays confirmed the presence of subluxations in her neck. With this information, a care plan of specific chiropractic adjustments appropriate for her malformations were initiated at the rate of two visits per week for a six week period.
After six weeks of care, the patient reported that her headache frequency had reduced from daily headaches to between one or two headaches per week. She also reported a decrease in the severity of the headaches and noted that they only lasted at most two hours when they occurred. Because of her improvement, she was able to enjoy taking walks between her classes without inciting a headache.
The authors of the study summed up this case in their discussion and conclusion by stating, "Patient presented with daily headaches with complicating factors of Type I Chiari Malformation and Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome. Diagnosis of the Type I Chiari Malformation was determined by MRI of the cervical spine prior to chiropractic care. Initially, this patient was plagued by daily headaches while going to graduate school. She was able to resume studying, exercising and be social with no complications following the delivery of chiropractic care."
Woman with No Menstrual Cycle Who Was Unable to Become Pregnant Helped by Chiropractic
On March 8, 2021, the Annals of Vertebral Subluxation Research published the results of a case study of a woman who was unable to become pregnant and who was not having a menstrual cycle. After chiropractic care, the woman was able to regain her menstrual cycle and became pregnant.
The inability for a woman over the age of 16 to have a normal menstrual cycle is known as amenorrhea. If the woman has never had a menstrual cycle, it is classified as primary amenorrhea. If the woman had previously had a cycle but then it discontinued for at least three months, it is known as secondary amenorrhea. Secondary amenorrhea is the more common type affecting about 4% of the female population during their cycle years.
In this case, a 29-year-old woman sought out chiropractic care because she had been given a medical diagnosis of amenorrhea and she was experiencing temporomandibular joint (TMJ) pain and mid back pain. The TMJ and mid back pain was intermittent and mainly was present when she was lying down.
Two months prior to seeking chiropractic care, the woman had seen her OB/GYN and explained that her cycles were irregular with 45 days between the menstrual cycles that she did have. She was recently married and was trying unsuccessfully to become pregnant. She also noted that she also had abnormally gained weight recently.
A chiropractic examination was performed consisting of palpation, range of motion, and spinal x-rays. From these tests, it was determined that subluxations were present. With the proper consent, specific chiropractic care was started to address the subluxations.
The study reports that after one month of chiropractic care, the woman had resumed a normal menstrual cycle. Three months after the start of care, the woman reported that she had become pregnant. She also reported that her TMJ and mid-back pain had subsided and that she felt more alert, relaxed, and that walking or standing was easier than before she started chiropractic.
In the discussion portion of the study, the authors explain how chiropractic care can achieve these results. "The chiropractic foundation is set upon the understanding that altered communication at any level of the nervous system leads to poor function in the body that can manifest in symptomatology. The goal of chiropractic care is to remove any vertebral subluxation in the body in order to improve the function of the nervous system ..."
The authors summed up this case in their conclusion by saying, "This case report demonstrates the impact of the vertebral subluxation on the function of the female reproductive system and pain mechanism related to additional symptomatology. After experiencing chiropractic care, the patient resumed a normal menstrual pattern, successfully conceived, and demonstrated improvement in secondary complaints as well."
Asperger's Syndrome Symptoms Helped by Chiropractic - A Case Study
The Asia-Pacific Chiropractic Journal published the result of a case study which was released on March 17, 2021, documenting the improvement of a young boy who was suffering with the symptoms of Asperger's syndrome.
According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, "Asperger syndrome (AS) is a developmental disorder. It is an autism spectrum disorder (ASD), one of a distinct group of neurological conditions characterized by a greater or lesser degree of impairment in language and communication skills, as well as repetitive or restrictive patterns of thought and behavior."
The authors of this study note that AS is different from what is commonly known as autism because it is considered a high-functioning form of autism where the person with the syndrome still maintains a fair command of language skills and cognitive abilities. People with the condition have more trouble with social skills and tend to exhibit an almost obsessive focus on one topic or perform the same behaviors over and over again.
In this case, a 6-year-old boy was brought to the chiropractor for help with several medical conditions that had not responded to medical care. He had been diagnosed with Asperger's syndrome with symptoms of jumping and flapping of his hands. In addition, the boy also suffered from asthma, and allergies that were made worse by his Asperger's syndrome.
A chiropractic examination was performed which resulted in the determination that there were multiple areas of subluxation and joint dysfunction. From this information, specific forms of chiropractic adjustments and procedures were started to address the issues.
The study records that the boy's parents reported improvement in the AS symptoms within the first week of the chiropractic care. The boy's health continued to improve, and he was eventually taken off asthma and allergy medications that were needed before chiropractic care. A year after starting chiropractic, the boy was much improved and experienced only two exacerbations which were quickly helped with chiropractic.
A follow-up of the boy at age 15 documented that he was off all medications, was not experiencing problems with allergies or asthma, and had not had a return of any of the symptoms associated with Asperger's syndrome.
The authors of the study note that this is just a single care study. However, they also recommend that chiropractic may well be a safer alternative than the harsh drugs used to treat Asperger's. "With the risk benefit ratios associated with the reduced risk of chiropractic care with increased risk of the typical medications used for this condition, a trial of chiropractic care for children or adults with this condition may yield important information."