Dr Merri's Blog

Infant with Chronic Bilateral Ear Infections Helped with Chiropractic

Posted: July 15, 2019
By: Dr. Meredith Oudt

On January 14, 2019, the Journal of Pediatric, Maternal & Family Health published a case study documenting the resolution of chronic bilateral ear infections in a toddler through chiropractic care. The technical name for ear infections is otitis media.

The study begins by reporting on how common otitis media is. It is estimated that by three years of age, 80% of children will have experienced at least one episode of otitis media. By the age of five years, it is estimated that 40% of children will have had multiple episodes of the condition.

Some of the more common symptoms of otitis media include ear pain, fever, headache, irritability, and listlessness. If left unaddressed, the problem could lead to hearing impairment, a loss of sleep, and a decrease in the overall quality of life not only for the child but also the parents.

Although antibiotic treatment has been a medical main-stay of treatment. Recent concerns for overuse of antibiotics resulting in resistant strain of bacteria have led to more physicians taking a "wait and see" approach to ear infections. All of these factors have driven many parents to seek alternative care approaches for their children, of which chiropractic is the most popular practitioner-based approach.

In this case, a one-year-old girl was brought to the chiropractor by her parents for an evaluation and possible care. The infant's primary problem was she was suffering from reoccurring ear infections. It was reported that over the previous five months, the girl had suffered from 4 bouts of bilateral ear infections. Each time, she had been diagnosed with otitis media and placed on antibiotics. Each time, the ear infection would seem to subside and her symptoms reduce, only to return again a month later after the antibiotic treatment was concluded.

The girl's ear infections were affecting her ability to sleep and causing her to be agitated. In addition to the ear infections, it was noted that the infant girl also suffered from frequent colds, sinus congestion, and food allergies.

A chiropractic examination of the infant led to the conclusion that subluxations were present in the child’s spine, especially in the upper neck area. With agreement from the parents, specific age-appropriate chiropractic adjustments were started to address the infant’s subluxations. The girl received a total of 9 adjustments over the initial 6-week period. After the initial care, the child was seen on a less frequent basis.

After six months of care, a follow-up assessment was performed to monitor the progress. At that time, the parents reported that their baby girl had not had an ear infection or symptoms of an ear infection since she began chiropractic care.

In their discussion and conclusion, the authors of this study stress the importance that chiropractic care could play in this health issue. "Acute OM is such a common condition that it is considered one of the leading causes of visits to medical clinics and for prescription antibiotics. Despite differences in research design and disease definitions, the World Health Organization (WHO) estimated that 28 thousand deaths yearly is attributable to complications (i.e., death through meningitis and brain abscess) of OM." They concluded, "This case report adds to the growing literature on the effectiveness of subluxation-based chiropractic care in children presenting with a history of medically diagnosed OM."

Chiropractic Care and Human Performance

Posted: July 8, 2019
By: Dr. Meredith Oudt

Chiropractic Care and Human Performance

The title above comes from a February 15, 2019, article published by the Australian Spinal Research Foundation. The article compares several research papers showing that chiropractic can improve human performance. The implications of this research for top level athletes are profound.

Athletic performance depends upon the ability to properly coordinate movement, endurance, and strength. These functions are all controlled by the nervous system. The brain generates the intent and sends the signals to the individual muscles to perform the activity intended. It is therefore essential that the signals generated in the brain are transmitted clearly and cleanly to the intended muscles. Only then can those muscles perform the complex and exact movements for athletic performance. If the signals sent from the brain arrive clearly and without any changes, the muscles can perform at their highest abilities. Any interference with nerve signals will decrease the athlete's ability to perform at the highest competitive level.

This article points out that research showing chiropractic having a positive effect on movement has been around for over a decade. The author reports that back in 2006, some preliminary studies were able to quantitatively show that chiropractic "could indeed help lift certain areas of human performance."

Over the years, there has been a volume of reports and case studies of athletes who were either injured or struggling physically, who were returned to peak level performance, thanks to chiropractic care. The article notes that more modern scientific studies on athletes have been able to show that, because of chiropractic, "There was an increase of almost 60% in the electrical activity readings from specifically targeted muscles, a 16% increase in absolute force measures, and a 45% increase in the drive from the brain to their muscle."

As a result of the findings from the studies, the article stated, "it was now clear that chiropractic care changed the structure and function of the brain. It was also clear that it could reduce fatigue and increase drive to the muscles."

The article also noted that "…chiropractic care for the cervical spine could increase maximal bite force." Additionally, they point to studies that show chiropractic can have a much broader effect on human function, "This adds to a growing evidence bank showing many non-musculoskeletal benefits of chiropractic care – from cerebellar function and sensorimotor integration to reduced falls risk and increased ability to perform mental rotation tasks."

At the conclusion of the article, the author sums up his findings by saying, "This is slowly but surely coming together to show us the mechanisms behind why chiropractic works. We have further to go of course, but we can now see that when we adjust, we change the structure and function of the brain. We can increase some brain signals, and allow them to reach their destination sooner. We can remove distortion, which may mean less fatigue and more strength. As our understanding of the vertebral subluxation grows, so too does our knowledge of the flip-side – what happens when we remove it. Those results are proving encouraging indeed."

70% Infants With Bronchiolitis Prescribed Antibiotics Inappropriately

Posted: July 2, 2019
By: Dr. Meredith Oudt

Above is the title of an article which appeared in the January 30, 2019, issue of Specialty Medical Dialogs. The report was based upon a study published in the Journal of the Pediatric Infectious Diseases Society on January 17, 2019.

The Mayo Clinic website describes bronchiolitis by saying, "Bronchiolitis is a common lung infection in young children and infants. It causes inflammation and congestion in the small airways (bronchioles) of the lung. Bronchiolitis is almost always caused by a virus." Recommended medical treatment does not involve antibiotics unless there is a secondary bacterial infection. Medical care is focused primarily to help if breathing is significantly hampered by the condition.

Antibiotics are used to treat bacterial infections and have no effect on viruses. In fact, they may be harmful to the child. An article in Medical News Today from 2011 stated the threat by saying, "Did you know that taking antibiotics when you or your child has a virus may do more harm than good? According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, where children are concerned, antibiotics are the most common cause of emergency department visits for adverse drug events."

The inappropriate use of antibiotics has been well documented over the years. However, this most recent study suggests that the warnings have still gone unheeded. An article in Healio Pediatrics on this new study gave an overview of the findings by saying, "A quarter of children aged younger than 2 years with bronchiolitis who visited U.S. EDs between 2007 and 2015 received antibiotics, even though 70% of those patients had no bacterial coinfection."

In the Healio article, Brett Burstein, MD, PhD, MPH, FRCPC, FAAP, and one of the study coauthors, commented on the study in Infectious Diseases in Children: "Bronchiolitis is a viral infection that does not respond to or require antibiotic treatment, and guidelines of the AAP (American Academy of Pediatrics), first published in 2006 and reiterated in 2014, recommend against the use of antibiotics for this illness. He continued, "Also, since 2013, reducing antibiotic prescribing for viral respiratory illness, including bronchiolitis, has become the top priority of the AAP’s Choosing Wisely national campaign. Despite these recommendations, we found that rates of antibiotic use did not decrease significantly in the decade following the guidelines."

The Healio article concluded with, "So, in addition to overprescribing, inappropriate antibiotic selection must be addressed," Burstein said. "Targeted interventions are necessary to translate these guidelines into practice, particularly among nonacademic hospitals, where most infants with bronchiolitis are evaluated and where the use of antibiotics was found to be higher."

Child with Bowel Problems Helped by Chiropractic

Posted: May 29, 2019
By: Dr. Meredith Oudt

The Journal of Pediatric, Maternal & Family Health published a case study on January 24, 2019, documenting the improvement with chiropractic of a young girl who had been suffering with irregular bowel movements.

If a child is 4-years-old or older, and has already been potty trained but still soils his or her pants with stools, the term for this condition is encopresis. By the age of four, children should be able to control themselves enough to not have this issue occur except under rare or extreme circumstances. Medical treatment for encopresis typically involves medications, some behavioral modifications, and dietary changes.

It is estimated that approximately 1-2% of children under the age of ten suffer from encopresis. Boys are much more commonly affected by this condition with 80-90% of all cases being in males.

In this case, a 9-year-old girl was brought to the chiropractor for an evaluation of an issue not related to encopresis. It seems the girl's gymnastics coach had observed that her hips were uneven. The girl's health history included having asthma, for which she had received allergy shots. She also had suffered for elbow dislocations before she was 4-years-old. Additionally, her history did record that she was suffering with irregular bowel movements. She was taking 4 Colace pills per day to regulate her bowels. It was later revealed that she was having accidents where she would soil herself and her clothing.

A chiropractic examination with spinal x-rays was performed. From the examination, it was determined that there were multiple areas of vertebral subluxation in the girl's spine, affecting her nervous system. Based upon the findings of the examination and x-rays, specific age-appropriate chiropractic adjustments were used to address the subluxations.

During the course of chiropractic care, gradual improvements were seen with the girl's regularity of bowel movements and with the incontinence she was experiencing. After one month of care, it was reported that the girl was virtually "accident free." Beyond the one-month point of her care, the girl was no longer having accidents and was able to sleep in normal panties for the first time ever. After a two month follow-up, there was no longer any reports of the problem and the girl was leading the life of a normal 9-year-old.

In their discussion about the mechanism of how chiropractic could help this girl's case the authors wrote, "Chiropractic adjustments act as a physical means to correct vertebral subluxations and reduce dysfunction in the body." They continued, "When this dysfunction is removed and musculoskeletal stresses are reduced, afferent input to the central nervous system is regulated, decreasing the sympathetic hyperactivity. This mechanism may be attributed to how chiropractic adjustments help alleviate fecal incontinence in this case study."

Teenage Boy's Neck pain and Curvature Helped with Chiropractic Care

Posted: May 22, 2019
By: Dr. Meredith Oudt

After Auto Accident Teenage Boy's Neck Pain and Neck Curvature Helped by Chiropractic

The Journal of Pediatric, Maternal & Family Health published a case study on September 10, 2018, documenting chiropractic helping a teenage boy with neck pain following a car accident. The study was also able to show improvement in the boy's neck curvature.

The study authors begin by noting that the most common diagnosis from U.S. hospital emergency departments given to people involved in a motor vehicle accident (MVA) is neck sprain/strain. These types of injuries are often painful, progressive and permanent if not corrected. One common finding in lateral x-rays of patients involved in MVA is a loss or reversal of the normal forward neck curvature. Neck curvature may not be directly from the MVA, but having an abnormal curve seems to be associated with a poor outcome. The study also reported that there is a higher incidence of forward head position in patients who have had a MVA as compared to those who have not.

Typical medical care of either medications or a "wait and see" approach have been shown to help in acute situations, but do not do as well for chronic pain, and do nothing to address the aberrant neck curvature or forward head position.

In this case, a 14-year-old boy who was involved in a MVA a year earlier was brought to a chiropractor by his parents. The boy was suffering with chronic headaches and neck pain that he and his parents related to the MVA a year earlier. The boy had no history of his neck pain or headaches prior to the accident. The accident occurred when the boy was riding in the front passenger seat of a minivan which was then rear-ended by a full sized pickup truck.

Within the first three months after the accident, the boy did receive some chiropractic care which had given him some relief. However, care was not continued until a year after the MVA when specific forms of chiropractic were utilized after an examination and additional x-rays. The neck x-rays specifically showed a loss of the neck curvature and a forward head position.

Prior to the specific chiropractic care, the boy's pain level was reported to be 7 out of 10, with 10 being the worst. After 11 weeks of specific chiropractic care, his pain had been reduced to 0 out of 10. Additionally, the reversal of the neck curve that was seen on the initial x-rays had began to show a curvature in the proper direction according to the follow-up neck x-rays.

Resolution of Bedwetting and Constipation Following Chiropractic Care

Posted: April 7, 2019
By: Dr. Meredith Oudt
Resolution of Bedwetting and Constipation Following Chiropractic Care

On June 25, 2018, the Journal of Pediatric, Maternal & Family Health published the results of a case study showing the resolution of bedwetting and constipation after chiropractic care. The clinical name for bedwetting is enuresis.

There are two types of enuresis. Nocturnal enuresis is bed-wetting at night and is the more common type of elimination disorder. Daytime wetting is called diurnal enuresis, and can occur by itself or in conjunction with nighttime bedwetting. Clinically, both nocturnal enuresis and diurnal enuresis are only considered to be a diagnosis if there is no other underlying organic disease, and after a child is five years of age.

The study points out that enuresis and constipation are very common conditions for children. Nocturnal enuresis is thought to affect up to 20% of children up to the age of seven. About 15% of the cases seem to correct themselves each year. Daytime, or diurnal enuresis is less common but commonly seen with the nighttime condition as well.

Constipation is defined as two or fewer bowel movements per week. It is the most common digestive symptom of the general population. Approximately 3 to 5% of all pediatric office visits are for child for constipation problems. The study notes that about 28% of adults in the United States suffer from constipation. Children are also commonly affected, with around 9-13% of pediatric cases that suffer from constipation being also associated with bladder symptoms, such as enuresis.

In this case, a 9-year-old girl was brought to a chiropractor for an evaluation and possible care. She was suffering with diurnal enuresis, nocturnal enuresis and chronic constipation. The history revealed that the girl was intolerant to red dye and suffered from digestive issues. She regularly experienced infrequent bowel movements that were difficult to pass.

An examination was performed which included a postural analysis and bilateral weight scales. Range of motion of her spine was evaluated. Additionally, palpation of the spine and adjacent musculature was performed. Thermography studies were also conducted to determine heat differences along the spine. Surface Electromyography (sEMG) studies were used as an assessment tool to measure the electrical activity of the girl's paraspinal muscles. From these tests, subluxations were determined to be present and specific forms of chiropractic adjustments were started.

The results of the chiropractic care were almost immediate. It was reported that after the girl's first adjustment, she experienced several bowel movements and remained dry for three consecutive nights. Four weeks after starting chiropractic care, the first re-assessment was performed to evaluate the girl's progress. At that time, she reported having only one wet night in the past week. During the second re-assessment, it was reported that the girl had not had either a daytime or nighttime leakage of urine and was having regular bowel movements about twice per day.

In their discussion, the authors of the study explained how subluxations could have created problems such as enuresis, as well as how correction would allow the body to heal itself. "The nervous system controls and regulates every organ, gland and tissue of the body and controls all bodily functions to maintain a proper bodily homeostasis.31 This regulation is done through direct nerve innervation to all organ systems of the body. When there is malposition of a vertebra in the spinal column there can be negative effects on the neurological signal of the nerve in the involved area, which is called a vertebral subluxation.

Improved thyroid function following Chiropractic Care

Posted: March 26, 2019
By: Dr. Meredith Oudt

The Annals of Vertebral Subluxation Research published a case study on March 19, 2018, documenting the case of a chiropractic patient diagnosed with hypothyroidism having their thyroid function improve due to chiropractic. According to the study authors, "Hypothyroidism is defined as the failure of the thyroid gland to produce sufficient thyroid hormone to meet the metabolic demands of the body."

On their website the American Thyroid Association describes the function of the thyroid by saying, "The thyroid gland is a butterfly-shaped endocrine gland that is normally located in the lower front of the neck. The thyroid’s job is to make thyroid hormones, which are secreted into the blood and then carried to every tissue in the body. Thyroid hormone helps the body use energy, stay warm and keep the brain, heart, muscles, and other organs working as they should."

In hypothyroidism, the cells of the body are not getting enough thyroid hormone causing them to slow down. This can cause symptoms of feeling colder, becoming tired more easily, the skin can become drier, becoming forgetful and depressed, and constipation. It is estimated that 10 million Americans have this common condition, with about 10% of all women having some signs of hypothyroidism.

In this case, a 49-year-old man complaining of neck, back, and shoulder pain went to the chiropractor. He did not have a specific time of origin for the problems which had been ongoing for a while. His health history revealed that he had been diagnosed with hypothyroidism four years earlier. Five years ago, the man started noticing that he felt low energy, fatigue and started having slurred speech. His medical practitioner ordered bloodwork from which he was diagnosed with hypothyroidism.

The man's medical practitioner prescribed the artificial thyroid hormone replacement Synthroid® at 100 mg per day. While under medication, most of the symptoms from his hypothyroidism were under control.

A chiropractic examination was performed which consisted of health history forms, orthopedic and neurologic testing, static and motion palpation, thermography, and spinal x-rays. Based on the tests, it was determined that subluxations were present. Specific forms of chiropractic care were begun at the rate of three visits per week.

During his chiropractic care, there were no changes in the man's lifestyle, diet, or exercise levels. Several months into chiropractic care, a follow-up blood test was performed showing an improvement in the man's thyroid hormone level resulting in a decrease of his medication. After eight months of chiropractic, his hormone level had returned to normal and he no longer needed the thyroid medication. The study did note that, against recommendation, the man did reduce his chiropractic visits causing a minimal setback and a partial return of symptoms.

In the conclusion of the study, the authors noted that this was not the first study linking improved thyroid function to chiropractic, they stated, "This paper appears to be the fourth to link the decreased need for synthetic thyroid medication while under chiropractic care." They further explained, "Because synthetic thyroid hormone is now the only current treatment for hypothyroidism, it would be beneficial to have an alternative treatment such as chiropractic care. Those currently receiving synthetic thyroid medication risk its side effects, drug interactions, and associated costs."

Neck Pain and Numbness Resolved Under Chiropractic Care

Posted: March 20, 2019
By: Dr. Meredith Oudt
Neck Pain and Numbness Resolved Under Chiropractic Care

On May 3, 2018, the Journal of Upper Cervical Chiropractic Research published a case study documenting the resolution of neck pain and hand numbness in a patient undergoing chiropractic care. According to the study authors, neck pain is one of the more common pain conditions in the general population.

Estimates show that at any given time, nearly 13% of the population suffers with some form of neck pain. Overall, nearly 50% of the population will suffer with neck pain at some point in their lives. Neck pain is one of the more common condition that people seek chiropractors for. About 25% of all patients that see chiropractors did so because of neck pain.

According to the study, neck pain is more common in people whose work requires performing repetitive static tasks, or physically demanding work. Neck pain is also more common in people who have had previous neck trauma, and those suffering from other conditions such as depression, low back pain, or headaches.

In this case, a 28-year-old man suffering with neck pain and tingling in his hands sought chiropractic care. The man reported that his neck pain started about five months earlier, though he could not recall any particular incident that brought on the problem. He also reported that he did not remember when his hands started tingling. He had not seen any other type of doctor, and was not taking any medications for these conditions.

The man described the neck pain as a dull achy kind of pain in his lower neck that he rated as only a 2 out of 10 in severity. He noted that his hands felt like pins and needles with the feeling be more prevalent in his right hand. Although he felt that these annoying conditions did not prevent him from performing normal daily activities, he did state that these issues prevented him from working out as hard as he used to.

An examination was performed at the chiropractic office which included checking his vital signs, orthopedic and neurological exams, cervical static and motion palpation, along with range of motion tests in both the cervical and lumbar region. A postural analysis did reveal some abnormal positioning as well as limitations is specific motions of some neck vertebrae. Cervical thermographic scans showed irregularities. X-rays of the neck showed malpositioning of cervical vertebrae in addition to moderate disc degeneration and spurring in the neck.

Based upon the finding of the examination and x-rays, it was determined that subluxations were present and specific forms of chiropractic adjustments were started. After the first adjustment, at his subsequent visit the patient did not report any improvement. Care was continued based upon specific findings that indicated the need for a chiropractic adjustment.

On the sixth visit, the man reported that his neck pain was gone and he only had some minor neck stiffness. He also stated that his hand tingling had reduced to only occasional tingling in his fingers. By the seventh visit, the man reported no neck pain or stiffness, and his hand tingling was completely gone. He elected to continue chiropractic care for correction of subluxations.

Neck pain & Hand Numbness helped by Chiropractic

Posted: March 5, 2019
By: Dr. Meredith Oudt

Neck Pain and Hand Numbness Helped by Chiropractic

The Journal of Upper Cervical Chiropractic Research published the results of a case study on July 9, 2018, documenting the improvement under chiropractic care of a woman who was suffering with neck pain and numbness in hands.

This study begins by noting that neck pain is common. Statistics show that 37.2% of the population will experience neck pain lasting over one year's duration. Over 50% of the population suffers some form of neck pain in their lifetime. Additionally, neck pain is the fourth leading cause of years lost to disability. Women more commonly suffer with neck pain then men.

In this case, a 46-year-old woman with chronic neck pain and left-hand numbness presented herself to a chiropractic clinic. The neck pain was long-term, and the woman could not recall when and how the problem first started. The numbness she was experiencing in her left hand was intermittent with no defined pattern or timing. She had not seen any other type of doctor for these conditions prior to her visit to the chiropractor.

She described the pain as achy and stiff. She initially rated the pain as a 4 out of 10 initially on a scale of 0 to 10 where 0 is no pain. She noted that her pain worsened after working long hours or traveling for work. However, she reported that none of her daily activities were affected. Massages did give her some short-term relief for the pain.

In addition to her primary complaint of neck pain and hand numbness, she also reported that she experienced low back pain and tingling, and numbness into the toes. She had previously been diagnosed with lumbar disc herniation and was treated by a physical therapist.

A chiropractic examination was performed which included spinal palpation, range of motion, relevant orthopedic and neurological exams, thermographic heat scans, and a postural analysis. Spinal x-rays of her neck were also performed. The x-rays showed moderate degeneration of mid-neck area.

Based upon the examination and x-rays, specific chiropractic care was started. She was initially seen twice per week and adjusted based upon an evaluation performed each visit. After two months of chiropractic care the patient reported a total resolution of her neck pain and the numbness she was experiencing in her left hand.

Neck pain is one of the more common conditions for which people seek chiropractic care. The authors of the study noted, "Chiropractic care has been used to manage numerous musculoskeletal conditions including neck pain. Neck pain accounts for 25% of the initial consultations and examinations rendered at chiropractic offices."

Resolution of Chronic Seizures in an Infant

Posted: February 19, 2019
By: Dr. Meredith Oudt

The Journal of Pediatric, Maternal & Family Health published a case study on December 27, 2018, documenting chiropractic bringing about the resolution of chronic seizures in an infant. A seizure is a sudden surge of electrical activity in the brain.

The study begins by explaining that seizures or epilepsy can occur from an interference with the mechanism creating an over excitement of brain firings, or from an inhibition of the mechanisms that control brain firing. The study reports that epilepsy occurs in between 41 and 187 individuals per 100,000 children.

In this case, a 15-month-old male infant who was suffering with seizures was taken to the chiropractor. The infant's history revealed a traumatic birth process that ended in a cesarean section delivery. Since the infant's mother had had difficulty with previous pregnancies, she had progesterone shots during her pregnancy with this baby.

The infant boy began having seizures at 6 months of age with episodes occurring two to three times per week and lasting between one and two minutes each. These initial seizure episodes did subside. The seizures returned again 8 months later. At that time, the seizures were occurring every couple of days. After a month of these issues, the infant was brought in for a chiropractic evaluation.

The mother described her baby's episodes as unresponsiveness and limpness after awakening from a nap. He would suddenly be unable to move parts of his body including his arms and legs. Additionally, the infant would have these episodes after a bowel movement. The infant would not lose consciousness and the episodes lasted from one to two minutes.

Specific forms of chiropractic adjustments specifically focused toward the correction of subluxations were started and continued over an 8 month period. As care was ongoing, it was reported that the baby continued to show improvement until he was no longer suffering with seizures at all.

In their conclusion the authors of the study stated, "The results of this case study and relevant research pertaining to chiropractic’s role in reduction and resolution of chronic seizures support the hypothesis that subluxation reduction may have a positive impact on the symptoms associated with epilepsy."