Dr Merri's Blog

Anxiety and Neck Pain helped by Chiropractic

Posted: March 1, 2021
By: Dr. Meredith Oudt

The Journal of Contemporary Chiropractic published the results of a case study February 14, 2020, documenting the improvement of neck pain, anxiety and cortisol levels as a result of chiropractic care. Elevated cortisol levels are typically associated with stress and anxiety, and measuring cortisol levels is a good way to measure a reduction in anxiety levels.

The study begins by noting how common neck pain is, and the connection between neck pain and anxiety. "Neck pain is common and has a considerable impact on individuals and their families, communities, healthcare systems, and businesses. At least 33% and as high as 65% of people have suffered and recovered from an episode of neck pain within the last year."

The study also points out that women are more likely than men to suffer from persistent neck pain and neck problems. The authors also report, "Of all 291 conditions studied in the World Health Organization (WHO) Global Burden of Disease 2010 (GBD) study, neck pain ranked 4th in terms of disability and contributes to an economic burden of billions of dollars in costs associated with treatment and lost work time."

The American Psychological Association defines anxiety by stating, "Anxiety is an emotion characterized by feelings of tension, worried thoughts and physical changes like increased blood pressure. People with anxiety disorders usually have recurring intrusive thoughts or concerns. They may avoid certain situations out of worry. They may also have physical symptoms such as sweating, trembling, dizziness or a rapid heartbeat."

In this case, a 40-year-old woman was suffering for the previous two weeks with chronic recurring neck pain and headache that was made worse by an increase of desk and computer work. She described her condition as constant pain with tension throughout the upper back and neck which was made worse by sitting or driving. She was also suffering with headaches. The pain, which the woman rated as 7 out of 10 with 10 being the worst, made sleeping difficult. The woman reported a history of anxiety which was getting worse as her pain was increasing.

A chiropractic examination was performed which included a postural inspection, spinal range of motions tests, static and motion spinal palpation, and spinal x-rays. The conclusion from these tests was that subluxations were present. The woman also submitted to a saliva test to establish a baseline salivary cortisol level so that this could be compared to future cortisol level tests as a measure of anxiety and stress levels.

Regular specific chiropractic adjustments were given over a 12-week period. As care was progressing, the woman reported that her symptoms were significantly improving and that her headaches had completely resolved. She also reported that she no longer had trouble sleeping and her anxiety was gone. To objectively measure the woman’s anxiety levels, a follow-up saliva study was performed to test the woman’s cortisol levels. This test showed a reduction of salivary cortisol levels, thus confirming her reduction in anxiety.

In their conclusion the authors noted, "Chiropractic management of chronic, recurring neck pain and headache in a patient with anxiety was associated with subjective improvement in both musculoskeletal and anxiety symptoms resulting in improved physical function."

Survey of Parents Who Bring Their Infants to Chiropractors Shows High Satisfaction Rate

Posted: February 17, 2021
By: Dr. Meredith Oudt

The Journal of Clinical Chiropractic Pediatrics published the results of a large-scale survey in their December 2020 issue showing that parents who bring their infants to chiropractors are highly satisfied with the care and results.

This survey study was performed at the AECC University College (Anglo-European College of Chiropractic) in Bournemouth, England. Infants up to the age of 12 months were included in this study. The infants received chiropractic care at either the AECC teaching chiropractic clinic or at selective private chiropractic practices in the UK.

In this study, a 12-question standardized form known as the United Kingdom Infant Questionnaire (UKIQ) was given the parents of infants who were seeing chiropractic care at either the AECC teaching clinic or in the private practices participating in the study. These forms were filled out initially before any chiropractic care was rendered and were then sent to researchers to be compared with forms done later in care.

A 13-question questionnaire was given to the parent at the fourth visit, or at the time of discharge from care, whichever occurred first. This questionnaire had the same first 12 questions with the addition of a 13th question asking what changes the parents had noticed in their infant. This one additional question is known as the Parent’s Global Impression of Change (PGIC). Additionally, information collected included the infant’s age, gender, type of birth, place of birth, feeding type, symptoms, medications, sleeping preferences, and information about any healthcare providers that had previously been seen for the infant’s current problems.

In total, there were 312 follow-up questionnaires that were compared to the initial questionnaires. On average, most infants in the study had two health issues for which their parents were seeking chiropractic care. The average age of infants in this study was between three and eight weeks old. Since almost all of these infants had health issues, many were under medical care. Between 58% and 62% of the children had been given some form of medication.

Overall, 86% of the parents reported that they were satisfied with their chiropractic care and that their babies had improved. Additionally, in the entire study group, there were no recorded incidences of any adverse events due to chiropractic care among the near 500 infants in the survey study.

In their conclusion, the authors of the study survey stated, "In this study of outcomes of chiropractic care for infants presented to a teaching clinic and to private clinics showed very high satisfaction ratings from the parents along with good improvements in the infants’ complaints with no adverse events."

Migraines Helped with Chiropractic Care

Posted: February 12, 2021
By: Dr. Meredith Oudt

Published in the volume 3 issue of the 2020 Journal of Contemporary Chiropractic are the results of a case study showing the resolution of migraine headaches in a chiropractic patient who had previously had Harrington rods surgically implanted into her spine.

A Harrington rod is a surgical device implanted next to the spine. The study begins by describing "Harrington rods are titanium or stainless steel spinal implants used to treat spinal instabilities or spinal deformities, such as severe scoliotic curves." Developed in 1953, the Harrington rod was widely used from the 1960s into the 1990s.

This study states that, although there is limited scientific information that would link the implantation of a Harrington rods to migraine headaches, the authors suggested that the change in musculature could create events that may affect the length and severity of a migraine.

In this case, a 20-year-old woman sought chiropractic care in the hopes of getting relief of her migraine headaches. Her history noted that she was diagnosed by her medical physician with migraines at the age of 13. Shortly thereafter, she had received a Harrington rod fusion surgery which fused her spine from the base of her neck down to the bottom of her middle back.

The woman had sought out chiropractic care previously for one visit only. She reported that she did get some relief but decided to pursue other treatments. These other treatments included multiple over-the-counter non-steroidal anti-inflammatory (NSAID) medications, which only gave her minimal relief. At the time of her recent visit to the chiropractor, the woman was experiencing migraine headaches daily.

A chiropractic examination did show that the woman had a reduction in her neck range of motion and tight neck muscles. Immediately after her first chiropractic adjustment, the woman did show an increase in her neck range of motion. She reported that she felt relief from the tension she had in her neck and head. She was also given home stretching exercises for her neck.

After the second chiropractic visit, the woman reported that her migraines had decreased in frequency from one per day to only one in a week. By the sixth week of chiropractic care, the woman reported that she had not had a migraine for three weeks.

The authors of the study summed up this case by stating, "This case demonstrates a favorable reduction in migraine frequency following a 6-week episode of chiropractic care in a person with a Harrington rod fusion."

Resolution of Bedwetting, Constipation, Headaches, Allergies & Cold Hands Under Chiropractic

Posted: February 10, 2021
By: Dr. Meredith Oudt

The Journal of Pediatric, Maternal & Family Health published the results of a case study on August 3, 2020, describing a case of a child who was suffering with bedwetting, constipation, headaches, allergies, and cold hands being helped by chiropractic.

Bedwetting at night is medically known as nocturnal enuresis (NE), and occurs in up to 15% of seven-year-olds who have no problems during the day. The condition is more common in boys than girls and is commonly associated with behavioral disorders. NE was thought to be self-limiting but has been shown to be persistent and can remain during the entire childhood of those affected, and thereafter remains in 1% of adults.

The study authors note that, from a medical perspective, this condition is not a health priority and therefore treatment is "vague and futile." As they note, "…medical treatments typically include nighttime bells or alarms, medications such as tricyclic antidepressants, behavioral rewards and punishments, requirement of voiding before sleep, and limitation of nighttime fluids."

In this case, a six-year-old boy was brought to a chiropractor for help with multiple daily health issues, including nightly bedwetting. According to his parents, the boy was also suffering with headaches, constipation, earaches, allergies, asthma, cold hands, and ADHD. It was reported that the boy had been suffering with bedwetting, ADHD, and headaches since birth. The boy, who was very active and involved in sports, was being treated medically for asthma, allergies, constipation, and headaches, for which he was given multiple medications.

A chiropractic examination was performed which included a visual inspection, palpation, surface EMG readings, and spinal x-rays. It was determined that subluxations were present, and a chiropractic adjustment care plan was developed.

As chiropractic care continued, the child's health began to improve. The study reports that the boy's parents noticed a decrease in the number of times the child would have a wet night. By the twenty-first chiropractic visit, the parents reported that their son had not had a wet night in over a week. At sixteen weeks of care, his parents reported that their son was no longer suffering from cold hands or constipation. They also said that their son was 80% improved with his remaining conditions including ear infections, allergies, asthma, ADHD, and headaches.

In their conclusion, the authors noted, "This study presents relief of nocturnal enuresis, headaches, ADHD, asthma, allergies constipation, earaches, and cold hands in a 6-year-old male following chiropractic adjustments."

Kidney Function, Neck Pain and Lower Back Pain Helped with Chiropractic

Posted: February 3, 2021
By: Dr. Meredith Oudt

The Annals of Vertebral Subluxation Research published the results of a case study in the December 10, 2020, issue documenting the improvement in kidney function as well as symptomatic improvement in a patient under chiropractic care who was suffering with neck pain, lower back pain, and hip pain.

The study begins by reporting that, according to the National Kidney Foundation, 1 in 3 adults are at risk for developing kidney disease. The major job of the kidneys is to filter the blood. One of the things that the kidneys filter is creatinine.

According to the Mayo clinic website, "Creatinine is a chemical waste product that's produced by your muscle metabolism and to a smaller extent by eating meat. Healthy kidneys filter creatinine and other waste products from your blood. The filtered waste products leave your body in your urine." The Mayo Clinic continues with, "If your kidneys aren't functioning properly, an increased level of creatinine may accumulate in your blood. A serum creatinine test measures the level of creatinine in your blood and provides an estimate of how well your kidneys filter."

In this study, a 42-year-old man sought chiropractic care for help with his pain in his low back, the right-side of his neck, as well as pain in his right pelvis. He reported that he had been suffering with the low back and pelvis pain for almost 30 years ever since he suffered injuries playing high school football. His neck pain had been present for decades after another injury suffered while playing a pick-up game of football.

The man rated his pains as 7 out of 10, with 10 being the worst. He stated that his pain was present about 70% of the time. He also reported some numbness in his right-hand fingers as well as some shoulder pain. The man had sought medical care for his problems with no relief. His history also revealed that he was taking medications for high blood pressure and elevated cholesterol. Lab tests revealed that the man had an elevated serum creatinine levels with a value of 1.41 mg/dL (milligrams per deciliter) indicative of kidney problems. The normal range for creatinine in the blood is between 0.84 and 1.21 mg/dL.

A chiropractic examination was performed on the man with the specific intent of locating subluxations. Specific forms of chiropractic adjustments were then given on regular intervals to correct the subluxations.

Following the first adjustment, the man reported that he noticed a 30% reduction in his symptoms. The level of relief increased to 70% within the first month of chiropractic care. After several months of chiropractic care, another serum creatinine analysis was performed. This time his serum creatinine levels had fallen to 1.19 mg/dL, which is well within a normal range for a man at his age. This change documented that there was an increase in kidney function after chiropractic care.

In their conclusion, the authors of the study wrote, "Improvements in the patient's subjective complaints, as well as objective thermography, and blood analysis were seen while receiving chiropractic care." They went on to say, "In this case, chiropractic care may have played a role in the physiological changes that resulted in the reduction of serum creatinine levels, by restoring balance to the autonomic nervous system."

It's all about performance- Effects of Chiropractic Care on Strength, Balance, and Endurance

Posted: January 31, 2021
By: Dr. Meredith Oudt

The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine published the results of a study on June 12, 2020, showing that chiropractic care was able to cause an increase in strength, endurance, and balance in active duty military personal participating in this study.

A number of studies have shown that benefits of chiropractic care for military personnel. Physical ailments are common in the military due to the active nature of training and activities. Numerous studies have shown a high degree of satisfaction among military personnel who undergo chiropractic care.

Legislation in the U.S. established chiropractic care at many military facilities, thus making chiropractic more available than in the past to those serving in the armed forces. One large study published on May 18, 2018, in the JAMA Network Open under Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation showed that adding chiropractic to standard medical care gave superior results for lower back pain than just standard medical care among active U.S. military personnel.

This controlled trial study was designed to see if chiropractic had an effect on strength, balance, and/or endurance in active-duty United States military personnel 18–40 years of age with low back pain. In this study, 4 weeks of chiropractic care was given to 110 active-duty military personnel who were suffering with lower back pain.

The chiropractic care rendered to the participants in this study consisted of spinal adjustments (referred to as manipulation in this study), education, advice, and reassurance. All the care was rendered at the Naval Air Technical Training Center branch clinic at the Naval Hospital Pensacola Florida.

To measure strength, the participants were asked to do isometric pulling from a semisquat position. Balance was tested by having participants perform a single-leg balance with eyes open and eyes closed. Endurance was measured by a test called the Biering–Sorensen test. This test requires the participant to lie face down on a table with the top half of their body extending over the table. They are then tested to see how long they can keep extended straight out from the table using their torso muscles. These tests were performed initially, and after four weeks of chiropractic care.

The results showed that there was a statistical improvement in strength and endurance for the group after chiropractic care as compared to their initial testing. Balanced was improved after chiropractic with the eyes closed, but no statistical difference was seen when the eyes were kept open. The participants also saw improvement in lower back pain (LBP) and disability due to the chiropractic care.

In their conclusion the authors wrote, "Active-duty military personnel receiving chiropractic care exhibited improved strength and endurance, as well as reduced LBP intensity and disability, compared with a wait-list control."

Migraine Headaches Resolved Under Chiropractic Care

Posted: January 25, 2021
By: Dr. Meredith Oudt

The Journal of Upper Cervical Chiropractic Research published the results of a case study on September 21, 2020, documenting the resolution of chronic migraine headaches in a patient undergoing chiropractic care. Chronic migraines are migraines that occur more frequently for a period of at least three months.

On their website, the Cleveland Clinic describes headaches by saying, "A migraine headache is a type of headache that tends to recur and causes moderate to severe pain. The pain is often described as throbbing or pulsing and usually begins on one side of the head. Migraine headaches are worsened by physical activity, light, sound, or physical movement. The pain typically last from 4 hours up to 3 days."

The Cleveland Clinic also reports that, "The National Headache Foundation estimates that nearly 12% of the population experience migraine headaches. This means that nearly 40 million people in the United States have migraines. Women are about three times more likely than men to experience migraines."

In this case study, a 53-year-old woman was referred to a chiropractor by a neurologist for an evaluation of her upper neck. The woman had been experiencing migraine with aura for twelve years. She was suffering with migraines four days a week that would last 8 hours. The woman reported that the pain was sharp and radiating from her neck to her temporal areas. Additionally, the headaches were occurring with blurred vision, vomiting, nausea, grinding of teeth, spasm, tremors in jaw two–three times a day. Her symptoms were so severe that the woman would be bedridden for days and was unable to care for herself.

A specific chiropractic examination was performed focusing on the upper neck area. Special x-rays of the upper neck were also done. It was determined that there was a subluxation at the top of her neck and specific chiropractic adjustment procedures were started to address the upper neck area.

Immediately after her first chiropractic adjustment, the woman reported that she no longer had a headache, no blurred vision, no nausea, and no neck pain. She additionally noted that she no longer felt like a headache was coming on. After the first visit, the study reports that the woman remained free of migraines and neck pain.

After three months of chiropractic care, a re-evaluation was performed. At that time, the woman reported that she had been free of migraines since her first adjustment, she could rotate her neck without pain, she reported increased energy, improved clarity, and brightness in her vision.

In their conclusion, the study authors note that this woman was a medical failure and was sent to the chiropractor by her neurologist. They note that the woman had been suffering with her debilitating problems for 12 years. Once chiropractic was started, the woman became completely free of her migraines and the symptoms associated with her previous condition.

Oxygen Levels Increased in Newborn After Chiropractic Adjustment

Posted: January 4, 2021
By: Dr. Meredith Oudt

The Journal of Pediatric, Maternal & Family Health published a case study on October 8, 2020, that documented the improvement of oxygen levels in a newborn immediately following a chiropractic adjustment. The improvement was measured in real-time using a pulse oximeter.

The study begins by noting that "Pulse oximetry (PO) is routinely used in neonatal evaluation to assess for congenital heart disease (CHD)." According to Nationwide Children's Hospital, "The pulse-oximetry test can help identify infants with low levels of oxygen in their blood and may help diagnose critical CHD (congenital heart disease) before an infant becomes sick." The study reports that CHD is one of the most common birth defects affecting nine out of every 1000 newborns.

Pulse oximetry has become a common non-invasive test used shortly after birth to help reduce the risk of CHD by early detection. The study reported how common the PO test has become by noting, "Recently the Canadian Cardiovascular Society and the Canadian Pediatric Cardiology Association issued a position statement strongly recommending that PO evaluation be done in all healthy newborns, and multiple states in the United States have made PO evaluation of neonates mandatory."

In this case, an 8-pound female infant was born at home with the assistance of a certified midwife. The pregnancy was full-term and had no complications. Immediately after the birth, the midwife performed an evaluation of the infant which included a pulse oximeter being placed on the infant's right foot. After three minutes, the PO reading was 73%. A normal reading for an infant should be above 95%.

Due to the low oxygen level, the infant was administered oxygen which caused the PO reading to rise to 93%. However, when the oxygen was removed, the PO reading would once again drop down to 85%. Because of this situation, and in accordance with state protocol, the midwife informed the parents that their newborn might need to be transported to the emergency room due to the possibility of Congenital Heart Disease.

A pediatric chiropractor was asked to evaluate the infant for the presence of vertebral subluxations. Subluxations, especially in the upper neck, are a common concern due to possible trauma during the birth process. An examination of the infant's neck was performed which showed some segmental mobility issues. With this finding as well as other chiropractic checks, it was determined that a subluxation was present in the infant at the top of the neck area.

An age and size appropriate specific chiropractic adjustment was given to the infant using a sustained pressure at the area of subluxation. The study reported that, in-real-time, the pulse oximetry (PO) reading returned to a normal 95% immediately upon the infant getting the chiropractic adjustment. The PO reading continued to remain normal for the entire time the midwife monitored the newborn. Due to this immediate and positive change, the midwife determined that the infant would not need to be taken to the hospital.

In their conclusion the authors of this study wrote, "This case study provides supporting evidence of the benefits of subluxation-based chiropractic care in the improvement of pulse oximetry readings in neonates. Obstetric health care providers must be aware of cases like this, as low-risk interventions such as pediatric chiropractic could prevent more invasive medical treatments for patients."

Menstrual Cycle Returns and Low Back Pain Gone with Chiropractic

Posted: December 28, 2020
By: Dr. Meredith Oudt

Published in the Annals of Vertebral Subluxation Research on December 5, 2019, is the documented results of chiropractic care helping a woman who was suffering from lower back pain and a chronic loss of her normal menstrual cycle.

Amenorrhea is the absence of a menstrual cycle. This condition is normal when a woman who is of the age to have a regular cycle is either pregnant or nursing. Women who should be having a regular menstrual cycle but who miss three periods are considered to have amenorrhea. The study notes that between 3-4 percent of women are classified as having amenorrhea.

In this case, a 26-year-old woman presented herself for a chiropractic evaluation. The woman was suffering with right rib and low back pain. These pains began after a lifting accident she sustained at work. The woman was employed as a bartender which required her to perform physical activities that were repetitive in nature. Upon taking a history, the woman revealed that she was suffering with amenorrhea for the past several years.

A chiropractic examination was performed which included a physical examination and both motion and static palpation. From the findings, it was determined that subluxations were present, and the recommendation was made that the woman undergo a series of chiropractic adjustments to correct the subluxations.

In simplest terms, a subluxation (a.k.a. vertebral subluxation) is when one or more of the bones of the spine (vertebrae) move out of position and create pressure on or irritate spinal nerves. Spinal nerves are the nerves that come out from between each of the bones in the spine. This pressure or irritation on the nerves causes those nerves to malfunction and interfere with the signals traveling over those nerves.

Since the nervous system controls and coordinates all body function, any interference with nerve transmission can result in parts of the body not functioning properly. The effects of subluxation can be varied and widespread as all bodily function is under nervous system control. Chiropractors have long maintained that they do not specifically treat the conditions caused by subluxations, but rather correct the subluxations so the body's own innate healing abilities can help restore health.

In this case, the woman began a series of adjustments at the rate of three times per week. The study reports that after three weeks of chiropractic care, the woman reported improvement in both her back and rib pain. As a result of correction of subluxations, the woman also reported that she began menstruating normally again.

In their conclusion the authors noted, "This study provided supporting evidence on the possible benefits of chiropractic care in patients with amenorrhea and neuromusculoskeletal pain."

Baby Shows Improvement in Developmental Delay Under Chiropractic Care

Posted: December 22, 2020
By: Dr. Meredith Oudt

Baby Shows Improvement in Developmental Delay Under Chiropractic Care

On January 16, 2020, the Journal of Pediatric, Maternal & Family Health Chiropractic published the results of a case study documenting the improvement in developmental delay of a baby girl undergoing chiropractic care.

The authors of this study begin by noting that a child is considered developmentally delayed when he or she is not obtaining specific milestones of ability at a predicted rate or age. As of 2008, one in six children was considered to be to some degree developmentally delayed. They note that this number increased dramatically since 1998. They point out that the milestones children are supposed to reach are separated into five separate and distinct categories. They are:

  • 4 months: The ability to lift chest up from a belly down position
  • 6 months: Child can pull up into sitting position
  • 9 months: Ability to roll both ways and sit up
  • 12 months: Child can pull himself/herself up to stand and walk with one hand holding on
  • 18 months: Getting up into standing position and walking alone

In this case, a 15-month-old girl was brought to the chiropractor by her mother. It was reported that the girl was suffering with hypotonia and developmental delay. According to the study, "Hypotonia is a term used to describe low muscle tone in young children. It presents as excessive spinal range of motion, decreased postural stability as well as an overall diminished quality of movement."

The mother stated that her daughter had always been small and had always been one to two months developmentally delayed in achieving the standard milestones. The baby was born by Cesarean section and had a mild torticollis at birth. At six months, the baby girl was unable to sit by herself and strongly disliked lying on her belly.

An age-appropriate chiropractic examination was performed and resulted in the determination that multiple levels of subluxation were present. A course of specific chiropractic adjustment, appropriate to age, were started to address the subluxations.

After six chiropractic adjustments, the girl was able to stand and walk while holding on to some means of support. After 20 visits, the girl was able to repeat some simple words clearly. She was also able to stand and take up to six steps without holding onto anything. After five months of chiropractic care, the girl was walking unassisted with ease and had become more verbal. After seven months of care, the girl's mother reported that her daughter was able to climb down off a chair and move a foot stool so she could climb up to put her cup on a bench.

The authors of the study explained subluxations by quoting a chiropractic authority group, "Vertebral subluxation is a chiropractic term that has been defined by a collective of chiropractic colleges named the Rubicon group as: 'a self-perpetuating, central segmental motor control problem that involves a joint, such as a vertebral motion segment, that is not moving appropriately, resulting in ongoing maladaptive neural plastic changes that interfere with the central nervous system's ability to self-regulate, self-organize, adapt, repair and heal'."

In the conclusion of this study the authors wrote, "Improved outcomes in this 15-month-old could be associated with improvement in sensorimotor integration following the correction of vertebral subluxation during chiropractic care."