A case study documenting the improvement from chiropractic for long-term pain and insomnia was published in the April 23, 2018, issue of the Annals of Vertebral Subluxation Research. This study featured the improvement in overall quality of life for an elderly chiropractic patient who had been suffering for decades.
The study authors begin by noting that the population, in general, is aging. They point out that the number of people 60 years and above, will double globally, reaching 21.1% of the total population, and exceeding 2 billion by the year 2050. They also explain the aging process clearly by saying, “The ability of older adults to perform activities of daily living (ADLs) depends on largely physical functioning. When gait, balance or range of motion (ROM) is impaired, it can have profound and long lasting effects both physically and mentally. Injury and pain are commonly accepted by the older population as a fact of aging. This can result in immobility which may have the possibility of further injury, therefore resulting in loss of independence and lowered quality of life.”
In this case, a 75-year-old woman went to the chiropractor. Her primary complaints included persistent neck and shoulder pain which she had been suffering with for the past 20 years. She attributed the issues to a fall she had about 25 years ago where she suffered a fractured left clavicle.
The woman described her pain as a burning sensation across her upper back and into her lower neck. She rated the pain most times as a 6 out of 10 with 10 being the worst. Occasionally, with movement, the pain would increase to an 8 out of 10. The pain was affecting her daily activities such as sitting for a short time or doing laundry. Her pain was causing problems with her ability to fall asleep or remain asleep. This resulted in her self-medicating with codeine for pain relief in order to be able to sleep. The codeine then caused the woman to suffer with the side effects of waking drowsy and chronic constipation. In addition to her neck pain, she also suffered with chronic lower back pain which often caused pain down her leg.
A chiropractic examination revealed postural anomalies including a forward head carriage. Additionally, her neck range of motion was reduced and uneven. Thermography and surface EMG studies, along with spinal x-rays, were also done and confirmed the presence of subluxations. Specific forms of chiropractic adjustments were started to address the spinal subluxations.
By the second visit, the patient reported that she noticed less pain than before when doing her laundry. On the fourth visit, the woman reported an increase in pain, which was decreased by the next visit. On her seventh visit, her right shoulder pain had resolved and did not return. On her follow-up evaluation, she reported that her shoulder and neck pain were gone. She also reported that her back pain was resolved, and she was able to sit for three hours without pain.
In their discussion, the authors described how correcting subluxation has a positive effect on health. “Chiropractic care aims to optimize health and wellbeing through the enhancement of the nervous system function by removing nerve interference caused by vertebral subluxations. The correction of vertebral subluxations by chiropractic adjustments are a fundamental component of personal enhancement and wellbeing.”
In their conclusion, the authors summed this case up by stating, “This case study demonstrates that chiropractic care has the potential to improve the quality of life, range of motion and chronic pain that is often experienced in the geriatric population.”