On December 3, 2020, the Annals of Vertebral Subluxation Research published a case study documenting the improvement of a patient under chiropractic care who had significant lower spine degeneration with spondylolisthesis.
The study authors define the condition by saying, “Spondylolisthesis occurs when a vertebra is displaced anteriorly or posteriorly in respect to the vertebra below.” In essence, this condition is when a vertebrae, typically in the lower spine, shifts significantly forward over the vertebrae below. The degenerative form of spondylolisthesis commonly occurs in people in their upper 60s or more, with studies showing that upwards of 42% of those age 60 to 69 will have degenerative spondylolisthesis.
There are several types of spondylolisthesis and the major concern of this condition is that, if severe enough, it can narrow the spinal canal and put pressure on the spinal cord causing neurological problems. Spondylolisthesis is measured by drawing a line along the edge of the vertebrae on a side view of the x-ray.
In this case, a 63-year old female bodybuilder sought chiropractic care for severe lower back pain. The woman rated her lower back pain as 10 out of 10 on the scale of 0 to 10, with 10 being the most severe. The woman had a history of having had treatment for her pain with multiple injections, medications, and over the counter pain pills. She had also previously had right hip replacement.
A chiropractic examination was performed which included thermographic heat reading along the spine, a surface EMG scan, and spinal x-rays. Based upon the findings, the woman was given a chiropractic care plan of three visits per week for a ten-week period.
Follow-up x-rays were taken after 10 weeks that showed a 67.2-74.2% improvement in several vertebrae, and a 136.8% improvement in the position of another. The woman reported that her pain had improved dramatically, going from 10 out of 10, down to just 2 out of 10. She also reported an improvement in her weight training noting being able to leg press 60 more pounds, up from 200 lb. to 260 pounds, since starting chiropractic care.