On September 23, 2019, the Annals of Vertebral Subluxation Research published the results of a case study showing chiropractic helping a patient with neck pain, headaches, vertigo, and abnormal posture. Neck pain is one of the leading causes of disability in the general population.
The study begins by explaining how common and how debilitating neck pain is. Neck pain sufferers have limited ability to participate in normal activities of daily living and some estimates suggest that close to 90% of the population may experience neck pain at some point in their lifetime.
The study reports that changes from the normal forward neck curvature is a key factor and directly related to neck pain. Correction of the normal neck curvature has shown to yield both short-term and long-term benefits to patients. Non-surgical approaches such as chiropractic have been shown to be the safest and most effective means to deal with neck curvature issues and resulting neck pain.
In this case, a 49-year-old man brought himself to the chiropractor for evaluation and possible care. He was suffering with acute neck pain that began two days before visiting the chiropractor. There was no history of immediate trauma or injury that could be associated as the cause of the pain. The man described the pain as severe, sharp and aching which he rated as a 7 out of 10 in severity, with 10 being the worst. He reported that the pain was constant and radiated down into his right hand causing numbness and limiting his range of motion.
The man did mention that he would have occasional headaches and vertigo. His pain was made worse when he turned his head, and he would get some minimal relief when he was standing straight and looking forward. He was using some over-the-counter drugs and heat packs to temporarily get some relief.
The examination of the man showed his head to be in a forward position more in front of his body than the normal over the shoulder position. Additionally, his neck range of motion was limited. Spinal x-rays were taken which confirmed the improper head positioning and vertebral malpositions.
Based on the findings of the examination and x-rays, specific forms of chiropractic care and adjusting were started. In a re-assessment done after one month of care, the man reported 90% relief of his neck pain and a complete resolution of his hand numbness. Chiropractic care was continued as the goal of the care was not just the alleviation of the symptoms, but also the correction of the underlying structural issues which had been present much longer than the man’s pain.
At a 6-month assessment, the man reported that his neck pain was nearly completely resolved going from a 7 out of 10 initially to an occasional 1 out of 10. He also noted that his headaches, vertigo and hand numbness had completely been corrected. Follow-up x-rays showed improvement in the curvatures and head positioning toward being in a more normal posture.