What is Atlantoaxial Instability? Is Upper Cervical Chiropractic Care Effective?
A study published on October 30, 2016, in the International Journal of Clinical and Experimental Medicine (IJCEM) showed that patients with neck pain and instability in the upper neck are helped with chiropractic. The two upper bones in the neck are clinically known as the atlantoaxial joint.
The study points out that problems, such as instability of the atlantoaxial joint, are considered serious due to their high risk of neurological problems. A variety of physical approaches have been used in the treatment of atlantoaxial instability. This study was designed to see how a chiropractic procedure would affect this issue.
In this study, 128 patients diagnosed with atlantoaxial instability were divided into two groups of 64. For the participants to be included, they had to have atlantoaxial instability confirmed by x-rays, as well as be suffering from a variety of health issues, including pain in the upper neck, vertigo, nausea, vomiting, difficult in rotating the head, or being anxious. Patients with serious conditions such as heart, liver, or kidney disease were excluded.
One of the groups of 64 was the control group and only treated with a form of traction, while the other group of 64 received a chiropractic procedure. The chiropractic care and the control group care in this study was rendered for only less than a month. A follow-up evaluation was performed one year later to evaluate the effectiveness of the care in the two groups.
The results of the study were evaluated on all participants using a scale that included the following:
- Cure: The patient’s chief complaints and painful palpation are disappearing. Cervical plain film radiograph confirm normal atlanto-axial joint.
- Marked effective: The patient’s chief complaints are disappearing.
- Effective: The patient’s chief complaints are partially relieved.
- No Effect: The patient’s chief complaints are not alleviated and the cervical plain film radiograph shows no change.
The results showed that the group receiving chiropractic care were significantly more improved than the control group. In the chiropractic group, the results showed that 28 cases (43.7%) were cured, 20 cases (31.3%) were marked effective, 13 cases (20.3%) were effective, and 3 cases (4.7%) showed no effect.
In the control group, the numbers were not nearly as effective with only 16 cases (25.0%) claiming to be cured, 18 cases (28.1%) were marked effective, 16 cases (25.0%) listed as effective, and 14 cases (21.9%) had no effect.
The authors of the study concluded, “These results suggested that this chiropractic techniques were better than the control in the treatment of atlantoaxial instability with higher therapeutic effective rate and lower reoccurrence rate at the end of 1-year follow-up.”
If you or anyone you know could benefit from a better functioning nervous system, please call us at 512-452-2525 to schedule a consultation with Dr. Swanson. We are located in north central Austin, TX.