The Annals of Vertebral Subluxation Research published the results of a case study in their journal on January 30, 2020, documenting the structural improvement of a woman’s spine who was suffering with arm pain, weakness, numbness, and tingling, known collectively as radiculopathy.
In most case studies, the focus of the researchers is the symptomatic resolution of the main complaints that the patient was suffering with when they first started chiropractic care. This published study focuses on the objective documented changes to the structure of this patient’s spine in addition to the symptomatic improvement the patient received.
According to the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons, “Cervical radiculopathy, commonly called a ‘pinched nerve’ occurs when a nerve in the neck is compressed or irritated where it branches away from the spinal cord. This may cause pain that radiates into the shoulder, as well as muscle weakness and numbness that travels down the arm and into the hand.” The study reports that cervical radiculopathy occurs in about 85 out of 100,000 people.
In this case, a woman was suffering with right arm numbness and pain, as well as tingling down into her fingers that started for two months prior to seeking chiropractic care. She went to her medical physician who took x-rays of her neck and prescribed anti-inflammatory medication, steroids, and performed an injection. She had also seen a physical therapist three times per week and had recently received an MRI.
A chiropractic examination was performed which included physical procedures as well as thermography of the spine and spinal x-rays. The results of these test along with the MRI that was previously done showed that there were degenerative changes with spinal cord narrowing in the woman’s neck. The chiropractic diagnosis was multiple areas of cervical subluxations. From this information, a course of specific chiropractic care was started to address the subluxations.
Inherent in the determination of a subluxation is the fact that vertebrae are out of their normal position and postural changes have often occurred. This case study specifically noted those changes and showed that in follow-up x-rays, there was a positive change in the physical positioning of vertebrae as well as the woman gaining symptomatic relief.
For the purpose of this study, the authors gave a definition of subluxation as the following; “A condition where a vertebra has lost normal juxtaposition with the one above or the one below or both, to the extent less than a luxation, occluding an opening, impinging nerves, and interfering with the normal flow of the mental impulses from the brain and tissue.”
In their conclusion, the authors noted that through specific correction of the subluxations found in this patient, there was improvement in both the patient’s subjective symptoms, as well as improved objective findings related to the structural spinal position as shown on follow-up x-ray studies.