A case series study was published in the April 2020 issue of the Journal of Radiology Case Reports documenting patients’ improvement in eight separate auto accident cases with neck pain, loss of cervical curve, and spinal canal diameter with chiropractic care.
The study begins by pointing out “Spondylolisthesis refers to the slippage of one vertebral body on the vertebra below. It is considered uncommon in the cervical spine when compared to the lumbar spine and is now being recognized as an under-studied condition.” When this condition occurs due to a trauma, such as an automobile accident, it is referred to as acquired spondylolisthesis. When the condition is due to degenerative changes in the spine, it is referred to as degenerative cervical spondylolisthesis (DCS).
Acquired spondylolisthesis is often accompanied with spinal degeneration, pain numbness, and a narrowing of the spinal canal at that level. The medical approach has often involved surgery with removal of disc and fusion. This study followed the result of eight patients with cervical spondylolisthesis who underwent chiropractic care.
In this study, all eight patients were females ranging in age from 44 to 62 years. All the women were suffering with neck pain, bilateral upper back pain, neck stiffness, restricted neck motion, and radiating pain into their shoulders and/or arms. They reported that their problems created limitations on their daily activities. All eight women had sought medical care and/or physical therapy at least 6 months prior to seeking chiropractic care. Additionally, all the women had a history of being involved in a motor vehicle accident.
A chiropractic examination and evaluation including x-rays was conducted on all the patients. This was followed by 30 visits involving specific chiropractic procedures and followed by post-care spinal x-rays.
Upon re-examination, all the women reported improvements in their conditions and symptoms. Tests showed that they had improved from moderate neck disability to a level of minimal neck disability. Follow-up x-rays confirmed positive changes in the positioning of the cervical vertebrae of the patients.
In their conclusion, the authors note that medical care for degenerative cervical spondylolisthesis (DCS) is typically a wait-and-watch condition that results in surgery if the disability becomes severe enough. In contrast, the chiropractic approach focuses on restoring healthy alignment and biomechanics of the spine and posture.
They also concluded that, “Motor vehicle collision may cause instability and abnormal alignment of the cervical spine leading to cervical spondylolisthesis. Improving spinal alignment may be an effective treatment to reduce vertebral subluxation and cervical spondylolistheses and improve neck disability as a result of improved spinal alignment.”