Chiropractic Wellness – Case Study; Parkinson’s Disease

Parkinson’s Disease (PD) is a progressive disorder of the brain which manifests in tremors or shaking and muscle rigidity, as well as causing difficulty with movement and coordination, in particular walking. Older people often suffer from this illness, although some 15% of people are diagnosed under the age of 50. The destruction of the substantia nigra, and the ability of the basal ganglia to secrete dopamine is said to be the cause of PD. In a case study published in the Journal of Upper Cervical Chiropractic Research; on June 13, 2011; the dramatic improvement of one relatively elderly patient was documented, but this has not been the only documented success.

There is believed to be 100 000 new cases diagnosed every year, and as many as 1.5 million people already suffering with Parkinson’s Disease in the US. In countries such as Italy, France and the Netherlands, as many as 1.6 cases of Parkinson’s are diagnosed for every 100 people. The estimated annual cost for caring for patients with PD in the USA was $24 billion, as far back as 1997.

In the case of the research study, a 66 year old woman presented at the chiropractor with a Parkinson’s diagnosis and various accompanying symptoms. According to the medical history, the problems had started after a fall while she was ballroom dancing. This led to her being shaken, but no apparent injury was caused. The woman needed no medical treatment, went home to rest and in all respects seemed to be fine. Symptoms began to appear the following day with a left leg limp and difficulty swinging her left arm. These symptoms developed and worsened, and two year search for the cause led to tests which revealed she was suffering from PD.

Her chiropractic examination included x-rays, thermography and palpation; the result was that subluxations were present. We know that subluxations cause central nervous system interference. Care was therefore initiated which involved chiropractic adjustments, and positive changes were already noted immediately after the first specific adjustment. At the completion of the study, the woman reported that the vast majority of symptoms had completely gone away. She found a return to normal energy levels and her depression, was also relieved. The tremor which had become constant had gone, as was rigidity of muscle tone, and she had also regained the use of both her left leg and arm. The woman was quoted by the author of the study as saying “I have my life back”.

This is only one of many case studies where patients with PD have benefitted substantially from chiropractic care. As far back as 1934, B.J. Palmer reported using upper cervical chiropractic care for PD patients. Patients were referred to as being diagnosed with “shaking palsy”, and improvements in “tremor, shaking, muscle cramps, muscle contracture, joint stiffness, fatigue, incoordination, trouble walking, numbness, pain, inability to walk, and muscle weakness,” were listed. It is thought that this 70 year old study was the first of its kind.

In an additional study to investigate the effectiveness of modern upper cervical chiropractic care; ten individuals were selected to undergo upper cervical adjustment performed by hand – they ranged in age from 47 to 76 years. They were chosen as interested volunteers from PD support groups. The conclusion of this study revealed that upper cervical misalignments were present in all ten sufferers and after three months of chiropractic treatment, eight out of ten of the volunteers showed improvements from associated PD symptoms.

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