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Migraines and Women – Effects, Triggers, and Chiropractic
A study was published on October 25, 2023, in the Journal of Interdisciplinary Health Sciences with the title "The physical impact of migraines on female chiropractic patients: A qualitative study." The study was conducted in the eThekwini region of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa.
According to the National Institute of Neurological disorders and Stroke, "Migraine is a type of headache characterized by recurrent attacks of moderate to severe throbbing and pulsating pain on one side of the head." Migraines are one of the most debilitating types of headaches. The American Migraine Foundation estimates that at least 39 million Americans suffer from migraines which affect women three times more often than men.
The researchers in this study investigated three "themes" as they called them, concerning women who were experiencing migraine headaches. The first theme reviewed how often the woman had migraines and what seemed to be the "trigger" factors that started their migraines. The second theme dealt with the physical effects of the migraines and how they impacted the woman's daily life. The third theme examined how chiropractic care affected the women's migraines and their views on chiropractic care for migraines.
The first theme in this study showed that most of the women suffered from severe and excruciating pain usually on one side of their head near their temples or behind their eyes. The woman would typically characterize the pain as heavy, throbbing and pounding. One of the women in the study described their migraine by saying "I get a throbbing sensation behind my eyes and behind my forehead. The pain runs from the front of my head all the way through to the back. Majority of the time it's on one side." All the woman shared that the migraines left them incapacitated and unable to function in their daily life.
In looking at the second theme involving triggers, the researchers found that many of the women related their migraine attacks to their hormonal cycles. All the women stated that stress was a major factor in triggering a migraine. Some also noted that weather, bright light, certain foods, or dehydration could trigger a migraine.
All the woman in this study underwent chiropractic care for their migraines. Their reactions to chiropractic were overall very positive. They reported that chiropractic reduced the frequency and severity of their migraines, as well as their disability and the duration of suffering. One of the women in the study reported, "When it comes to pain, it has reduced significantly after going to a chiropractor… the quality of life is so much better now. It's one of the only things that helped me." Another woman commented how chiropractic helped her when drugs could not, "I can take as much medicine as I want to and it just doesn't help, and as soon as I go to the chiropractor it definitely helps."
In their conclusion, the authors summed up their findings by stating, "The majority of the participants experienced moderate to severe chronic migraines and migraines without aura. During their migraine attacks, the participants experienced debilitating effects, felt mentally or physically incapacitated, described that their life came to a standstill, were unable to complete daily activities and had a resultant decreased quality of life. The study highlighted that chiropractic treatment was favourable (sp) among the female population in improving the quality of life and reducing the severity, disability, duration of suffering and frequency of migraines."
Aggression and Hyperactivity in a Boy with Autism Spectrum Disorder Helped with Chiropractic
A case study reported in the fourth quarter issue of the Asian-Pacific Chiropractic Journal documented the case of a young boy who was helped by chiropractic with issues of aggression, hyperactivity, and poor social functioning stemming from his Autism Spectrum Disorder, (ASD).
The National Institute of Mental Health describes this condition by stating "Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a neurological and developmental disorder that affects how people interact with others, communicate, learn, and behave. Although autism can be diagnosed at any age, it is described as a "developmental disorder" because symptoms generally appear in the first 2 years of life." The National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities estimates that 1 in 36 children have ASD.
In this case, a 4-year-old boy was brought to the chiropractor by his mother. The boy had been previously diagnosed with ASD. The mother reported that her son was exhibiting aggressiveness, suffered from speech delay, had poor eye contact and was hyperactive. She also reported that her son would hit anyone who gets close to him and would also bang his head on the floor whenever he got frustrated or angry.
An age-appropriate chiropractic examination was performed. The results of the examination confirmed the presence of spinal subluxations. In simplest terms, a subluxation (a.k.a. Vertebral Subluxation) is when one or more of the bones of the spine (vertebrae) move out of position and create pressure on, or irritate spinal nerves. Spinal nerves are the nerves that come out from between each of the bones in the spine. This pressure or irritation on the nerves then causes those nerves to malfunction and interfere with the signals traveling over those nerves.
Based on the finding of subluxations, specific chiropractic care was started. After the first week of chiropractic care, the mother reported that her son was less aggressive, less hyperactive, and was no longer hitting other children or banging his head on the floor.
Within the first 6 weeks of chiropractic care, the boy's mother noted that her son was talking a lot more and had better eye contact. Over time, the boy continued to show improvements in development, speech, and socialization. The boy's teacher also commented that the boy was doing better in class.
The study authors noted that a single case of chiropractic helping a boy with ASD should not be generalized to every case of ASD. However, they comment that the growing number of reported and documented cases of chiropractic helping ASD is important. They stated "The Chiropractic evidence surrounding Autism Spectrum Disorder is currently limited to case report data. While this limits our ability to make sweeping claims as to the impact of Chiropractic care on ASD, and the highly complex and political nature of the disorder would likely make unsubstantiated claims problematic, it is of clinical value to note that numerous case reports have shown improvements in ASD-related symptomatology while under chiropractic care." They also added, "While the mechanisms behind the improvement in the patient's behavioral characteristics are yet unknown, it is possible that by removing the interference in the nervous system, the brain can communicate better with the rest of the body."
Rheumatoid Arthritis Helped by Chiropractic – A Case Study
A patient with Rheumatoid Arthritis was helped by chiropractic care according to a case study published on October 4, 2023, in the Annals of Vertebral Subluxation Research. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), "Rheumatoid arthritis, or RA, is an autoimmune and inflammatory disease, which means that your immune system attacks healthy cells in your body by mistake, causing inflammation (painful swelling) in the affected parts of the body. RA mainly attacks the joints, usually many joints at once."
The authors of the study begin by noting that RA affects between 0.4-1.3% of the population of the industrialized world and is 2 to 3 times more common in women. They report that the hands and feet are most commonly affected with pain and swelling. The neck is also commonly involved in RA cases. The study points out that the typical medical care for RA is medications. However, they report that the effects of the medications are not only limited, but they come with a wide variety of serious side effects.
In this case, a 28-year-old woman went to see a chiropractor for joint pain and swelling. The woman reported that she was suffering with the joint pain and swelling for the past three years. She recalled that her problems seemed to start three days after falling off a fence. The pain was frequent and was worse in the mornings. Oddly, her pain only affected one joint at a time, but the pain would migrate between her shoulders, knees, feet, and hands. When her problems flared up, her joints appeared red and swollen, and would be hot to the touch. Not long after her problems began, the woman was diagnosed as having RA and placed on medications.
In addition to her primary problems of joint pains from her RA, the woman also reported to the chiropractor that she was suffering from a variety of other issues including frequent colds, irritability, trouble sleeping, headaches, dizziness, ear infections, fainting, blurred/double vision, chest pain, digestive problems, heartburn, lower back pain/stiffness, and menstrual problems. It is unclear if these problems were a result of the medications she was taking for the RA.
A chiropractic examination with x-rays was taken to specifically see if the woman's spine had subluxations. In addition, her ranges of motions were measured to chart any progress from her chiropractic care. Because it was determined that subluxations were present, specific forms of chiropractic adjustments were regularly administered to address the subluxations.
After 12 weeks of care, the woman reported that she was no longer taking medications for the migrating joint pains she was experiencing. Additionally, she reported that the symptoms of fatigue, swollen and painful joints, sleep problems, headaches, dizziness, blurred/double vision, chest pain, frequent colds/flu, and digestive problems had all dramatically decreased. Upon re-examination, the woman's ranges of motions had also improved.
In the discussion section of the study, the authors explained how chiropractic care could have a positive effect on an autoimmune condition such as Rheumatoid Arthritis. They stated, "The role of the nervous system is to control and coordinate all the functions of the body. Thus it would only make sense to begin the search for the etiology or expression of dis-ease in the body within the nervous system. The autonomic nervous system, with subcategories of parasympathetic and sympathetic immune systems, exhibits an extraordinary amount of regulation over the immune system."
Patient with Parkinson's Disease Helped by Chiropractic
A case study, published on October 2, 2023, in the Annals of Vertebral Subluxation Research documented a case of a woman suffering with Parkinson's Disease (PD) being helped with her symptoms through chiropractic care. According to the National Institute of Aging, "Parkinson's disease is a brain disorder that causes unintended or uncontrollable movements, such as shaking, stiffness, and difficulty with balance and coordination."
This study begins by reporting that the Parkinson's Disease Foundation states that "Parkinson's disease is a progressive neurodegenerative disorder that affects almost one million people in the United States with approximately 60,000 new cases diagnosed each year."
In this case, a 58-year-old woman went to the chiropractor for help with symptoms from her Parkinson's disease. She had been diagnosed with PD one year before seeking chiropractic care. Her symptoms included pain in her shoulder and tremors in her right arm. Her general movements were slow and jerky which is typical in patients with PD. The woman's intention for seeking chiropractic care was to get relief from the symptoms she was experiencing with the PD.
A chiropractic examination showed postural anomalies as well as muscle spasms in her right shoulder and along her upper mid-back. The woman exhibited weak muscles upon testing and several orthopedic tests were positive. Spinal x-rays were taken and showed multiple areas of subluxation in the woman's spine along with a reduction in her neck curvature.
Based on these findings, chiropractic care was started. After several months of regular care, the woman reported that she noticed decreased tremors of the right hand. Additionally, the pain she was experiencing in her shoulder had decreased enough to allow her to resume longer walks, an activity she enjoyed but was unable to do recently.
Upon follow-up examination, it was reported that her muscle spasms were reduced, although her overall range of motion had not improved. However, as her chiropractic care continued her range of motion continued to improve as did most all of the symptoms and tremors the woman was suffering from.
In their conclusion, the authors of this study noted that there are several case studies in addition to this one that show chiropractic helping specific people with the symptoms resulting from Parkinson's disease. "The case study in addition to previous chiropractic research demonstrates the success of chiropractic care in managing PD symptoms."