Parkinson's Disease

Parkinson's Disease

Parkinson's disease is a degenerative disorder of the central nervous system. The motor symptoms of Parkinson's disease result from the death of dopamine-generating cells.

The July 30, 2012, issue of the Journal of Upper Cervical Chiropractic Research published a case study documenting the improvement of a Parkinson’s patient using chiropractic care.

The author of the study begins by reporting that in the United States, 50,000-60,000 new cases of Parkinson’s disease (PD) are diagnosed each year. It is estimated that over one million people currently suffer from this chronic and progressive disorder.

According to the National Parkinson’s Foundation, "Parkinson’s disease (PD) is a neurodegenerative brain disorder that progresses slowly in most people. What this means is that individuals with PD will be living with PD for twenty years or more from the time of diagnosis. While Parkinson’s disease itself is not fatal, the Centers for Disease Control rated complications from the disease as the 14th top cause of death in the United State."

In this case, a 63-year-old male pastoral counselor complaining of resting tremors of the right hand, anxiety and stabbing middle back pain, went to the chiropractor. His complaints started a year and a half earlier and seemed to start shortly after he suffered a severe case of the flu that lasted 2-3 weeks which caused him to lose 15 pounds. Due to his symptoms, he was diagnosed by a neurologist with Idiopathic Parkinson’s disease.

At the time the pastoral counselor presented himself for a chiropractic evaluation, he appeared frail, had a low tone of voice, and had reduced facial expressions. He stated that he also works as a marriage counselor which increases his daily stress level, and he had been experiencing restless leg syndrome at least twice a week for the past two years which affected his ability to get quality sleep.

Multiple chiropractic examination procedures and x-rays confirmed the presence of spinal subluxations, most notably at the level of the top bone in the neck, the atlas. A specific course of corrective adjustments was initiated to correct the atlas subluxation.

Following his first adjustment, the man noted an improvement in his tremors. After a week of care, he also reported an increase in energy. The study records that by the end of the second week of care, he had a greater range of motion in his neck and higher level of energy, allowing him to complete his week of work and participate in extra activities on that weekend. Shortly afterwards, his mid back pain also stopped.

In his conclusion the author wrote, "We conclude that improvement of the Atlas alignment was associated with reduction of most of his Parkinson’s symptoms including decrease in frequency and intensity of his middle back pain, improvement in his quality of life and improvement in his motor function."

In the September 2001 issue of the peer reviewed, "Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics" comes a case report study titled, "Chiropractic care of a patient with vertebral subluxations and unsuccessful surgery of the cervical spine". This was a report of a 55-year-old man who had neck pain along with radiating pain down both arms after unsuccessful cervical (neck) spine surgery.

The man's history was similar to many seen in chiropractic offices. While responding to an auto accident during an ice storm, the 55 year old highway patrolman slipped getting out of his car and fell backward, landing on his upper back and neck. After a few days he began to experience pain in his neck. Two months later he consulted a medical doctor, who referred him to a neurologist. During the neurological examination, the patient experienced a seizure that eventually led to a diagnosis of a tumor of the adrenal gland. Several weeks later, the patient had surgery to excise the tumor which resulted in temporary relief of the neck pain.

He returned to work, and 6 weeks after surgery he began to experience neck pain again, which he described as sharp, along with pain, numbness, and tingling in both arms. His condition worsened, for about 6 to 7 months, and he was was referred to a neurosurgeon. The patient eventually consented to neck surgery, and an anterior cervical diskectomy (disc removal) was performed.

When he returned to the surgeon for a postsurgery check-up and had continuing complaints, he then asked when the surgeon wanted to see him again. The reply was, “I never want to see you again. This answer was devastating for the patient, and he assumed that he was destined to live with these problems for life.

Approximately 3½ years after surgery, the patient started chiropractic care. The chiropractic care began and after receiving the first set of adjustments, the patient indicated that his ability to raise his left arm had increased by 50% and that his neck pain and arm complaints were also relieved. He was astonished and excited by the results of the care he received. Within 2 weeks of starting care he was able to fully abduct his left arm and to loop his belt to his pants. A year after the onset of chiropractic care, the patient was working on his small ranch performing various odd jobs and has, on occasion, had some problems because of over activity.

This documented and published case is not unfamiliar to chiropractors world wide. The unique aspect of this case is the fact that it was published in a peer reviewed scientific journal. The authors of the study summed this situation up with the following; "This is the first description in the indexed literature of the chiropractic care of a patient with vertebral and sacroiliac subluxations with a history of unsuccessful cervical diskectomy of the cervical spine. In our experience, allopathic (medical) practitioners usually do not offer patients the option of chiropractic care before surgery. Perhaps more rarely is chiropractic care considered a viable option in instances of unsuccessful surgical care." It is obvious from this study that chiropractic should have been considered first.