Chiropractic care is often thought of only in terms of relief from a back or neck injury, perhaps suffered in an auto accident or in lifting a too-heavy weight improperly. But the plain truth is that case studies suggest many different health problems may respond to a regular program of chiropractic care. According to a recent case study, the condition known as fibromyalgia, a neurological disorder characterized by pain and a lack of coordination in muscle movements, was resolved following a regimen of chiropractic adjustments.
“There are certainly no guarantees with any course of care,” said Dr. Pat Dougherty, a Spokane -based chiropractor who strives to keep current with the latest research and developments in health and wellness. “And every case depends on the specific factors associated with that case. But we see, from time to time, individual case studies that give rise to hope for many.”
Dr. Curtis Fedorchuk, the Georgia chiropractor who conducted the study, says fibromyalgia is a widespread pain syndrome of unknown cause affecting an estimated 1% to 4% of the U.S. population. It is diagnosed based on two factors being present: (1) pain lasting more than 3 months in multiple upper and lower body locations; and (2) pain created by applying less than 4 kilograms of pressure to 11 of 18 trigger points in the body.
“Common symptoms include persistent fatigue, problems with sleeping, and depression,” said Dr. Dougherty, “and women are 10-20 times more likely to be affected than men.”
The 40-year old female in this particular case had been experiencing fibromyalgia symptoms for eight years and had been taking both prescription and non-prescription medications, with little success in treating the problem or its symptoms. The patient underwent a thorough chiropractic exam, and a trans-neuronal dysfunction to the right cerebellum was noted and a diagnosis made. Subluxations were also noted as a result of the examination.
“A subluxation is a misalignment of the spine that disturbs normal nervous system function,” said Dr. Dougherty. “Many chiropractors, including myself, have non-intrusive technology allowing them to conduct Surface Electromyography (sEMG) and thermal imaging tests to assist in locating where such conditions exist.”
According to the case study, reported last fall in the Journal of Vertebral Subluxation Research, “This patient received chiropractic care for . . . nine months. Objective, reliable, and valid findings of subluxation reduction were demonstrated through radiographic analysis, sEMG, and thermography readings. This patient’s reduction in subluxations correlated with increased quality of life in seven of eight measured domains of wellness . . . . This patient also experienced reduction in her fibromyalgia-related symptoms of widespread pain, fatigue, depression, and headaches.”
“This is just one case study,” Dr. Dougherty emphasized, “and more studies are needed before any absolute conclusions can be drawn. But as chiropractors, we believe that the nervous system is the master-controller of the systems and functions of the human body. It stands to reason, then, that improvement in nervous system function, which is what we do as chiropractors, can have a beneficial effect on overall health.”