Chiropractic Associated with Opioid Usage Reduction or Discontinued in Patients After Failed Back Surgery
The Journal of the International Academy of Neuromusculoskeletal Medicine published the results of a cohort study showing that chiropractic care was associated with a reduction and/or discontinuation of opioid usage in patients suffering from failed back surgery.
According to another study published in Cureus and available on the National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information’s website, 14.97% of all back surgeries suffer from "failed back surgery syndrome" and continue to have chronic pain. They also estimate that there are 900,000 back surgeries performed in the United States each year.
The authors of the study begin by noting that "Continued spinal pain and disability following spine surgery frequently results in continued or increased use of opioid pain medication." There has been much written about the epidemic of opioid usage in the U.S. with the CDC noting that "The number of people who died from a drug overdose in 2021 was over six times the number in 1999. The number of drug overdose deaths increased more than 16% from 2020 to 2021. Over 75% of the nearly 107,000 drug overdose deaths in 2021 involved an opioid."
With the above statistics, any form of care that reduces or eliminates the need for and usage of opioids should be embraced as a positive step forward in the care of failed lower back surgery patients.
In this study, 11 failed back surgery syndrome patients were seen by different chiropractors. All 11 were still using opioids for pain after their back surgery. The results of the care were documented to determine if chiropractic care had an effect on these patients' usage of opioids. These patients were given initial questionnaires prior to chiropractic care, and follow-up questionnaires three months into their chiropractic care.
The results of the study showed that in 8 of the 11, nearly 73% of these patients reported a reduction or discontinuation of opioid use for pain control related to their back surgery. Three of the patients had no change in their opioid usage. None of the patients reported increasing their opioid usage.
Considering the size and impact of the opioid crisis currently in the U.S., any type of drugless care that can have this large an impact in reducing opioid usage should be embraced. The study authors noted in their conclusion, "Of the 11 patients reporting the use of opioids for FBSS at the onset of care, 8 reported a reduction or discontinuation of opioid use at 3 months of care. The results of this brief descriptive analysis show promise for the potential reduction of opioid use in Failed Back Surgery Syndrome patients, and the need for larger studies."
Menstrual Cycle Problems and Infertility Helped by Chiropractic
The Asian-Pacific Chiropractic Journal published the results of a case study in their third-quarter 2023 edition that documented a case of a woman suffering with menstrual cycle problems and infertility who was helped by chiropractic.
The study authors begin by noting that longer menstrual cycles are linked to increased pain and blood loss, low mood, increased anxiety, infertility, and poor sleep. A longer menstrual cycle can have far-reaching effects on a woman’s overall health and quality of life. The Mayo Clinic’s website reports that a normal menstrual cycle is between 21 and 35 days and normally lasts 2 to 7 days.
In this case, a 38-year-old woman went to see a chiropractor for help with multiple health issues. The woman was suffering with irregular menstrual cycles, infertility, as well as tension in her neck, shoulders, and low back. In addition to her main health concerns, the woman also noted that she was suffering from poor sleep, poor circulation, low energy, allergies, constipation, and symptoms relating to stress and anxiety.
The woman received a chiropractic examination which included a health history, spinal thermography, surface EMG, heart rate variability readings, orthopedic and neurological tests, and full spine x-rays. The results of the examination verified the presence of multiple vertebral subluxations.
According to the Sherman College of Chiropractic’s website, "A vertebral subluxation occurs when one or more vertebrae in the spine become misaligned, compressing spinal nerves and disturbing optimal nerve function. Chiropractic’s primary focus involves locating, analyzing and correcting these misalignments."
Specific forms of chiropractic adjustments were started at the rate of two visits per week for the first six weeks. After 12 visits, a re-evaluation was performed to compare the exam findings and the woman’s self-reported symptoms to prior to starting chiropractic care.
The results of the re-examination showed objective improvements in all the tests initially performed. The woman reported improvement in all her symptoms and her overall mood. In addition, the woman’s menstrual cycle had become more regular and decreased from 60-90 days prior to care, to a more normal 43-day cycle. The most profound result of this case, as noted by the study authors, was that the woman finally became pregnant.
The study authors summed up this case by stating, "Infertility is undoubtedly an emotive issue with the potential to contribute to psychological stress. In this case, subluxation-based care was directed at restoring optimal nervous system function, and was concomitant with a reduction in menstrual cycle length and immediately preceded the patient becoming pregnant."
Cholesterol Levels Return to Normal with Chiropractic – A Case Study
The Annals of Vertebral Subluxation Research published the results of a case study on August 24, 2023, documenting the results of a patient having their cholesterol levels return to normal under chiropractic care. The CDC estimates that 2 in 5 adults have high cholesterol. The CDC website describes three types of blood cholesterol.
Bad Cholesterol, known as LDL (low-density lipoprotein), when at higher levels can lead to plaque buildup in the arteries and can increase the chance of heart disease or stroke.
Good Cholesterol, known as HDL (high-density lipoprotein), can carry bad cholesterol away from the arteries and thus may lower the risk of heart disease and stroke.
Triglycerides are the most common type of fat in the human body. They are a type of fat, mainly from a person’s diet, that the body uses for energy.
In this case, a 63-year-old woman sought chiropractic care for help with a variety of symptoms. According to her history, the woman was suffering with pain in her right hip and leg, headaches, neck pain, arthritis, and pain from her gout. The woman noted that she had been experiencing these problems for many years.
A chiropractic examination was performed which included observation, palpation, some orthopedic tests, range of spinal motion exam, and spinal x-rays. As a result of this examination, it was determined that multiple vertebral subluxations were present in the woman’s spine. Chiropractic care was started to address the subluxations.
It was only a few visits into her chiropractic care when the woman had her cholesterol checked and got her first lipid panel assessment. The results of that blood work showed that all her panels were abnormal. Her bad cholesterol and triglycerides were high and good cholesterol was low.
As chiropractic care progressed, the patient reported improvement in her shoulder pain, headaches, neck pain, and hip pain. Eventually all her physical pains improved with most of her pains eventually resolving.
On the woman’s second lipid panel, she showed a marked improvement in her levels. Initially, her total serum cholesterol was 287, HDL (good) cholesterol was 33, LDL (bad) cholesterol was 199, and triglycerides were 273. On the second panel, done after 8 weeks of chiropractic care, the woman’s cholesterol improved going from 287 to 147 in overall cholesterol. Additionally, her HDL (good cholesterol) elevated from 33 to 49, and her LDL (bad cholesterol) lowered from 199 to 84. Also, the woman’s triglycerides lowered from 273 to 68.
Bedwetting Helped by Chiropractic According to Study
A study published in the third quarter 2023 issue of the Asian-Pacific Chiropractic Journal documented three cases of children being helped by chiropractic with Nocturnal Enuresis, more commonly known as bedwetting.
The study explains this condition by saying "Nocturnal Enuresis is when bedwetting continues past an age where the bladder is neurologically and physically developed to be able to hold the urine all night." By age five, most children are developed enough and should have control of their bladders. The study reports that nighttime bedwetting is not an uncommon occurrence. They note that it occurs in 15% of 7-year-olds, 10% of 10-year-olds, 2% of adolescents, and 1% of adults.
Medical care for nocturnal enuresis is mainly centered around the other conditions that may be present. Most times, this condition is considered self-limiting. However, it can persist and can lead to self-esteem and emotional or psychological problems.
This study consisted of three children who all suffered with nighttime bedwetting. The first, a 7-year-old girl, also suffered from abdominal pain, alternating constipation and diarrhea, and emotional distress. The second child was a 7-year-old boy who suffered with an overactive bladder during the day, and bedwetting at night. The third child, a 10-year-old boy had to be awakened by his parents twice each night to go to the bathroom.
All three children were given physical examinations and checked for subluxations. All three were found to have subluxations, and chiropractic care was started to address these subluxations. Reassessments were performed to determine the level of progress in the children.
At the three-week mark, re-examinations were performed. In all three of these children, the parents reported that this child’s bedwetting had significantly decreased. The issues continued to improve as care continued. Additionally, all objective examination findings showed improvement in these children.
In their conclusion, the authors wrote, "Nocturnal enuresis is a considerable problem for the families involved. There is not only the stigma of bedwetting, but also the associated social, psychological and physiological issues." They noted that all three children had seen significant reduction of bedwetting as early as the three week point in care.