Cancer and Chiropractic

In the October 10, 2010 issue of the online publication AllVoices, is an article about children and cancer. The focus of the story was about helping children with the stress and discomfort of cancer and cancer treatment. In one of the sections of this article they discuss chiropractic care as a method for helping people being treated for cancer.

The AllVoices article, authored by Debbie Nicholson references a research article published in the September/October 2010 issue of the Journal of Pediatric Oncology Nursing. The research focused on yoga as a method for relieving stress in cancer patients, but Ms. Nicolson’s article went further and discussed research on other methods of helping cancer patients. She stated, “Many parents seek out alternative treatments for their children suffering from symptoms of childhood cancer due to the fact they are natural, most effective and have minimal side effects if any.”

The chiropractic section of the AllVoices article starts off by noting, “Literature has strongly supported the use of chiropractic care for cancer patients. Musculoskeletal complaints show very favorable response along with symptoms from radiation, chemotherapy or post surgical trauma related to connective tissues and joints. Chiropractic treatments also improve physical and emotional well being of the patient along with quality of life.”

The literature that supports chiropractic referenced in the article partially comes from an October 2008 article in the Journal of Pediatric Oncology Nursing titled “Complementary and Alternative Medicine Use in Children With Cancer”. That article noted that 59% of children with cancer used some form of what the researchers called, “complementary and alternative medicine” (CAM) which included chiropractic. More specifically 25.9% of children with cancer who utilized CAM used chiropractic care.

Chiropractic as a part of cancer care has become more widely accepted. The Cancer Treatment Centers of America (CTCA), now include chiropractic care as an option to help cancer treatment patients. On the CTCA website they describe the role of chiropractic by saying, “Being diagnosed with cancer and undergoing procedures or treatments to fight the disease can impose significant stress on your musculoskeletal system, which includes your bones, muscles, joints, tendons, and ligaments. You may be experiencing aches and pains in your back or neck, headaches, sciatica (pain that radiates from your lower back to the back of your leg), or difficulty moving and walking. At Cancer Treatment Centers of America (CTCA), experienced chiropractors help cancer patients to deal with such debilitating pain and discomfort. The chiropractic care they provide can also reduce stress and increase mobility, flexibility, strength, and function, as well as help improve quality of life and overall well-being.”

In further explaining what chiropractic care is, the CTCA website explains, “Chiropractic treatment seeks to reduce subluxation, which is the abnormal motion or position of joints. It occurs when a joint is out of alignment and/or when a joint is restricted from moving and functioning as it should. Subluxation, for example, can occur when one or more of the vertebrae (bones of your spine) moves out of position and creates pressure on your spinal nerves, impairing your nervous system.”

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