A case study published on February 19, 2015, in the Annals of Vertebral Subluxation Research reports on an elderly woman suffering from chronic shoulder pain being helped by chiropractic care. The authors of the study begin by pointing out that chronic pain in the elderly is a very common occurrence, ranking 6th as a health burden.
According to the study, chronic pain affects between 25 and 76 percent of the elderly living in the general community. Estimates rise to between 83 and 93 percent for those elderly living in residential care. Common care for pain among the elderly is medication. However, there is increasing concern that the elderly population is being overmedicated. Estimates from the CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics show that 88.4% of the population over 60 is on a prescription medication.
In this case, a 73-year-old woman came to a teaching chiropractic clinic with a primary complaint of left shoulder pain. She was also suffering with a variety of other health issues and symptoms including high blood pressure, hypercholesterolemia, a hiatal hernia, acid reflux, and arthritis. Additionally, she had a history of a stroke.
Her problems were progressively getting worse. They affecting her to the point were she was unable to work as an artist, thus forcing her to give up painting figures or making ornaments. She reported that she was taking Tylenol which only gave her minor temporary relief.
An visual examination was performed that showed that the woman carried her head very far forward of the normal upright position. Additionally, she has an excessive roundness in her upper back that is sometimes referred to as a hunchback. Spinal palpation showed multiple areas of increased sensitivity. The woman’s range of spinal motion was also reduced in a number of areas.
From the examination results, it was determined that the woman had “nerve root irritation” (subluxation) in her neck. This finding was later confirmed by an MRI which also showed mild to moderate degenerative changes in her spine. With these findings, chiropractic adjustments were begun.
On the woman’s second visit, a day after having received her first adjustment, the woman stated she felt, “100% improvement since yesterday’s treatment. There is no burning at all in my neck or shoulder.” By the woman’s 7th visit she stated that she only had pain or burning “once in a while.”
The study records that at one time during her chiropractic care, the woman was told by her medical doctor that she should get a shot in her neck and stay away from the chiropractor. To this the woman responded to her MD that she felt his recommendations were a “stupid idea” and she did not want any invasive procedures or drugs.