Spinal disc degeneration is medically thought to be non-reversible and permanent. However, a documented case study published on April 13, 2015, in the Annals of Vertebral Subluxation Research showed increased disc spaces on a patient due to chiropractic care. Intervetebral discs are important pads between each of the vertebrae that allow movement and absorb shock. Discs are firmly attached to the edges of the vertebrae and therefore can not “slip” which is a common misconception.
MRI studies show that when discs begin to degenerate there is a loss of water in the center of the disc known as the nucleus. The goal of care for a person with disc degeneration is to re-hydrate the disc.
In this study, a 59-year-old man suffering from lower back pain, went to the chiropractor. His pain also radiated down into the back of his thigh. His lower back had caused problems for 20 years, but had progressively gotten worse over the previous 6 months. His history showed a number of falls and accidents over the last 20 years or so.
A chiropractic examination was performed which included palpation, range of motion, surface EMG, heart rate variability, thermography, and spinal x-rays. The results of the x-rays showed phase two spinal degeneration and curvature changes. From these tests, it was determined that subluxations were present in multiple locations and chiropractic care was begun.
During the course of chiropractic care, the patient noticed considerable improvement in his symptoms. After four months of care, he reported a complete recovery from his back pain as well as reporting that he was not getting as many colds as before the chiropractic care.
Additional re-evaluations were performed and improvement was noticed in all the test results. Follow-up x-rays showed an improvement in the man’s spinal curvatures with multiple areas of his spine starting to correct toward more normal curves. The man’s disc heights were measured on both his initial and follow-up x-rays. The dates on the x-rays were blocked out so the examiner would not know if he or she was looking at the first or second set of x-rays. The comparison, after the measurements were made, showed that the patient’s second set of x-rays had a measurable increase in disc height at several levels of his spine.
The increase in disc height shows evidence of regeneration of the intervertebral disc. In their conclusion the authors wrote, “The patient reported a complete remittance of low back pain concomitant with increased disc height at multiple levels and improved autonomic function.”