Published in the Journal of Upper Cervical Chiropractic Research on June 5, 2017, comes a case study documenting the improvement in symptoms of a patient suffering from Parkinson’s Disease. The Parkinson’s Disease Foundation defines this condition by stating, “Parkinson’s disease is a chronic and progressive movement disorder, meaning that symptoms continue and worsen over time.”
The study reports that Parkinson’s disease is the second most common neurodegenerative disease after Alzheimer’s disease. About one million people in the U.S. suffer with this condition. Parkinson’s typically strikes between the ages of 45 and 65. It is estimated that between 1.5% and 2.0% of the population after 65 years of age will develop Parkinson’s disease. The initial complaints of this condition are difficulty moving and the beginning of tremors.
Although the mechanism is not medically known, head trauma may be associated with an increase in the prevalence of Parkinson’s. It has been observed that boxers are more likely to develop Parkinson’s, such as in the case of the late boxing champion Muhammad Ali. Standard medical treatment for this condition is only focused toward managing the symptoms of the condition.
In this case, a 76-year-old man suffering from Parkinson’s disease presented himself to the chiropractor. He had been diagnosed with the condition more than 5 years earlier and was taking ten doses of Leva-dopa medication per day. The man was using a walker for stabilization and mobility. His symptoms from Parkinson’s included right-sided tremors, memory loss, balance issues, constant leg pain, occasional poor circulation, and decreased muscular strength.
A chiropractic examination was performed which included specific postural analysis, leg length checks, and spinal x-rays. The results of the tests confirmed the presence of subluxation. Specific forms of chiropractic care were begun to address the subluxations and postural findings.
The study records that after the man’s first adjustment, he no longer needed his walker for assistance with his walking. He also noted that there was a reduction in his tremors. Over the course of his chiropractic care in the next six months, his symptoms from his Parkinson’s continued to improve. The man reported that he responded extremely well to chiropractic care and he considered the improvements in his Parkinson’s to be “remarkable”. Although the man was still taking medication, his neurologist was able to reduce the quantity of the medication he was taking by almost half.
The authors of this study also reported that they had found ten additional studies of patients with Parkinson’s being cared for with chiropractic. All ten of these studies documented a decrease in the symptoms of Parkinson’s as well as an improvement in the quality of life for those patients receiving chiropractic care.
In their discussion, the study authors explain these results by stating, “The profession of chiropractic is rooted in the understanding of vertebral subluxation, in which misalignment of the bones of the spinal column can cause torsion and tension on the spinal cord, creating interference in the functioning of the central nervous system and causing symptoms of dis-ease.” The use of the term “dis-ease” is intentionally different from disease in that chiropractors see a lack of ease in body function as a precursor to disease processes.
In their conclusion they wrote, “This case presents evidence of a link between vertebral subluxations, postural distortions and the expression of Parkinson’s disease and advocates that more research needs to be conducted for healthcare providers to best serve patients with neurodegenerative disorders.”