A study published in the October 25, 2018, issue of the Annals of Vertebral Subluxation Research documented the improvement in sleep, pain, and overall quality of life in a woman suffering with renal carcinoma.
The study begins by pointing out that renal cell carcinoma is one of the most common malignancy of the kidney and is one of the top 20 malignancies in the world. For the past 65 years, the prevalence of renal cell carcinoma has increased 2% every year. The costs of this condition in the U.S. is estimated to be up to $5 billion per year with each individual suffering with the condition expected to cost $43,805 annually.
In addition to the financial considerations, the condition itself, as well as the treatment to address it, has been shown to have substantial effects of the patient’s quality of life, and specifically the ability to get proper sleep. The study reports that sleep disturbances and sleep disorders are a common problem for those diagnosed with cancer as well as cancer survivors. Even without a diagnosis of cancer, sleep disorders themselves are a significant health issue affecting between 50 and 70 million Americans.
In this case, a 24-year-old woman presented herself to a chiropractic clinic. Her chief complaints included low back pain, neck pain and difficulty sleeping. She had recently been diagnosed with Stage IV renal cell carcinoma (RCC). The woman stated that she was also suffering with mild anxiety, tension and stress, as this was her second diagnosis with RCC after being told three years earlier by her oncologist that she had been cured of the disease. The woman was on multiple cancer medications and was on a list for a kidney transplant.
A chiropractic examination was performed which included palpation, range of motion, inspection, thermographic heat studies, some orthopedic tests, and a limited set of spinal x-rays. Based upon the results of the examinations procedures, vertebral subluxations were determined to be present and specific chiropractic adjustments were started.
The patient was initially seen twice per week and a record of her progress was made on each visit for inclusion into this case study. After the woman’s first chiropractic adjustment visit, she reported a complete resolution of her low back pain and reduction in her neck pain. After her second adjustment, the woman reported that both her neck and back pain had completely resolved. These complaints did not re-occur again throughout the remainder of her care.
A reassessment was performed after five visits, at which time the woman reported that she was not only free of any lower back or neck pain, but she reported that she was sleeping for a full eight hours through the night for the first time since being re-diagnosed with renal cell carcinoma. By her ninth visit, she was no longer having any sleep disturbances. As an additional quality of life benefit the study also recorded that “…she was no longer getting sick from taking the cancer medications and that she could go on a vacation with her friends without being extremely ill from her medications.”
In the study conclusions, the authors make the case for chiropractic inclusion into the care of patients with serious health issues such as in this case. “In the case of a 24-year old female with multiple diagnoses of Stage IV renal cell carcinoma, severe neck and back pain with severe sleep disturbances there was a complete resolution of symptomatology and more importantly reports of increased quality of life. Evidence in this case supports subluxation based chiropractic care in the co-management of patients with renal cell carcinoma and associated decreased quality of life.”