A case study published in the September 2016 issue of the Journal of the Academy of Chiropractic Orthopedists reported on a case of an elderly man with neck pain and a history of carotid artery surgery being helped by chiropractic.
The article begins by noting that nearly 140,000 people die each year in the U.S. from stroke. Stroke is the third leading cause of death behind heart attack and cancer. One of the leading causes of stroke is carotid artery disease. This is when plaque builds up in the carotid arteries and can prevent blood flow to the head. One medical procedure that looks to address this issue is called carotid endarterectomy (CEA).
On the Society for Vascular Surgery’s website, Dr. Lori C. Pounds describes the procedure by saying, “A carotid endarterectomy is a surgical procedure to open or clean the carotid artery with the goal of stroke prevention.” It is estimated that 100,000 of these CEA procedures were performed in 2010.
In this case, an 83-year-old man sought care from a chiropractor. The man was suffering from right neck pain and an associated soft tender mass in the area. The pain began about a year and a half before he went to the chiropractor. There was no history of trauma or an accident as the trigger to his pain. His history revealed that he had undergone CEA surgery just less that three years earlier.
The man described his neck pain as a soreness which he rated as a 2 to 3 out of 10 in intensity, with 10 being the worst. He was taking prescription acetaminophen every 6 hours as needed for his pain. Two months before visiting the chiropractor, a computed tomography study showed cervical degeneration of his spine.
After a thorough examination, chiropractic care was started which included specific adjustments. The study reports that by the third visit, the man reported his pain to have reduced to a rate of 1 to 2 out of 10. By the following visit, he reported that he was pain free. At one point after that, the man did report a small re-occurrence of his pain which was quickly eliminated. Since that point, he has not had any neck pain.
In the study’s discussion, the authors note that, “Post-surgical pain is a common problem with a high degree of morbidity and a high overall cost effect.” They noted that this case demonstrated an effective approach to care for this case of an elderly man with pain who has had CEA surgery.