From the June 12, 2017, issue of the Annals of Vertebral Subluxation Research comes a documented case study showing a patient with sleep apnea being helped with chiropractic. According to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, “Sleep apnea is a common disorder in which you have one or more pauses in breathing or shallow breaths while you sleep. Breathing pauses can last from a few seconds to minutes. They may occur 30 times or more an hour. Typically, normal breathing then starts again, sometimes with a loud snort or choking sound.”
The most common type of sleep apnea is obstructive sleep apnea. This is when certain throat muscles intermittently relax and block a person’s airway during sleep. One of the more noticeable signs of obstructive sleep apnea is snoring. There are many different treatments for this condition which include oral appliances, vibration devises, sleep therapy systems, as well as some more invasive surgical and medical procedures.
According to this study, obstructive sleep apnea is more common in men than women, affecting 10% of men and only 3% of women. In the general population, the chances of developing obstructive sleep apnea increase until about the age of 50 to 60. After that age, the frequency decreases for both sexes.
In this case, a 51-year-old man went to a chiropractic clinic for multiple health issues. His chief concern was sleeping problems associated with sleep apnea. Additionally, he had been tripped by a dog 6 years prior and landed on his back. He was also involved in a car accident 5 years ago. He reported that he was suffering from recurring throat infections and had a history of motion sickness.
A chiropractic examination recorded multiple postural abnormalities, and abnormal spinal curvatures. Restricted spinal ranges of motion were noted at certain areas of the man’s spine. Additionally, thermographic heat studies were performed along with spinal palpation confirming the presence of subluxations of this man’s spine. Specific chiropractic care was then started to correct the subluxations.
As care progressed, the doctors reported that the postural anomalies first seen on his initial visit started to correct. The improvement in spinal motion also signaled the correction of subluxations.
After three visits, the man reported an improvement in his primary issue of sleep apnea. After 33 visits, he reported complete resolution of his sleep apnea issues. He also noted improvement in the nausea he was having with his motion sickness.
In their conclusion the authors wrote, “This case demonstrates the reduction and improvement of obstructive sleep apnea and associated sleeping problems following consistent subluxation-based chiropractic care in a 51-year-old male. This case provides additional evidence to the literature of the positive effects subluxation-based care can have on the improvement of obstructive sleep apnea.”