On February 27, 2017, the Annals of Vertebral Subluxation Research published a case study documenting a patient suffering a loss of the sense of smell (Anosmia), which was corrected with chiropractic care. According to the Anosmia Foundation, between 2 and 5 million American adults suffer from some form of this condition.
The study reports that a loss of smell can be either partial or complete, and can be temporary or permanent. A complete loss of smell is rarer. The condition is more common in the elderly population. Some of the associated causes can include head trauma, sinus or nasal diseases, pathologies, toxic exposures such as cocaine abuse, and some very rare congenital anomalies. Several medical conditions have also been associated with a loss of the sense of smell. These include: Alzheimer’s disease, Multiple Sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, and depression.
In this case, a 58-year-old woman came to the chiropractor for care related to her high blood pressure as well as symptoms from a recent car accident a month earlier. Her blood pressure condition had been present for 20 years since the birth of her son, and she was taking medication since that time. Since her car accident, she had been suffering with right shoulder and mid-back pain.
The woman reported that she had been involved in another car accident 9 years prior. It was immediately after this accident that she had lost her sense of smell. Her ability to smell had not returned since that time.
A chiropractic examination was performed which included palpation, a posture assessment, paraspinal surface EMG, and x-rays. Based on the findings, specific forms of chiropractic care were initiated.
The results of the care were objectively documented by improvements in the paraspinal surface EMG, the spinal x-rays and the other examination procedures that were performed.
Over the course of care, the woman reported that the pain from her most recent accident was dramatically reduced. Additionally, she noted that her sense of smell had completely returned.
The study authors noted that there is no standard medical care for anosmia. Many times, this condition is overlooked because of the concern of more severe injuries in post-traumatic accidents. A common medical treatment for this condition is the use of oral steroids. However, published studies on this type of treatment has shown that the use of steroids is just as effective as spontaneous recovery, but carries significant risk of side effects.
Because of the lack of successful medical treatment, and the increased risk due to steroid usage, the authors believe that additional studies into chiropractic for people with a loss of their sense of smell is warranted.