Resolution of Night Terrors and Headaches with Chiropractic Care – A Case Study

The April 26, 2011, issue of the scientific periodical, the Journal of Pediatric, Maternal & Family Health, published a case study documenting the case of an adolescent girl with headaches and night terrors who was helped with chiropractic care.

The study notes that several previous studies on the subject of headaches and children showed that a high number of children who suffered from headaches also suffered from sleep disorders such as sleep walking, nightmares, and leg movement.

In this study, a 10-year-old girl was brought to a chiropractor suffering with daily headaches that began when she was two and a half years old. She was also suffering from sleep disorders including sleep walking.

The young girl’s medical doctors tried to find the cause of headaches by ordering blood work and an encephalograph (EEG) to rule out seizures. The encephalograph and blood results were normal. Since reading seemed to trigger the headaches, the medical determination was that she was reading too much.

Her sleeping problems began when she was 7-years-old. According to her mother, every night her daughter would wake up several times screaming and would sit up in bed or be found walking or running through the house.

Chiropractic care was initiated for correction of subluxations that were shown to be present upon examination. Postural evaluations performed before and after each visit showed immediate improvement in the girl’s posture after care was initiated. Thermography and Surface EMG studies were performed on a regular basis, and verified nerve system function improvement as care continued.

On the girl’s first reassessment, she reported that the headaches were greatly reduced in frequency and severity. She also reported that she was sleeping better. The study notes that after a month of care, there was a significant reduction in headache symptoms, and complete resolution of the girl’s sleep disorders and night terrors.

In their conclusion, the study authors, Danita Thomas Heagy D.C., and Candice Warren, B.S., wrote, “Resolution of headaches and sleep disturbances presented in this case study suggest that chiropractic adjustments may be beneficial in adolescents who suffer from similar symptoms. Reduction of vertebral subluxations, in this case, were effective in the reduction of headaches, sleep disturbances, and musculoskeletal abnormalities.”

Migraine Headaches Helped with Chiropractic

A case study published in the Journal of Upper Cervical Chiropractic Research on January 24, 2013 documents chiropractic helping a patient with migraine headaches. The study authors note that “Among children between the ages of 5-15 years, the prevalence of migraine headaches are at 10.6% while among those 15-19 years of age, it is as high as 28%.”

According to the Headache Classification Subcommittee of the International Headache Society, Migraine headaches usually are one sided affecting one half of the head and pulsating in nature, lasting from 2 to 72 hours. Symptoms may include nausea, vomiting, photophobia (increased sensitivity to light), phonophobia (increased sensitivity to sound) and the pain is generally aggravated by physical activity. Up to one-third of people with migraine headaches perceive an aura: a transient visual, sensory, language, or motor disturbance which signals that the headache will soon occur.

In this case a 16 year old girl went to the chiropractor, with the consent of her parents, suffering from migraine headaches without aura. Her history revealed that she had been suffering migraines since kindergarten, and with headaches for as long as she could remember. She described her headaches as a throbbing pain located in the frontal area, with these attacks occurring at a rate of 1-2 per week, and lasting approximately 2-3 hours per episode, occurring primarily at night. Since puberty her headaches seemed to have gotten worse. Over the years she had been prescribed approximately 15 different medications for her headaches.

A chiropractic examination and x-rays were performed. The examination showed postural abnormalities with the girl’s head being tilted to one side, and the range of motion of her neck was restricted. Additional abnormal alignment findings were also noted from her examination. The specific x-rays taken showed spinal vertebrae in the upper neck being malpositioned, which were determined to be subluxations in her neck.

A specific plan of correction for the subluxations was begun. The study authors noted that the results were immediate. They recorded, “On the day following the patient’s first visit, the patient reported noticing ‘some’ improvement in the intensity of her HA complaint. On her second visit and 5 days since her initial visit, the patient indicated no subjective complaints of headache that day.”

Chiropractic checkups occurred regularly over a 5 year period to monitor the girls progress. The authors noted that, “According to the patient, her HA intensity being bearable without the need for medication and her headache attacks abated to approximately 2-4 migraines per month.”

Cervicogenic Headache Helped with Chiropractic According to Study

A scientific study published in the February 2010 issue of, The Spine Journal, from the North American Spine Society offered future evidence of how chiropractic helps headaches. The study was conducted at Western States Chiropractic College by the Dean of Research, Dr. Mitchell Haas, who is also a faculty member of that institution.

In this study a total of 80 participants who were suffering from a specific form of headaches, known as cervicogenic headache (CGH), were separated into different groups. These groups received either 8 or 16 visits consisting of either chiropractic care or massage. The researchers referred to the chiropractic care as “spinal manipulation” (SMT), and listed the massage as LT for light manipulation. In addition to these groups, an additional number of participants received no care at all and were used as a control group for comparison.

In the two groups that received chiropractic care, the procedures were described as ” high velocity low amplitude spinal manipulation”. Care was only rendered for either 8 visits or 16 visits. The results of this care was compared with participants who received a light massage on either 8 visits or 16 visits.

To grade the changes the researchers used a modified version of the Von Korff pain and disability scale, which is a standard scientific way of measuring pain and rating it on a scale from 10 to 100. The researchers also noted the number of headaches and the amount of medication that the participants took because of the headaches. Information was collected every 4 weeks for a period of 24 weeks.

The results showed a significant decrease in pain for the group that received chiropractic care over the group that did not receive any care at all. Both the groups that received chiropractic showed an approximate 50 percent decrease in the number of cervicogenic headaches as well as a decrease in severity.

The groups that received massage also showed improvement over the control group, but that improvement was significantly less than the group that received chiropractic care. The researchers wrote in their conclusion, “Clinically important differences between SMT (spinal manipulative therapy, aka chiropractic adjustments) and a control intervention were observed favoring SMT.”

7 out of 10 Americans Take a Prescription Drug

The headline above is from a June 27, 2013, HealthDay article that appeared in the US News and World Report health section of their news website. The article, and several others on this subject, are reporting on a study published on June 21, 2013, in the Mayo Clinic Proceedings.

Another article on the Mayo report in PharmaLive on June 19, 2013, starts with the results of the study by noting, ” Nearly 70 percent of Americans are on at least one prescription drug, and more than half take two, Mayo Clinic and Olmsted Medical Center researchers say.” Even more ominous is that the study showed that a full twenty percent of patients are on five or more prescription medications. The study found that antibiotics, antidepressants, and painkilling opioids are most commonly prescribed.

Study author, Jennifer St. Sauver, Ph.D., a member of the Mayo Clinic Population Health Program in the Mayo Clinic Center for the Science of Health Care Delivery, added that, “…the second most common prescription was for antidepressants — that suggests mental health is a huge issue and is something we should focus on. And the third most common drugs were opioids, which is a bit concerning considering their addicting nature.”

The study also showed that medication usage, as expected, was higher in the elderly. However, the study also noted that women are more likely to be taking prescription medications than men. In people under the age of 19 years, the most common drugs prescribed are vaccines, antibiotics, and anti-asthma drugs .

The trend toward increased prescription drug usage is alarming. The PharmaLive article writes, “Prescription drug use has increased steadily in the U.S. for the past decade. The percentage of people who took at least one prescription drug in the past month increased from 44 percent in 1999-2000 to 48 percent in 2007-08. Spending on prescription drugs reached $250 billion in 2009 the year studied, and accounted for 12 percent of total personal health care expenditures. Drug-related spending is expected to continue to grow in the coming years, the researchers say.”

Chiropractic represents a drug-less approach to healthcare. In response to this new study, Dr. Michael McLean, President of the International Chiropractors Association commented, “America is awash with drugs. These numbers speak to a problem with how healthcare is viewed in the United States.” He continued, “In the US, we spend more money, take more drugs, and have more chronic disease than any other advanced nation in the world. It is time we as a society question the practice of taking more drugs, as it has not yielded improved health.”

Asthma Inhalers Can Stunt Child Growth

The headline above comes from a July 18, 2014, article in the International Business Times, and reports on a recent study published in The Cochrane Library, an independent, non-profit research reporting organization. The Cochrane websites explains, “Cochrane is a global independent network of health practitioners, researchers, patient advocates and others, responding to the challenge of making the vast amounts of evidence generated through research useful for informing decisions about health.”

This research, conducted by the Federal University of Rio Grande in Brazil and University of Montreal in Canada, showed that children who used steroids for asthma had slower growth rates compared to those not using the medications.

An article in the July 17, 2014, Medical New Today reported on the same study and noted that, “Asthma is a chronic lung condition that occurs widely in the US. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), around 25 million people (about 1 in 12) have asthma. This percentage is much higher in children; around 9.3% of children (6.8 million) are believed to have the condition.”

Lead author of the study, Dr Linjie Zhang, of the Federal University of Rio Grande, Brazil, reported that, “The evidence we reviewed suggests that children treated daily with inhaled corticosteroids may grow approximately half a centimeter less during the first year of treatment.”

Several of the articles reporting on the study quoted medical physicians who said it was a “small price” to pay for using these drugs. Whether the obvious pun was intended or not, the remark reflects a lack of willingness to look into other less drastic options. Most of the articles did make a concession by advising that doses of these medications be kept as low as possible.

“It is interesting to note that research like this which would be of interest to so many parents, was not reported in the United States, a country which allows prescription medication advertisements,” stated Dr. Michael McLean, a chiropractor in Virginia and president of the International Chiropractors Association. “Chiropractors have been helping asthma sufferers for years without exposing patients to the harmful side effects of medications. We can only hope that the truth about these types of drug treatments continues to be disseminated allowing the public to make a more informed choice about their health.”

Resolution of Chronic Ear Infections, Difficulty Sleeping, and Hypersensitivity with Chiropractic

In the September 24, 2012 issue of the Journal of Pediatric, Maternal & Family Health Chiropractic comes a documented case study of chiropractic helping a a baby girl with chronic otitis media, difficulty sleeping, irritability, and skin sensitivities to clothes or being held and touched.

Otitis Media is the technical name for what most people refer to as an ear ache. The study notes that it has become the most common infection in children that are sick as well as the number one reason antibiotics being prescribed to children. The study author also reports that roughly 25% of all infants have sleeping difficulties. Skin sensitivities also known as tactile hypersensitivity, is where the child exhibits excessive reaction or irritability to touch or clothing.

In this case a 2 year old girl was brought to the chiropractor by her mother with the complaints of chronic ear infections, difficulty sleeping, irritability, and skin sensitivities to either clothes or being held or touched. The history showed that her mother had labor induced a week early, and the birth was traumatic causing the child to be born with a broken collar bone.

The study reported that at the age of 2, the child was taking at least two hours to get to sleep and would not sleep for more than four hours at a time. Additionally, the girl has experienced over 20 ear infections, severe allergies requiring a nebulizer, severe behavior problems including temper tantrums and irritability. The girl had been given multiple rounds of antibiotics by her MD with little or no result. She would also have temper tantrums and exhibit aggressive behavior toward her sister and mother.

A chiropractic examination was performed resulting in the determination that subluxations were present in the girl’s upper neck and upper mid back areas. Specific chiropractic adjustments were initiated for the correction of the subluxations as determined by the exam.

The results documented in this study showed an immediate and positive response by the girl to the chiropractic care. After her first adjustment her mother stated that her daughter was a little less aggressive towards her sister. After the third adjustment her mother reported that the girl was able to sleep through the night.

After two months of care it was noted that the girl who previously did not like to be hugged was coming into the chiropractors office and “hugging everyone”. Her mother also reported that there was no longer an issue with clothes with the minor exception of socks. After 4 months of care the girl was no longer suffering from ear infections.

Autism Spectrum Disorder and Language Skills Improved with Chiropractic

A case series study published in the Nov. 3, 2014, issue of the Journal of Pediatric, Maternal & Family Health documents chiropractic care helping language skills in two cases of diagnosed Autism Spectrum Disorder. The authors begin by explaining, “Autism is defined as a disorder beginning in childhood marked by the presence of significantly abnormal or impaired development in social interaction and communication and a distinctly restricted repertoire of activity and interest.”

The study notes that the number of diagnosed cases of autism in the U.S. continues to increase and is now considered at epidemic proportions. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) estimates that 1 in 110 children in the U.S. are diagnosed with autism. In California alone, the rate of autism increased 633% between 1987 and 2007. According to the study authors the current rate of diagnosis of autism equates to one new case being diagnosed every two hours.

In this case series, two children who were diagnosed with autism participated in the study. Each of the two children were diagnosed independently by clinical psychologists. The first of the two children was a boy at the age of a 3 years, 8 months. He was diagnosed at the age of 2 years with moderate autism. With this diagnosis, the boy was suffering with severe language and speech difficulties. Additionally, the boy had a history of allergies, ear infections, digestive problems, social interaction difficulties, behavioral problems, teeth grinding, and sleep problems.

The second child was a girl at the age of 3 years, 5 months, who was diagnosed with autism 2 months earlier. Her autism was characterized by severely delayed expressive and a moderate delay in receptive language skills. In addition to autism, she was also suffering from chronic colds, digestive problems, social interaction difficulties, behavioral problems, and sleep problems.

In these two cases, a test known as the Preschool Language Scale-4 (PLS-4) was administered every three months to rate any progress in the children’s language skills. Using these tests, the young boy was measured at over one year delayed in language while the girl was even worse and was considered severely language delayed.

Chiropractic care was initiated on both children for correction of subluxations. At the first testing interval, both children showed measurable improvement in the language skills. By the fourth test both children showed significant improvement. The boy actually improved to the point where his language skills were 5 months above the average child his age. The girl, whose speech was worse at the onset of chiropractic care, improved enough to be only 8 months behind her chronological age.

The improvements in these children were observed and appreciated by their families. At three months into care the young boy said “I love you Daddy” for the first time in his life. The mother of the girl reported that her daughter was doing well in pre-school and was even seen helping other children with their tasks.