New Research on Spinal Alignment & Chronic Pain

Research News Staff
New Research on Spinal Alignment & Chronic Pain

Chiropractic Restores Spinal Structure & Improves Nerve Function in Teenager

Recent research reporting on a 13-year-old teenage boy suffering from chronic pain from structural spinal shifts obstructing his nervous system that started after a car accident reveals that chiropractic may play an important role in caring for people with these conditions.  The research, reported in the Annals of Vertebral Subluxation Research, includes a review of the literature on the topic and calls for more research in this area.

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“Research is revealing that structural abnormalities of the spine such as forward head posture and loss of the normal spinal curves can be improved following chiropractic care” stated Dr. Matthew McCoy, a chiropractor, public health researcher and editor of the journal that published the study. Other chiropractic researchers have reported on similar results and reviews of the scientific research reveal numerous other studies that have shown a similar connection. 

McCoy added “This case adds to the body of scientific literature suggesting that chiropractic should play an important role in managing people with structural spinal distortions and chronic pain following trauma.” 

Abnormal spinal alignment and posture are associated with poor general health, physical function, emotional function, social function, and pain. Normal spinal curves provide shock absorption and leverage, which protect the spinal cord and nerve tissue from the forces of gravity and other daily traumas one may encounter. 

Research has shown that abnormal spinal alignment and posture also increase stress and strain to the nerve and blood supply of the spinal cord. This can seriously affect the nervous system. It is a rare phenomenon for resolution of spinal structural abnormalities in the absence of intervention. However, there is literature that supports the effectiveness of chiropractic to restore a healthy spinal alignment and posture according to established normal values, thereby lowering the risk of degeneration and poor health.

The patient reported on in this study was a 13-year-old teenager with chronic headaches neck pain, dizziness and difficulty sleeping following a car accident one year earlier.

He was examined by the chiropractor who found loss of the normal spinal range of motion. X-rays were taken that revealed anterior head syndrome, loss of the normal neck curve and structural spinal shifts. Abnormal position or movement of the spinal vertebra can develop from structural spinal shifts. These structural shifts can lead to obstruction of the nerves and it is this obstruction, called vertebral subluxations, that chiropractors correct.

Following chiropractic care his neck pain, headaches and dizziness improved, his anterior head syndrome decreased and the curve in his neck improved.

The authors call for more research into health outcomes of injured patients undergoing chiropractic care after car accidents.