New Research Sheds Light on Lupus & Auto-Immune Disorders

Research News Staff
New Research Sheds Light on Lupus & Auto-Immune Disorders

Chiropractic May Play Role in Alleviating Suffering

Recent research reporting on improvement in a 34 year old woman undergoing chiropractic care reveals that chiropractic may play an important role in managing people with auto-immune related issues such as Lupus. The research, reported in the Annals of vertebral Subluxation Research, includes a review of the literature supporting the role of chiropractic in people suffering from autoimmune disorders and calls for more research in this area.

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“Numerous case studies and some clinical studies are revealing that there is a relationship between abnormalities in the spine, the nervous system and the various problems related to immune dysfunctions” stated Dr. Matthew McCoy, a chiropractor, public health researcher and editor of the journal that published the study. “These types of structural shifts in the spine cause a ripple effect through the nervous and immune systems. By removing the structural shifts chiropractic helps improve nerve supply and immune function.”

McCoy added “With everything we know about the relationship between the nervous and immune systems, chiropractic makes perfect sense in the case of autoimmune disorders. In fact, chiropractic is not treating the immune dysfunction or the Lupus but re-establishing normal neurological function which benefits the immune system of the patient.” 

There is an intimate connection between the functioning of the immune and nervous systems. The immune system has even been described as a continuation of the nervous system, with immune cells functioning as the effector cells of the nervous system as it alerts and guides the immune system, mediated by numerous factors such as neurotransmitters and cytokines. This close association of the two systems has long been acknowledged in chiropractic as an underlying feature of why people improve under chiropractic care for various problems.

The patient reported on in the study was a 34-year-old woman with systemic lupus erythematosis who was in constant pain. She had fibromyalgia, fatigue, anxiety, depression, Raynaud’s syndrome and hypothryroidism. She was also experiencing stiffness in the neck, menstrual and stomach problems, mid back pain, irritable bowel, numbness in her feet, low back pain and leg pains. 

Before seeking chiropractic care, she had been to her family physician, an orthopedist, and a rheumatologist. Her laboratory work showed elevated anti-ribonucleoprotein, antinuclear antibodies, and C-reactive protein, which confirmed the diagnosis of systemic lupus erythematosus. She was prescribed multiple medications including Prednisone, Plaquenil, baby aspirin, Hydrochlorothiazide, Wellbutrin, Xanax, and Hydrocodone.

She was examined by the chiropractor and had x-rays taken. She had decreased range of motion, muscle spasms, anterior head syndrome and a loss of the curve in the neck. She had abnormal posture and structural shifts in her neck, mid and low back and pelvis. These structural shifts can lead to obstruction of the nerves and it is this obstruction, called vertebral subluxations, that chiropractors correct.  

After four months of care to reduce the vertebral subluxations her anterior head carriage and neck curve improved. She indicated that her low back pain, stomach problems, and irritable bowel syndrome symptoms were improved. Her mid back pain and fatigue was improved. Her hypothyroid related symptoms, ADD/ADHD, and anxiety were much improved and her Raynaud’s, systemic lupus erythematosus, depression, and nausea were all completely resolved. She also revealed that she had come off of seven of her medications including Hydrocodone, Tramadol, Flexural, Gabapentin, and Wellbutrin. The lab results revealed normal erythrocyte sedimentation rate and only slightly elevated C-reactive protein. Her medical doctor deemed that the patient’s systemic lupus was no longer active.  

The unique aspect of this case study is the improvement in the patient’s lab values related to Lupus and the fact that she was able to discontinue so many of her medications.

The author of the study called for more research in this area.  

Contact Information: 

Matthew McCoy DC, MPH

Annals of Vertebral Subluxation Research

McCoy Press