New Research on Spinal Degeneration

Research News Staff
New Research on Spinal Degeneration

Chiropractic Alleviates Chronic Suffering

Recent research reporting on a 46 year old woman who was suffering from spinal degeneration, stenosis and chronic neck pain reveals that chiropractic may play an important role in caring for people with these conditions. The research, reported in the Journal of Upper Cervical Chiropractic Research includes a review of the literature on chiropractic and the care of these types of conditions.

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“Research is revealing that structural shifts of the spine such as disc problems and degeneration secondary to vertebral subluxation can be improved following chiropractic care” stated Dr. Matthew McCoy, a chiropractor, public health researcher and editor of the journal that published the study. McCoy continued “This case adds to the body of scientific literature suggesting that chiropractic should play an important role in managing people with structural spinal shifts.” 

Abnormal spinal alignment and posture are associated with poor general health, physical function, emotional function, social function, neck and low back pain. Normal spinal alignment and movement provides shock absorption and leverage, which protect the spinal cord and nerves from the forces of gravity and other daily traumas one may encounter. 

McCoy stated “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 these abnormalities in the absence of intervention. However, there is literature that supports the effectiveness of chiropractic to restore a healthy spinal alignment and motion according to the research, thereby lowering the risk of chronic pain, degeneration and poor health. 

The 46-year-old woman reported on in this study had a history of disc herniation and presented to the chiropractor with chronic neck pain and numbness that radiated into the hand, low back pain and tingling into her toes. It interfered with her work and travel. She had tried massage but it did not help her. 

She was examined by the chiropractor who found decreased and painful spinal range of motion and spasm of her back muscles. X-rays were taken that revealed structural spinal shifts, advanced degeneration of her neck and stenosis. Further testing revealed obstruction of her nerves. Structural spinal shifts can lead to obstruction of the nerves and it is this obstruction, called vertebral subluxations, that chiropractors correct.  After 8 chiropractic adjustments she experienced complete resolution of her pain, numbness and disability.  The study’s authors called for additional research to investigate the clinical implications of chiropractic in this population of patients. 

Contact Information: 

Matthew McCoy DC, MPH
Journal of Upper Cervical Chiropractic Research

McCoy Press