New Research Sheds Light on Chronic Neck Pain & Spinal Degeneration

Research News Staff
New Research Sheds Light on Chronic Neck Pain & Spinal Degeneration

Research Reveals Chiropractic May Alleviate Unnecessary Suffering 

Recent research reported in the Annals of Vertebral Subluxation Research on a woman suffering with neck pain for over 20 years reveals that chiropractic may play an important role in managing these patients.  The literature included supports the role of chiropractic in those suffering from related health challenges and calls for more research in this area.

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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 distortions, chronic pain and degeneration.” 

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 protects 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. 

This case describes a 78-year old woman who had been suffering with neck pain for over 25 years, severe degenerative disc disease, and osteoporosis.  Her pain was so severe she could not perform all her job duties, leaving her to work less hours.  Daily activities like driving was scary and dangerous as she could not turn her head to check traffic due to the worsening of her condition.  She ultimately had to turn in her license because she was a public safety risk.  

The chiropractor examined her and found structural spinal shifts, tight muscles, and limited range of motion in her neck.  Orthopedic testing, x-rays, and MRI confirmed these findings.  These structural shifts can lead to obstruction of the nerves and it is this obstruction, called vertebral subluxations, that chiropractors correct. 

Following chiropractic adjustments, she reported improvement in her symptoms and that for the first time in over 25 years she was pain free.  She was able to return to full duty hours at work and get her license back to drive. 

The study’s author called for additional research to investigate the clinical implications of chiropractic in this population.     

Contact Information: 

Matthew McCoy DC, MPH
Annals of Vertebral Subluxation Research
McCoy Press