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Conditions: Anxiety/Phobia

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CASE STUDIES: Anxiety / Phobia

Please note: Case studies summarizing patientsí responses to care are intended for educational purposes only and do not imply a guarantee of benefit. Individual results may vary, depending upon several factors including age of the patient, severity of the condition, severity of the spinal injury, and duration of time the condition has been present.

Female, Age 35, Anxiety

This 35-year-old female made an appointment for an upper cervical evaluation upon recommendation from a friend. She had suffered anxiety for some time and complained of never feeling like herself. Although she did not recall suffering any spinal injuries that would require chiropractic care, she nonetheless wanted to be evaluated to see if anything could be done for her.

During her upper cervical chiropractic evaluation, a neck injury was found. After her first upper neck adjustment, she came back for her next check-up appointment, and described how amazed she was with the changes. She said she felt calm, relaxed, and mellow. She also stated that she felt like her brain no longer got caught up in irrational thoughts. Months later, she continued to be anxiety-free.

Female, Age 36, Neck Pain, Headaches, Knee Pain, Panic Attacks

This 36-year-old female suffered from neck pain and headaches since an auto accident 15 years prior. Her neck frequently "pinched" and caused headaches. After the accident, she was given muscles relaxants and physical therapy for four months with no results. Finally, she was prescribed cortisone shots in her neck and back, which also provided little relief. She eventually discovered activities that aggravated her neck, including carrying her sons, holding the phone at her ear, lifting overhead, or certain exercises, and tried to avoid those activities as often as possible. Unfortunately, the pain continued year after year. In addition, she suffered from chronic unexplained knee pain in her left knee. She enjoyed running on a daily basis and was forced to stop running due to excruciating pain.

At the time she sought help from upper cervical care, she hadn't be able to run for two years. Also, she suffered from anxiety / panic attacks for 6 months that were triggered during stress, being in crowded rooms, and flying on airplanes. During the attacks, her pulse would quicken and she would feel claustrophobic, requiring her to leave the crowded or stressful location. During her initial evaluation, an upper cervical injury was discovered that most likely stemmed from her auto accident 15 years prior.

After only two upper cervical adjustments, all neck pain, headaches, knee pain, and anxiety attacks were gone.

Male, Age 29, Mid Back Pain, Anxiety

This 29-year-old male experienced mid back pain for many years. He saw different chiropractors that adjusted his mid back area, which gave some relief but the problem kept recurring. In addition, he suffered anxiety attacks in public places and during stress. After upper cervical care (adjusting only the upper neck), the mid back pain and anxiety attacks were absent.


"Since I was 15, I've had mid back pain that bothered me when I woke up or sat too long. In addition, after a fall in the middle of a crowded movie theater many years ago in which I landed on my face, I developed a strange fuzzy, faint, anxious feeling that I would get every once in a while in public places. The feeling was extremely troubling and I was powerless to try and stop it. With Dr. Elster's treatment, some of my symptoms disappeared almost immediately, like the fuzzy, faint feelings. And sooner than I expected, the morning sore back disappeared. I really like the fact that Dr. Elster uses a reliable, technical device to check me to see if I need adjusting. I also really appreciate the way she addresses ALL of my health concerns. I really feel that Dr. Elster's approach and manner of treatment is a true step forward for chiropractic, a not-so-perfect science which I had never been able to fully reap the promised benefits of, until now."Andy, age 29, January 1998

Female, Age 34, Agoraphobia (fear of leaving home), Insomnia

This 34-year-old female suffered from severe anxiety and fear over leaving her home (agoraphobia) for eighteen months before seeking help from upper cervical care. This anxiety began one week after a downward blow to the head while her head was extended backwards. Initially, the problem began with anxiety over going on trips where packing for travel and traveling on airplanes made her extremely nervous. Gradually the problem worsened to the point that it could take her several hours to leave her house to do a simple errand. She became completely incapable of going out to do anything such as dinner out, errands, shopping, etc. Occasionally she vomited from fear. In addition, she became addicted to alcohol and valium in order to combat the anxiety. She also had insomnia and got up and down out of bed for several hours checking the door, stove, etc. before she finally felt comfortable enough to try to go to sleep.

After one adjustment, she reported "feeling completely normal." Her anxiety was completely gone and she returned to a normal life that she had before the blow to the head. She immediately began going out to eat, to do errands, and even went on a vacation- all without any anxiety at all. She also resumed normal sleeping and discontinued drugs and alcohol.


"This is the way I used to be -- very outgoing. I love to go out, anywhere and everywhere, with a bold adventurous outlook. I have been told that I am not shy. I have always been able to talk to complete strangers with ease and I am always eager to explore new places. This is the way I started acting-- Trip Anxiety. The thought of going out of town was overwhelming. My sister would completely pack me, and I usually didn't even know what she would pack. That was enough of a problem, but I ran into serious trouble when I gradually found it harder and harder to leave my house.

Going to work became increasingly difficult. I would be ready, at the door, and it would take five minutes, then ten, and eventually hours before I could leave. It got to the point where I would try to leave, then return, and try to leave again, sometimes five or six times, before I could actually leave my house to go to work. After work I would go right home. If I needed groceries I would have to stop on the way home from work, and I would bring a list. If I didn't talk myself out of the need to stop while on the way, while in the store I would cross off most of the items and just get what I actually had to have. I began to find it almost impossible even to go to the mailbox after dark.

Dinner out was out of the question...it was delivery or take-out or cook at home and movies on pay-per-view or cable, never the theater. I really started to miss hearing those live concerts too. This is what I tried to do to fix the problem-- Medical Doctors of all kinds including traditional western docs and psychiatrists and Alternative Medicine Doctors of all kinds, to no avail. Acupuncture was the only thing that helped, but it was a short-term band-aid. I became completely dependant on my husband and friends/family to come and get me if I needed to leave the house on a weekend or at night.

Nothing was working and the psychiatrists all said I wasn't crazy and that I seemed to have a neurotransmitter problem. I was told to plan outings as exercises, but this seemed to make matters worse. Nothing helped. This is what Dr. Elster did for me--

In my initial meeting with Erin Elster, she explored WHEN I started to have signs of trouble. Through her questioning, and the angle of impact that she suspected my injury had come, I remembered an instance when I had been hit on the head over a year and a half ago. After just a mild bonk on the head with my head cocked to one side at just the wrong angle, I had become dizzy for a second, panicked for a moment, and I remembered that I lost track of time for a few hours that evening. I thought nothing of it the next day. Dr. Elster took x-rays and showed my husband and me how that slight impact had pushed the atlas to one side impairing the ability of some of the nerves to function properly.

After she had time to study the x-rays, my husband drove me to her office and Dr. Elster laid me down on her special table and pushed that atlas back into place in one motion. After a few minutes of resting, I went out to breakfast, even choosing a second restaurant and then shopping. I've been running around ever since. Thank you Dr. Elster." Janette, age 34, September 1997

Female, Age 28, Headaches, Essential/Familial Tremor, Anxiety

This 28-year-old experienced nervousness, tremors and anxiety attacks since childhood. She took medication to calm her nerves and control the tremors. In addition, since taking up snowboarding 4 years ago and falling numerous times on her head, she experienced headaches, many of them escalating into migraines. During certain headaches, her left hand went numb. She took approximately 4 ibuprofen per week for headache pain. After one month of care, the headaches, tremors, nervousness, and anxiety stopped and she discontinued all medications.


"I began having migraines during the last 5 years after crashes snowboarding. My massage therapist suggested that I visit Dr. Elster to help relieve the headaches that I had been treating with daily medication. Within 2 weeks, my symptoms began to lessen. Within a month, I was able to stop taking my medication. My migraines have stopped, and as an added bonus, a life-long condition of tremors and anxiety disappeared also! Thank you Dr. Elster!" Liz, age 28, March 1998

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