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CASE STUDIES: Disc Disorders

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 36, Lumbar Herniated Disc

This 36-year-old female was diagnosed with a lumbar herniated disc. She complained of chronic low back pain (10 years) in the center of her back when she awakens every morning. She often experiences periods where she is "immobilized" due to pain and can't move for days or weeks on end. Each time a bad episode occurs, she tried treatments recommended by her doctors such as traction and physical therapy. She also underwent acupuncture and generalized chiropractic care with low back adjusting. Unfortunately, her symptoms persisted.

At her initial upper cervical chiropractic evaluation, an upper neck injury was discovered. The injury was affecting all of her spinal musculature down to her lumbar spine. After only one month of treatment, all of her pain was resolved and never returned.

Male, Age 33, Lumbar Herniated Disc

This 33-year-old male was diagnosed with a lumbar disc herniation after years of working as delivery person carrying heavy boxes. His symptoms included back pain and stiffness; shooting pains down his leg; midback stiffness; and neck stiffness. He described himself as being unable to bend over and put on his shoes most mornings. His physician was concerned that he might be unable to return to work and recommended a course of physical therapy and then surgery. Prior to undergoing surgery, he underwent an upper cervical chiropractic evaluation.

During his evaluation, an upper neck injury was discovered which was affecting the function of his entire spine including his low back. After two weeks of treatment, he was able to return to work. After one month, all symptoms were absent and no surgery was necessary.

Female, Age 31, Cervical Herniated Disc

This 31-year-old female was diagnosed with a lower cervical herniated disc in which surgery was recommended by her physicians. Her symptoms included severe pain in her neck, upper back, and arm and numbness in her arm (cervical radiculopathy). Her pain was so severe that she was unable to function without prescription pain killers. Even then, the pain was still difficult to bear and she was unable to work or sleep.

During her initial upper cervical evaluation, an upper neck injury was discovered. She recalled a few falls/accidents in her past that could have contributed to her neck injury. Within the first week of care, she reported an overall lessening of pain. By the third week, she was able to discontinue pain and sleep medications and reported a marked decrease in the numbness in her arm and hand. Within one month, her symptoms were resolved and she was able to return to work. No surgery was necessary.

Male, Age 25, Lumbar Herniated Disc

This 25-year-old male was involved in an auto accident in which his car rolled over at 55mph and was totaled. Two weeks later, he experienced his first episode of severe low back pain that shot down his right leg. The pain eventually subsided but reoccurred approximately six months later while playing volleyball, a sport he played his entire life. He immediately sought help from an orthopedist who ordered an MRI of his low back. He was diagnosed with a lumbar disc herniation and prescribed pain pills and physical therapy. During physical therapy, he was put through a series of exercises, stretches, and traction for over six months. While the therapy seemed to help somewhat, he was plagued with chronic low back pain and stiffness and was unable to resume playing volleyball. His orthopedist recommended disc surgery. After struggling one year with chronic low back pain and wanting to avoid surgery, he sought help from upper cervical chiropractic care.

During his initial chiropractic exam, an upper neck injury was discovered, which most likely stemmed from his rollover auto accident. Within his first month of upper cervical care, he noticed increased strength in his spine and less pain. After two months, he was able to incorporate exercise back into his life and noticed his back was feeling well. Several months later, he resumed regular activity, including volleyball, without pain, and was very happy to have avoided back surgery. One year later, he remained symptom-free.

Female, Age 61, Cervical Herniated Disc

This 61-year-old female was diagnosed with a herniated disc by her neurologist after an MRI showed a central disc lesion at C6-7. Her symptoms included neck pain, numbness in both arms and hands, and headaches. Her neurologist recommended surgery. The neck injury possibly stemmed from an auto accident one year prior in which she was rear-ended and knocked forward three car lengths.

During this patient's chiropractic examination, an upper cervical injury was discovered-probably the result of whiplash during her accident. After several months of upper cervical chiropractic care, her neck injury healed. She no longer felt pain, numbness, or headaches, so she was able to avoid surgery.

Female, Age 46, Migraine Headaches, Neck Pain, Herniated Disc

This 46-year-old female suffered from migraine headaches for the past 5 years. She thought they started after she performed a headstand in yoga class because she felt compression in her neck and stiffness. The headaches began occurring every 2 weeks with nausea and vomiting. Often, she was bedridden for 2 days due to the nausea and pain. Three years after the headstand, an MRI indicated that she had herniated a disc in her lower neck (C7). She tried steroids, physical therapy, traction, and ultrasound, but the headaches and pain continued. She complained of constant neck pain, right arm weakness, and pain in her right shoulder.

During her upper cervical chiropractic examination, an upper neck injury was discovered. In addition to the headstand, this patient also recalled an auto accident at age 20 that could have caused her neck injury. During the accident, her car flipped and rolled down an embankment. After only one upper cervical adjustment, she never experienced neck pain, arm pain, or migraines again.

 
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