Studies: Parkinson's Disease
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.
Age 53, Parkinson's Disease
53-year-old male described an incident in his
early 30's when he was choked by an attacker.
He stated that his neck was squeezed very hard
for 5-10 seconds and that it was sore for 2-3
weeks. He also stated that he started noticing
a "grinding" sound in his neck shortly
thereafter and then noticed a gradual increase
in pain and stiffness in his neck. His health
generally began to decline after this attack and
his first Parkinson's symptoms appeared five years
later. He was eventually diagnosed with PD at
age 42. He immediately began Parkinson's medications
and had to increase dosages as his condition declined.
At the time of his initial upper cervical chiropractic
evaluation, his most pronounced symptoms were
tremor, muscle rigidity, loss of balance, fixed
facial expression, slowed movement, numbness in
his arms, spinal pain, cognitive difficulty, and
his evaluation, an upper neck injury was discovered,
which was probably caused by the choking incident,
as no other traumas were reported. He began a
course of treatment to stabilize his neck and
over a 4-month period, he experienced the following
improvements: less rigidity and improved movement
of his limbs, better sleeping and energy, improved
mood, reduction in spinal pain, less tremor, improvement
strength and balance in his gait, better posture
and ability to sit up straight, better appetite,
and a general feeling of well being. Because of
his improvements, he began an exercise program
to work on his strength, coordination, posture,
and cardiovascular health.
Age 62, Parkinson's Disease
62-year-old male was diagnosed with Parkinson's
disease and began taking Parkinson's medications
approximately four months before seeking help
from upper cervical care. He recalled experiencing
Parkinson's symptoms two years prior to his diagnosis.
At his initial upper cervical chiropractic examination,
his most severe symptoms included depression,
stooped posture, loss of energy/motivation, loss
of balance, dragging leg, walking difficulty,
loss of arm swing, resting tremor, constipation,
severe upper back pain, and loss of his voice.
His voice loss was especially hard on him because
he enjoyed singing in his barbarshop group and
had lost much of his singing range and stamina.
his initial examination, an upper neck injury
was discovered. When questioned as to his past
history of traumas to his head/neck that could
have caused the neck injury, he recalled an auto
accident 2 1/2 years prior in which his car was
hit from the side at approximately 20 mph. In
addition, he recalled several traumas while playing
hockey and football during high school.
the first 30 days of upper cervical care, this
patient noticed a lessening in his back pain,
an increase in the strength of his voice, and
better energy, motivation, and a happier mood.
After two more months of upper cervical care,
he reported that all back pain was absent; his
voice strength had completely returned; his energy
level, mood, motivation, and stamina were all
greatly increased; tremors were decreased; his
leg no longer dragged; he walked normally; his
balance was improved in that he no longer had
falls; and constipation was absent. At his 5-month
check-up appointment, a reevaluation of all of
his Parkinson's symptoms was performed and compared
to his original examination five months earlier.
He showed improvement of greater than 50% with
no further progression of Parkinson's symptoms.
Plus, he was continuing to improve.
Age 60, Parkinson's Disease
60-year-old male first experienced Parkinson's
disease symptoms at age 53 when his left fifth
finger began to twitch. His neurologist diagnosed
his with PD and prescribed medications including
Sinemet, Eldepryl, and Mirapex. Every six months,
his neurologist monitored his condition and increased
medication dosages as his condition worsened.
Three years after the diagnosis, this patient's
left leg became rigid, causing difficulty with
walking. Most of the progression of PD symptoms
occurred in the last eighteen months before upper
cervical chiropractic treatment.
his initial spinal examination, an upper neck
injury was discovered. The patient recalled several
possibilities for the cause of the neck injury,
including football concussions and a helicopter
the end of the second week of upper cervical care,
the subject reported greater range of motion in
his neck, improved sleep, better energy, and decreased
stiffness in his body overall. After one month
of care, the
patient reported that his most noticeable improvements
included improved sleep and increased energy.
He was more alert and no longer felt tired or
depressed. He had improved range of motion in
his neck, better balance, improved hand and leg
agility, and less rigidity overall. His left leg
no longer dragged and his walking improved. He
routinely reported "feeling great." Mental clarity,
handwriting, turning in bed, and arising from
a chair also improved. During the third month
of care, the subject reported that his greatest
improvement was the return of his balance, which
enabled him to resume riding a bike. He also noted
that his wife, daughter, son, friends, and neighbors
all noticed a marked improvement in his physical
and mental health. After six months of care, the
patient reported maintenance of his previous improvements
and no deterioration of his condition. He also
reported a continued gradual increase in energy
level and strength in his body, as well as a continued
reduction in muscle and joint stiffness. Consequently,
between months eight and nine, he enlisted a personal
trainer's help and began an exercise program including
cardiovascular and weight training three times
Age 59, Parkinson's Disease
59-year-old male first experienced Parkinson's
symptoms one year prior to seeking help from upper
cervical care. The symptoms began with twitching
in his 3rd, 4th, and 5th fingers of his left hand.
The twitching happened daily while his hand was
at rest. He also noticed that his handwriting
had become small; he experienced several headaches
per month; pain occassionally shot down his legs;
and he noticed stiffness in his neck as he turned
towards the left.
his initial examination, an upper cervical injury
was discovered. As a skier for the past 15 years,
he recalled several skiing falls that could have
caused his upper neck injury. After undergoing
upper cervical care, all headaches, neck stiffness,
and leg pains were absent. The twitches diminshed
and he suffered no further worsening of Parkinson's
Age 54, Parkinson's Disease
54-year-old male was involved in a severe auto
accident 15 years prior in which he was hit from
the side, causing his car to rollover. After the
accident, he wore a neck brace for several weeks
due to neck pain and also began suffering from
headaches. Between six months and one year after
the accident, he began experiencing mood swings,
depression, continued neck pain/stiffness, and
some twitching in his fingers. He also complained
that he felt his head was "tilting"
on top of his neck and noticed the deviation in
the time of his initial upper cervical chiropractic
evaluation (15 years after his accident) his Parkinson's
symptoms had become severe; he required large
doses of medications to be able to function; and
consequently had been unable to work for many
years. His most severe symptoms included extreme
depression; neck and low back pain; frequent headaches;
insomnia; and severe left-sided tremors and stiffness.
His left hand tremors were so severe that he sat
on his hand to control the severe tremoring. During
his upper cervical chiropractic examination, an
upper neck injury was discovered, which most likely
stemmed from the rollover auto accident.
his first month of upper cervical care, he noticed
his mood improve to where he no longer required
anti-depressant medications; he reported improved
sleep; and his low back pain was absent. He also
felt the neck pain and headaches diminish and
remarked that his head felt "straighter"
upon his neck. In addition, he noticed his tremors
and other Parkinson's symptoms lessen. Several
months later, he felt well enough to return to
Age 65, Parkinson's Disease
65-year-old female first experienced Parkinson's
symptoms four years prior. The symptoms began
four weeks after an auto accident. During the
accident in which she was traveling in a van,
the van stopped short and catapulted her head-first
into the van's metal frame. Four weeks after the
accident, tremors began in her right hand and
her initial chiropractic evaluation (4 years after
her accident), her Parkinson's symptoms included
right-sided tremors; neck soreness; difficulty
with handwriting; and pain in her left toes. During
her first month of upper cervical care, her neck
soreness diminshed; all tremoring in her leg was
absent; her left hand tremors improved so that
she could resume writing; and all foot pain disappeared.
No further progression of Parkinson's disease
Age 60, Parkinson's Disease
60-year-old female first experienced Parkinson's
symptoms approximately 3 years prior to seeking
help from upper cervical care. Her symptoms began
on the right side of her body, with tremors in
her right hand and right leg, as well as weakness
and instability during walking. She also complained
of trouble with mental alertness and fatigue and
described how she yawned uncontrollably. Other
complaints included burning neck pain; weakening
in her voice; electrical current sensations in
her feet; cramping in her right hand; dizzy spells;
and bilateral ankle swelling.
her initial chiropractic evaluation, an upper
cervical injury was discovered. When questioned
about traumas in her past that could have caused
the neck injury, she recalled an auto accident
six months prior to the onset of her initial Parkinson's
symptoms. After the accident, she immediately
experienced neck soreness, and soon experienced
the first tremors in her right side.
the first two months of upper cervical care, all
of her symptoms improved. She noticed lessening
of her neck pain; increased strength in her legs
and improved walking; improvement of her right-sided
tremors; a stronger voice; absence of dizzy spells;
and better mental concentration. Even her work
colleagues noticed the improvements.
Age 67, Parkinson's Disease
67-year-old male experienced his first Parkinson's
symptoms four years prior to his initial chiropractic
visit. Approximately 18 years prior to his initial
visit, he sustained an injury to his head from
an accident. One year after the accident, a seizure
disorder began. Terrible back pain also began
after the accident, and he underwent 2 different
back surgeries. The first surgery occurred 3 years
prior to his PD diagnosis, and the second surgery
occurred 1 year after his diagnosis. Despite,
the surgeries, the spinal pain continued, and
radiated strongly into his knees and thighs. He
also complained of energy loss and fatigue.
his initial upper cervical chiropractic examination,
an upper neck injury was discovered, perhaps the
result of his head injury 18 years prior. The
neck injury had weakened his spine as a whole,
causing numerous problems, including the neurologically-based
symptoms. After upper cervical care, he could
walk without pain; his back pain improved; his
energy level improved; getting out of bed was
easier; and cramping in his feet lessened. While
some residual back pain occurred (most likely
due to the surgical scarring), as a whole his
quality of life was much improved.
Age 67, Parkinson's Disease
67-year-old male first experienced a slowness
in his movement 5 years prior to his initial chiropractic
visit. His PD diagnosis eventually was rendered
approximately 3 years prior. His Parkinson's symptoms
started following a motorcycle accident in which
he fell and broke his arm.
his initial chiropractic evaluation, his most
severe symptoms included slow, small handwriting;
tremors and weakness in his right hand and leg;
toe curling and cramping; fatigue; walking trouble
with shuffling steps; and neck tightness. During
his examination, an upper neck injury was discovered.
The neck injury seemed likely due to the motorcycle
accident; however, he also had been an avid skier
for many years and had played high school football.
During both sports, he had sustained numerous
traumas to the head and neck.
the first few weeks of upper cervical care, he
noticed increased range of motion in his neck
and better energy. He also noticed a lessening
in his tremors. Eventually his walking improved
and he was able to decrease his Parkinson's medications.
Age 41, Parkinson's Disease
41-year-old male first recalled experiencing PD
symptoms approximately 8 years prior when he noticed
loss of mental acuity, poor sleep, and fatigue.
Several years later, he developed foot cramping
and hand tremoring, and was finally diagnosed
with Parkinson's Disease a little over a year
prior to his first upper cervical chiropractic
his initial chiropractic appointment, his most
severe symptoms included cramping and numbness
in his left foot and leg; left-sided neck stiffness;
cogwheeling in his left arm and left leg; tremoring
in his left hand; decreased arm swing on the left;
fatigue; insomnia; and dragging of his left leg.
During his examination, an upper cervical injury
was discovered. Because of his past history as
a professional cyclist, he recalled numerous traumas
to his head and neck during bike crashes, which
could have caused his upper neck injury.
the first week of upper cervical care, he reported
feeling less neck stiffness; his left leg was
making more fluid movements; his strength felt
like 90% instead of operating only at 65%; and
his arm was handing looser. By the second week,
he noticed less tremoring in his hand and was
able to exercise 4 days in a row with good strength,
and without fatigue. By his 3-month reevaluation,
he clearly reported experiencing better sleep,
increased energy, increased mental clarity, more
fluidity in his arms and legs, less tremor, and
Age 66, Parkinson's Disease
66-year-old was diagnosed with PD one year prior
to his initial chiropractic visit. He reported
experiencing symptoms approximately 2 years prior
to his intial visit, when he noticed trouble walking,
stumbling, stoop posture, and tremor.
his initial evaluation, his most severe symptoms
included weakness in his extremities; slurred
speech; shortness of breath; rubbery legs; left
leg numbness; trouble sleeping; and severe low
back pain. During his examination, an upper cervical
injury was discovered, which could have stemmed
from an auto accident he had been involved in
several years prior.
two weeks of upper cervical care, he reported
feeling overall better. His walking and talking
was noticeably better as friends and family commented
about the changes. He also noticed better arm
swing while walking and improvement in his low
back pain. The left leg numbness was absent. During
his reevaluation 5months later, his improvements
continued, plus he reported the additional improvements
of increased hand and leg coordination / agility.
Age 63, Parkinson's Disease
age 43, this 63-year-old male noticed increasing
stiffness in his neck, a head
and a tremor in his right hand. At the start of
upper cervical care, his most severe symptoms
included rigidity in his neck, back, right arm,
and right leg and tremor in his right hand and
foot. He also had a stooped posture, a masked
facial expression, decreased agility in his right
hand, and illegible handwriting.
During his initial upper cervical chiropractic
examination, an upper neck injury was discovered,
possibly the result of an earlier accident while
playing football. After three months of chiropractic
care, this patient's main areas of improvement
were in spinal range of motion, flexibility, and
posture. He reported improved motion, especially
in his neck, and the ability to stand up straighter.
He was able to take long walks without stooping
over or feeling pain. In addition, he was able
to stay on his feet and accomplish more during
the day without spinal pain or feeling tired.
He also reported improved facial expression, decreased
rigidity, and improved ability to get up out of
bed, to walk, and to arise from a chair.
Age 47, Parkinson's Disease
47-year-old male first experienced neck and back
pain in high school. At age 37, his right hand
began to tremor. Before upper cervical care, his
symptoms reported were intellectual impairment,
depression, loss of motivation and facial expression,
slurred speech, illegible handwriting, difficulty
walking, dressing, arising from a chair, and turning
in bed, frequent falling and freezing, tremor
in his right hand and foot, rigidity in his neck,
right hand, and foot, stooped posture, and bradykinesia.
During his initial examination, an upper neck
injury was discovered. This patient recalled several
traumas to his head and neck prior to the onset
of Parkinson's symptoms. After upper cervical
care, this patient resumed playing eighteen holes
of golf-walking and carrying his clubs the entire
distance which he had not been able to do in seven
years. He reported significantly improved neck
range of motion and decreased neck and low back
pain. His right arm improved overall due to decreased
numbness, better arm swing, and reduction of severity
and frequency of tremor in his right hand. He
had fewer cramps in his right leg and foot and
less "off" periods overall. He also reported improved
mood, more motivation, more facial expression,
improved turning in bed, no falling, better walking
and arising from a chair, less rigidity in his
legs, improved posture, and better movement overall.
Age 61, Parkinson's Disease
61-year-old male first noticed a tremor in his
left hand and foot at age 59. At the start of
care, his symptoms included an increase in salivation,
difficulty dressing, difficulty walking, tremor
in his left hand and foot, and difficulty with
his left hand and leg agility. He also described
his neck and spine to be stiff and rigid ninety
percent of the time over the past two years.
During the patient's initial chiropractic examination,
an upper cervical injury was discovered. Having
been an avid skier for many years, this patient
surmised the neck injury must have occurred from
one of his many ski falls. After upper cervical
care, this subject reported a dramatic increase
in physical strength, energy level, agility, balance,
and endurance. He was more mentally alert. He
could ski an entire day where he previously had
to stop by noon. He also noticed increased mobility
in his spine because he could bend down to fasten
his ski boots, which was previously impossible.
Most importantly, he reported that the majority
of his symptoms including tremor had been corrected
and that he felt essentially "normal" other than
slight weakness in his left arm and leg.
Age 53, Parkinson's Disease
53-year-old female experienced her first Parkinson's
disease symptoms at 33 years of age. She considered
her Parkinson's progression to be slow because
she still was able to function after twenty years
of the condition but used high doses of medications
to do so. She experienced frequent and severe
"off" periods of dystonia (abnormal muscle tone)
where her head seized to the left and her pelvis
turned right. She often would remain frozen in
that state, bedridden and in severe pain, for
several hours. She rated her Parkinson's symptoms
as "severe" rendering her bedridden and non-functional.
Although the medications reduced her suffering,
she still was plagued with dyskinesias (involuntary
movements) 75 to 100 percent of the day. She also
complained of neck pain, numbness in her left
hand and arm, pressure at the base of her skull,
and low back pain.
her initial examination, an upper neck injury
was discovered, which possibly resulted from an
earlier car accident that preceded the onset of
her Parkinson's symptoms. After upper cervical
care, this patient reported decreased numbness,
spinal pain and head pressure, and increased energy.
Her most marked improvement was in the decreased
frequency and severity of "off" periods. Previously
an episode of dystonia lasted for several hours,
while after care it lasted for 30 minutes or less.
She felt well enough to drive again and enjoyed
her renewed independence. In addition, she rated
her Parkinson's symptoms as "moderate and still
functional," and the occurrence of dyskinesias
dropped to 25 percent of the day.
Age 66, Parkinson's Disease
66-year-old female noticed the onset of Parkinson's
symptoms, including rigidity, jerky movements,
and loss of hand coordination, at 58 years of
age. Other health complaints included neck pain,
hand numbness, low back pain, and sciatica. During
her initial evaluation, her most severe Parkinson's
symptoms included loss of motivation, poor handwriting,
difficulty swallowing, slurred speech, difficulty
turning in bed, loss of facial expression, rigidity
in her neck, arms, and legs, and bradykinesia.
upper cervical care, this subject reported complete
correction of neck pain, substantial reduction
in rigidity, and a decrease in low back pain and
sciatica. She also reported improved ability to
turn in bed, improved flexibility in her neck,
arms, and legs, and improved movement overall.
Age 76, Parkinson's Disease
76-year-old male first noticed his left foot dragging
at age 72. He also experienced pain in his left
hip and underwent surgery on his lumbar spine
one year later. He reported that the pain became
more severe after surgery and consequently he
had to take daily prescription pain medication.
The combination of his dragging left leg and his
right hip pain made walking and arising from a
chair difficult. He also reported a stooped posture,
neck pain, and difficulty with speech, handwriting,
upper cervical care, this patient had increased
energy and accomplished more during the day. His
hip pain decreased, substantially reducing his
need for pain medication and he was better able
to arise from a chair. He also reported improved
neck range of motion, posture, and balance.
Age 49, Parkinson's Disease
49-year-old male first noticed shaking of his
right hand and loss of fine motor control while
writing and buttoning his shirt at age 37. During
the past two years, his Parkinson's symptoms progressed
so that a marked difference existed between "on"
and "off" periods of medication use. He also suffered
from insomnia and low back pain.
upper cervical care, he noticed improved sleep
and a reduction in low back pain to almost none.
In addition, he reported feeling better during
"on" periods including fewer symptoms, better
energy and better balance.
Dr. Elster: My name is Susan Fusselman and I am
the daughter of Larry, one of your Parkinson's
patients. I want to thank you so much for all
you have done for him and the remarkable progress
he has made since being under your care. It is
amazing the change we see in him, both physically
and mentally. I hope you will continue your research
in this very important area...thank you again
for your insight and research on Parkinson's,
you are making a wonderful difference in many
lives."-- Susan Fussleman, Bedford, TX
of the treatment I received as a participant in
the three-month study conducted by Dr. Elster,
I feel my agility and posture have improved. I
believe I have better neck movement and am better
able to rise up from a supine position, and I
feel my improved posture allows me to walk and/or
stand for longer periods of time with less fatigue.
Thank you Dr. Elster. " Virgil, June 1999
"Since I started Dr. Elster's program, I have
noticed improvement in the following areas: higher
energy level, sleeping better, my left leg doesn't
drag, walking is easier, and I can walk longer
and further. My disposition is much improved plus
my overall physical health is much better. When
you're feeling well, your attitude toward yourself
and those around you is much more positive. My
wife, daughter, son, friends, neighbors and even
members of our square dance group have all noticed
a marked improvement in my physical and mental
health. I highly recommend Dr. Elster's program.
My sincere thanks to Dr. Elster for helping me
deal with Parkinson's in a positive way." Larry,
energy level has improved noticeably during "on"
times with less pronounced fatigue and more lengthy
"on" times. Prior to the study my sleep was very
erratic and now has improved substantially. I've
also noticed a big improvement in my lower back
pain along with better mobility in both my neck
and back. My attitude and mood have also improved
due to the positive changes and improvements that
I've experienced as a result of the treatment.
Since the study began I've discovered that I look
forward to the treatments and I hope that continuing
on will result in even further improvements."
Rick, June 1999
"During the study period with Dr. Elster I have
enjoyed a dramatic improvement in energy level,
strength, and agility. This change has been clearly
demonstrated by a significant increase in my skill
and enjoyment of skiing. Thank you Dr. Elster."
Chuck, June 1999
have had PD for 20 years and have had neck problems,
dystonia, and cramping, etc. for at least the
last five years. My head would pull down on my
left shoulder and it was very painful. I would
take muscle relaxants and tranquilizers and my
husband would massage my neck and shoulders but
it would take hours before it would come loose.
So when I heard about Dr. Elster, I really wanted
to participate in her study. She has helped me
a lot. I still get dystonia but not nearly as
often or as severe. I had stopped driving because
I would get too tired and I didn't feel safe at
the wheel. Now most of the time I drive myself
and really enjoy the independence again. I disliked
having to depend on someone else. I still have
PD but Dr. Elster has made it much easier to live
with." Arlyce, June 1999