Case Studies

Headache Relief with Chiropractic Care

Headaches commonly are caused by a multitude of factors, including but not limited it to dehydration, neck muscle spasms, genetics, hormone imbalances, or stress. There are many things people do to try to relieve the pain, and sometimes the best thing they can do is see a chiropractor.

Back in March of 2010 a patient reported to the office complaining of headaches. She was in her early 30s and the headaches started about a week ago. They would worsen while working at her desk while employed at Microsoft. Each day the pain got worse and would come on earlier. The first day she described her symptoms as a mild pain and tightness that enveloped her back right half of her head. By the 5th day she stated the intensity increased to moderate – severe with pain on both sides that started in her neck and would continue up to the top of head.  The pain by the 5th day started earlier in the day and would not decrease at the end of the work day. It stopped her from sleeping and caused a reduction in her ability to concentrate at work.

Upon examination there were marked spasms and pain in the muscles right at the spine skull junction, with more pain on the right. Orthopedic tests ruled out any neurological problems and or spinal disk problems. Motion testing revealed, reduced neck flexion (forward bending) due to the pain in her neck. The flexion also recreate her headache symptoms.  All other ranges of motion were limited about 30% but not as painfull as forward flexion.  Examination of the neck revealed a right laterally mispositioned C1. as well as rotational restrictions thorough out the neck.   Palpation of the neck recreated the pain on the the right side, and there was noted muscle spasms throughout.  The overall diagnosis was cervical (neck) joint dysfunction with marked muscle spasms of the neck muscles leading to radiating pain through out the skull.

Treatment recommendations were soft tissue compression and stretching to reduce the spasms within the affected muscles and chiropractic adjustments. Treatment frequency was initially set at 2 times a week for the first week, then evaluated for future care. She ended up being adjusted 4 times with ina 3 week period.

After the first initial treatment she reported a large reduction in her headache with less neck pain. When she reported back for a follow up visit 3 days later, she stated the pain stayed way for about 24 hours but returned with less intensity after a long day of work.  Another treatment with neck muscle work and adjusting and the headache went away again with a full reduction of neck pain this time. Additionally she was given a ergonomic check off sheet and showed a stretching exercise she can do on her own to help keep the problem from coming back. During the next 2 weeks she returned once each week with showing steady progression with less pain and joint dysfunction. By the end of the 4 visit she no longer had her symptoms and had been symptom free for the last week.

Follow up about 3 weeks later she stated she has not had any more headaches since treatment started and is able to work and sleep like the problem was never there. She continued to do her posture and stretching exercises daily.

Case Study: Car Accident with Hip Pain

In November of 2011 a patient came into Pioneer Chiropractic & Wellness after being involved in a minor car accident.  His main complaint was hip and low back that was not getting worse.

His back pain was present on both sides and his hip pain was only on the right.  The pain was intense enough he was unable to drive longer then 30 minutes without having to stop and get out of the car.  He reported the pain would radiated down the right leg to just above the knee 20 to 30 times a day lasting for about 2 minutes.  The discomfort and pain also stopped him from being able to run and work out.  He reported the pain was bad enough he was unable to work out leading to not only a decreased physical health, but also decreased mental health.

After an extensive interview about his symptoms and the accident it self and examination was performed on his neck, back and hips.  The examination revealed tight muscles up and down his low back on both sides with spasms in the lumbar region.  The left hip was functioning normal with no signs of muscle imbalances while the right hip was in a posterior position with spasms of the posterior hip muscles.  Range of motion testing showed about a 40% decrease in low back movement in all directions with pain being increased with right lateral flexion and rotation. Orthopedic testing revealed irritated spinal joints in the lower lumbar region, as well as hip inflammation.  Neurological testing ruled out any spinal disc involvement and there were not neurological deficits noted.  The diagnosis was a lumbar sprain strain with a right sided hip sprain strain as well.

Treatment stated at 3 times a week.  Treatment consisted of soft tissue therapy to reduce the hypertension, chiropractic adjusting of the back and hip as well as exercise and stretching training.  After each visit he improved, with his back improving faster then his hip.  After 1 week of care he reported the radiating pain down the right leg was down to about 2-5 times a day only lasting a few seconds with much less intensity.

As treatment continued he was able to drive a car longer with out having to stop, and was able to start doing light work outs again on top of his instructed exercises. During treatment some times the symptoms would return a bit but usually would go away quickly.  Even though there were some minor set backs from time to time overall treatment was progressing well.

By the end of just under 3 months the symptoms were reduced enough, and his objective findings were normalizing with regular muscle tone and joint movement.  He was released from care shortly after.  During his final evaluation he stated how he did not think he would have been able to get over the pain on his own.

Case Study: Treating An Athlete’s Plantar Fasciitis

Talk to any athlete, and at some point their drive to perform a sport or activity pushed them beyond their own physical limits. In August of 2011 an athlete did just that injuring her right side foot and low back.

While training for a Triathlon she started to get some mild pain on the bottom of her right foot. She thought it was typical aches and pains and continued to train. Fast forward two weeks and the foot pain became much worse. It never got better while training and at the time of her initial exam the foot pain was intense enough it affected her ability to walk, leading to low back and hip discomfort. She had to stop training the week before due to the intense pain in her foot and now low back and right hip. Her Triathlon was less than a month away and was worried she would not be able to compete. She was soon believing she would not be healthy enough to train yet alone compete in the event. Her goals changed from competitive competition to just wanting to walk and be pain free.

After the initial interview, a foot and ankle specific exam was performed as well as a general exam for the her secondary complaints of back and hip pain. Her foot pain was exaggerated when the toes where flexed back, and with minimal pressure applied to the bottom of the foot. Forced dorsiflexion also exaggerated the pain on the bottom of the foot. Motion palpation revealed multiple tarsal bone malpositions and restricted general foot range of motion. Exam of the low back revealed overworked postural muscles and vertebral joint restrictions in the lumbar spine, and right Sacroiliac joint.

After evaluating her signs and symptoms a diagnosis of moderate to severe right foot plantar fasciitis leading to an abnormal gait causing Scro-Iliac and lumbar joint dysfunction was determined. Prescribed treatment for the foot was chiropractic adjustments to the tarsal bones, Kinesio Taping technique, and Graston Technique soft tissue therapy. Treatment for the back and SI would be chiropractic manipulation and massage. Treatment goals for her was reduced pain, increased foot function and future prevention of injuries by adjusting her running gait and showing her stretching and self treatment techniques.

She was treated 2 times a week for 2 weeks along with home care. Home care was simply freezing a disposable water bottle and rolling under her right foot for 10 minutes, then stretching exercises each day. She did the exercises each night along with making each in office appointment.

After the first treatment the right foot was in more pain than when she first came in. After the second treatment the symptoms started to decrease. After the first week of treatment her back was pain free and her foot was about 50% better. As the second week finished she was able to continue training and she said her foot was about 90% of normal. She came in 3 more times after the first two weeks over the next month to help reach an asymptomatic status. The in office treatments also included education on how to use her body properly to avoid future injuries while still being able to train.