CLINICAL FEATURES: A 28-year-old woman had neck pain, arm pain, headaches, and dizziness. Her symptoms occurred intermittently over several years. Past care had provided little relief. De Kleyn's test, transcranial Doppler sonography, and magnetic resonance imaging/magnetic resonance angiography helped establish a diagnosis of vertebrobasilar syndrome.
INTERVENTION AND OUTCOME: The patient was referred for neurosurgical evaluation. She subsequently chose to be treated with spinal manipulative therapy. Her neck pain, headaches, and radicular symptoms resolved. The dizzy spells abated to a tolerable level. The neurosurgeon subsequently re-evaluated the patient and recommended that surgery not be performed.
CONCLUSIONS: This illustrates a case of extra-arterial mechanical compression of the vertebral arteries documented by transcranial Doppler sonography procedures. Brainstem symptoms were correlated with a documented perfusion deficit during cervical positional testing. This case also demonstrated that spinal manipulative therapy may be safely used on patients with vertebrobasilar insufficiency when the biomechanics and related flow studies are elucidated.
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