CLINICAL FEATURES: A 70-year-old special education teacher had neck pain, headaches, and burning paresthesia on the entire left side of her body. These symptoms developed within hours of being injured in a side-impact motor vehicle accident. Prior to her visit, she had been misdiagnosed with a cerebrovascular accident.
INTERVENTION AND OUTCOMES: Additional diagnostic studies revealed that the patient was suffering from cervical spinal stenosis with spinal cord deformation. Two manipulative technique systems (Advanced Biostructural Therapy and Atlas Coccygeal Technique) unique to the chiropractic profession and based on the theory of relief of adverse mechanical neural tension were administered to the patient. This intervention provided complete relief of the patient's complaints. The patient remained symptom-free at long-term follow-up, 1 year postaccident.
CONCLUSION: There is a paucity of published reports describing the treatment of cervical spinal stenosis through manipulative methods. Existing reports of the manipulative management of cervical spondylosis suggest that traditional manual therapy is ineffective or even contraindicated. This case reports the excellent short-term and long-term response of a 70-year-old patient with MRI-documented cervical spinal stenosis and spinal cord deformation to less traditional, uniquely chiropractic manipulative techniques. This appears to be the first case (reported in the indexed literature) that describes the successful amelioration of the symptoms of cervical spinal stenosis through chiropractic manipulation. More research into the less traditional chiropractic systems of spinal manipulation should be undertaken.
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