Introduction: Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) has an elusive diagnosis and etiology. Treatment focuses on alleviation of symptoms and improving a patient’s quality of life. The primary objective was to observe and record changes in health related quality of life (HRQoL), before and after a National Upper Cervical Chiropractic Association (NUCCA) Atlas correction, using the SF 36-Item Health Survey (SF-36).
Methods: Nineteen subjects diagnosed as having CFS according to the 1994 Center of Disease Control (CDC) diagnostic criteria were studied. Patients who were fatigued six (6) or more months and who met four (4) or more diagnostic criteria were evaluated for study inclusion. Data and study administration were conducted using a practice based research protocol. Patients were monitored for a period of six months to insure Atlas alignment was maintained and then retested with the outcomes measures.
Results: SF-36 results at the end of the study by a paired t-test of SF-36 data (n=19) revealed a significant increase in the General Health component, from 30.3 pre to 55.6 post (p<0.001) and Mental Health, from 46.4 to 68.6 (p<0.01). The overall PSQI score decreased from 12.1 to 6.1 (p < 0.05).
Conclusion: This chiropractic procedure may contribute to an improved quality of life in some subjects with CFS as demonstrated in improved SF-36. If correction of Atlas misalignment in clinically diagnosed CFS patients could be the single variable that appears responsible for self-reported improvement of functional and mental health status, further study is warranted to determine the utility of this intervention in patient care. The study was limited by the lack of a control group and that care was provided by only one practitioner.
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