A 39 year old woman had complaints of intermittent bouts of fatigue, dizziness, facial numbness, ataxia, headaches, difficulty speaking, and diffuse arthralgias during the last two years. She had already undergone extensive medical testing through which a mild Arnold-Chiari Type I malformation was found. Upon further investigation, it was decided that the A-C malformation was an incidental finding, unrelated to her symptoms. Medically, no solution or explanation of her symptoms could be found.
Chiropractic examination revealed a postural left head tilt, and left high shoulder. She had a supine functional leg length inequality on the right approximately 3/8". Palpation revealed tenderness in various areas from the suboccipital to the gluteal regions. X-ray analysis showed a military neck with anterior translation. Using the Grostic method of upper cervical analysis, we measured an occipito-atlantoaxial subluxation.
We managed the patient using the Grostic procedure of hand adjusting for the upper cervical region. Following the first and subsequent upper cervical adjustments she experienced significant relief of her symptoms. She has not felt the need to seek medical intervention since beginning chiropractic care.
The patient had an array of diffuse symptoms, most of which could be explained neurologically by the effects of an upper cervical subluxation. Because she had the Arnold-Chiari malformation all of her life, it was considered an incidental finding, so the onset of her symptoms during the past two years was difficult medically to understand. When the occipito-atlanto-axial subluxation was corrected, her symptoms improved, showing the efficacy of chiropractic care in this case.
When surgery or medication is not of medical urgency, then a trial of upper cervical chiropractic care should be considered. Further studies need to be conducted on the efficacy of chiropractic among persons who have an Arnold-Chiari malformation with undefined or associated neurological symptoms.
Author Keywords: Arnold-Chiari malformation, chiropractic, chiropractic adjustment, Grostic procedure, occipito-atlanto-axial subluxation
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