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Parkinson's Disease - Case Report

Parkinson’s disease (PD) is a neurodegenerative disease that affects older people and is progressive in nature (1). The main effect felt by patients suffering from PD is difficulty with moving; however, pain is another prevalent symptom, affecting up to 75% of patients (1). This is due to both abnormal pain levels which are complicated by PD, as well as pain brought on by their motor (movement) problems, leaving them with stooped posture and muscle rigidity. These latter symptoms are things that are routinely seen in chiropractor’s offices, leading one to believe that patients with PD can still benefit from chiropractic care and you would be right!


A case report published in 2022 took a look at an elderly woman who suffered from PD with motor involvement including the common tremors and cogwheel rigidity. Prior to trying chiropractic care she was treated with Levodopa (L-dopa), a common anti-Parkinsonian drug, but her rigidity remained (1). She then was put on another drug called Pramipexole for the remaining rigidity; however, her symptoms worsened. After some new imaging on her brain which was unremarkable, she received steroids for six months and a one time injection of botulinum toxin (Botox). Unfortunately, she showed minimal improvement and was referred to a chiropractor.


Along with her stooped positioning, the patient presented with tight trapezius, paraspinals, and anterior neck muscles on both sides. She also was unable to open or close her palms, with slightly worse symptoms on the left, leaving her hands with a swan neck deformity (Figure 1). Muscle strength was noted to be decreased in her hands and the left showed signs of decreased muscle mass. She underwent a multimodal treatment approach including chiropractic adjustments, EMS (muscle stimulation), and high frequency transcranial magnetic stimulation targeting her primate cerebral cortex. After six consecutive days of daily treatment, her neck pain, upper limb pain, finger movement and insomnia symptoms improved significantly (1). During phase two of her treatment, she started to receive vertebral traction therapy in conjunction with her other therapies. Nine months after her first visit, most of the patient’s symptoms had shown significant improvement. Her pain rating went down from an 8 to a 2 on a scale of 1-10, her Parkinson's disease questionnaire score improved from a 68 to a 32 on a scale of 0-100, her left hand deformity improved (Figure 2), and so did her postural stability (1). Although this study was limited to a single subject and had no control group, the results are still worth noting and give way to future research in this area. If you know someone with Parkinson’s disease and think they could benefit from chiropractic care, reach out to our office!


Parkinson's patient's hand deformity pre and post treatment
Patient followed in case study

Sources

1. Chu, E. C.-P., Chen, A. T.-C., & Chiang, R. (2022). Chiropractic care of Parkinson’s disease and deformity. Journal of Medicine and Life, 15(5), 717–722. https://doi-org.palmer.idm.oclc.org/10.25122/jml-2021-0418



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