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Category: Case Studies
Date 10-feb-1997
Case Title The Step Phenomenon in the Recovery of Vision with Spinal Manipulation: A Report on Two 13-Yr-Olds
Author Stephens D, D.C.; Gorman F, M.B.B.S., D.O.; Bilton D, D.C.
Main Condition/ Disease  Visual Disturbance
Source Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics; Volume 20, No9, 628-33; (Nov/Dec 1997)
Abstract The paper sets out to discuss immediate “step phenomenon” improvements to vision following spinal manipulation. Spinal manipulation was associated with recovery of normal vision over seven treatment sessions. A vascular hypothesis is mentioned which might explain the events.
Summary This is case study of two girls aged 13, one with “headaches, blurred vision, motion sickness and peripheral pains and aches”. She had “concentric narrowing of the visual fields” and her “suboccipital joints were tender to palpation.” The other patient “complained of headaches, dizziness, blurred vision and peripheral pains and aches but no motion sickness”. She also had suboccipital pain and decreased range of motion of the cervical spine. Treatment of these patients consisted of chiropractic manipulation to the lumbar, thoracic and “rotary and lateral flexion thrusts to the cervical spine”. After several sessions (7) and 4 weeks of treatment “the vision had returned to normal in both patients” along with cessation of headaches, dizziness and a greatly reduced motion sickness. The improvements occurred immediately after spinal manipulation. I find this a common theme in upper cervical chiropractic adjustments and suggest that it was the c-spine adjustments which initiated the improvements in vision and the other symptoms. B.J. Palmer’s Hole-in-One theory was a result of immediate changes to patient symptoms following upper cervical manipulation. The authors discuss “there is no accepted medical diagnosis that encompasses the fact that this condition [visual disturbances] almost invariably responds favourably to chiropractic manipulation” although their doctor did refer them for chiropractic treatment. The authors suggest that the origin of the condition may in fact be from cerebral dysfunction rather than in the visual system and discuss “a vasospastic influence in the cerebral vasculature [blood vessels]” and that this “cerebral vasospasm may be related to some aspect of spinal derangement.” As always more research is recommended.
Keywords Vision, chiropractic maniuplation, cervical spine, dizziness

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