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Category: Case Studies
Date 6-sep-2002
Case Title Treatment of bipolar, seizure & sleep disorders and migraines utilizing a chiropractic technique
Author Erin Elster, D.C.
Main Condition/ Disease  Bipolar Disorder, Seizure, Sleep Disorder, Migraine
Source J Manipulative Physiol Ther. 2004 Mar-Apr;27(3):E5
Abstract OBJECTIVE: To discuss the use of an upper cervical technique in the case of a 23-year-old male patient with rapid-cycling bipolar disorder, sleep disorder, seizure disorder, neck and back pain, and migraine headaches. CLINICAL FEATURES: The patient participated in a high school track meet at age 17, landing on his head from a height of 10 ft while attempting a pole vault. Prior to the accident, no health problems were reported. Following the accident, the patient developed numerous neurological disorders. Symptoms persisted over the next 6 years, during which time the patient sought treatment from many physicians and other health care practitioners. INTERVENTION AND OUTCOME: At initial examination, evidence of a subluxation stemming from the upper cervical spine was found through thermography and radiography. Chiropractic care using an upper cervical technique was administered to correct and stabilize the patient's upper neck injury. Assessments at baseline, 2 months, and 4 months were conducted by the patient's neurologist. After 1 month of care, the patient reported an absence of seizures and manic episodes and improved sleep patterns. After 4 months of care, seizures and manic episodes remained absent and migraine headaches were reduced from 3 per week to 2 per month. After 7 months of care, the patient reported the complete absence of symptoms. Eighteen months later, the patient remains asymptomatic. CONCLUSION: The onset of the symptoms following the patient's accident, the immediate reduction in symptoms correlating with the initiation of care, and the complete absence of all symptoms within 7 months of care suggest a link between the patient's headfirst fall, the upper cervical subluxation, and his neurological conditions. Further investigation into upper cervical trauma as a contributing factor to bipolar disorder, sleep disorder, seizure disorder, and migraine headaches should be pursued.
Summary This case is of a 23 y.o. male who fell on his head in a pole-vaulting accident at age 17. The patient was healthy before the accident but shortly after it he experienced neck pain at the skull base, back pain, daily headaches and migraines (3 per week). A CT-scan revealed nothing abnormal. Later the patient began to 'blackout' and was diagnosed as petit mal seizures which increased to 4 per day. 6 months post the trauma there was the onset of depression, loss of appetite, lethargy and the inability to sleep. He consulted 24 practitioners and was prescribed medications and other therapies without a reduction in symptoms. Several years passed and he was diagnosed with "rapid-cycling bipolar disorder and sleep disorder."
Soon after he attended Erin Elster's practice. Dr Elster carried out the IUCCA/AUCB analysis/protocol incorporating parapsinal thermal analysis and precision upper cervical x-rays. Upper cervical analysis revealed "right laterality of atlas and axis and right posteriority of atlas." Chiropractic upper cervical adjustment was carried out using the knee chest approach on the "right posterior arch of atlas". Improvements, which were verified by the patient, the patient's parents, his neurologist and Dr. Elster started in the first month of care and continued to the conclusion of 6 months of care, at which time "all symptoms (manic episodes, seizures, headaches, sleep disorder, pain) were absent". At the end of 18 months of care the patient continues to be free of depression, pain, seizures and headaches. His case warrants further investigation into upper cervical injury, its consequences and the upper cervical chiropractic approach as a possible treatment regimen.
Keywords chiropractic manipulation, bipolar disorder, migraine, seizures, upper cervical subluxation

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