Case Study: Resolution of Sciatic Nerve Pain Following Upper Cervical Chiropractic Care

Although upper cervical chiropractic does not focus on the middle back (thoracic spine) or lower back (lumbar spine) directly, it has systemic, body-wide effects. The following case study is an example of low back pain with sciatica resolving by aligning the head and neck only.

Introduction: This case report describes the outcomes of chiropractic care using an upper cervical technique with a patient with sciatic nerve pain.

Case Presentation: 53-year-old female presented with chronic sciatic nerve pain. The pain originated in the lumbar spine and radiated to the right foot. The patient was taking morphine every 12 hours for mild lower back pain. She had 3 discectomies with little pain relief. Upon physical examination, the patient was measured using the Postural Stress Analyzer (PSA) machine. She presented 16 degrees of postural distortion (0-5 degrees being normal) and an increase in symptomatology while lying flat or with a straight leg raise test above 45 degrees.

Interventions and outcomes: The patient had 9 office visits over 8 weeks. She was given chiropractic adjustments (spinal manipulation) using the NUCCA technique. After her first adjustment, her posture reduced from 16 degrees to 6 degrees of postural distortion. The patient’s subjective and objective measures improved significantly. After her fourth visit, the patient was able to sleep lying on her back for the first time in 8 years.

Discussion: The patient experienced significant improvement subjectively and objectively following chiropractic care using upper cervical technique.

Case Study Author: Jean-Paul Bohemier, DC, Calgary, Alberta, Canada. NUCCA Chiropractor.

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