On June 14, 2018, the Annals of Vertebral Subluxation Research published a case study documenting the improvement of heart rate variability and quality of life in a patient with Sjögren’s Syndrome following chiropractic care.
According to the Sjögren’s Syndrome Foundation website, “Sjögren’s is a systemic autoimmune disease that affects the entire body. Along with symptoms of extensive dryness, other serious complications include profound fatigue, chronic pain, major organ involvement, neuropathies and lymphomas.” They estimate that there are more than 4 million people presently living with this condition. Women are nine times more likely to have this problem then are men.
The most common symptoms of Sjögren’s Syndrome include dryness of the eyes and mouth due to dysfunctions of the salivary and lachrymal glands. Other serious health issues associated with Sjögren’s Syndrome can include lymphoma, neuropathy, gastritis, reflux esophagitis, peptic ulcer, pancreatitis, and autoimmune hepatitis.
In this case, a 48-year-old woman suffering from pain and numbness in the back of her left leg sought out chiropractic for an evaluation and possible care. Her problems began two years prior with no known causative factors. The numbness had gotten so severe that it prevented her from walking or standing for longer than 30 minutes. She was using over-the-counter medications for this problem, but she reported that it was getting worse. Her history noted that two and a half years earlier, she had been diagnosed with Sjögren’s Syndrome. The woman was under the care of her family physician (MD), an orthopedist and a physical therapist, and was given multiple prescriptions. She was also on a gluten-free diet.
A chiropractic examination was performed which included a visual postural inspection, spinal palpation with range of motion, as well as surface EMG, thermal scan, and a heart rate variability test. Based on the examination findings, spinal x-rays were also performed.
Chiropractic care was started on the woman with multiple visits per week. As care proceeded, the woman noted improvement in many of her symptoms. A follow-up heart rate variability test initially showed a 27% improvement which continued to improve up to 159% after several months of care. Although she still had the diagnosis of Sjögren’s Syndrome, the study reported that her inflammation levels have decreased, as verified by her blood work. The woman reported that she was taking less medication, had less stress in her life, and was experiencing an overall increase in energy.
In their conclusion the authors wrote, “We described the successful care of a patient with symptoms congruent with a diagnosis of Sjögren’s Syndrome. This case report provides supporting evidence that spinal adjustments to correct vertebral subluxations can have significant improvements in presenting symptoms associated with Sjögren’s Syndrome and overall improvement in quality of life.”