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Polio and Chiropractic, a Case Study

A case study appeared in the June 2006 issue of Clinical Chiropractic and reported on a 69-year-old retired woman and civil servant who is a post-polio sufferer. In this case the woman presented with left hand pain of over 40 years duration with limited flexion of the fingers of her left hand. She reported that the pain had increased considerably over the past year.

The polio left the woman disabled, with the muscles of her right arm being severely wasted and affected so badly that it was now practically useless. She also suffered from additional health issues, some of which were related to her history of polio. She also reported an itching in her left hand. Her problems were severe enough that her surgeon recommended surgery for her multiple problems with her left hand.

In this case the patient began a course of chiropractic care and received care for 13 visits that were recorded for this case study. Over this period a number of improvements were noted. Following just her first visit, the patient noticed improvement with the feel and look of her left hand. She reported that it noticeably changed color from white to a more normal pink. Over the next few days she continued to notice hand improvement as well as a discontinuation of her hand itching.

After her sixth visit the patient's hand strength was measured and monitored. Over the next seven visits it improved going from a measured strength of 11.5 kg to 16kg. The case study also documented a noticeable improvement in her posture, with a significant visual decrease in her scoliosis and an improvement in her gait.

The case study noted that the woman returned to her surgeon after the study. They noted that the surgeon was very pleased with the patient's improvement in her appearance and functionality in her left hand and stated that he believed there was no longer a need for surgery or for any further visits.

In the discussion of this case the authors reported on a previous survey of 500 members of post-polio self-help groups in Australia, and their ratings of their responses to various forms of care including chiropractic. The results of this survey showed that Chiropractors received the highest patient satisfaction ratings for being "very helpful" at 45%, and General Practitioners received the lowest percentage at 22%. Additionally, that survey showed that chiropractors were judged as providing significantly more help than the other major health practitioner groups.