Previously, when you popped “Chiropractic care and lupus” into a search engine, it was a rather bleak scenario that popped up in your search results. Lupus is an autoimmune condition where the immune system attacks its own tissue. It is complex, chronic, and its etiology is yet to be explained entirely. Once a diagnosis of Lupus is received, the goal of treatment becomes extending periods of remission, and managing flare ups. What then could the role of chiropractic be?
In the recent release of ASRF’s Case Report project in the Asia Pacific Chiropractic Journal, an exciting case was presented in which an 18-year old female patient presented for care following a diagnosis of Lupus. In an almost unheard-of plot twist, her diagnosis of Lupus was reversed by her Medical Doctor following two courses of concentrated care.
While the reversal of such a diagnosis is exceedingly rare, and this in itself begs some questions, the case report is a fascinating look at the potential role of chiropractic care in the management of complex immune or autoimmune conditions.
The Case in Question:
The Patient in this case was an 18-year-old female presented for chiropractic care with a main complaint of neck and joint pain. Upon presentation, a thorough history was taken in which it was disclosed that she had an existing diagnosis of lupus. Recently, she had also experienced unexplained weight loss, a swollen little finger for which she had surgery to remove a venous mass, and aggressive menstrual pain which caused her to lose multiple days of school regularly. She was under nutritional therapy for her Lupus and reported chronic liver issues despite a strict diet. It had been advised that she commence medication.
The chiropractor worked in the Averio Institute Clinic where concentrated care also includes nutritional therapy, exercise, rest and other functional neurological interventions over a five-day period. In addition to assessing her spine, the attending chiropractor also took a battery of blood panels. Her panels confirmed the Lupus diagnosis.
Upon commencement of care, she received 56 low level force adjustments, in prone, supine or seated positions. The techniques used included “Toggle, Activator, Gonstead, Diversified, and Extremity Adjusting” according to clinical need.
A second week of concentrated care was commenced 4 months later, and she received 49 adjustments during this time.
This is where this case report becomes very interesting. Upon re-evaluation, there were marked structural improvements in her spine, and in her cervical ligament instability. But the patient reported “a significant reduction allergies.” She also had “normal” energy levels, an absence of menstrual cramps, and “complete reversal of all join and neck pain, and no further swelling in her finger or lymph nodes.” She was more expressive and “bubbly” than she was at her initial consultation and interacted socially with other patients at the re-evaluation session which she did not do at the original consultation.
Here’s the punchline: her medical doctor then reversed the diagnosis of Lupus.
Now, there is plenty of room for scepticism here, as this is unheard of. However, the indications of a reduction in allergies, as well as swelling, lymph node enlargement and joint and neck pain all points to significant changes in the way her immune system was behaving – and it concurred concomitant with chiropractic care.
We know Lupus is incurable, and the case report doesn’t make a claim at having cured the condition. However, this case report clearly shows that chiropractic care deserves a second look in terms of immune-related presentations. More research is required before we can make any claims, but we do know now that it might just be an avenue worth exploring.
Kolterman, S., Martin, A., Postlethwaite, R and McIvor, C., (2022). Chiropractic Management of an 18-year old female with lupus: A Case Report. Asia Pac. Chiropr. J. 2022; ;2.3 URL acpj.net/paper-issue-2-5/#AverioLupus