Parkinson’s disease (PD) is a progressive neurodegenerative disease characterized by resting tremor, bradykinesia, rigidity, and postural instability. An estimated one million Americans live with Parkinson’s with approximately sixty thousand new cases diagnosed each year. Currently there is no cure for Parkinson’s disease.
PD is a result of destruction to the substantia nigra which is responsible for signaling the basal ganglia to secrete dopamine and filter sensory signals to the motor cortex. The inability to inhibit neural impulses to the cortex results in overactivation presenting as the essential tremor and muscular rigidity.
Conventional medical treatments include Levodopa and Carbidopa in order to increase dopamine action on the central nervous system. Though these drugs have displayed effectiveness in managing Parkinson’s symptoms, the effect of the drug decreases over time requiring higher dosages. It has been shown recently that Levodopa is associated with severe involuntary dyskinesias. Deep brain stimulation has shown promise in improving motor symptoms and quality of life, but come with a high risk of serious adverse effects.
Research in the chiropractic management of patients with Parkinson’s disease is limited. Elster documented improvements in Parkinson’s patients undergoing upper cervical chiropractic care in two studies. The current paper will describe the reduction of vertebral subluxation findings and its relationship to a patient’s self-reported symptomatology.