Diabetes is the fifth deadliest disease in the United States and a growing epidemic worldwide. Now, researchers are finding evidence that chiropractic adjustments might be able to make a valuable contribution to an overall program of wellness care to help diabetes sufferers.
A study published in the Journal of Vertebral Subluxation Research, focused on the positive response to chiropractic when used as part of an integrative treatment in the care of a patient with adult onset diabetes. The disease was diagnosed by a medical doctor.
Along with chiropractic care, the patient also received nutritional and exercise guidance.
The chiropractic care was directed toward correcting misalignments in the spine, called vertebral subluxations, which affect the relationship between the nervous system and organs.
After one month of being on the program, the patient's glucose blood and urine levels had normalized and remained stable. His medical doctor, who monitored his progress, said the patient would not need insulin if the condition remained stable.
According to the author of the research paper, Charles Blum, DC, president of the Sacro Occipital Technique Organization-USA, "It is unclear how much impact chiropractic care might have on the primary or secondary care of patients with diabetes. Further study is necessary to determine if there is a subset of patients with diabetes that might respond to chiropractic care incorporated in a system of other integrated methods of care."
The study was one of several recent research projects exploring the impact of vertebral subluxations on human health and well-being and the potential benefits of chiropractic. In the past, chiropractic was thought to be of help mainly to adults suffering back pain or headaches but current research is showing it has far broader applications.
"This type of study is popping up everywhere," stated JVSR Editor Matthew McCoy, DC. "For more than 100 years, chiropractors have maintained that what they do affects organ system function and general health. Case studies like this demonstrate the urgency for more research funding from the public and private sector on chiropractic and its effects beyond neck and back pain."
The potential for chiropractic to help people with diabetes is a particularly important line of inquiry. Between 1990 and 1999, incidence of disease increased by more than 40 percent. By the year 2000, nearly seven percent of the population was affected. Unless something changes, the future looks bleak. Roughly one out of every three men and two out of every five women born in the year 2000 will suffer from diabetes in their lifetime.
The life expectancy of men diagnosed with diabetes at age 40, is shorted, on average, by 11-13 years. For women, the figures are even more disturbing: their life expectancy is cut by 12 to 17 years of life. The disease also takes a huge financial toll, accounting for about $132 billion of the $865 billion spent in health care in 2002.
"Given the devastating effects of diabetes on people's health and the economic implications it is well worth investigating other treatments like chiropractic for diabetes," Dr. Blum pointed out. "We need to examine if chiropractic can help with improving a patient's sugar handling difficulties or even just help a patient under medication improve their quality of life and only further research and investigations will uncover these answers."