A fifty-three year old male came into my office with complaints of a lack of mobility following a stroke two years earlier. The patient was using a cane. His right arm and right leg were stiff but functional. The patient relates being in rehabilitation and physical therapy since the stroke. He relates a lot of improved function, including weight lifting. He states that he was in the best condition since his thirties. He comes in requesting that I try to improve his mobility in his right arm and leg.
Examination revealed diminished reflexes in the right upper and lower extremities. Cervical range of motion was restricted without pain. Cervical compression tests were limited due to restriction in neck motion. Lumbar range of motion was difficult due to patient’s uneasiness on his right leg. Side to side flexion of the lumbar spine was limited. Straight leg tests were negative.
X-rays of the neck and low back were taken. I reviewed the x-rays with the patient. The cervical x-rays revealed significant degenerative changes with encroachment of the intervertebral foramina at multiple levels. The discs at C5, C6 & C7 were markedly thin. The x-rays of the lumbar spine were remarkably clear. I noted very little degenerative changes. My findings were discussed with the patient. I advised him that I would not do spinal manipulations to his neck due to the intervertebral foramina encroachments. However, I felt that spinal manipulations to his upper back could give him some more upper body mobility. In addition, I suggested that treatment to his low back might give him more mobility in his lower body. the patient agreed to a short series of treatments to determine the effectiveness. The patient was treated in the mid-back and low back. He was asked to come back the next day.
The patient returned the next day. He stated that he rested better and feels like he can breath better. He did not notice any further changes. The patient was treated again as before.
The treatment continued for two more weeks. The patient began to notice that he could walk better. However, his leg continued to have a limp and he required his cane.
By the end of the next week the patient was walking without his cane. By the end of the following week the patient stated that his right arm was feeling better. The care of this patient continued for almost six months. At the end of the six months the patient still had characteristics of a left hemisphere stroke. However, he was resting better, feeling better and a lot more mobile than he had been six months earlier. The patient appreciated the improvement in his life style.