- Keep It Short: Describe the research and discuss its implications in just a few brief paragraphs. Ideally, the entire piece should fit on one side of a page.
- Keep It Ethical: Do not claim that the research "proves" that chiropractic can "treat" heart disease, lung disease or any other condition. Simply state what the research suggests about the possible effects of the subluxation and the adjustment, without making unsupportable claims.
- Keep It Plain: Minimize the use of technical terms, and explain any technical terms you do use in plain English.
- Keep It Documented: Occasionally, a patient may ask to see the published research you are talking about. Always be able to produce the original paper or a credible summary (in a textbook, for example).
In each article from this group, I will provide you with a sample patient education article, written according to the above principles. Please feel free to reproduce it for your bulletin board, as a handout for lectures or tableside talks, or for your practice newsletter. Each article in this series will describe research documented in a new textbook, which I co-edited with Marion Todres-Masarsky,DC: Somatovisceral Aspects of Chiropractic: An Evidence-Based Approach.
A chiropractic professor recently published the case of a man who had been unable to speak for approximately six months. Every time the patient attempted to speak, the muscles controlling the vocal cords would go into spasm. In effect, the man was choking on his own words.
This puzzling speech disorder is called spasmodic dysphonia. One of the most common treatments for this disorder is to inject small amounts of the toxin that causes botulism (botulinum toxin, known by the trade name Botox) into the nerve that controls the vocal cords. By partially paralyzing the vocal cords, the spasm can sometimes be stopped, and speech may be restored.
The chiropractic professor detected a subluxation (pinched nerve) in the upper segments of the neck. Since the nerve that controls the vocal cords passes through this region, the chiropractic professor reasoned that the subluxation might be distorting the nerve signals, thereby creating the spasms. Five chiropractic adjustments were administered over a period of two weeks. The patient's normal voice was completely restored, without Botox.1
Thank you for your interest in this topic. I hope this information will contribute to your ability to make wise health care decisions and informed referrals.
- This case study is discussed along with other research in the chapter titled, "The Somatovisceral Interface: Further Evidence" in Somatovisceral Aspects of Chiropractic: An Evidence-Based Approach (C.S. Masarsky and M. Todres-Masarsky, editors. Churchill Livingstone, publishers; 2001).
Click here for previous articles by Charles Masarsky, DC, FICC.