Resolution of Neck Pain and Headaches in a Patient with Dandy Walker Syndrome

A case study was published on June 13, 2014, in the Journal of Pediatric, Maternal & Family Health that documented the case of a young girl who was diagnosed with Dandy Walker Syndrome, and who had been suffering with headaches and neck pain, being help by chiropractic care.

According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, “Dandy-Walker Syndrome is a congenital brain malformation involving the cerebellum (an area at the back of the brain that controls movement) and the fluid-filled spaces around it. The key features of this syndrome are an enlargement of the fourth ventricle (a small channel that allows fluid to flow freely between the upper and lower areas of the brain and spinal cord), a partial or complete absence of the area of the brain between the two cerebellar hemispheres (cerebellar vermis), and cyst formation near the lowest part of the skull.”

In this case, a 13-year-old girl was brought to the chiropractor with right-sided headaches, neck pain, and lower back discomfort. The girl’s history reported that she suffered from Dandy Walker Syndrome since birth. She currently has a cerebral shunt running from her right fourth ventricle to the left atrium of her heart.

Her headaches had started about 6 months before seeking chiropractic care. They had gotten to the point where she was experiencing debilitating headaches 2-5 times per week that lasted from 1-3 hours each. The study notes that the only way the girl was able to get relief from her headaches was to rest without any body movement.

The girl’s neck pain also started about 6 months prior and was progressively getting worse. It was most severe by the end of the day. Her lower back pain was much less severe by comparison.

Based on a chiropractic examination, it was determined that vertebral subluxations were present in the girl’s spine and chiropractic adjustments were begun. Immediately after her first adjustment, she reported that her lower back “felt great.” The next day, she reported via telephone that she had not had any headaches the night before, was not having any neck pain, and her back pain had not returned. By her third visit, she had still not experienced any headaches or neck pain, and the back discomfort that had returned a few days prior was once again gone.

Over the course of care, the study notes some gaps in her visits that resulted in some headaches which were relieved after getting adjusted. Specific tests related to her Dandy-Walker Syndrome showed some improvement in her coordination and abilities. In their conclusion the authors wrote, “This study adds to the evidence on the salutary effects of chiropractic care in children with headaches, neck pain and concomitant symptoms associated with Dandy Walker Syndrome.”

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