How Chiropractic Therapy Can Help Dementia
A lesser known form of dementia, a variant of Alzheimer’s, was discovered in 1988 by Dr. D. Frank Benson and subsequently named Benson’s syndrome. Sometimes called Posterior Cortical Atrophy or PCA, this disease results in an atrophying of the brain in the back of the head, home to the cerebral cortex, where images from the eyes are recorded. This causes patients to suffer a slow and progressive loss of complex visual processing.
The symptoms arise earlier than other forms of dementia and are recognized as a poor sense of balance, misperceptions of bodily orientation, chronic pain, and dysfunctional motor patterns. Because chiropractic care can address neuromuscular problems, treatment was undertaken in a particular case involving a 54 year old male who first sought out chiropractic treatment unaware that he was suffering from Benson’s syndrome. The patient complained of non-specific back pain linked to visual disturbances, mild memory problems, and difficulty with cognitive motor control. Physical examination, a brain MRI, and PET scan revealed a positive diagnosis for Benson’s syndrome.
A treatment plan was developed in collaboration with a pharmacological intervention, which prescribed conservative doses of medication. The complimentary chiropractic treatment consisted of spinal manipulation and dynamic neuromuscular stabilization. Outcome assessment soon revealed a 60% improvement in the patient’s own perception of wellness, restored neuromuscular patterns, improvements in movement, posture, pain control, mood, and tolerance of general daily activity with increase in the quality of life. However, no positive results could be detected for progressive memory loss, visual orientation in space, or speech impairment.
What this particular case indicates is that Benson’s syndrome, as a rare form of dementia, often manifests unexpectedly in patients who are typically younger than those affected by Alzheimer’s, and therefore may go undiagnosed for some time. The fact that it is characterized by a slow deterioration of the cerebral cortex also makes it hard to detect in its earliest stages. In fact, symptoms related to visual distortions are more likely to lead to diagnosis than musculoskeletal examinations.
However, chiropractic care has been shown to be an effective therapy that can aid other forms of treatment in providing patients suffering form Benson’s syndrome with a complete treatment. Chiropractic care has the ability to place special focus on the neuromuscular features of Benson’s Syndrome which can significantly enhance the quality of life for patients suffering from it. Although a full cure has not yet been discovered, the efficacy of chiropractic care has been demonstrated in this case.