Atlantoaxial osteoarthritis is a condition causing severe neck pain and reduced range of motion. Some cases are degenerative, while others occur following trauma. Little research has been done concerning the diagnosis and treatment of this condition, although it appears that conservative treatment is the most common approach.
A recent case report examines the efficacy of chiropractic treatments for atlantoaxial osteoarthritis (AO). The retrospective case review included ten patients diagnosed with either degenerative or postraumatic AO. All patients were treated with a combination of upper cervical manipulation and mechanical mobilization device therapy. Patients were asked to report their pain throughout the treatment; physical examinations and radiologic changes were also recorded.
Average pre-treatment pain was 8.6 on a scale of 0-10, which was improved by an average of 2.6 by the post-treatment follow-up. Approximately 80% of patients achieved “good” or “excellent” overall clinical improvement, and 90% saw clinical improvements in range of motion.
The research team concluded that chiropractic management of AO resulted in favorable outcomes for all ten patients included in the case review. Although future clinical trials are needed to establish the effectiveness of chiropractic treatments for atlantoaxial osteoarthritis, this case study offers promise for patients looking for natural relief of osteoarthritic neck pain. Studies suggest that chiropractic can also improve symptoms in patients with osteoarthritis in the hip, knee, and hands.
Yu H, Hou S, Wu W, He X. Upper cervical manipulation combined with mobilization for the treatment of atlantoaxial osteoarthritis: a report of 10 cases. Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics 2011;34(2):131-7. doi: 10.1016/j.jmpt.2010.12.005.