Chiropractic Management of a Patient With Neck-Tongue Syndrome: A Case Report

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SOURCE:   J Chiropractic Medicine 2016 (Dec);   15 (4):   321–324

Craig S. Roberts, DC

Private Practice,
Nevada City, CA

OBJECTIVE:   The purpose of this case report was to describe the chiropractic management of a patient with neck-tongue syndrome (NTS).

CLINICAL FEATURES:   A 34-year-old female patient sought treatment at a chiropractic clinic for symptoms involving neck pain associated with left-sided paresthesia of the tongue that had persisted for >2 years. A diagnosis of NTS was made.

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INTERVENTION AND OUTCOME:   The patient was treated with spinal manipulation, myofascial release, and home exercises. After 2 weeks, she was symptom free. At the 2-year follow-up, the patient remained free of symptoms.

CONCLUSION:   This patient with NTS responded favorably to a course of chiropractic care.

KEYWORDS:   Chiropractic; Manipulation, Spinal; Nerve Compression Syndromes; Paresthesia

From the FULL TEXT Article:


Neck-tongue syndrome (NTS) presents with unilateral upper neck or occipital pain and altered sensation in the ipsilateral half of the tongue that is aggravated by neck movement. [1] The prevalence of NTS in adults is estimated to be 2.2 individuals out of 1,000. [2] The paper that reported this figure was based on examination of 1,838 individuals aged 18–64 and not on individuals who sought care. The number of patients seeking care for NTS is likely to be lower than 2.2 out of 1,000. The low number of case studies reported in the literature (approximately 50 cases involving individuals aged 6–65 years have been described in the literature [3]) and the lack of mention of the syndrome in common orthopedic texts attest to this.

It is unknown whether patients experiencing NTS would report to a health care provider proficient in spinal manipulative therapy (SMT). It also is unknown whether other health care professionals would refer such a case to a provider of SMT. This case report adds to a small body of case reports that suggest that SMT can be effective in the treatment of NTS. Of the peer-reviewed reports available on PubMed, only 3 involved SMT as treatment [9, 10, 3]; all reported successful outcomes. Therefore, the purpose of this case report was to describe the management of a patient with NTS.

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