Holbeck M, Tomson A, Blum CL, Monk RJohn Hopkins University: Baltimore, MDJune 8-10, 2005

Introduction:  Gastrointestinal (GI) secondary effects from chemotherapy are a common occurrence for patients receiving oncological care. 1, 2  This study notes clinical improvements in GI disturbances secondary to chemotherapy and radiation treatment through the application of Sacro-Occipital Technique (SOT), incorporating novel chiropractic diagnostic, analysis and treatment methods.

Case Report/Assessment:  The patient was a 57-year-old female patient, diagnosed January 2004 with lung cancer, had tumor removal February 2004, began chemotherapy following surgery, and began radiation therapy July 2004. Her GI disturbances started February 2004 and her oncologist had prepared her for that likelyhood.3  The patient was a chiropractic patient since 2000, treated for recurrent low back pain and never reported any GI disturbances prior to February 2004.

Treatment Intervention:  Chiropractic care focused to the thoracic vertebrae, guided by reflexes relating to GI viscerosomatic innervations. The manipulative procedures were preceded by occipital fiber reflex techniques 4 and were followed by reflex somatovisceral contacts related to the stomach, lungs, and diaphragm.5,6  The nutritional supplements utilized were eicosapentaenoic acid, pepsin, pancreatic enzymes, bile, and liver concentrates.

Results:  The patient noted that with the SOT chiropractic care her digestive disturbances were significantly lessened and occasionally completely alleviated while concurrently receiving chemotherapy and radiation therapy.

Discussion:  SOT incorporates analysis and treatment of viscerosomatic and somatovisceral reflexes 7,8 and referred pain patterns called Chiropractic Manipulative Reflex Technique (CMRT). 9 In this case CMRT was administered to a patient during treatment for lung cancer to help alleviate GI side effects secondary to chemotherapy and radiation therapy. CMRT can be used to help treat visceral mimicry syndromes 10  or dysafferentation 11 at the spinal joint complex, associated with vertebral visceral syndromes.

Conclusion:  SOT and CMRT along with nutritional supplementation might offer relief for patients who experience adverse digestive side effects during cancer treatment. The gentle low-force nature of this care warrants greater research due to the low risk and potential benefits.


  1. Boige V, Ducreux M.[Prevention and treatment of chemotherapy-induced digestive toxicities] Bull Cancer. 2001 Feb; 88(2): 163-73
  2. Sharma R, Tobin P, Clarke SJ. Management of chemotherapy-induced nausea, vomiting, oral mucositis, and diarrhoea. Lancet Oncol. 2005 Feb; 6(2): 93-102
  3. Yoshida K.[Management and types of side effects in chemotherapy for lung cancer] Nippon Rinsho. 2002 May; 60 Suppl 5: 384-7
  4. Mootz R, Jameson S, Menke M, Inter and Intra-Rater Reliability of Occipital Fiber Palpation  Proceedings of the Fifth Annual Conservative Health Science Research Conference, Palmer College of Chiropractic – West, San Jose, CA,  Oct 1986: 37-9
  5. Blum, CL, Role of Chiropractic and Sacro Occipital Technique in Asthma  Journal of Chiropractic Medicine, Mar 2000;1(1):16-22
  6. Blum CL, Resolution of gallbladder visceral or mimicry pain, subsequent to surgical intervention, Proceedings of the International Research and Philosophy Symposium, Sherman College of Chiropractic, Spartanburg, SC, Oct 2004: 10-11
  7. Budgell BS.,  Reflex effects of subluxation: the autonomic nervous system.  J Manipulative Physiol Ther 2000 Feb;23(2):104-6
  8. Sato A  The reflex effects of spinal somatic nerve stimulation on visceral function. J Manipulative Physiol Ther. 1992 Jan;15(1):57-61
  9. Blum CL, Monk R, Chiropractic Manipulative Reflex Technique, Sacro Occipital Technique Organization – USA, Winston-Salem, NC, 2004
  10. Szlazak M, Seaman DR, Nansel D,  Somatic Dysfunction and the Phenomenon of Visceral Disease Simulation: A Probable Explanation for the Apparent Effectiveness of Somatic Therapy in Patients Presumed to be Suffering from True Visceral Disease,    J Manip Physiol Therp. 1997  Mar;20(3) :  218-24
  11. Seaman DR,  Winterstein JF, Dysafferentation: A Novel Term to Describe the Neuropathophysiological Effects of Joint Complex Dysfunction. A Look at Likely Mechanisms of Symptom Generation   Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics. 1998 May; 21(4):  267-80


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