Helping Patients Heal Faster
Case Studies Using Vagus Nerve Stimulation
By David Yoder, DC
As of September 2022, the top five health concerns in America were COVID-19, mental health, cancer, stress, and obesity. What do they have in common? Chronic inflammation. It has been said that chronic inflammation is the foundation for all future diseases.To address inflammation, chiropractic utilizes manual adjustments. Physical manipulation of the spine is consider the “hardware” component of healing, whereas the “software” component is maintaine by the neuroimmune system. These specialize immune cells are called macrophages.It was discover that vagus nerve signals could modulate macrophage activity. Vagus nerve stimulation is a new emerging technology that can speed the healing process since it can address both the “hardware “and the “software” aspects of health.
Let us look at three case studies observed in my clinic using vagus nerve stimulation and chiropractic care. Catherine, a 74-year-old female, presented to my clinic with a high blood pressure reading of 189/90, elevated blood sugar, high cholesterol levels, fatigue, and depression. She had shoulder pain from playing golf. Her spine was moderately arthritic.The initial treatment plan was to lower inflammation with a cleaner diet, a three-week liver cleanse kit, weekly chiropractic adjustments, and vagus nerve stimulation three times a day. Three months later, Catherine went back to her endocrinologist for a follow-up exam. Her blood pressure was normal at 118/70. Blood sugar levels were lower, as well as cholesterol levels. Her energy and depression were balanced.
Chris, a 46-year-old male, presented to my clinic with acid reflux for about 10 years. He had tried Prilosec for the past four years without seeing any improvements. I worked with Chris previously for neck and mid-back pain but was unable to make any difference with traditional chiropractic care.I put Chris on a new treatment program to lower inflammation with a three-week liver detox cleanse, probiotics, and daily vagus nerve stimulation up to twice per day. Three weeks later, Chris was able to taper off the Prilosec and stay off it permanently. His stomach symptoms were improved. He did not have to worry about developing a stomach ulcer and could enjoy eating out again because of his confidence in his recovery.
Philip, a 44-year-old male, presented to my clinic with PTSD, anxiety, depression, fatigue, stomach aches, bloating, constipation alternating with diarrhea, and insomnia. Philip was a retired Army veteran who served three tours in Afghanistan.My treatment recommendations included weekly chiropractic care and vagus nerve stimulation to lower inflammation in his stomach and brain. Philip had improved symptoms over the course of six months. His anxiety and gastrointestinal problems were 90% improve. Most importantly, Philip felt he had better control of his life and whole-body recovery.
In each case scenario, chronic inflammation had advanced beyond the body’s ability to self-heal. The inability to heal is due to the neuroimmune cells changing to a Ml hyperinflammatory state. When stress alternates from short-term acute stress to longer-term chronic stress, the neuroimmune cells undergo a transition.In an Ml role, the macrophages secrete chemical “bombs” that destroy tissues in various locations. The goal of healing is twofold: to switch the macrophages back to an “M2” anti-inflammation role and to maintain homeostasis. By introducing vagus nerve stimulation, one can rapidly balance the Ml and M2 extremes that cause damage.
Vagus nerve stimulation signals act as a “connectome.” A connectome connects the functions of neural network systems and organs in a harmonious manner. Vagus nerve stimulation is much more than a tool that can modulate inflammation and balance the Ml and M2 macrophages.Vagus nerve stimulation is uniquely valuable because it can encourage neurogenesis mentally, physically, and socially. If a definition of health is more than the absence of disease but the fullest expression of mental, physical, and emotional well-being, then vagus nerve stimulation can be said to treat symptoms and create health.
The solution to our healthcare crisis is not to create more hospitals or more lab tests to diagnose what is wrong with you but to shift to education and self-empowerment. Enabling our patients with self-care tools such as vagus nerve stimulation is one of these solutions. Sanjay Gupta, neurosurgeon, was quoted in the book Keep Sharp: Build a Better Brain at Any Age that the definition of a healthy brain is the “ability to create a wider circle of you, as you let more people into your circle, this is evidence of a healthy brain.”
Vagus nerve stimulation is a powerful self-care technology that patients can access to assist the healing process. The application of vagus nerve stimulation can be used to treat symptoms as well as for maintenance and wellness. The vastness of the future implications of vagus nerve stimulation are limitless. J.P. Errico said, “Vagus nerve stimulation, through its modulation of our innate immune system functions that literally creates us, maintains us, and helps us recover from every challenge in our lives, has the potential to optimize nearly every aspect of existence, from head to toe and from cradle to the grave.”
Dr. David Yoder comes from a unique background, having performed research for the NIH in undergraduate school, then switched paths to a chiropractic degree graduating from Life West Chiropractic in 2002. During the covid Pandemic, Dr. Yoder began incorporating vagus nerve stimulation to help patients with the complex inflammatory symptoms that were normally his toughest cases. You may contact him at Davidyoderwellness@gmail.com or 760-943-8910.
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