FCER's International Conference on Spinal Manipulation, 1991; 106–109
Hains, F.; Batt, R.; Bellis, S.; Martel, J.
Dysmenorrhea is the most common gynecological disorder among females of childbearing age. Primary (essential, idiopathic) dysmenorrhea is painful menstruation in the absence of a gross pathologic condition of the pelvic organs. Secondary dysmenorrhea is painful menstruation occasioned by pelvic organ pathology such as endometriosis 1. Despite the high current prevalence of primary dysmenorrhea, the etiology is still unknown. However, it is recognized that the uterus and other pelvic organs receive their sympathetic innervation from the thoracolumbar junction. It has been postulated that the somatovisceral reflex from spinal dyskynesia in this area may cause structural and functional changes in the uterus and surrounding viscera sufficient to create symptoms of dysmenorrhea 2. A decreased threshold to sensory stimuli (ie tender points) in areas of spinal dyskinesia has also been recognized. Furthermore, chiropractors have suggested that spinal manipulation at the thoracolumbar junction of patients with spinal dyskinesia may relieve the symptoms of primary dysmenorrhea in some of their patients 3. The purpose of this study was to test the hypothesis that primary dysmenorrheic women present with significantly more thoracolumbar tender points than non-dysmenorrheic women. This study may help to validate the chiropractic theory stating that somatovisceral reflexes created by spinal dyskinesia at the thoracolumbar junction can cause dysmenorrheic symptoms. However, further studies will be needed before such conclusion can be drawn
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