Chiropractic for Giraffes

April 29, 2014 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Research, Spinewave Bulletin 

giraffe torticollis chiropracticA 2-year old male giraffe, estimated to weigh 450kg, developed severe torticollis during transport between zoos (stress?).

The giraffe was transported for about 20 hours and was reported to have remained calm during transport. Before unloading at the destination, the giraffe had severe left lateral torticollis at C4–C5 with compensatory right lateral torticollis at C3–C4 and superficial bleeding of the ossicones with blood streaks on the inside of the trailer at ossicone height (image).

Despite initial medical management, the giraffe developed marked neck sensitivity, focal muscle spasms, and decreased cervical range of motion.

Lateral cervical X rays, with the giraffe standing and unsedated, were taken and revealed no obvious osseous pathology. Thirteen weeks after presentation, chiropractic adjustments were applied to the left C4-C5 intervertebral articulation in an effort to restore normal segmental motion and motor control because of concerns for long-term clinical deterioration (why would humans be any different?).

Desensitisation training was initiated to allow palpation of the affected cervical region. Using operant conditioning to assist patient positioning and tolerance, a series of manually applied chiropractic adjustments were applied to the affected cervical vertebrae in an effort to restore normal cervical mobility. Laser therapy and cervical range of motion exercises were also used to reduce cervical muscle hypertonicity.

giraffe upcspineOne year after initial presentation (healing takes time), the giraffe had nearly normal cervical range of motion but continued to have mild thoracolumbar scoliosis. Small regions of muscle hypertonicity continued along the neck, but were markedly improved.

The combined application of these non-traditional therapies produced marked clinical improvement. This case highlights the potential benefits of combining traditional medical management with chiropractic treatment and physical therapy techniques for management of severe acute-onset torticollis in a giraffe.

Reference: Dadone, L. et al. Successful management of acute-onset torticollis in a giraffe. Journal of Zoo and Wildlife Medicine, 2013. 44(1):181-185.


sickness chiropractic immuneResolution of life-long chronic illness in a 48-year old male following 1 year of chiropractic care.

Patient presented with frequent illness, vertigo, nausea, dry left eye, atrial fibrillation, gravelly voice, wheezing, anxiety, stomach cramps and reflux for ±15 years.

He is now training for marathons.

There is nothing more rewarding than science applied to real life and miracles becoming expected clinical outcomes.

Neuroimmunology studies the interaction between the nervous system and the immune system. Traditionally, it has been thought that the immune system is only controlled by hormones and cell proteins called cytokines.

A new understanding is that the brain directly influences the immune system by sending messages down nerve cells.

Networks of nerve fibres connect to the thymus, spleen, lymph nodes and bone marrow. Experiments show that immunity can be altered by changes in brain function.

neuroimmune neurotransmitters dendritic cells

Signals from the brain, called neurotransmitters, communicate to dendritic cells to recruit the best T cell for a foreign invader. Neurotransmitters come from other sources too, like the gut, which is why gut problems compound illness. The brain can also influence the immune system through the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (stress) axis, suppressing immunity. Disruption of these complex interactions between the nervous system and immune system, altering release of neurotransmitters, contributes to inflammation and sickness1. Read more

  • Symptoms (72)
  • Most Recent Symptoms

  • Archives

  • Search

  • Case of the Month

    Reviews of complex cases are frequently researched and updated in this category. Alternatively use the search bar above.

    Video Audio Ebooks
  • SpineWave Bulletin

    Sign up to receive our newsletter: a cutting edge knowledge update including case studies, research, videos, blog, and Dr Neil's periodic existential outrospection.
  • Contact

    09 522 0025
    Suite 1, 102 Remuera Road, Auckland
    Click here for practice hours
  • Social Media