Neck-tongue syndrome

Neck-tongue syndrome

A ChiroSecure Research Update

Abstract: To discuss a case of neck-tongue syndrome (NTS) affecting a dancer/figure skater, review literature summarizing the pathogenesis and treatment, and offer new categorization of neck-tongue syndrome.

Discussion: A 24-year-old female dancer/skater sought treatment for recurrent episodes of right-sided upper neck pain with associated ipsilateral numbness of her tongue following brisk active rotation. Radiographs revealed a narrowing of the left para-odontoid space. Physical examination revealed a mildly painful restriction in rotation at C1-2 with no apparent muscular hypertonicity.

The patient had sought chiropractic treatment for this condition several times since she was 8 years old. Diversified chiropractic adjustments were applied to restrictions throughout the cervical spine as determined by the clinician. No other interventions were employed. The patient experienced significant improvement in frequency and intensity of the neck and tongue symptoms following spinal manipulative therapy applied to her cervical spine.

Conclusion: There are 2 categories of NTS: complicated NTS due to the presence of an underlying disease process (inflammatory or degenerative) and uncomplicated NTS (idiopathic or trauma-related). This case report is of uncomplicated NTS that responded favorably to spinal manipulative therapy directed at the cervical spine. In the absence of upper cervical instability, spinal manipulative therapy appears to be beneficial and should be considered in all cases of uncomplicated NTS.

Reference: Borody C. Neck-tongue syndrome. J Manipulative Physiol Ther. 2004 Jun;27(5):e8. doi: 10.1016/j.jmpt.2004.04.010. PMID: 15195046.