The disease known as Multiple Sclerosis ( or MS ) affects millions of people around the world. Can upper cervical chiropractic provide an effective treatment for patients with the disease?
Known for being unpredictable and varying in severity — from only a mild illness in some patients to a permanent disability for others — MS is a chronic and potentially debilitating disease that attacks the brain, spinal cord and brain stem. Symptoms usually begin between the ages of 20 and 40, while women have shown to become afflicted with MS twice as often as men.
Symptoms of Multiple Sclerosis
The most common symptoms of MS include difficulty walking, muscle weakness, impaired balance, visual disturbances, memory loss and numbness and/or tingling in the arms and legs.
According to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society (NMSS), the usual medical treatment for MS revolves around a variety of Interferon drugs. For acute relapses of the disease, corticosteroids (including Prednisone) are used, as well as antidepressants, anticonvulsants, NSAIDS, central nervous system stimulants and muscle relaxants.
Multiple Sclerosis & Physical Trauma
For over a century, many scientists and physicians have attempted (unsuccessfully) to determine the exact cause of MS. The textbook titled Current Medical Diagnosis and Treatments in particular, states that there are many factors (including trauma) that may precede or trigger exacerbations.
Many neurologists believe that there is a definite sub group of Multiple Sclerosis patients where trauma — whiplash of the neck specifically — appears to worsen the natural course of the disease. These injuries might unleash critical changes to the central nerve system In susceptible individuals, while triggering the onset of MS symptoms.
Another expert on MS (Dr. Charles Poser from The Harvard Medical School) recently published a similar article entitled “Trauma to the Central Nervous System May Result in Formation or Enlargement Multiple Sclerosis Plaques”.
Renowned as an MS expert, Poser also believes that trauma to the neck, head, or upper back could act as a trigger for the appearance of new and/or recurrent symptoms in some MS patients.
He further stated that trauma affecting the spinal and/or brain in particular could be considered significant, as is the case in most whiplash injuries. At the very least, these studies have shown that trauma does indeed correlate with the creation or aggravation of MS.
However, in this situation, the symptoms of the disease may not develop for days, months, or even years after the injury has occurred.
Upper Cervical Care & Multiple Sclerosis
Some of the newest research regarding upper cervical chiropractic care has fully demonstrated the link between the upper cervical spine and MS. Though, upper cervical care is not considered a cure for patients with multiple sclerosis, the studies surely demonstrate the benefits for patients suffering with the debilitating neurological disease.
More current Upper Cervical research conducted in Italy as well as here in the U.S. supports the Upper Cervical misalignment theory, with preliminary results being showing signs of remission or even reversal of MS symptoms for many patients. In light of these recent reports, it is imperative, if you have multiple sclerosis, that you have your nervous system and spine examined by an upper cervical chiropractor immediately.
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