Multiple Sclerosis is an autoimmune condition in which the immune system attacks the central nervous system, leading to demyelination. There are myelin sheaths surrounding all of our nerves. The myelin sheaths speed up the transmission of nerve impulses called action potentials down the long nerve fibers called axons. Multiple sclerosis attacks this myelin sheath, and slow and stops these impulses. Almost any neurological symptom can appear with the disease, and often progresses to physical and cognitive disability. MS takes several forms, with new symptoms occurring either in discrete attacks (relapsing forms) or slowly accumulating over time (progressive forms). Between attacks, symptoms may go away completely, but permanent neurological problems often occur, especially as the disease advances.
Currently there is no known cure for Multiple sclerosis. Treatments attempt to prevent new attacks, return function after an attack and reduce the likelihood of disability. Many medications for MS can have severely adverse affects and are not tolerated very well by the patient. The prognosis is dependent on the severity of symptoms and the subtype of the disease.
This is where chiropractic can help. There is research that shows that chiropractic can be very beneficial in the treatment of Multiple Sclerosis (MS) and other related conditions such as Parkinson Disease (PD). A recent study of 81 cases, published in the Journal of Vertebral Subluxation Research (JVSR ---www.jvsr.com), is the first to show that correction of upper neck injuries may reverse the progression of both Multiple Sclerosis (MS) and Parkinson's disease (PD).
The research was performed by Erin Elster, D.C., an Upper Cervical Chiropractor in Boulder, Colorado, who compiled data from 44 MS patients and 37 PD patients treated over the past five years. After treating upper neck injuries in 81 patients, 91% of MS patients and 92% of PD patients improved, suggesting that correction of neck injuries stimulated a reversal of MS and PD.
According to Dr. Elster, traumas to the head, neck, and upper spine can result in vertebral subluxations that occur when vertebrae (the small interlocking bones of the spinal column) misalign or become stuck and interfere with the function of the central nervous system (brain and spinal cord). By aligning the first two upper vertebrae with the skull, nerve pathways traveling between the brain and spinal cord became less obstructed. This may help improve and/or reverse both MS and PD.
"According to medical research, head and neck injuries have long been considered a contributing factor for the onset of both Multiple Sclerosis and Parkinson's disease," said Elster. "But this is the first research to show that correction of those injuries can have a dramatic effect on improving and reversing MS and PD."
Upper neck injuries frequently occur during traumas in which an individual sustains a blow to the head, whiplash, or concussion, such as during a fall, auto accident, or sporting accident. The injury can precede the onset of MS and PD by months, years, or even decades. In many cases, an individual is completely unaware that he or she has sustained such an injury. "An examination would need to be performed in each individual's case to determine whether a neck injury is contributing to his or her health problem," Elster noted.
Dr. Matthew McCoy, JVSR editor, commented that "Hundreds of millions of dollars are spent every year on research of MS and Parkinson's -- none of that money goes to chiropractic research. Hopefully Dr. Elster's research will get the attention of the government, private foundations and individuals who can earmark money to further research the effects of chiropractic care on these disorders. What motivation does a pharmaceutical company have to look elsewhere for the answers? Clearly, attempting to solve what might be a mechanical problem with chemicals is not the answer."
This research comes on the heels of other publications by Elster in which upper neck injuries were corrected in patients with migraine and cluster headaches, seizures, bipolar disorder, Tourette Syndrome and ADHD, all of which have been linked to head and neck trauma by medical researchers.
JVSR is a peer-reviewed scientific journal devoted to subluxation based chiropractic research affiliated with the World Chiropractic Alliance (WCA), an international organization representing doctors of chiropractic and promoting the traditional, drug-free and non-invasive form of chiropractic as a means of correcting vertebral subluxations that cause nerve interference.