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Multiple Sclerosis

Enclosed are scientific references to allow you to make more informed health care decisions. Please share them with your family and friends.

Table of Contents

  • Chiropractic Care for Multiple Sclerosis Patients in a Long-Term Care Setting
  • Chiropractic Correction May Help Reverse Multiple Sclerosis and Parkinson's Disease
  • Multiple Sclerosis Patient Helped with Chiropractic

Chiropractic care for multiple sclerosis patients in a long-term care setting

Pain has only recently been considered an important element of multiple sclerosis. The reported incidence of pain in MS patients differs in the literature with ranges from 30% to 90% of patients suffering with a pain syndrome. Pain in MS can be a direct manifestation of demyelinative lesions affecting pain pathways; pain also can be secondary to the disease process.

Chronic back and radicular pain are caused by the postural abnormalities induced by muscular weakness and spasticity. A recent survey found that 57.1% of multiple sclerosis patients utilized at least one non-allopathic treatment. Of the patients utilizing "non-traditional" therapies, 25.5% of these patients utilized chiropractic care, this was second only to herbal remedies (26.6%). The most common reason for seeking chiropractic care was for pain (54.4%).

In spite of this usage of chiropractic there is a paucity of literature addressing the chiropractic management of multiple sclerosis patients. A total of 20 MS patients were treated over a 12 month period. The conditions treated included: Neck pain and headaches (N=8), Lower back pain (N=7, Thoracic spine pain (N=2), Shoulder pain (N=3), Knee pain (N=2) and Hip pain (N=2). (Note: numbers are greater due to treatment for multiple conditions in the same patient). These patients showed a positive response to care, in that they had increased self reported function in their activities of daily living and improvements in their pain levels (verbal pain rating). There were three patients who reported transient side effects, which did not last greater than 48 hours. There have been no serious adverse events including fractures, vascular accidents or worsening of neurological status.

Chiropractic correction may help reverse multiple sclerosis and Parkinson's disease

A recent study of 81 cases, published in the Journal of Vertebral Subluxation Research (JVSR), 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.

Multiple Sclerosis Patient Helped with Chiropractic: A Case Report

In the May 2001 issue of the Journal of Vertebral Subluxation Research (JVSR) comes a Case Report study of a Multiple Sclerosis patient who was helped with chiropractic care. According to the case report a 47-year-old female first experienced the symptoms of Multiple Sclerosis (MS) at age 44. These symptoms included cognitive problems and loss of bladder control. She then went to a neurologist who diagnosed her with MS after viewing multiple lesions on MRI (MS plaques). Two years later her condition worsened as she noticed additional symptoms of leg weakness and paresthesias in her arms and legs. Her condition progressively deteriorated without remission. At that point her neurologist categorized her as having chronic progressive MS and recommended drug therapy.

At this point the patient decided to begin chiropractic care. The patent's history also included a fall approximately one decade prior to the onset of her symptoms. A chiropractic examination and x-rays were performed and it was determined that there was the presence of an upper cervical (upper neck) subluxation. At this point regular specific adjustments were begun to correct the subluxation. The patient's progress was monitored through observation, patient's subjective description of symptoms, thermo graphic scans, neurologist's evaluation and MRI. The patient continued to be cared for with upper cervical chiropractic care for two years.

The patient continued to have the chiropractic care, as well as check ups with the neurologist and MRI studies. After four months of chiropractic care, all Multiple Sclerosis (MS) symptoms were absent. A follow-up MRI showed no new lesions as well as a reduction in intensity of the original lesions. After a year passed in which the patient remained asymptomatic, another follow-up MRI was performed. Once again, the MRI showed no new lesions and a continued reduction in intensity of the original lesions. Two years after upper cervical chiropractic care began, all MS symptoms remained absent.