Multiple sclerosis is a devastating disease that afflicts more than 250,000 people in the United States. Among adults aged 20 to 50 years old, multiple sclerosis ranks as the number one debilitating neurological disease. There is currently no cure for MS.
Multiple sclerosis has traditionally been treated with multiple medications and physical therapy. The nature of MS means that treatments focus on combating symptom flare-ups and modifying the course of disease progression.
In recent years, there has been a renewed interest in the use of upper cervical chiropractic care for treating symptoms associated with multiple sclerosis. Small studies and anecdotal evidence suggest that chiropractic care may allow people diagnosed with multiple sclerosis to delay the need for many medications currently used to treat the disease.
What is Multiple Sclerosis?
Multiple sclerosis attacks the body’s immune system and eats away at the myelin surrounding nerves in the brain and spinal cord. Myelin is a thin covering that helps protect the central nervous system and allows for proper function. As myelin is destroyed, the onset of MS symptoms can occur. Symptoms vary widely from patient to patient, but common MS symptoms include:
- Numbness or weakness in one or more limbs
- Loss of vision, this may be partial or complete
- Blurred or double vision
- Tingling sensations or pain in various parts of the body
- Shock-like sensations when making certain head movements
- Tremors, loss of coordination and difficulty walking
One of the most painful aspects of MS, especially in the early stages of the disease, is that it is cyclical. A patient may experience symptoms related to MS for short periods only to have the symptoms go into remission. Unfortunately, the symptoms return. Many times a patient will have several of these cycles throughout their life, and each time the symptoms return they are worse than before. MS can eventually leave a person completely debilitated.
How can Chiropractic Care Help Multiple Sclerosis Symptoms?
Upper cervical chiropractic care was used to treat MS as early as 1934. B.J. Palmer, D.C., treated a number of patients with MS during the 1930s and 1940s. Much of his work was never published but his case studies continue to be a source of knowledge. One of the doctor’s case studies indicates that chiropractic care successfully helped a 38-year-old man regain close to normal function after feeling helpless for years because of the disease.
However, for years there was little discussion about chiropractic methods as a possible treatment for MS. That has started to change in recent years.
In one recent case study, a 46 year-old female with MS sought chiropractic treatment in hopes of avoiding years of drug therapy to combat MS symptoms.
The patient had been diagnosed two years prior, and her symptoms had progressed to include:
- Difficulty forming words
- Difficulty completing and processing complex tasks and thoughts
- Problems controlling bladder muscles
- Leg weakness
- Painful tingling sensations in the arms and legs.
Treatment was initiated by correcting the cervical misalignments. After her first session, the woman’s misalignments had returned to a normal position. In following sessions, chiropractic adjustments were performed only when scans indicated a new misalignment had developed.
The woman’s treatment protocol consisted of two visits per week for the first month, one visit per week during the second month, and one visit per month beginning with the third month of treatment. During the first three months of treatment, adjustments were needed four times after the initial session. During the next 18 months, adjustments were rarely needed.
Symptoms of MS improved almost immediately following the first session. After a single visit, the woman experienced better control over her bladder muscles and less numbness, tingling and pain in her left leg and right hand.
The second month of treatment found a return of normal leg strength and numbness was limited to just her left hand. Cognitive function and the ability to form words had also returned to the woman.
By the beginning of the third month, the woman had full control of her bladder and her arm and leg strength had returned to pre-disease levels. By the fourth month, she reported that all MS symptoms were gone.
MRIs in subsequent months found no new MS lesions and the ones present in initial tests had lessened in intensity. Over the course of her two years of chiropractic treatment, the woman’s lesions continued to get less intense.
Seattle Chiropractic Care with Fremont Spine and Wellness
The Seattle chiropractic doctors at Fremont Spine & Wellness may be able to help manage your MS symptoms. If multiple sclerosis has started to take away your ability to do the things you enjoy, give us a call at (206) 634-1300 or contact us and learn how we can help manage your symptoms and get some of your life back.
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