Understanding Multiple Sclerosis
There are only a few conditions that can so randomly andradically affect the quality of your life like multiple sclerosis.That includes both people diagnosed with multiple sclerosis andpeople whose lives are touched by people diagnosed with multiplesclerosis. On one day, you can be exceptionally well - almostnormal! But on the next day for no apparent reason, nothing isnormal.
What makes the condition especially challenging is that thesymptoms change. Sometimes it’s your movement: sometimes in justyour arms or legs, other times your whole body. Sometimes it’s painor numbness.
Other times it’s almost impossible to describe. But you’renot one to give up! Even though there is no known cure for multiplesclerosis, you know that by doing the right things that it can makea massive difference in the quality of your life.
You make sure your diet is as natural and organic as possible,eliminating foods that can cause inflammation. You minimize yourlife stress as much as possible. You stretch and move as much asyou can.
And you’re constantly on the search for other things that willhelp. So what else can you do to help with your multiplesclerosis? Specifically, would you want to know if there was anatural approach that can help improve the quality of your lifewith multiple sclerosis? If so, allow me to share with you howthe alignment of the vertebrae at the top of your neck may be ableto help you.
Multiple Sclerosis Diagnosis
The common diagnostic feature of multiple sclerosis isdemyelination of the central nervous system - specifically thebrain - that can be seen on an MRI. Myelin is a layer of insulationthat surrounds a nerve fiber and works the same way as insulationaround a wire to preserve the integrity of electrical signals thattransmit along its length. If the wire frays (i.e., de-myelinates),it can cause the electrical signals to misfire.
In the human brain and body, the symptoms that a personexperiences with multiple sclerosis depends on the exact wire orwires that are demyelinated. For some people, the demyelinationoccurs to the cluster of nerves that affect their balance. Forother people, it’s the nerves that move their legs. For otherpeople, it’s the nerves that control their facial muscles. You getthe idea.
The thing about it is that even if you have a condition thatresults in demyelination, your brain is not stupid and yourbody is not weak! They will work collectively torepair the damage and to find alternate neurological pathways thatwill preserve your health as much as possible. It is the reason whythe symptoms of multiple sclerosis appear to shift sorandomly.
What you may NOT know about the cause of MultipleSclerosis
You may not know that there are a few subtypes of multiplesclerosis. In other words, the cause of multiple sclerosis is notthe same for all people. For this to make sense, we need toconsider the types of things that may cause demyelination in thefirst place.
The foremost hypothesis on multiple sclerosis is that itis an autoimmune condition where your own body is attacking themyelin. … But again, your brain isn’t stupid! So why could it be“tricked” into attacking itself? Consider the possibility thatthere is something that it detects in the myelin that should not bethere: i.e., some type of chemical or toxin!
Certain substances can bypass the blood-brain barrier and causedamage to the central nervous system. Some of these substances includecertain infections (e.g., meningococcal), neurotoxins likepesticides, and heavy metals, which could come from multiplesources including industrial exposure or amalgam fillings in somecases also.
With these cases, the reason for the demyelination and braininflammation may be due exclusively to chemical exposure. If so,the types of therapies that will be most beneficial for helping toimprove the symptoms of multiple sclerosis will be things thatminimise inflammation and ideal cleanse the body of these harmfulsubstances.
It is the reason why so many people who experience multiplesclerosis report improvements with their health by doing heavymetal detoxes and following specific dietaryprotocols. However, that is not the full story. It is becausethere is also mechanical-type multiple sclerosis that can causedemyelination.
The hypothesis is that the normal flow of the immune lymphaticchannels in the brain are somehow congested, creating a backflow orturbulence of the cerebrospinal fluid, which is the fluid mediumthat bathes and allows the brain to function.
This turbulence can act like debris that damages the braintissue, leading ultimately to neurodegenerative conditions such asmultiple sclerosis. The question then is, “what is the reasonfor the mechanical obstruction?” As described by Dr. MichaelFlanagan in his book, The Downside of Upright Posture, thealignment of the upper neck might be responsible.
The Role of the Upper Neck in MultipleSclerosis
Under normal circumstances, used blood drains from yourbrain via two pathways: the internal jugularveins, which are located along the front of your neck; and thecerebrospinal veins, which are located at the base of your skulland travel through your neck.
However, if people suffer an injury that affects the alignmentof either of the top bones in your neck - the C1 (atlas) or C2 (axis) - it is possible thatthe resulting misalignment can produce a congestive force thatreduces the cerebrospinal pathway. The cerebrospinal pathway isespecially important because this is the primary pathway forcleansing blood from the brainstem and the cerebellum, which areresponsive to all your vital life functions and fine-motorcoordination respectively.
Under just the wrong set of circumstances, this congestion maycause backflow into the cerebrospinal fluid and ultimately into thelymphatics, setting the stage for adverse immune responsesincluding those seen with multiple sclerosis. That is how thealignment of your upper neck of all things can have an impact onmultiple sclerosis.
What to do About Multiple Sclerosis
There’s an increasing body of science to support this hypothesisthat multiple sclerosis may, in part, be related to mechanicaltension in the upper neck that ultimately affects cerebrospinalfluid flow.
First, signs of whiplash in the lower neck appear toincrease the risk factor for multiple sclerosis. Second, headachesalso appear to be a precursor for many people who also go on to bediagnosed with multiple sclerosis. It is not to say that whiplash,neck injuries or headaches cause multiple sclerosis. The process isway more complicated than that! It is simply to point out thatthere may be a connection.
Third, a study from Italy observed significant improvements inquality of life among patients experiencing multiple sclerosisafter receiving specific care to correct the alignment of the C1 orC2 vertebrae in their necks … so promising that the researchersconcluded in their paper that, “We believe that the Upper Cervicalcorrection on C1-C2 could be the main non-invasive treatment of themechanical type in patients with MS.”
Fourth, it is not just a matter of speculation. Researchcurrently being conducted in the USA is demonstrating how specificrealignment of the top vertebra in the neck - the C1 (atlas) - canactually improve cerebrospinal fluid flow and is even reversingsome of the demyelination lesions found in patients with multiplesclerosis!
Again, it is not to say that that alignment of the C1 or C2vertebrae in your neck is a cure for multiple sclerosis. Far fromit. Nevertheless, these exciting studies are illustrating thatthere is a powerful and natural approach that may be able to helppeople with multiple sclerosis. And fortunately, this form ofhealthcare is available in Australia. It’s called Upper CervicalSpecific care.
Upper Cervical Chiropractic Multiple SclerosisDiagnosis
Upper cervical care is a unique form of chiropractic developedin the USA. Unlike general chiropractors who may manipulate or“crack” the neck, an upper cervical chiropractor goes to greatlengths to identify and correct misalignments of the neck in themost precise manner possible and without using manipulation.
In other words, no cracking or twisting. If you havenot heard of upper cervical chiropractic before, it’s notsurprising. Even though this form of healthcare is available inAustralia, there are still relatively few practitioners who use it.At the time of writing this article, we are still the only uppercervical health center in Brisbane.
So what is the process to identify if you have a problem withyour upper neck that may be able to help your multiple sclerosis?The diagnostic process starts with a consultation and tests for thealignment of your upper neck.
In our practice, we begin with a structural examination,which includes looking at your posture and where you hold yourtension. Muscle tension is often a useful tool to determine how andwhy your upper neck has gotten jammed up in the firstplace. We also perform a series of tests for your nervoussystem. Specifically, we use an analysis tool called infraredparaspinal computerised thermography that measures heatdistribution along your spine as an indirect measure of nerveactivity.
We also perform a detailed x-ray analysis of the structure andalignment of the joints in your neck. Unlike standard x-rays oreven MRIs, which are limited to a few viewing angles or are donelying down, the images that we take in our practice arecustom-tailored for your unique bone structure.
When we see and know exactly what is going on with your neck,then we can put together a plan of action for how we can improvethe alignment and mobility through your neck, which ultimatelyassists to minimise the degree of tension and congestion on yournervous system and in turn may be able to provide relief from yourmultiple sclerosis symptoms.
Upper Cervical Chiropractic Treatment for MultipleSclerosis
The procedure that we use in our practice to help people withmultiple sclerosis is called a “Blair upper cervical specificadjustment.” The procedure is nothing like generalchiropractic manipulation, and there is no twisting orcracking.
Instead, the correction is made where you are lying comfortablyon your side. Then using only a small amount of pressure on theoutside of your skin - about the same amount of pressure you woulduse to feel your pulse - a quick and light impulse is made torealign the C1 or C2 vertebrae in your neck. There are twoimportant things to mention here.
First - and as I’ve already mentioned twice elsewhere in thisarticle - Blair upper cervical care is not a direct treatment formultiple sclerosis, The purpose of an upper cervical adjustment isto restore the alignment of the bones in the top of your neck sothere is no abnormal pressure on your brainstem and so that yourbody is able to heal itself naturally.
So if your symptoms improve after an adjustment, it is notbecause it is a direct treatment: it is actually the byproduct ofyour body being healthier!
Second, as ideally as we would love for a single treatment tohelp your multiple sclerosis, it is usually a process. Indeed, manypeople do experience rapid results! However, before we would makeany prognosis or care plan for you, the thing to do first is simplyto book an assessment to determine if you actually do have an upperneck misalignment and if it is impacting on your nerves,contributing towards your condition.
As an aside, it is the story of a person diagnosed withmultiple sclerosis, which is the reason that I am an Upper Cervicalchiropractor in the first place. If you want to read about thisparticular story, I’d encourage you to read The Doctors WhoGive No Medicine.
If you or a loved one is looking for more information on uppercervical care and treatment options for multiple sclerosis inBrisbane, please contact our office at 07 3188 9329 - or send us anemail - and one of our doctors will get back to you to find out howwe may be able to help you.
Our office is conveniently located in North Lakes, just off theBruce Highway north of Brisbane. Even if you are from outside theBrisbane area, please feel free to contact us so that we might beable to direct you to your nearest upper cervical chiropractor forhelp for your multiple sclerosis.
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