Multiple Sclerosis and Parkinson’s Disease

Chiropractic correction may help reverse multiple sclerosis and Parkinson’s disease
Published on September 10, 2004

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 and Chiropractic Care

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a neurological condition that can cause long-term physical impairment. The disease is often characterized by arm or leg numbness, visual changes, uncoordinated gait, balance difficulties, speech impairment, and incontinence. Symptoms sometimes wax and wane, but the more frequent they become, the greater the possibility for continuing challenges. Some individuals with MS experience only a few troublesome episodes in their lifetime while others seem fraught with ongoing problems.
People suspected to have MS are typically under the care of a neurologist, and an MRI is frequently ordered. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of the brain and sometimes spine may show one or more lesions when MS is present. Another common test is the examination of cerebrospinal fluid. Nonetheless, MS is considered by many to be a clinical diagnosis; therefore, no one test can determine whether or not an individual has the disease. Instead, findings are based on symptoms as well as test results.

An important question frequently asked of MS patients is, “Have you ever suffered an injury or trauma to the head or cervical spine (e.g., whiplash)?” The reason for the inquiry? Subluxation, misalignment of the spine, in the neck region can compromise the proper functioning of the central nervous system. Certain studies have shown that individuals with upper cervical misalignment and an MS diagnosis have realized substantial improvement and even reversal of symptoms when chiropractic adjustments are made. What is the theory behind this exciting discovery? Nerve pathways are less hindered when the cervical spine is properly aligned. No one knows for certain what causes multiple sclerosis, but some in the medical field believe that a genetic component may be attached. Even if this is the case, an injury or trauma to the cervical spine might place asymptomatic people in an active state of the disease because of an upset to the central nervous system.

Several studies examining the efficacy of chiropractic treatments in MS patients have been very encouraging. In one such study comprised of 44 MS patients, chiropractic care improved symptoms in 91% of the individuals. Chiropractic care also improved symptoms in 92% of the 37 Parkinson’s disease patients evaluated. To repeat this extremely impressive finding, proper alignment of the upper cervical spine through chiropractic adjustments and/or manipulation has show great promise in improving and even reversing MS and Parkinson’s disease symptoms. In addition to a reduction in symptoms, current lesions in MS patients sometimes appeared less vivid one to two years after the onset of chiropractic care (and in some cases, no new lesions developed!).

An upper neck injury can be a serious condition, particularly in people with MS. Chiropractic adjustments work to properly align the cervical spine, thereby improving the functioning of the central nervous system. So, if you or someone you know has been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, a chiropractic evaluation is likely in order. Why suffer from debilitating symptoms when there is a natural therapy that can help?