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Multiple sclerosis and benefits of chiropractic

multiple sclerosis and chiropractic

How Chiropractic can help people with Multiple Sclerosis

The multiple sclerosis It is a chronic autoimmune disease, which potentially weakens and affects the central nervous system, that is, the brain, brain stem and spinal cord. Multiple sclerosis affects more than 2.5 million people in the world and about 47,000 in Spain. It is an unpredictable disease, meaning it varies in severity, often causing significant disability, but sometimes it can manifest itself in a mild way. 

In this article, you will learn the following information about multiple sclerosis:

  • The causes
  • How does multiple sclerosis affect the nervous system?
  • The symptoms
  • Evolution of the disease
  • Multiple sclerosis and physical trauma as environmental factors
  • Chiropractic for multiple sclerosis, care for your cervical spine
  • Relationship between vitamin D and multiple sclerosis

The causes:

This disease is progressive, which means that nerve damage (neurodegeneration) worsens over time. It is not known exactly why someone develops multiple sclerosis. That is, the main cause has not been discovered and it is not clear if it can be prevented. What is known so far suggests that this disease is caused by a combination of genetic and environmental factors, and these are some environmental factors that we will talk about in this article. The first symptoms of the disease generally begin between the ages of 20 and 40, and how quickly it worsens varies from person to person. Today we also know that the incidence is twice as higher in women than in men.

How does multiple sclerosis affect the nervous system?

Multiple sclerosis is an autoimmune condition, which means that the immune system mistakes a part of the body of a foreign substance and attacks it, in the case of multiple sclerosis, it attacks the nervous system. And how? All nerve fibres, which carry electrical impulses from the brain and brain stem to all tissues, have a layer of adipose protection (fat) around them that facilitates conduction, this layer is called myelin. Its function is to surround the nerves, protecting them and helping electrical signals travel more quickly and efficiently. It is precisely these myelin cells that our immune system attacks and destroys in multiple sclerosis. This process is also called, specifically, the process of nerve demyelination.

We explain in detail for those who want to know more about this process below:

Attacks on the nervous system cause the myelin sheath to become inflamed, forming small spots (plaques or lesions), which can be seen on an MRI. These plaques of inflammation can disrupt the messages that travel along the nerves. It can cause the information travelling through to slow down, be sent incorrectly, or prevent it from passing through at all.

The symptoms:

This alteration leads to the characteristic symptoms and signs of multiple sclerosis, although They can be very different from one person to another. And during the course of the disease depending on the location of the affected nerve fibres. These might be:

  • Numbness or weakness in one or more extremities which normally appear on one side of the body at a time, or on the legs and trunk
  • Partial or complete loss of vision, usually in one eye at a time, often with pain when moving the eye
  • Extended double vision
  • Tingling or pain in different parts of the body
  • Sensation of electric shock which occurs with certain movements of the neck, especially when tilting it forward (L'hermitte sign)
  • Tremors, lack of coordination, or unsteady gait
  • Babbling
  • Fatigue
  • Dizziness
  • Problems with bowel and bladder function
  •  

Evolution of the disease

Most people with multiple sclerosis have a remission-relapse evolution of the disease. They have periods of new symptoms or relapses that appear days or weeks and usually improve partially or completely. These relapses are followed by quiet periods of disease remission that can last for months or even years.

Multiple sclerosis and physical trauma as environmental factors:

For more than a century, doctors and scientists have tried without success to determine the exact cause of multiple sclerosis. For years now, the relationship between head and neck trauma has been studied as a possible factor, which contributes enormously to the debut and the evolution of the disease. The reason for this relationship has been found that trauma can change the composition of the cerebrospinal fluid that nourishes the nervous system, producing alterations in the barrier that protects and separates the brain from the rest of the body.

Renowned expert Dr. Charles Poser of Harvard Medical School also concluded that Trauma to the head, neck or upper back can act as a trigger for the appearance of new or recurring symptoms in some patients with multiple sclerosis.He himself went further, stating that only trauma affecting the brain and/or spinal cord can be considered significant, as is the case in whiplash injuries or falls with trauma.

After all, These studies show that trauma is undoubtedly related to the worsening of symptoms and the onset of multiple sclerosis.. However, the definitive cause remains unknown and is best understood as the combination of risk factors that will ultimately cause the onset and symptoms of multiple sclerosis, which may take days, months or even years to develop.

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Chiropractic for multiple sclerosis, care for your cervical spine

Some of the most innovative and relevant studies in chiropractic have demonstrated the relationship between multiple sclerosis and injuries in the upper cervical spine. Although cervical care is not considered a cure for those affected by multiple sclerosis, studies support the beneficial effects observed after receiving chiropractic care.

The reality is that the chiropractor is a specialist in the care and proper functioning of the nervous system. Our goal is to stimulate and improve health through chiropractic adjustments that return mobility and vitality to the body and its entire metabolism. It is for this reason that it is, precisely, patients with neurodegenerative diseases who benefit the most and feel a great improvement in their quality of life.

A study published in 2005 revealed the strong relationship between previous trauma to the skull or neck and the appearance of short- or long-term neurodegenerative diseases. Evidence of this relationship was found for both multiple sclerosis as for the disease of Parkinson. This same published study presents results that demonstrate the benefits of correcting injuries in the upper neck and demonstrates how the degenerative process of the disease can be reversed and symptoms lessened with chiropractic care.

The study was conducted by Dr. Erin Elster, a chiropractor specializing in upper cervical care. Through cervical care, Elster corrected chronic cervical lesions suffered by more than 80 participants with multiple sclerosis and Parkinson's, and achieved an improvement in their symptoms and was able to reduce the number of relapses. These results have been duplicated in other research centers for upper cervical care, and the same positive results have been obtained.

These are all those symptoms where chiropractic has been proven beneficial:

Insomnia, cognitive deficit, rigidity, depression, numbness and weakness in extremities, fatigue, facial paralysis, headache and many others.

So we can conclude that chiropractic care has enormous benefits in the symptoms suffered by people with multiple sclerosis.. In addition, it delays neurological deterioration with the progression of the disease, lengthening the periods of crisis remission and stabilizing and caring for the nervous system of patients who go to the chiropractor.

Relationship between vitamin D and multiple sclerosis

It is often spoken of vitamin D As an important vitamin that helps the body stay fit and strong we can obtain it simply from sun exposure, but now it also turns out it could help in fighting the symptoms of multiple sclerosis. Although more research is still needed on the beneficial effects of vitamin D, there are some things to know about its relationship with multiple sclerosis.

Can it slow the progression of multiple sclerosis?

There is evidence to suggest that people with multiple sclerosis who have higher levels of vitamin D in their bodies are likely to suffer from less severe symptoms. According to a study carried out on the symptoms in a group of people with multiple sclerosis, it was found that, after five years later, those with higher levels of vitamin D experienced fewer problems. Although this discovery is promising, more research is needed to determine whether vitamin D can slow the progression of multiple sclerosis or not.

Can it prevent multiple sclerosis?

Other studies have found that vitamin D may be useful in preventing the disease. Researchers found that children who spent a lot of time in the sun were less likely to develop the disease later in life.

This is also reflected in the fact that the further away from the equator you live, the greater the risk of developing multiple sclerosis, since the amount of sunlight decreases, thus in Nordic countries the incidence is higher since the deficit functions an environmental factor. This is how studies carried out in Finnish women, where sun exposure is much less and have historically had low levels of vitamin D, show that there is a 43% greater risk of developing multiple sclerosis in conditions of vitamin D deficiency for long periods.

To date, no one is really sure what role vitamin D plays in protecting people against Multiple Sclerosis. Many think that vitamin D improves the immune system, making a person less likely to develop an autoimmune disease such as multiple sclerosis.

How much vitamin D do you need?

A simple blood test can determine your vitamin D levels. The National Multiple Sclerosis Society suggests that people living with the disease should receive between 200 and 600 IU (international units) per day.

How can you increase your vitamin D intake?

You can pass 15 minutes a day in the sun, or take vitamin supplements (if recommended by your healthcare team) or Eat more foods that contain vitamin D, such as fatty fish, beef liver, cheese, eggs, and foods fortified with vitamin D, such as cereals, milk, and orange juice.

It must be taken into account that high doses can lead to changes in calcium levels in the body as well, so it is recommended to always take Vitamin K along with vitamin D, which will be responsible for balancing your system.

If you suffer from multiple sclerosis, or related symptoms, we recommend that you consult with a chiropractor..

In Spain, if you are looking for a chiropractor, verify that they are a member of the Asociación Española de Quiropráctica (AEQ), which brings together exclusively Chiropractic graduates with a university degree issued by one of the Chiropractic universities recognized by the European Council of Chiropractic Education.

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