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Category: Case Studies
Date 30-apr-2005
Case Title Upper Cervical Chiropractic Management of a Multiple Sclerosis Patient: A Case Report
Author Erin L. Elster, D.C. www.erinelster.com
Main Condition/ Disease  Multiple Sclerosis
Source J. Vertebral Subluxation Res., 4(2), 2001
Abstract This is the case of a single patient with MS. She reported loss of bladder control & cognitive problems. Evaluation by a neurologist using MRI showed multiple MS plaques. After two years additional symptoms included leg weakness & paresthesias in her arms and legs. She was diagnosed with chronic progressive MS and prescribed drug therapy. Utilising the IUCCA upper cervical chiropractic protocol evidence was found of an upper cervical subluxation. Knee-chest upper cervical chiropractic adjustment was delivered to the atlas (C1) vertebra to correct the misalignment. Monitoring of the patient's progress included her description of symptoms, thermographic scans, neurologist evaluation and MRI. After 4 months of care all MS symptoms were absent. Follow-up MRIs revealed no new lesions (plaques) and a reduction in the intensity of the original lesions. Upper cervical chiropractic care may have stimulated a reversal in the progression of multiple sclerosis.
Summary Common manifestations of MS include numbness and tingling in the extremities, vision loss, mild sensory & motor symptoms and balance loss. Whilst not all patients become disabled many progress to a stage of symptomology which includes inability to co-ordinate movement, inconteinence, paraplegia, mental dysfunction and others. Drug therapy is aimed at reducing so-called exacerbations but currently there is no long-term approach to reversing the condition. This is a case of a 46 y.o. female who noticed an inability to form words, difficulty processing tasks, loss of bladder control and various other symptoms which progressed over time. She also had a stiff and achy neck for many years. White-matter MS plaques were viewed on MRI and this fact along with her symptomology resulted in a diagnosis of chronic progressive multiple sclerosis. The patient decided to pursue upper cervical chiropractic care before commencing drug therapy. Upper cervical analysis using the International Upper Cervical Chiropractic Association (IUCCA) protocol which includes thermographic imaging and precision radiology found that the patient had right laterality of the atlas and axis and right posterior rotation of atlas. Thus, this patient had an upper cervical subluxation which is very visible using precision upper cervical radiographs. Adjustment using a knee-chest technique was used to the right posterior arch of atlas as the contact point, and the adjusting force introduced by hand. Post adjustment thermo scans were carried out. It was found that the patient had a resolution of thermal asymmetry and within the first week of upper cervical care, she reported improved bladder control, a decrease in numbness and tingling & decrease in pain in a leg and hand. After one month her strength began to return and she reported improved cognitive ability. After 4 months of care she reported complete absence of all MS symptoms. A follow-up MRI showed no new lesions and a reduction in intensity of original lesions. Two years after upper cervical chiropractic care all MS symptoms remained absent. The author recommends further investigation into the link between upper cervical trauma and resulting neuropathophysiology as a contributing factor to MS. Studies requiring upper cervical chiropractic as the treatment protocol should be initiated.
Keywords upper cervical spine, chiropractic, multiple sclerosis, vertebral subluxation, trauma, thermography

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