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Details  (ID=296)
Date: Friday, 30 May 2008
Name:  name supplied
Date: 30-may-2008
Main Condition
Main Condition:  Multiple Sclerosis
My Brief Story
Brief Story:  by Rod

(This was originally written to be posted on the Hope 4 MS website and is aimed at MS patients).

I donít remember hearing much about upper cervical chiropractic until I read about it on the Hope 4 MS website. I followed the link provided and started reading the testimonies of MS patients who tried this procedure. It sounded to me like a neck injury which causes an impingement on the brain stem could certainly have neurological consequences.

In 1986 I was diagnosed with those dreaded initials, ďMS.Ē Like many of you I tried a lot of different therapies. I had all the old fillings removed from my teeth to rule out mercury poisoning, but I didnít notice any changes in my health.

I tried acupunctureówhich helped my dizziness and nausea, but didnít improve my coordination. I tried homeopathy, over a year of bee stings, chiropractic, copaxone, vitamin therapy, diet changes, etc., however, I didnít notice any improvements.

Thus, I arrived at a point where I pretty much donít get my hopes up anymore. Still, I wanted to try the upper cervical because some of the testimonies I read sounded like deja vu all over again.

Back in the olden days of 1968 I was playing high school football. I made a tackle which jammed my neck down, in and off to the right at the same time. I was out for the rest of the game. However, I didnít miss any more games after that. I also didnít see a physician because Iím a bonehead who assumed the injury would heal on its own. It seemed to, but I developed a chronic pain in the neck.

It seemed like a piece of glass was lodged up under my skull on the back, right side of my neck. On a scale from one to ten the pain was probably only around 2 or 3, but it never let off. I tried various remedies, including chiropractic and acupuncture, but the neck pain persisted. It also seemed to be connected to a slight numbness and tingling in my right hand and foot.

Fast forward to around 1985: There were various symptoms I wasnít picking up on yet. However, one morning as I walked down the hallway I lost my balanceótwiceóand bumped off the wall on my right side. Then, later, when I reached for the milk to pour on my Sugar Pops my right hand made a zigzag movement instead of a straight grab.

Finally, in 1986, after a long battery of tests, procedures, and a claustrophobic ride in an MRI the MD said I had MS. Iíll try not to make an exhaustive laundry list of my symptoms, but the right side of my body has slowed down and become less coordinated. I lost the fine motor skills in my right hand and had to learn to write left handed. Iím prone to dizziness and car sickness. My balance is screwed up, I have foot drop, and I dance worse than Frankensteinís monster. Plus, until recently, my damn neck always hurt.

My MS symptoms were called chronic progressive and gradually got worse. However, after reading about upper cervical chiropractic I made an appointment to see Dr. Kevin Smith, DC, at the Upper Cervical Health Center of Redding, 2815 Bechelli Lane, in the Mission Square, 530 222-5799.

Fast forward to first treatment: Dr. Smith diagnosed a misalignment in the Atlas bone as a major detriment to my health and happiness. I wonít try to describe the procedure here other than to say that Dr. Smith readjusted my neck with a very brief and slight movement. But instantly, it felt like a piece of glass had been pulled from the area and the pain stopped.

As I write this now I can identify with another upper cervical patient quoted in an earlier posting. She described her initial reaction to her first treatment this way:

ďFrightened at first by the idea of someone shifting the bones in my neck, the feeling that ensued can only be described as euphoric. It was as if all of the feeling and sensation that had been blocked for the past 10 years had been allowed to flow once again.Ē

While I pretend to be way too macho to be frightened by a mere chiropractor the feeling that ensued for me can also be described as ďeuphoric.Ē Euphoria is defined in my Websterís dictionary as ďa feeling of well-being...an abnormal feeling of buoyant vigor and health.Ē I donít know if it was ďabnormal,Ē but it was pretty groovy. I just wish I had my first treatment right after my injury instead of waiting 40 years.

Also, for the first time since my injury it felt like my head was finally on straight. Always before it seemed slightly tilted. Now my fat head was centered again on my pencil neck. But I also began to notice how twisted and tilted my body had become to compensate for the Atlas misalignment. Dr. Smith suggested it may take some time for my body to get back in the groove.

Since Iím a typical, cynical MS patient, at first I wondered if maybe my wishful thinking was giving me the old placebo effect. My first adjustment was in Feb. 2008 and today is May 21, 2008. So itís way too early to write a thorough testimonial. However, Iíll try to objectively list what I think are some factual improvements in various symptoms. I also want to point out that my physical decline has been going on a long time. Plus, Iím an old fart now and donít bounce back physically like a young whippersnapper anymore.

At this point I think itís fair to say that my chronic neck pain was healed by that first adjustment from Dr. Smith. While thereís been occasional muscle soreness and sometimes what I call a residual or phantom sense of pain, the piece of glass sensation has never returned. This is a major plus for me. That chronic pain often resulted in tension and headaches. I developed a habit of trying to ďcrackĒ or twist my own neck to alleviate the twinges. It never worked. I think Iím probably free from that now.

Since my head and neck are apparently more balanced my posture has improved. Several impartial witnesses have noticed this. The feeling of ďhaving my head on straightĒ also seems to help my sense of overall balance. I find Iím not shifting around as much when seated to get comfortable. I donít feel quite as clumsy when I climb on a step stool or ladder.

Before, when I would work out with weights at the gym, Iíd feel like I was sitting crooked in the machine because the right side of my body always seemed slightly twisted or turned. Iíd have to look to insure I was seated or standing in a balanced position. Now I seem to ďfitĒ more naturally in weight machines, cars, chairs, etc.

The following statements will be fairly subjective and Iíll just list them without much explanation:

1. I feel like my overall coordination has improved slightly as a result of these treatments.

2. Along with my chronic neck pain I had developed regular lower back pain as well. Up until about one year ago I was able to jog for exercise. I find that once I get my speed up a little my right leg doesnít cause such a big problem as when I try to walk. I think it might be like the difference between riding a bicycle very slowly or getting up some speed. Anyway, I finally quit jogging because afterwards Iíd find it really hurt my lower back and knees. I figured it was because my left leg was doing too much work and my right leg was hitting the ground too hard.

However, with the upper cervical treatments my back pain has also greatly decreased. In fact, Iíve been able to jog several times now without resulting back and knee pain. I can also use a weed whacker on our hillside without causing major back pain like it did last year.

3. My blood pressure has gone from too high to OK. Dr. Smith said this is a fairly common experience.

These are the main benefits I think I can objectively claim at this time. I donít want to give anyone false hopes. If I ever start walking around normally again then Iíll feel like Iím in a real MS remission. But as far as I can tell this is the first improvement Iíve seen in some of my symptoms in over 20 years.
Chiropractor's Details
Name:  Dr Kevin Smith
Practice:  Upper Cervical Health Center of Redding
Has own X-Ray equipment.
Street Address:  2815 Bechelli Lane
Mission Square Plaza
Suburb/City:  Redding
State/Province:  California
Postcode/Zip:  96002
Telephone:  530-222-5799
Email:  kms18d@gmail.com
Chiropractic Technique:  Blair Upper Cervical
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