Chiropractic for Multiple Sclerosis

Back in the day (has it really been 27 years?) I didn’t understand Chiropractic. I didn’t know that spinal manipulation (which chiropractors call “spinal adjustment”) involves moving a joint beyond it’s usual range of motion but not beyond its the range of motion the joint is designed to move.

Spinal adjustment is by far the most common treatment a chiropractor performs here in the US. Spinal manipulative therapy (SMT) describes techniques where the hands are used to manipulate, massage, mobilize, adjust, stimulate, apply traction to, or otherwise influence the spine and related tissues.

When I learned that Chiropractic doctors believe many of the same things I believe, I was ready to listen.

Chiropractors generally believe:

Our bodies have a natural and powerful ability to heal itself.

Our body’s structure – bones, joints and muscles – and capacity for healthy function are closely intertwined.

Chiropractic treatment helps balance our body’s structure and function and promotes self-healing.
It makes complete sense now. The benefits of manipulating the spine, range from temporary pain relieve to long term wellness.

I asked Dr. Hawkins if chiropractic could really help relieve pain. He recognizes that chiropractic isn’t a “cure all”, more of a way to get to the root of the problem.

There are many causes of pain. Pain fibers in the brain that identify pain could be emotional, chemical or mechanical; a pinched nerve, twisted ankle, sprained back, slipped disk, herniated disk, degenerative disk disease. Ultimately it’s what brings the pain receptors to the brain.

Dr. Hawkins said, “When the body has its proper input from its environment, it’s able to respond appropriately. Most of our problems occur when the body is not able to adequately receive the signal so it can respond properly”

An ‘adjustment’ will straighten the spine so that the joints are moving correctly to help the brain get the information and send correct signals to the body. Instructions for all bodily functions, for example to contract the muscles at the appropriate time will be correctly sent.

Dr. Hawkins believes in good nutrition and provides a form for patients to track their consumption. He has recognized that sometimes people don’t realize what they’re eating until it’s documented. He encourages his patients to modify their eating to have the best results.

When asked about recommendations of supplements, Dr. Hawkins told me about his education. He has been trained as an internal health specialist with the Loomis Institute where he studied the effect of enzymes on our health.

I also asked Dr. Hawkins about exercise. He recognizes the value of exercise and encourages us to find an exercise program that is appropriate for us, and do it, but not over do it. Dr. Hawkins recommends swimming for people with MS. We need to listen to our bodies he said, and get the proper rest that we need. Moderation in all things is his motto.

Dr. Hawkins also said Massage Therapy has many benefits.

He believes our bodies were created to heal themselves yet recognizes there is a time for pharmaceuticals. He suggested we communicate with our medical doctors about any supplements we’re taking and make sure our chiropractor knows our pharmaceuticals.

Dr. Hawkins has agreed to answer your questions about Chiropractic treatments. Click on the contact tab above with your inquiries.

I would love to know your experiences with Chiropractic treatment. Tell me in the comments below.

Linda

About our Co-Founder: With a bachelors in Social Work, Linda is 53 years old, happily married with eight children and 17 grandchildren. Diagnosed with MS in 1995 and now having accepted and truly embraced her new reality, Linda has created MSrelief.com. She is dedicated to proving that joy can be chosen while living with Multiple Sclerosis. Linda specializes in helping others, especially those with MS attain the lifestyle, independence and happiness amid living with MS.

28 Comments:

  1. Linda….this is such valuable information. I love the fact that you interviewed a Chiropractor in person. Your video is very professional and the interview makes your message even more powerful.
    I have never had the need to visit a chiropractor, but have often referred my massage clients to one when necessary. They play a vital role in health management, and I particularly like Dr Hawkins’ advice on diet and exercise. All that he says can equally be applied to non-MS sufferers.
    Thank you again for sharing.
    Louise

    • Louise,
      I agree completely, diet and exercise are important (along with chiropractic when needed) for health and wellness no matter what our health condition!
      Have a great day!
      Linda

  2. Hi Linda,
    For a long time I wasn’t very excited about chiropractic care. The thought of someone manually moving certain parts of my body with force was a bit frightening. The first chiropractor I had experience with confirmed this for me. He was rather rough and would do the manipulations with a quick snap or jerk and it was often unsettling. I wasn’t very happy with this experience.

    A few years later I was in a minor car accident and as a result received chiropractic care again. However, this time it was with a different doctor. One that approached his practice much differently. His technique was combined with slow stretching and the natural pressure of your body weight to allow for the adjustment. In short, it was much more affective for me and the experience more enjoyable. I learned not all chiropractic care and treatment are the same and that it’s important to find the one that’s right for you.

    Nice job on the video and the interview. Very well done.

    • Hey Don,

      It’s great to hear you gave chiropractic a second chance. Too often I hear of people trying a chiropractor once, not liking it, then abandoning the whole profession. It is such a shame that they miss out on the benefit they may have received.

  3. Don,
    The first time I saw a chiropractor, I had slipped and fallen on the ice. I assumed that caused the numbness I was feeling in my neck and shoulder. He adjusted me gently and the numbness went away after about 4 weeks. When I was diagnosed with MS, the neurologists lumped the numbness into the MS diagnosis. If that’s the case, then the chiropractic adjustment probably didn’t have anything to do with the numbness going away in 4 weeks. Either way, I’ve never had a bad chiropractor.
    It’s interesting hearing you say your first visit was not positive. When I first started seeing Dr. Hawkins, he heard me tell my friend that I had an appointment to get my ‘back cracked’ and he jokingly cautioned me about throwing the ‘back cracked’ out there because I’d scare people away from chiropractic.
    Now hearing your story, I see that Dr. Hawkins knew what he was talking about!
    Linda

  4. Hi Linda. What an amazing post and what an amazing blog. You truly have set yourself a ‘higher purpose’ here.
    I was reading the comments and I agree with Don – unfortunately not all chiropractic doctors are the same.
    I would like to flag Dr Hawkins thinking ‘moderation in all things’. He is so right. I was a fitness professional for a number of years. And whilst I may have apppeared ‘super fit’ to the untrained eye, what was actually happeng was that the repetitiveness of my job was causing muscle imbalances to build up which eventually resulted in my back ‘going’ big time.
    I had numerous treatments from many sources and it took a physio to point out that it was mainly due to my my muscles being so ‘fit’ that they couldn’t relax and this was pulling my back out of alignment constantly. Plus an Ayurvedic practitioner to advise me that my ‘healthy’ diet was not actually that healthy for my body type and lifestyle.
    Great advice from your doctor and wise words for people to heed 🙂

  5. Mandy,
    Sounds aweful! It’s amazing that too much can do such damage! So are you back to good health now, doing everything in moderation? Tell me what an Ayurvedic pratitioner is~
    Linda

  6. I have been help by my Chiro for a few years now. I was really surprised!

  7. Thanks for this post,

    I had no idea that chiropractic could help with MS. It makes sense that by helping to balance the body at a structural level the way that chiropractic can, it would have a ripple effect throughout the body.

    I appreciate that your video touched on the fact that diet is also important, as some foods are inflammatory and can aggravate conditions in the body.

  8. Thanks Paul for stopping by! I wish that chiropractic and diet would totally take MS away! I know that both are important in general for health and well being.
    Linda

  9. Hi Linda, Always great to find information here that I would not normally look for, …. but you always seem to spark my interest. I’m reading a book about the brain and fitness called Sparks by Rathey …. so I’m really getting out of my comfort zone on this kind of stuff, but it’s fun learning. Thanks

  10. Hello Linda,
    I have never been to a Chiropractor, but I have a high school buddy that just became one. I didn’t realize, until I was talking to him, that they rather heal the body naturally first. I don’t like taking drugs, so that was interesting to me.

    I keep a positive outlook on life and give thanks everyday for my perfect health, even though sometimes my knees and shoulders hurt. I don’t give it energy. I think that is another key to feeling better.

    Jaden

    • Jaden,
      I couldn’t agree more! I believe having a positive attitude and clean life style kept me healthy most of my life. I also believe I’m not getting worse for the same reason. Unfortunately, it’s not a cure all! Thanks for visiting my blog!
      Linda

  11. Chiropractic is a form of Complementary and Alternative Medicine that holds the belief that any form of disease or ailment affects the body through the nervous system. By hand manipulation of the musculoskeletal system, especially the spinal area, vertebral subluxation or spinal joint dysfunction is relieved.

  12. Costa Mesa Chiropractic,
    I’m glad you posted your link on MSrelief! You have more information that others can read to learn more!
    Linda

  13. Linda, I love this article! I am a chiropractor in Utah, and something that really motivated me to study chiropractic was my Dad’s MS. He has used several approaches to treating his MS along with the shots from his neurologist. Mainly Chiropractic Adjustments, Acupuncture, Nutrition. And he has not had an attack since he was diagnosed about 10 years ago! One thing I am working towards that has really helped my father is Chiropractic Neurology. This uses chiropractic adjustments and brain exercises that help to stimulate the pathways in the nervous system that are affected by the MS and help the patients restore more of their function that may have been affected. Thanks for your blog! I look forward to reading more of your articles!

    Dr. Kim

    • Dr. Kim,
      Thank you for saying so! I’m very interested in Chiropractic Neurology, an aspect that I’ve never looked into! Can you suggest sources for me to learn more? If you have time, please post links (including yours) in the CONTACT box above!
      Linda

  14. Dr Hawkins is spot on – our bodies respond to the environment, and problems arise when we cannot cope with it – or go to excesses within it. Therefore, everything in moderation (especially regarding food & drink!) is absolutely crucial. Lovely article, by the way.

  15. excellent publish, very informative. I wonder why the opposite experts of this sector don’t understand this. You must continue your writing. I am sure, you’ve a huge readers’ base already!

  16. I’m extremely inspired along with your writing talents as smartly as with the format to your weblog. Is that this a paid subject matter or did you customize it your self? Either way keep up the nice high quality writing, it is rare to peer a great weblog like this one these days..

    • Thank you Kari,
      I did most of it my self, with the help of others of course. I’m trying to get in the habit of not accepting comments unless they pertain to the article written but such a nice compliment doesn’t really have any place to be posted, so thank you!
      Linda

  17. Greetings! Very useful advice within this post! It’s the little changes which will make the greatest changes. Many thanks for sharing!

    • Marcelo~
      I am amazed that people (my mother for one) don’t realize the value of chiropractic! I even have a great friend with MS who was suffering from extreme pain due to a fall and lived for months without even giving the chiro a chance! I’m not sure if she ever did, I’m waiting for her call~
      Linda

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