MS and Chiropractic’s Hidden Edge

Dr. Matthew D.Holmes, Guest Author

Why does going to the chiropractor result in clearer thoughts? Why do you feel like you can stand upright without falling more easily after an adjustment? Why can you speak more clearly after having your feet massaged? I will explain why physical therapies, not just chiropractic, are essential for the MS sufferer. But I’ll also explain chiropractic’s hidden edge.

When most doctors are taught about the nervous system, they are taught in a structural manner. That is they are taught that frontal lobes of the brain do movement, parietal lobes do sensation from the body, the occipital lobes receive and process visual images. While this approach has merit it has had profound effects on the way that the nervous system has been viewed and treated.

The result of this view is that the nervous system can be viewed as functionally distinct areas. This means that many doctors believe that a problem in one area of the brain will have no impact on other areas of the brain. Modern neuroscience now knows that this is not correct.

The nervous system, from the receptors in your big toe, to the deepest areas in the brain are functionally connected. So when one area of the nervous system is effected, all areas will somehow be impacted.

The nerve cells of the nervous system, the neurons, are also somewhat unique. Neurons need activation to stay healthy. They need to be fired. As you probably know neurons carry information around the body by transmitting electrical signals. To do this they need certain components within the neuron. These components are produced in the neuron when it is fired. When the nerve cell doesn’t get fired, it isn’t stimulated to produce the cell components, and it becomes unhealthy.

Jump now to the MS sufferer. As you probably know, MS interrupts the ability of the nerve cells to carry information by damaging the myelin sheath or insulation around the nerve cells. As a consequence the signals don’t get through to the brain areas that they should. With the knowledge that we gained above, ie that nerve cells need firing, we can see that this will lead to dysfunction in the areas “downstream” of the damage. And that areas downstream of the downstream areas will in turn be affected. Eventually these areas don’t react the way that they should even when a normal signal comes through. It is kind of like someone turning down the volume on the microphone. Even if the sound coming to the microphone is the same, it will receive less information. The brain ends up dysfunctional.

The good news is that firing these affected neurons, at a rate that they can handle, can reactivate them.

The volume on the microphone can be turned back up. One of the ways that this can be done is through physical therapies like massage, mobilization and chiropractic adjustments. All of these fire what are called large diameter nerve fibers. These large diameter nerve fibers activate many areas of the brain including the cerebellum, the thalamus and the parietal lobes. These brain regions then have connections to the frontal lobes and the brain stem. So theoretically, working on someone’s body will activate most of their brain regions to a greater or lesser degree.

One of the big advantages of chiropractic adjustments is that it is thought that they may make lasting changes to the activation of the muscle receptors in the spine which continue to have affects even after the stimulation stops, unlike massage and mobilization. This means that the brain continues to receive stimulation for an extended period of time, enhancing the stimulation effect.

Now you may have noted a phrase “at a rate that they can handle” above. This means that you have to stimulate your brain cells enough to activate them, but not so much as to overload them. As a consequence, be guided by your body. Some people can handle a great deal of stimulation and benefit from it, whereas some people cannot. Therefore you may find that some physical therapies are too strong for your system. In this case, go for some of the lighter chiropractic techniques like Activator, SOT or Network. Others may benefit from firmer techniques like manual adjusting. If you can, try to see a chiropractor who is a Diplomate of the American Chiropractic Neurology Board, Fellow of the Australasian Academy of Functional Neurology. These chiropractors have done additional post-graduate training to assess the integrity of someone’s nervous system and can treat them accordingly.

So let me know in the comments section below. Have you tried physical therapies? Have you found it to be of benefit?

Dr Matthew D.Holmes is a Chiropractor in Greensborough, Melbourne, Australia. He is a Diplomate of the American Chiropractic Neurology Board and a Founding Fellow of the Australasian Academy of Functional Neurology. He primarily works with vertigo and dizziness patients, many of whom include MS sufferers. His website is Diamond Valley Brain Centre.

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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.

31 Comments:

  1. I went into a couple of sessions for physical therapy to improve the strength and mobility of my knees after I had a surgery in my knee cap. The surgery was successful and my deformed knee cap were put back into its right place. However, soon after I can walk, I can’t move freely. Physical therapy had helped me to move freely again.

  2. Please Damon share some valuable comments and not useless things. I would be very glad if you will contribute something helpful rather than telling something not important and relevant.

    • Candice,
      Thank you for watching my back! I try to delete all the useless comments but I miss a few!
      Linda

      • You’re always welcome Linda. I got angry when I saw that yesterday. It is really annoying to see those things around. I’m glad you deleted it. I hope there will no longer be someone posting things like that.

        • Candice,
          I’ll try to stay on top of it but some slip by! There is a comment from back in the beginning and I’m not able to quickly remove it, I don’t feel like taking the time so I’ll just leave it for now. We changed the settings so comments won’t be able to be left without moderation. Have a great weekend!
          Linda

  3. I just learned that massage can help an MS patient relieved. What’s your stand on reflexology? They also say that our foot has connections to some parts of the body.

    Thanks for the info Doc!

    -Chasey

    • Hi Chasey,

      The neurology of many of these reflex points is very interesting. They are finding that some acupuncture points activate distinct brain areas not related to just purely sensory areas, so I can’t see why reflexology couldn’t do the same. Regardless, the map of the feet in the brain is quite large so it will have a definite impact.

  4. Great sharing..I really believe in reflexology it help to removes some of my back pain..Thank you..

  5. Thanks for every other magnificent article. Where else could anybody get that type of information in such an ideal method of writing? I’ve a presentation next week, and I’m on the search for such info.

  6. Helpful information. Lucky me I discovered your site accidentally, and I am stunned why this coincidence did not came about earlier! I bookmarked it.

  7. I have had an excellent experience with a chiropractor who went to the Palmer School. I was recuperating from a traumatic injury, and he did some general bodywork and alignment that really energized me and helped everything loosen up and “flow” more smoothly, and enabled me to get back into my exercise routine, etc. I would definitely recommend him to my family and friends.

  8. Your blog can really bring u huge ideas and learning towards healthy way, Beside reflexology is the best way to refresh body and minds.

  9. It is in point of fact a great and helpful piece of info. I am happy that you simply shared this helpful information with us. Please keep us up to date like this. Thank you for sharing.

  10. Mildred M. Anderson

    Hi, can any one help me or clarify me if it is true that acupuncture can hel MS people? I have visited china last week and my friends their told me about it. I’m planning to bring my grandpa their if it is true! Pls help!

    • Mildred,
      I would love to hear what benefits your grandpa experiences with acupuncture! I did it for years and I no longer am and my MS seems to be getting worse! Maybe I’ll get back into acupuncture!
      Linda

  11. My son has been involve in a car accident which take reason of being shocks for the reason that his two companion is dead in the said accident, He is undergo for such therapy but he still on that stage of shock.

  12. MS delivers severe pain and suffering to its possessor. Chiropractic may only offer a relief for these patients but it’s already a big issue for them. A small amount of comfort may help them continue fighting for their lives.

    Thanks for sharing this and inspiring people.

    Jade Tan

  13. I have had an excellent experience with a chiropractor who went to the Palmer School. I was recuperating from a traumatic injury, and he did some general bodywork and alignment that really energized me and helped everything loosen up and “flow” more smoothly, and enabled me to get back into my exercise routine, etc. I would definitely recommend him to my family and friends.

  14. As far as i know there’s such many kinds of therapy in which really great because it been satisfy by most of people.

    • I agree Rose! Especially with MS because it is different for everyone! We need to search until something works to manage our symptoms!
      Linda

  15. Excellent article – we have so much to learn but we do know that chiropractic can assist in many areas of life.
    Teri
    [url]http://hineshealth.com/[/url]

  16. Very informative, shed light to my confusion. I will definitely tell all the people I know about this article and how it can help them too.

  17. Linda,
    I would like to know if this therapy is effective for spinal fractures? What I mean is when a patient has a fracture in spinal column it is possible to cure using this therapy?

    • Javin,
      That is a question for Dr. Matt. I’ll ask him what he thinks~
      Linda

    • Hi Javen21,
      It all depends on where the fracture is and if it affected any of the nerve tissue. If the nerve tissue has been permanently damaged it may not be possible to recover the function, but if there are some signals getting through it could help.

  18. I thought any illness at the spinal column has no cure at all, impossible for such person to recover in this case… Am I right?

    • Cheny,
      I hate to say that anything is impossible! There is no known cause for MS at this point, but I’m confident that it is only a matter of time. When we know the cause the cure will soon follow! And with research being conducted by the Myelin Repair Foundation, to rebuild the damage that has been done to the myelin, gives even more hope!
      Linda

  19. How do you know if you’re getting too much stimulation? For example, you mention “at a rate that they can handle”. Are there certain symptoms or is it just a matter of fatigue or something like that. Just curious if there’s a way to know you’re approaching your limit before you go too far.

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