Upper Cervical Chiropractic Management of a Patient with Multiple Sclerosis: A Case Report
by Erin L. Elster, DC. Journal of Vertebral Subluxation Research. May 2001.
This article reviews the upper cervical chiropractic management of a single patient with Multiple Sclerosis (MS). This 47-year-old female first experienced symptoms of MS at age 44, when she noticed cognitive problems and loss of bladder control. After viewing multiple lesions on MRI (MS plaques), her neurologist diagnosed her with MS. Two years later, she noticed additional symptoms of leg weakness and paresthesias in her arms and legs. Her symptoms progressively worsened without remission, so her neurologist categorized her as having chronic progressive MS and recommended drug therapy (Avonex). Upon initial examination of this patient, evidence of an upper cervical subluxation was found using precise upper cervical radiographs and paraspinal digital infrared imaging. The patient’s medical history included one possible mechanism (a fall approximately ten years prior), which could have caused her upper cervical subluxation. The patient was placed on a specially designed knee-chest table for adjustment, which was delivered by hand to the first cervical vertebra according to radiographic findings. Monitoring of the patient’s progress was through doctor’s observation, patient’s subjective description of symptoms, thermographic scans, neurologist’s evaluation and MRI. The patient was managed with upper cervical chiropractic care for two years.After four months of upper cervical chiropractic care, all MS symptoms were absent. A follow-up MRI showed no new lesions as well as a reduction in intensity of the original lesions. After a year passed in which the patient remained asymptomatic, another follow-up MRI was performed. Once again, the MRI showed no new lesions and a continued reduction in intensity of the original lesions. Two years after upper cervical chiropractic care began, all MS symptoms remained absent.This case report revealed that this specific upper cervical procedure (thermal imaging, cervical radiographs, and knee-chest adjustments) was associated with a successful outcome for a patient with Multiple Sclerosis. Post MRI’s, post thermographic scans, and the patient’s neurologist’s evaluation all suggested the intervention of upper cervical chiropractic care may have stimulated a reversal in the progression of Multiple Sclerosis.
Key Words: upper cervical spine, chiropractic, Multiple Sclerosis, vertebral subluxation, trauma, thermography, adjustment, manipulation