Dr. Erin Elster    
New Drug-Free Method Helps Multiple Sclerosis Patients

WOMEN'S MAGAZINE - December 1999
by Erin Elster, DC.

Upper Cervical Chiropractic, a new health care technique incorporating modern computerized technology, has been effective in the treatment of Multiple Sclerosis (MS). Jean, a 53-year-old Boulder resident, suffered with MS symptoms for many months before seeking help from upper cervical care. "My neurologist recommended betaseron which I wanted to avoid having to take. My MS symptoms included tingling down my extremities, especially when I tipped my head forward. After upper cervical care, those symptoms disappeared. When my neurologist reexamined me, she no longer recommended medication." One year later, Jean continues to remain free from MS symptoms and medications.

MS Facts

MS is the number one disabling neurological disease among young adults between 20 and 50 years of age, afflicting 250,000 people in the United States. MS strikes women twice as often as men and Caucasians more frequently than other ethnic groups. One in every 800 Coloradans has MS, making MS ten times more common in Colorado than in southern states. The lifetime economic losses of Colorado's MS population are estimated in the billions of dollars. (Rocky Mountain Multiple Sclerosis Center, 1999.)

What Is MS?

MS is an inflammatory condition of the central nervous system (brain and spinal cord) in which a vital material called myelin is damaged or destroyed. Myelin serves as insulation on nerve fibers much like insulating material covering an electrical wire. When a wire's insulation is damaged or destroyed, the flow of electrical current is interrupted and a short-circuit occurs. Similarly, in MS, when the myelin is damaged from neurological irritation, nerve impulses from the brain to the spinal cord are interrupted. Resulting symptoms include decreased or blurred vision, weakness, speech or swallowing dysfunction, tremors, bowel or bladder difficulties, dizziness, thinking or memory problems, fatigue, decreased sensation, and loss of balance and coordination. Symptoms vary according to the involved areas of the brain and spinal cord. (Rocky Mountain Multiple Sclerosis Center, 1999.)

Diagnosis and Drug Therapy

The MS diagnosis is usually rendered as a result of clinical symptoms, a neurological examination, MRI and lumbar puncture. MRI is used to visualize lesions in the brain and spinal cord. Lumbar puncture may show changes in the cerebrospinal fluid (fluid surrounding the brain and spinal cord), such as elevated lymphocytes, protein, and immunoglobulin G. (International MS Support Foundation, 1999.) Drug therapy may accelerate recovery from acute relapses of MS, but it neither alters the long-term course of the condition nor reverses any existing MS symptoms. No drug exists which arrests the irritation and inflammation of the central nervous system, the primary cause of MS. (International MS Support Foundation, 1999.)

How Upper Cervical Chiropractic Works

Upper Cervical Chiropractic works by correcting irritation to the central nervous system, the fundamental cause of MS. Misalignments in the vertebrae of the upper cervical spine (upper neck) cause irritation to the nerves traveling between the brain and spinal cord resulting in central nervous system malfunction. Causes of upper neck misalignments include traumas to the head, neck, or spine, such as concussion, auto accidents, whiplash, sports injuries, bike and ski falls, and poor posture. Specific correction of misaligned vertebrae in the upper neck removes irritation in the central nervous system, thereby allowing a patient's nervous system and body to heal and resume normal function. Typical Upper Cervical Chiropractic treatment involves an initial spinal exam, specific x-rays of the upper neck, computerized thermal spinal scans to measure nervous system irritation, and specific adjustments by hand to correct the misaligned vertebrae in the upper neck.

History of Trauma

During their medical histories, many upper cervical chiropractic patients revealed their recollection of traumas to the head, neck, or spine, such as whiplash or concussion, which occurred prior to the onset of their condition. Matthew Bogue, a 33-year-old MS sufferer, was no exception. As a professional skier, he recalled many falls while skiing, in which he landed on his head or neck. "I'm an athlete who made several first descents (skiing) and was diagnosed with MS three years ago. Before I started with upper cervical care, I had trouble with balance, bladder control, eyesight, and Lhermitte's Sign (electrical shock sensation down extremities upon cervical flexion.) After one month of upper cervical care, Lhermitte's disappeared, my balance made a remarkable turnaround, no more bladder control problems, and my eyesight got better." Six months later, Bogue's symptoms continue to improve. History of trauma is consistent with histories of other patients who have responded to upper cervical chiropractic care. In cases where a trauma has caused a misalignment of the upper cervical spine resulting in a wide variety of conditions months to years later, correction of the upper cervical spine has improved and/or reversed those symptoms.

Dr. Erin Elster is an Upper Cervical Chiropractor. Questions about Upper Cervical Chiropractic care should be directed to Dr. Elster in Kahului, Maui, Hawaii at (808) 866-6551 or visit her web site, www.erinelster.com.