Multiple Sclerosis

Multiple sclerosis, a once rare condition has become the “polio” of the 21st century. It is presently the foremost disabling neurological disease in the United States and is increasing world-wide.

Upper cervical chiropractic management of a multiple sclerosis patient: a case report Elster, EL, Journal of Vertebral Subluxation Research June 2001, Vol 4, No.2


This article reviews the upper cervical chiropractic care of a single patient with Multiple Sclerosis (MS).

This 47-year-old female first experienced symptoms of Multiple Sclerosis (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 Multiple Sclerosis (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.

Upper cervical protocol for five multiple sclerosis patients. Elster EL, Today’s Chiropractic Vol. 29 No. 6 November/December 2000

The interesting thing about this paper is that all five patients had experienced head or neck trauma prior to the onset of their symptoms. Evidence of vertebral subluxations in the upper cervical spine was found in every patient. Every patient was medically diagnosed using MRI and other procedures as having MS.

Case no 1: a 54 year old woman diagnosed with MS at age 44. Symptoms included tingling in arms, hands, legs and feet and pain, numbness and tingling in extremities upon cervical flexion. After 4 weeks of care the patient’s MD took her off all drugs and at a two year follow-up the patient remained symptom-free.

Case no 2: a 33 year old man diagnosed with MS at age 30. He deteriorated quickly with visual loss, loss of bladder control, constipation, loss of balance, memory loss, sensory deficits in extremities and pain, numbness and tingling in extremities upon cervical flexion. After initiation of care, deterioration ceased and patient began to heal noticing immediate correction of some symptoms and gradual improvement of other symptoms over several months. One year follow up revealed overall correction and/or improvement of MS symptoms.

Case no 3: a 46 year old female first diagnosed at age 44 with memory and cognitive problems, frequent urination and loss of bladder control and painful tingling in arms and legs. After two months of care bladder control returned. Sensitivity and strength in extremities returned to normal. By 4 months all MS symptoms disappeared.

Case no 4: a 55 year old woman diagnosed with MS at age 46. Symptoms included painful paraesthesia of left arm, fatigue, mental confusion, insomnia and lack of coordination of right arm and leg, progressively worsening over a 9 year period. Four months after commencement of care her condition continued to improve – increased energy, mental clarity, and arm pain gone.

Case no 5: a 43 year old female with MS for 7 years. Symptoms included numbness in legs, hands and face, pain and numbness and tingling in extremities upon cervical flexion, loss of grip strength and curling of left hand. The symptoms were present constantly for six months prior to care. Some symptoms disappeared immediately and others disappeared over one month’s time.

Multiple sclerosis patients under chiropractic care: a retrospective study. Killinger LZ, Azad A. Palmer Journal of Research. 1997:2:96-100.

This was a review of five years of patient files. Toggle-recoil technique was used to give the adjustment. Three of the four cases reported a significant trauma to the spine that preceded the diagnosis. All patients reported improvement in functional health status and quality of life.

A case study: the effects of chiropractic on multiple sclerosis. Kirby SL,

Chiropractic Research Journal 1994; 3(1):7-12

This is the case history of a 24 year old female with the chief complaint of paresthesia and tingling in upper and lower extremities, stiffness in left arm and hand, and chronic fatigue. She was diagnosed by a neurologist as probable MS.

From the abstract:

Management of a case with symptomatology indicative of Multiple Sclerosis. The condition, which currently has no cure, responded favorably to chiropractic care using an upper cervical approach to reduce a specific subluxation complex.

Clinical presentation of a patient with multiple sclerosis and response to manual chiropractic adjustive therapies. Stude DE, Mick T. Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics, 1993;16:595-600.

This is a case study of a 32-year-old male with fatigue, gait imbalance, diplopia, and numbness from the lower trunk to the distal lower extremities. He had a family history suggestive of MS. Reflexes were hyperactive, and hypoesthesia was present with the neurological pinwheel exam. There was evidence to suggest biomechanical vertebral segmental dysfunction. A medical neurologist and a medical radiologist both agreed that the neurological evaluation and multifocal demyelination lesions, confirmed with MRI, reinforced the working impression.

After the first chiropractic adjustment (prone and side-posture) the patient reported complete absence of symptoms. Months later, the patient reported remaining symptom free.

The role of chiropractic in the management of degenerative disease cases. Ward, L. Today’s Chiropractic July/August 1995.

This is a fascinating discussion of the late Dr. Lowell Ward’s research and clinical success with “incurable” Duchenne muscular dystrophy sufferers and other cases. Dr. Ward stated:

“Degenerative conditions we have had good success in working with include: ataxia, multiple sclerosis, cerebral palsy, epilepsy, convulsive disorders, the various dystrophies, phobias and most any chronic degenerative, ‘incurable’ or life-threatening disease. Generally speaking the degenerative spinal pattern is relatively the same from disease to disease.”

Dr. Koren comments: I have studied and used Dr. Ward methods. Although the above statements may seem fantastic, he was, in fact, able to elicit impressive healing responses from many patients given up as incurable by other doctors. For information on his work contact: Ward Chiropractic Group, 3535 East Seventh St., Long Beach, CA 90804. 310-433-0444.

The role of trauma in the pathogenesis of multiple sclerosis: a review. Poser CM Clin Neurol Neurosurg 96:103-110, 1994

From the abstract:

The suggestion that an alteration of the blood-brain barrier (BBB) is an obligatory step in the pathogenesis of the multiple sclerosis (MS) lesion has been amply confirmed by innumerable magnetic resonance scans. There also exists a large body of clinical, neuropathologic, neuropsychologic, radiologic and experimental evidence that shows that trauma, in particular mild concussive injury to the head, neck or upper back, thus impinging on the brain and spinal cord, may result in an increase in BBB permeability. It is only logical then to infer that when such mild trauma to those parts of the body affects MS patients, the resulting alteration of the BBB leads to the formation of new lesions or the enlargement and activation of old ones. In such situations trauma acts as a facilitator of the postulated, but still not fully understood, pathogenetic mechanism of lesion formation.

Neurocalometer, Neurocalograph, Neurotempometer Research As Applied To Eight B.J. Palmer Chiropractic Clinic Cases. Preface by L.W. Sherman, DC, Asst. Director B.J. Palmer Chiropractic Clinic. Published by Palmer School of Chiropractic, Davenport, Iowa (undated).

Multiple Sclerosis. Case number 2109.

Patient medically diagnosed as Multiple Sclerosis and was told to go home to die. Symptoms first noticed in September 1943, while on duty as a missionary in Central Africa. Started with numbness in feet; traveled upward until it reached his neck. Hands shook somewhat but were useful. Could walk when someone balanced him.

In October 1943 he became helpless, could not feed or take care of himself in any way. After Chiropractic adjustments, he gradually improved enough to feed himself and get around fairly well (December, 1943).

About 22 years ago, patient fell ten feet off building, landing on his head. He was unconscious for thirty minutes, had a very sore neck for several days, but does not remember any other ill effects of this fall. Does not take drugs of any kind. No other member of family similarly afflicted. Elimination, sleep, appetite, digestion good. Strength limited. Patient entered the BJ Palmer Chiropractic Clinic February 17, 1945.

Pre-adjustment-atlas ASR. Patient received one adjustment in 2-19-45, left clinic 3-3-45. Patient was adjusted ten months later after Neurocalograph reported return to pattern. Patient was able to return to work with almost complete recovery.

Comment from Dr. Koren: Was this person immunized before leaving for Africa for his missionary work? The records do not say. However vaccinations have been implicated in multiple sclerosis and the vaccinations he received could have been the cause of his condition.

The subluxation specific; the adjustment specific. Palmer, BJ. Davenport, Iowa, 1934: Palmer School of Chiropractic, 1934, pp. 862-70.

As early as 1934 BJ Palmer reported management of MS patients with upper cervical chiropractic care in which improvement or correction of many of the symptoms of MS were observed. These included: “spasticity, muscle cramps, muscle contracture, joint stiffness, fatigue, neuralgia, neuritis, loss of bladder control, paralysis, in coordination, trouble walking, numbness, pain, foot drop, inability to walk, and muscle weakness.”

Chiropractic clinical controlled research. Palmer, BJ, Davenport, Iowa, 1934: Palmer School of Chiropractic, 1951, pp. 417-432.

This is the case study of a 38 year-old man who was diagnosed with MS at the Mayo clinic. According to the records the patient presented the following picture: “helpless; he could not feed nor take care of himself.” 22 years prior he was knocked unconscious after a ten foot fall and reported neck pain “for a few days” afterwards.

Care consisted of right atlas adjustment. The patient reported: “I am happy to say that through chiropractic, I have been made almost well. Today, I have just a little numbness left in my hands. I have the full use of my hands, feet and my whole body.”

Copyright 2004 Koren Publications, Inc. & Tedd Koren, D.C.