What Is Multiple Sclerosis
Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a potentially disabling disease of the brain and spinal cord (central nervous system). It is estimated that in 2021 there are currently 130,000 people diagnosed with MS in the UK, with 7,000 new diagnoses being made each year. By better understanding the mechanisms behind this diagnosis we can make choices around what forms of healthcare are likely to have positive impacts on the lives of those living with this disease.
1. Multiple Sclerosis Is An Autoimmune Condition
An autoimmune condition is a condition in which the body’s immune system mistakes its own healthy tissues as foreign and attacks them. Many autoimmune conditions cause inflammation that can affect many parts of the body. In MS, the immune system attacks the protective sheath that covers nerve fibers and causes communication problems between your brain and the rest of your body. Eventually, the disease can cause permanent damage or deterioration of the nerves.
2. Multiple Sclerosis Can Be Related To Autonomic Nervous System Dysfunction
The autonomic nervous system is the division of the nervous system dedicated to signalling your body to perform all the tasks that you don’t consciously think about. One of these functions is signalling the immune system.
The structure within the nervous system most closely related with the immune system is the Vagus Nerve. This nerve originates at the upper cervical spine, dysfunction and misalignment at this portion of the spine can impact the function of the Vagus Nerve causing a change in the signals sent to the immune system, resulting in a dysfunctional response from immune cells. This change in signalling may be linked to the autoimmune response seen in MS.
3. Multiple Sclerosis Can Be Related To Altered Fluid Dynamics
The brain and spinal cord are bathed in a substance called cerebrospinal fluid that keeps the brain and spinal cord buoyant with the skull and vertebral canal. The other function of this fluid is to provide nutrients to the central nervous system, as well as to help drain waste products.
Waste products include byproducts of cell processes, toxins, and dead or dysfunctional cells. When these waste products are unable to be filtered away from the brain they sit around the neural tissue longer than normal and have potential to cause harm to these tissues, this may explain why we see some of the symptoms present in MS.
What Chiropractors Can Do For MS
As Upper Cervical Chiropractors our role is not to treat MS or it’s symptoms. Our goal is to correct dysfunction at the upper cervical spine in order to allow the nervous system to function at its optimal potential and allow healing to take place.