Could incurable auto-immune diseases be a thing of the past?
There has been a strong rise in auto-immune diseases over the past 2 decades. Things like lupus, Multiple Sclerosis (MS), Rheumatoid Arthritis and Crohn’s Disease historically have been considered female issues, but lately more males are being seen with these problems too. The explanation is lacking, but the evidence is not.
What are autoimmune diseases?
Autoimmune diseases are when the body attacks itself. Basically the body’s immune system will see a part of the body as a foreign invader – the same way it would see a germ or infectious bacteria. The immune system, powered by the nervous system, sends anti-bodies, and other things like white blood cells to attacks cells that are foreigners in the body. Our system has a very strict immigration policy: No living creatures are allowed in, with the exception of some very important foreign bacteria in our digestive track. To keep these cells in order each cell flies a flag, protein-based structures on the cell’s surface stating that is a part of this body.
So why does Jane Smith’s the immune system attack cells that are passport-carrying citizens of Jane Smith? Well, we think it is because regulatory cells, called T-Helper Cells, are not doing their job correctly. However, regardless of the physiological explanations, we can certainly say that the body is lacking a very important relay in communications! We know that our communication is the nervous system and that it sends and carries messages to and from every cell in your body and the brain.
How can autoimmune diseases be managed?
Currently there are no true cures for any autoimmune disease. Medically there are ways to manage the symptoms such as the drug Celebrex, Metroprolol, and many steroids and NSAIDs on the market. They mostly manage inflammation in the system, while some replace chemicals that are lacking from the dis-ease process like insuline (Yep, diabetes is an autoimmune disease too) and thyroid-based chemicals.
Since chiropractors work directly with the nervous system, many chiropractors have been looking at why this communication break-down occurs. Some of the best research has been with multiple sclerosis. MS is a process where the immune system attacks the sheaths around our nerves, called myelin, and basically eats holes in insulation around our wiring; this is called demyelination. Scars form on these holes, also referred to as plaques or sclerosis and eventually affect functions that are controlled by the nervous system such as vision, speech, walking, writing, and memory.
Currently there has been a lot of research here in the U.S. concerning MS and chiropractic. The best research comes from upper-cervical chiropractor Dr. Erin Elster in Colorado. In Dr. Elester’s papers she found that patients with MS have a misalignment in the upper cervical region of their necks, and that this is a casual link to minor trauma, like falls and car accidents, in most MS patients. Much of her research is available at her website, along with testimonials from MS patients. Dr. Elster’s research is showing that once patients have this misalignment corrected, symptoms reduce, disease progress halts and even reverses in many cases.
Another paper recently published was from Dr. Scott Rosa. Dr. Rosa is also another upper-cervical doctor who decided to look at MS patients with a new MRI technology. Since we spend most of our time not laying down, Dr. Rosa used FONAR Upright MRI technology to evaluate MS patients. Dr. Rosa noticed that these patients, when upright, had a blockage in the flow of cerebral spinal fluid (CSF), caused by dura – the protective tissue covering our brain and spinal cord – pulling the cerebellum area of the brain down and slightly out of the skull. This too was caused by an upper-cervical misalignment. Results were the same as Dr. Elster’s – symptoms reduce, disease progress halted.
Now, even with all this chiropractic research, chiropractors always hear, “This isn’t real medical research.” So let’s look at the medical research!
Italy, wich has the #2 health care system in the world, had a very interesting progression with MS research. First, doctors noticed that all people with MS had metalloproteins deposited in tissues. Patients who underwent chelation therapy, removing metals from the system, did better than patients went without. But the question of where these metals came from was the next things researched tackled.
The research was conducted by two neurovascular surgeons in Rome. What they found was that blood was not leaving the cranial vault properly in MS patients. This blood back-up left many dead red blood cells, rich in iron (our source of metals!) and a reason why the body would attack itself – To remove the old, deoxygenated blood cells. This vascular insufficiency is similar to what Dr. Rosa saw with CSF, and was determined to be caused by a “Postural injustice to the first cervical vertebra,” also known as an upper-cervical subluxation.
Working with an upper-cervical chiropractor, these medical doctors conducted research on 300 MS patients. When they came to the U.S. to speak at a chiropractic convention, all 300 patients were symptom free, and the doctors feared that they would all drop out of the study and it would never get published. Luckily, the patients stuck to it! Their paper was published in the leading vascular medical journal in Europe last November.
What can you do?
If you, or someone close to you, has an autoimmune disease consulting with a chiropractor is good idea. Talk to your medical doctor, and let them know about the research going on in the field of chiropractic. Most doctors of chiropractic are glad to co-manage patients with their medical doctors.
There are plenty of resources online that can help you locate an upper cervical chiropractor. Up-C Spine is a great resource to find a practitioner near you and those you love.
However, the most important thing you can do, is get you nervous system checked!People who care about their teeth go to a dentist twice a year, they get their teeth checked and any maintenance care they need. There are, of course, people who only go when they have a tooth ache, and they end up needing a cavity filled, a root canal, or worse. Why wouldn’t you do the same for your nervous system? Get it checked – You may be in need for a chiropractic root-canal, and need to be checked more in the beginning before you enter maintenance care.; but you’ll have a healthy spine and spinal cord, and be a healthier person for it!