Chiropractors and Patients with Multiple Sclerosis: What You Need to Know
Through the course of a day, chiropractors see patients with numerous conditions. Some have simple aches and pains from things such as sleeping in the wrong position or standing too long. Others have arthritis or even multiple sclerosis, both of which cause pain of various types. Although multiple sclerosis is often thought of as a condition that makes it hard to move around and control your limbs, it can cause pain as well, leading suffers to head to the chiropractor for relief.
What Is Multiple Sclerosis?
Multiple sclerosis (also known as MS) is a disorder that occurs when your immune system begins to attack the protective covering on the nerves called myelin. The nerves that are attacked are supposed to respond to the brain, sending it various signals. When that protective covering is tampered with, those signals become muddled. As a result, you may have a hard time moving around and performing everyday tasks, and you might end up with quite a bit of pain.
Those with MS tend to have “flare-ups” where the disease progresses quite a bit before calming back down. The period of “calmness” is referred to as remission. In some cases, remission can last for years at a time before another flare occurs. However, even during remission, people with MS can have quite a bit of pain, which can be treated by a chiropractor.
How Can a Chiropractor Help MS Pain?
In order to understand how a chiropractor can help provide relief for the pain caused by MS, you first need to know what they do. A chiropractor has the ability to adjust two of the three different types of joints in the body. The first is called a synovial joint. These are the ones that help the body move around. For example, elbow joints, wrist joints, hip joints, and even knee joints are all synovial joints. The second type is a cartilaginous joint, which doesn’t move as freely as synovial ones. These joints, like the ones in the spine, move a little but lack a full range of motion. The third type of joint, called a fibrous one, doesn’t move at all. The plates that make up the skull are connected by fibrous joints. A chiropractor works with the first two types of joints in order to relieve pain. They cannot do anything for the third. Chiropractors are trained in how to realign the joints in the body. They perform adjustments to the spinal column that houses the nervous system. When the spine is aligned and moving properly, the nervous system will then work properly which can lessen pain and help with inflammation. When parts of the body get out of alignment (the spine is the most common “culprit” so to speak) they cause pain. Once everything is realigned, the pain will lessen. This is why a chiropractor can help those with MS – they can take care of the misalignments and the inflammation that are hallmarks of the condition.
Swollen Joints and MS
Since MS does more than just affect the control that the brain has over the body, a chiropractor can help. Inflammation can set in and make it harder for people with MS to move their joints. In addition, when the spine ends up out of alignment, it puts pressure on certain nerves in the back, causing pain. A chiropractor can help by readjusting the spine, helping with that specific nerve pain. In addition, they can help with the inflammation, taking care of the pain in the joints. The approach taken by a chiropractor depends on where the pain is located and which portion of the spine is out of alignment.
On top of this, a chiropractor will focus on a part of the spine at the top of the neck, near the brainstem. A misalignment here can cause widespread pain throughout the body, as well as inflammation. Despite the fact that this is located near the brainstem, the technique is actually well known and practiced, making it much less intimidating than it sounds.
Always Check with A Specialist
Of course, before you head to a chiropractor for relief from pain and inflammation, you should check with your MS specialist. They will let you know whether or not seeing a chiropractor is a good idea, and if they decide that it is, more than likely have a specific list of those with the specialized skills to help.