Canadian Pride and a Dubious Distinction Article of the Week Aug 21-25, 2017
Earlier this summer there was a lot of fanfare leading up to Canada's 150th birthday. The occasion gave us all an opportunity to reflect on how blessed we are to live in such an amazing country, and also to think about what it means to be Canadian. Canada continually ranks as one of the most loved countries in the world by people of different nationalities across the globe.
Canada is known for many things including ice hockey, maple syrup, Tim Horton's and the loonie. We are known for being polite and apologetic, for the beauty of our landscape and for inventing things like insulin and the telephone. I could write pages on Canadian pride and the awesome things about our country. However, there is one undesirable distinction that is associated with being Canadian. Did you know that Canada has the highest rate of Multiple Sclerosis in the world, with an estimated 1 in 340 Canadians living with the disease?
Multiple Sclerosis gets my attention because it is a nervous system disease, the same system I aim to improve. MS symptoms appear when the insulating sheath around the nerves (called myelin) starts to break down, which interferes with the transmission of nerves from the brain to all parts of the body. MS can cause tremors, pain, extreme fatigue, lack of coordination, weakness, numbness and tingling, depression, vision problems, bowel and bladder problems, cognitive impairment and mood changes. It is considered an autoimmune disease, meaning your own immune system is being triggered to attack the myelin surrounding the nerves. Currently, there is no known cure and a 2014 study found that MS reduces life expectancy by 6 years.
I had a patient ask me last week if a patient suffering with MS could benefit from being under chiropractic care. There are two levels that chiropractic care can help a patient struggling with MS. Firstly, improving spinal alignment can enhance nerve transmission between the brain and the rest of the body. As mentioned above, poor nerve conduction is at the root cause of MS symptoms. Also, by improving the function of your nervous system through regular adjustments your immune system will also proportionately improve. An autoimmune disease is characterized by your immune system attacking a healthy part of your own body that it shouldn't, rather than foreign invaders like bacteria or viruses. In the case of MS the body inappropriately attacks the myelin surrounding nerves. Remember, your immune system can only work as well as your nervous system works.
A study just published this month in the Annals of Subluxation Research documented the results of a 26 year old woman suffering with MS symptoms who made the decision to begin chiropractic care. When she was reassessed a short time after starting, the curve in her neck had improved, as had her headaches and numbness in her neck and arms. What I would like you to take home from this case study is the understanding that, just because someone has a more complicated medical condition does not mean that they can't benefit from chiropractic care.
Maybe you know someone suffering with MS that is looking for something to alleviate their suffering without the side effects associated with more medication. If so, please share this article of the week. Maybe one day we can strike MS from the list of what it means to be Canadian.
Yours in Health,
ps – For those interested in seeing the research abstract on chiropractic and MS, please go to the following link: