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Does spinal trauma trigger Multiple Sclerosis?

By Staff | Jul 28, 2016

Can injuries to the head, neck or spine trigger the onset of Multiple Sclerosis (MS)? This is a topic that has been debated in medicine for years. The suspicion has lingered and does not seem to be fading at all with time. In fact, more medical researchers are documenting cases of MS diagnosed subsequent to spinal trauma; too many to be caused by chance.

While the link between spinal trauma and MS onset has never been formally proven, many researchers believe this to be factual. Some scientists suggest that the precise impact to the central nervous system (brain and spinal cord) – through whiplash, concussion or similar trauma – will either cause the onset of MS or an exacerbation of existing symptoms. Some researchers believe that trauma alters the blood-brain-barrier, which many consider to be a critical step in the formation of MS lesions (plaques).

In medical practices, more doctors are documenting cases of MS diagnosis in patients after spinal trauma. Doctors state that after treating individuals for neck or head trauma – perhaps after auto or sports accidents – some are diagnosed with MS soon thereafter. In addition, medical professionals are noting that patients already diagnosed with MS have exacerbations following a new traumatic incident.

Researchers have discovered the link between cervical (neck) spinal cord injury and the formation of MS plaques through MRI analysis. There are some professionals who believe that the trigger for plaque formation is isolated in the neck; that the cervical vertebrae become dislodged or misaligned by trauma, which can interfere with and cause damage to the brain and spinal cord. There are also those who state that correcting neck injuries may reverse the advancement of the disease.

While more research is needed to determine the causal factors for Multiple Sclerosis, spinal trauma appears to be an area worthy of further research.

With over 20 years of experience as a specialist in the upper cervical spine, Upper Cervical Chiropractor Dr. Erin Elster, D.C., has published research discussing the connection between spinal trauma and MS onset. For more information, or to schedule an appointment, contact Dr. Elster in Kahului at (808) 866-6551 or www.erinelster.com.