April showers bring May flowers, but it also brings us National Parkinson’s Disease Awareness Month. In the United States alone, over 1 million people are estimated to be afflicted with this disease, with another 50,000 newly diagnosed each year. Parkinson’s is a degenerative disorder of the brain that results from the destruction of substantia nigra cells that produce dopamine. Dopamine serves many functions in the brain and nerve system; including important roles in behavior and cognition, voluntary movement, motivation, sleep, mood, attention, working memory, and learning. Typical Parkinson’s symptoms include rigid muscles, tremor, bradykinesia (slow movement), gait disturbance, and postural instability. Within the condition of Parkinson’s, there are different types or groups: Drug-Induced, Progressive Supranuclear Palsy (PSP), Corticobasal Degeneration (CBD), Multiple System Atrophy (MSA), Vascular Parkinsonism, and Dementia with Lewy Bodies (DLB).
Modern medical treatment mostly consists in trying to manage the symptoms- mainly through the use of drugs that try and stimulate dopamine receptors. As the disease progresses and dopaminergic neurons continue to be lost, these drugs eventually become ineffective at treating the symptoms. Current studies are linking trauma induced upper cervical injury to the development of Parkinson’s Disease. It has been hypothesized that trauma to the upper cervical spine results in subclinical ischemia of neurological tissues, specifically to the brain, brainstem and spinal cord. Following the trauma, symptoms of Parkinson's Disease can take months or years to develop.
At OHIO Specific Chiropractic, I don’t try to stimulate or inhibit the nerve system- my goal is to aid the body in restoring proper nerve function caused by a direct interference to the nerve system- a vertebral subluxation. When proper nerve function is restored, the potential for health is at its greatest and a wide array of conditions, such as Parkinson’s Disease, can be well managed and even resolved.