Ladies and gentlemen, last week was just one of those weeks where I get all fired up about our symptom-based, disease care system.  Some enjoy it, many do not.  Please understand, though, that writing passionately about the state of our health care in this country and its numerous flaws is the only way I know how to go about trying to make a difference.  It will take a lot longer for things to change around here if we sit back and attempt to change things quietly.  I find more and more every month that it just doesn't work that way...you have to be assertive.  But anyway...this week I want to get back to talking about specific conditions and presenting an alternate way of looking at them.

No Walk in the Park: Parkinson's Disease

Parkinson's disease is a condition affecting the central nerve system, in which the brain makes insufficient amounts of dopamine, leading to a variety of symptoms in various areas of the body.  Two notable celebrity sufferers of PD are Michael J. Fox and Muhammed Ali.  You may have seen one or both on TV, looking rigid with a noticeable shake.  Well, the key symptoms associated with Parkinson's are muscle rigidity (constantly super tight muscles), tremor (shaking), and bradykinesia (slowed movement).  Let's connect the dots...dopamine is a neurotransmitter, or a substance that transfers an electrical signal along nerves.  For proper movement or clear thoughts or your heart beating or any other vital process in your body, electrical signals are sent along nerves with the help of neurotransmitters.  Dopamine is one of the key neurotransmitters in your brain.  So, obviously, if your body is for whatever reason not making enough dopamine, then the signals that control your movement aren't going to smoothly pass along the nerves and the Parkinsonian symptoms described above may result.

Cause

Now, I want to take a closer look at Ali and Fox.  Traditional theories would have you look at them in two different categories.  While they each have the same disorder, it is readily accepted that Ali developed his condition from so many repeated shots to the head as a heavyweight boxer for 20 years.  Fox is not viewed in the same light.  He falls into the bigger category of "we have no idea why you have Parkinson's."  Well, after having seen PD cases before in the upper cervical arena (none were athletes), I want to present an alternate idea: there is no difference between the two cases.  All Parkinson's cases are the result of some sort of physical trauma.  Ali, being a boxer, stands out because he had more obvious trauma, but if you can find me a person on earth who has never experienced any kind of physical trauma, I'll call that person the luckiest human being to have ever lived.  We all go through physical traumas, at the earliest during the birthing process (one that we rarely think of, but that affects at least 75% of us).  I'd be willing to bet my degree that not a single Parkinson's patient has ever developed the condition without having had some sort of significant physical trauma at some point in their lives.

Treatment

Traditional ways of combating PD are to use a various combination of medications to try and restore some of the dopamine that isn't being produced, but (going back to what I wrote last week) that system is never going to succeed because it ignores the question: "Why isn't the brain producing enough dopamine?"  Dopamine is produced in various parts of the brain, so if your body is so devoid of it that you start having Parkinson symptoms, then the supply has been slowly, but surely depleting for a long time.  It's like the sands in an hour glass.  Once the sand starts pouring down from the top, it's only a matter of time before one half of the hour glass is empty.  Similarly, once your brain stops producing the proper amount of dopamine, it's only a matter of time before you are running so low on it that you'll start showing the symptoms. 

So, why does the brain stop producing the proper dopamine?  Based on how well Parkinson's patients have responded to Upper Cervical care, I am of the opinion that a big part of the problem is that the traumas suffered by these patients affect their brainstems.  Considering the delicacy of the brainstem area, that comes as no surprise.  There may not be a more susceptible area of the body to injury.  The brainstem plays the biggest role in the intercommunication between different areas of the brain and central nerve system, so a brainstem subluxation...when one of the bones that surround the brainstem misalign and put abnormal tension on it...can disrupt that intercommunication and interfere with signals responsible for instructing the areas of the brain that make dopamine to produce the proper amount.  This may sound familiar to many of you long-time readers because it's the same concept involved with a lot of other conditions.  Take Type II diabetes, for instance...Type II diabetes and Parkinson's have one key thing in common: they are conditions in which the production of a hormone that the body absolutely has to have isn't being produced in the proper amount. 

Suggestion

Drugs used to treat the symptoms of PD have a varying degree of efficacy, but there is no drug that can cure it...of that, there is no doubt.  Thus, my suggestion for those with this condition are to get evaluated by an upper cervical doctor and let's see if there is a brainstem subluxation that could, at the very least, be a contributing factor.  Try to remember how intelligently the body was designed.  Dopamine serves a specific purpose in the body.  It's supposed to be produced in the proper amount.  So, make sure your body is functioning properly so that your intelligently designed body can do its thing...

Thinking good things for you, as always,

Dr. Chad