Monthly Archives: April 2015

Multiple Sclerosis

by Mary Vincent, L.Ac.
Multiple Sclerosis is a disease of the central nervous system in which the person’s own immune system attacks the protective covering (myelin sheath) that surrounds their nerves. This myelin sheath is crucial to proper functioning of the nervous system, including the speed and accuracy of messages sent between the brain and the body. When damage occurs to the myelin sheath and proper brain-body communication is disrupted, the resulting impact on the nervous system can include a variety of symptoms, depending on which nerves are being attacked. These symptoms can range from mild to severe, can vary from person to person, and may include:
▪ Tingling, numbness, weakness in the face, body, or extremities.
▪ Blurry vision, double vision, eye pain, or colors that suddenly appear dull.
▪ Nerve pain like an “electric shock” when moving the neck (particularly bending it forward).
▪ Fatigue
▪ Dizziness
▪ Tremors
▪ Muscle spasticity
▪ Unsteady balance or gait
▪ Itching
▪ Headaches
▪ Speech or swallowing problems
▪ Declining bladder and bowel function

The above symptoms are often exacerbated when the body is warmer than usual, such as in hotter climates or during exercise. Most people will have periods of relapse and remission with their symptoms, in which their particular symptoms will flare up for days or weeks at a time, followed by a partial or complete improvement of these same symptoms for months to years. In at least 60% of people with MS, the disease course will eventually progress with less frequent remissions and a steady worsening of symptoms (known as secondary-progressive MS). A small percentage of individuals with MS will experience a gradual onset of symptoms and a steady progression of the [...]

The Nervous System

by Nicole Murray, L.Ac.
Since this week’s feature article is about Multiple Sclerosis, a disease of the central nervous system, we wanted to take the opportunity to do an introduction to how the nervous system works.
The nervous system is the body’s control center-all your thoughts and movements are controlled here.

Nerve Cells
The way messages are sent between the body and the brain is via nerve cells called neurons. A nerve impulse (electrical signal) travels across a neuron to connect to another neuron via a tiny gap (called a synapse). This causes the release of neurotransmitters, or chemicals that relay the nerve signal to the next neuron.
The nervous system is divided into two networks, the central nervous system and the peripheral nervous system.
Central Nervous System
The central nervous system (CNS) is the hub of the nervous system, made up of the network of nerves in the brain and spinal cord. The brain and spinal cord are so critical to our survival and function that they are protected by the skull, thevertebral canal, and connective tissue called the meninges. Cerebrospinal fluid surrounds the brain and spinal cord to protect them from trauma and help deliver nutrients to the brain.
The brain processes and interprets information sent from the spinal cord.
It also receives information from and sends information to the peripheral nervous system (more on that system below).

The Brain
The brain is the control center of the body. Weighing just three pounds, the brain interprets senses, controls behavior and body movement, and is the seat of intellect, language and memory. It controls ‘subconscious’ functions like breathing, digestion, and swallowing. The primary functional unit is a cell called the neuron. “All sensations, movements, thoughts, [...]