Cerebrospinal Fluid: Obstruction and Role in Development of Neurodegenerative Diseases
One of the most amazing aspects about health care is the capacity to learn new information and gain new insights in an ever changing field of medicine. I was privileged to listen to a webinar sponsored by the Chiari and Syringomyelia Foundation. Dr. Raymond Damadian was the speaker and he is the inventor of the MRI. He recounted the story of his research and the development of this incredible imaging machine which is now used throughout the world to reveal internal injuries and identify cancerous tumors to save lives. The primary topic of his speech was the MRI imaging of the flow of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF). CSF is a clear, colorless fluid bathing the brain and spinal cord (central nervous system). This fluid is vital to providing a buffer or cushion to protect the brain from mechanical damage against the skull as well as immunological protection. It also serves a vital function in regulation of cerebral blood flow. It also removes waste products from the brain cells. Night time “irrigation” or “cleansing of the brain” with this fluid is essential for proper central nervous system functioning.
During the talk, Dr. Damadian mentioned a statistic that 32 quarts of CSF circulate between the brain and the sacrum per day1. Obstructions to the flow of CSF caused by malalignments in the upper neck region (C1-2 level of the spine) can predispose individuals to develop many common neurodegenerative diseases like Multiple Sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimers, Autism, and ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease)1. Many individuals have a predisposition for this region of the neck (C1-2) to be misaligned due to laxity of the ligaments that are meant to stabilize these joints, including those with genetic conditions like rheumatoid arthritis, Down’s Syndrome, and connective tissue disorders like Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome and Marfan’s syndrome. Dr. Damadian suggested that realignment of the cervical vertebrae in the neck by a trained professional like a physical therapist or a chiropractor might help in relieving pain, headaches, and restore the flow of CSF around the brain and spinal cord as well as decompress the vertebral arteries1. This should not be done by just anyone as it can potentially aggravate symptoms.
Here at BEAT Physical Therapy, we all have been trained by Great Lakes Seminars in a very gentle, low risk technique called muscle energy technique (MET corrections) where we use the patient’s own muscles to realign the vertebrae in the spine as well as rib cage. This can potentially remove obstructions and improve the circulation of cerebrospinal fluid as well as aid in cleansing the brain at night from waste products to seemingly reduce the likelihood of developing these crippling neurodegenerative diseases.
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 Dr. Raymond Damadian. The Story of the MRI: MRI’s Profound Current Prospects of Visualizing and Quantifying Cerebrospinal Fluid (CSF) Flow and the Role of CSF Flow Obstruction in the Genesis of the Symptomatology of Chiari, Syringomyelia, and the Neurodegenerative Diseases.