I now understand why a Shiatsu massage stopped my first big Multiple Sclerosis attack, and I have a renowned Neurologist’s observation to back up my conclusion, even though neither of us knew at the time how this happened. At the time (1980) the MRI didn’t exist and the only drug therapy was Prednisone, a corticosteroid which can trigger serious side effects. My HMO Neurologist was preparing to launch me on Prednisone treatment when the attack mysteriously stopped. I now believe at the first signs of an MS attack one should be treated with a Shiatsu massage rather than steroids. If that doesn’t work, no harm done, which can’t be said for steroids.
My first known MS attack paralysed my right arm. My HMO Neurologist said that mine was an unusual case and asked if I would come to be examined by a renowned British Neurologist who would be giving a Master Class at the Hospital. Dr. Christopher Pallis struck me as gruff and arrogant. He stood at the
head of a classroom of white coated Doctors before a chalk board and asked
me to sit on a small grey folding chair. He asked me to perform certain
manipulations with my arms and hands after which he asked me to remove my boots to continue the examination of my legs and feet. He then drew on the board a tube like structure, making a partial “bite” in it, explaining that this
was an unusual case since the lesions didn’t go all the way through as
evidenced by the fact that the right leg was not affected like the right
arm/hand. (I reflected that If they had, I would have been unable to walk. I would have been one of those immediate –if temporary - wheelchair cases.) He then turned towards me and very assertively said that I would entirely recover save for some residual clumsiness in my right hand. Just as assertively I insisted “When?”which caused the class to chuckle. “In a few months” he answered before abruptly dismissing me.
I left somewhat offended and discouraged. On arriving at the hospital I must have been feeling reasonably well since I had taken the bus to get there. On leaving I felt much worse and as I walked home from the bus
stop my legs were heavy as though I was pushing through 3 feet of water.
Now with the CCSVI vascular theory in mind I now understand that the encounter with Dr Pallis must have stressed me and the blood was backing up into my Central Nervous System. I felt I had done my Neurologist a favour with no real benefit to myself.
Today, 36 years later, I can see the benefit. I am proud to have been examined by a world famous Neurologist, especially since I agree generally with his political values (after a look at his obituary). And I’m convinced his analysis was the right one. My Neurologist wrote that Dr. Pallis thought I had a spinal
cord lesion (which is what he must have drawn on the board.) The HMO doctors thought it was a Left parietal white ? (somewhere else I read brainstem). The consensus was that MS was likely, though a parainfection process was still possible. The point is, my case was under discussion and the abrupt recovery which spared that part of the spinal cord controlling my legs was considered highly unusual.
How is it that the “attack”didn’t “eat through”the entire spinal cord
which would have left me unable to walk? My answer. The Shiatsu massage of 38 days earlier. My notes show that when I went to the Emergency
room on May 2 my upper spine burned fiercely. After the massage on May 9 I felt a total relief, even though the steam bath/sauna heat aggravated symptoms for a few days. The massage must have stopped the blood reflux onto the spinal cord. By May 14, even though I had undergone a CAT scan and EEG (which normally would have worsened my condition) I was feeling much better.
I inadvertently saved my legs by getting a Shiatsu massage. I believe any deep tissue massage would have done. If I had avoided the heat of the steam bath and sauna, I could probably have avoided the temporary
nervous system aggravation. (All massages release toxins from the muscles so one generally is tired the following day.) My Neurologist was puzzled, he was getting ready to launch me into steroid treatment, but then the whole process stopped. No one asked if I had done anything to arrive at this. Too bad Dr. Pallis didn’t think to ask. (Chapter Three on this site found under more…tells the story in greater detail.)
I now believe at the first onset of MS symptoms one should get a massage. Why not? I can’t see any possible harm, and the benefits may be beyond anyone’s expectations.
Prednisone’s side effects? A treatment for inflammatory, auto-immune diseases like MS, it can lead to high blood glucose levels, fluid retention, depression, anxiety, weight gain, moon shaped face, immunosuppression, mania, psychosis, osteoporosis, avascular necrosis (bone death leading to very painful crushed pelvic and shoulder joints), insomnia, secondary adrenal insufficiency, eventual dependency withdrawal. Those are just a few.
At a minimum I believe one should insist on a Shiatsu (or equally effective) massage to get the attack under control, and then a thorough investigation of fluid circulation through the central nervous system. If MRI’s are ordered one should insist on inclusion of a FONAR upright MRI for a complete analysis of the brain, spinal cord and any obstructions of blood and cerebrospinal fluid flow. While Neurologists are the first to be called upon in a nervous system crisis, I believe they are likely the least effective in dealing with it. In my opinion front line therapists should be massage therapists, physical therapists and chiropractors or osteopaths.
In the end it will be the Patient him/herself, by insisting on certain basic services, who will have to change MS treatment.
TAGS: Multiple Sclerosis, MS, treatment, Shiatsu massage, Prednisone, Corticosteroids, Dr. Pallis, CCSVI, Upright MRI, Chiropractor, Osteopath,