Upper Cervical, Chiropractic, Contact Sports, Parkinson's DiseaseA common thread ties together former heavyweight champion Muhammad Ali, former professional basketball player Brian Grant, and NFL Hall of Famer Forrest Gregg. There has been much discussion in the news lately about the fact that all three of these men received repeated head and neck trauma due to their profession in contact sports. Also, all three have been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease.

What is Parkinson’s Disease?

Parkinson’s disease is a neurological disorder that is chronic and degenerative. It results in the death of the brain cells. The specific cells targeted are those that are releasing dopamine, which is a neurotransmitter. This causes motor impairments that have such symptoms as:

  • Slowed movement
  • Tremors
  • Postural instability
  • Loss of balance which can lead to frequent falls
  • Fatigue and sleep disturbances
  • Speech and swallowing problems
  • Mood disorders, such as anxiety and depression
  • Cognitive impairment ranging from mild forgetfulness to dementia

The symptoms manifest differently with each patient.

The Huffington Post did a story on former NBA star basketball player Brian Grant of the Portland Trail Blazers, who has recently been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. Grant is known for being a physical player and, therefore, has received many head and neck injuries. The Huffington Post goes on to say “As of today, there is no known cure for Parkinson’s, which for Grant is one of the most troubling parts of the disease.” Grant called the disease “emotional devastating.”

Hall of Famer Forrest Gregg of the Green Bay Packers told USA Today in an article that he, along with his neurologist, blame his repeated head trauma for his Parkinson’s disease. However, he is not going to sue the NFL like thousands of other former NFL players. When Gregg was initially diagnosed, his neurologist, Dr. Rajeev Kumar, a Parkinson’s expert and medical director of the Colorado Neurological Institute’s Movement Disorders Center in Denver, said that the many concussions that Gregg received may have served as a trigger for his Parkinson’s.

The former boxing champion Muhammed Ali was the subject of another news story that reported that he had been receiving treatment for Parkinson’s disease before his 1980 fight with Larry Holmes. In 1980 at the age of 38, Ali attempted for the 4th time to win the heavyweight boxing championship. He was defeated by Larry Holmes in 10 rounds. It is commonly believed by many that it was then that his Parkinson’s began. Now, however, there are reports that he was showing signs of slowed speech and basic motor skills prior to the 1980 fight.

Hope for Parkinson’s Sufferers

New research and the definition of a new syndrome by the medical community is providing hope for the Parkinson’s community. Cranio-Cervical Syndrome is being looked at in a new way with new technology. It is offering hope and some solid answers for those with Parkinson’s disease. FONAR UPRIGHT® Multi-Position™ MRI is clearly showing that a variety of damage, associated with past traumas to the cervical spine and misalignments in the upper neck, could be leading to a total or partial CSF (cerebrospinal fluid) flow obstruction. This changes the brain in such ways as CSF leaks and increased intracranial pressure. These changes are being studied as possible causes for not only Parkinson’s disease, but multiple sclerosis, other neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s, ALS, and childhood autism.

The primary purpose of a symposium held in New York City was to raise awareness of Cranio-Cervical Syndrome in the medical community. They also felt it was an urgent need to inform the thousands of former and current athletes that are in the ‘contact sports’ field since this field more than others seems to be afflicted by this syndrome. Symposium organizers stated ”that there now exists genuine hope going forward for their symptom-free (or dramatic symptom reduction) future lives.”

How To Go About Getting Help

A person that would like to know if they have this syndrome will need to be thoroughly examined by an expert in the field of Upper Cervical Chiropractic. Dr. Armen Manoucherian of Glendale, California is one such expert. Dr. Manoucherian will look for a misalignment in the upper neck. If one is found, it will be corrected with an Upper Cervical Chiropractic adjustment, a specialized procedure that is safe, gentle and extremely effective. Research reveals that when this is done, a change in the functioning of the brain is immediate.

If you have been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease or any other neurodegenerative disease and were involved in contact sports in your past, you should be evaluated by an upper cervical specialist as soon as possible.

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Dr. Armen Manoucherian of Health Edge Family Spinal Care in Glendale, California is a Glendale Chiropractor and Upper Cervical Specialist trained by the National Upper Cervical Chiropractic Association (NUCCA). He has helped many children and adults find natural relief in Glendale, California. His upper cervical clinic also serves the communities of Pasadena, Los Angeles, West Hollywood, Beverly Hills and Burbank. He is uniquely trained to correct problems in the upper cervical spine (upper neck). This vital area is intimately connected to the central nervous system and problems in this area have been shown to be an underlying cause of a variety of different health problems. More information can be found on his website at http://www.healthedgela.com