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Chiropractic Care for Multiple Sclerosis (MS)

Published Date: 
August 7, 2023
Woman walking alongside man in wheelchair holding cane.

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a disease of the brain and spinal cord (central nervous system). It is disabling for many people. Chiropractic care can help you manage the symptoms of MS and improve your quality of life.

The immune systems of people with MS attack the protective sheath covering the body’s nerve fibers. It causes communication problems between the brain and the rest of the body. 

Over time, MS can cause permanent deterioration or damage to the nerve fibers.

Signs and symptoms of MS vary from person to person. Much of it depends on the severity of nerve fiber damage. 

For example, some people with severe MS lose their ability to walk. Others experience extended periods of remission where their symptoms improve or don’t develop any new symptoms. 

There's no cure for multiple sclerosis, but there are treatments to help speed the recovery from flare-ups. Chiropractic care is one of these treatments. 

Benefits of Chiropractic Care for Multiple Sclerosis

There are many benefits to using chiropractic care for multiple sclerosis. For example:

  • Managing pain: Chiropractic treatments can reduce muscle and joint pain using spinal adjustments and soft tissue manipulation.
  • Improving mobility: Chiropractic treatments use stretching, massage, and other practices to enhance range of motion issues for people with MS.
  • Reducing fatigue: Chiropractors use adjustments to boost energy for people with MS.
  • Improving balance: Chiropractors use balance exercises to improve balance and reduce the risk of falls.
  • Improving overall well-being: Chiropractors use various tools to improve the overall health of all patients, including those with MS. They help with sleep issues, reduce stress, and boost immunity.
Woman in wheelchair looking out bright window.

Patients with MS report improvements that include:

  • Increased energy levels
  • More mobility
  • Reduced fatigue
  • Better endurance
  • Increased muscle control
  • Less pain
  • Boosted confidence and outlook

Chiropractic Techniques for Alleviating Multiple Sclerosis Symptoms

Chiropractors use a variety of tools to help people manage their MS symptoms. For example:

Spinal Adjustments

Spinal adjustments are the primary tool chiropractors use to treat patients. 

During a spinal adjustment, chiropractors use their hands or a small instrument to apply a controlled, sudden force to a spinal joint. This improves spinal motion and the body's physical function.

Soft Tissue Manipulation

Soft tissues support, surround, and connect the body’s hard tissue and organs. Examples include: 

  • Skin
  • Tendons
  • Muscles
  • Ligaments
  • Fat
  • Nerves 

Soft tissue manipulation improves the condition of the body’s soft tissues. It can improve the oxygen supply and circulation of fluids. This relieves pain, eliminates swelling, and releases the tension constricted in the soft tissues.

chiropractor treating MS patient.

Different methods used in soft tissue chiropractic manipulation include:

  • Massage therapy
  • Muscle energy technique
  • Neuromuscular technique
  • Trigger points release
  • Acupuncture or cupping
  • Deep transverse friction massage


Our bodies are designed to move. Pain can decrease the body’s natural movement. People with MS might be tempted to reduce movement, but this can backfire. Stretching is a gentle way to move the body, even when in pain. It reduces pain and prevents future injury.

Chiropractors can show MS patients the safest, most effective stretches to reduce pain and increase mobility.

Stretching is an essential tool for joint health. When the muscles surrounding joints become tight or tense, it drastically reduces mobility in the joint. Stretching lengthens the muscles, allowing for easier movement.

Stretching also improves circulation. This allows blood to flow more freely through the body. Stretching can also help reduce stress and naturally improve energy. 

Other benefits of chiropractic adjustments and stretching include:

  • Relief of post-exercise soreness and pain
  • Improved athletic performance
  • Prevention of future injuries
  • Treating existing injuries
  • Improving posture

Stretching is safe to do at home for just about everyone. Your chiropractors will design a stretching program and teach you to move safely. They can modify basic stretches to help you get the physical activity needed to improve your health.


Exercise is extremely helpful for reducing pain and improving mobility. Unfortunately, it can be difficult for MS patients to exercise because of their pain and fatigue. A chiropractor can help you design a manageable exercise program that benefits you, even if you can’t do typical exercise. 

Because chiropractic visits occur on an ongoing basis, you can assess your exercise goals and achievements over several weeks and make changes as needed.

What to Expect During a Chiropractic Appointment

Chiropractic adjustments involve high velocity, low amplitude thrusting motions. This helps to align vertebrae. It might also include an accompanying, audible release of gas (joint cavitation). The release of oxygen, nitrogen, and carbon dioxide causes this release. It’s an effective way to alleviate joint pressure. 

Each appointment is different, depending on a patient’s goals. According to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, “The goal of chiropractic therapy is to restore normal function to joints and their supporting structure, especially the vertebral column and pelvis. Following a simple examination and — often — radiological evaluation, the chiropractic practitioner applies precise adjustment to the vertebral column to bring structures back into alignment.”

A typical chiropractic adjustment begins with your chiropractor placing you in specific positions to treat affected areas. This is often face down on a specially designed, padded chiropractic table. 

Chiropractors use their hands to apply a controlled, sudden force to a joint. This pushes it beyond its current range of motion. Many people hear a popping or cracking sound when the joints are adjusted during treatment.

Young woman holding an orange MS ribbon.

Like all medical treatments, chiropractic treatments put patients at risk of side effects. In almost all cases, these side effects are mild and include the following:

  • Flu-like symptoms
  • Nausea
  • Headaches
  • Dizziness


Chiropractic care is extremely beneficial for people with multiple sclerosis. It helps them with pain management and increased mobility. It also provides overall health benefits and enables you to enjoy a better quality of life, even with MS. If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with MS, consider chiropractic care for your health management program.

Dr. Darren Faherty D.C.

In 2004, Dr. Darren Faherty graduated with a Bachelors of Science degree in Biology from UWEC - University of Wisconsin Eau Claire. Dr. Darren continued education at the highly esteemed University of Western States (formerly Western States Chiropractic College) where he obtained his chiropractic degree in 2007. He has been helping people recover from injuries and return to their normal lifestyles ever since.

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