Case Study: Dental Treatment for Multiple Sclerosis
The backdrop to this story is long and convoluted, so I will spare you the details and concentrate on the essentials.
I had been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 1984, following a lumbar puncture and, more recently, by an MRI scan. Nothing remarkable or untoward happened until one night in December 1994, when I found myself in the most dreadful situation. Having fallen asleep after a day at work, I awoke suddenly and dramatically on hearing a loud click in my head behind my right ear. I got up feeling ‘spaced out’ and terrified, as if a curtain had dropped between reality and myself, as if I existed in a bubble.
The following day I visited my GP who recommended rest and suggested that ‘stress’ was the probable cause. A few weeks off work brought no improvement. I felt even worse. A metal band seemed to be tightening its grip around my brain, causing extreme pressure and my mind to run riot.
Convinced that I was going mad/ crazy, I agreed to see a psychiatrist who decided that I was mentally ill and suffering from anxiety/depression. Anxious yes, very worried yes. Who wouldn’t be? The prescribed cocktail of drugs brought horrendous results. I was then required to attend a day centre from which I was discharged after a period of three months with the comforting comment that I might never recover – a fate worse than death.
Neurology was the next area to be explored. There was nothing to offer here and the consultant dismissively suggested that the earlier diagnosis of MS and/or mental illness was probably correct – “these were simply labels”!
Left to my own devices and painfully aware that conventional medicine had failed, I spent the next three years and thousands of pounds attending alternative medical practitioners, healers and anyone else who offered a ray of hope. I was clutching at very costly straws. By now I was feeling disillusioned and quite angry.
Still hoping for a miracle, I continued to buy health magazines. My luck was about to change when an advertisement caught my eye. Terms such as ‘cranial symmetry’ struck a cord with me. I phoned and spoke to the practitioner and described my symptoms. He said that he had read a lot about MS but he had never seen an MS patient and was keen to see if his hypothesis would work for this condition. He would be in a position to say if his criteria would be helpful after he had examined me.
In short, I took the plunge and flew from Belfast to London. In spite of niggling doubts, I was hopeful. I desperately wanted this to work. My fears that this was another wild goose chase were overwhelming. Nothing could have been further from the truth.
I met the dentist who patiently listened to exhaustive responses to his questions before examining my mouth and jaw. All doubts disappeared when he casually observed that mine had been a problem waiting to happen and had begun when I cut my second teeth. He didn’t know that at around the age of eight or nine I had started to suffer from migraine and had been troubled with it ever since. He further stated that the history of my symptoms fitted in with his hypothesis and was in line with his predictions and thoughts on the subject. He also warned that, as he had not previously treated an MS patient, he could not give any kind of warranty.
I received a full explanation about the underlying cause (according to his hypothesis), and the proposed treatment. Concerning my perfectly straight teeth and jaws, he said that they were not in harmony with the rest of my head. I was fitted with a dental appliance and was asked to follow certain exercises that he prescribed. I continued wearing various appliances for two years and got increasingly better as time went on.
Now, some four years later, I have experienced a huge improvement and, in fact, normality. Almost all of the problems that troubled me prior to and after the diagnosis of multiple sclerosis, have disappeared. Although the treatment finished some 18 months ago, I still visit for check ups. It seems that my face says it all. Not the expression but the ‘arrangement of features’. He doesn’t need to ask how I am – he seems to know. He views things through a wide-angled lens (metaphorically speaking) looking for the bigger picture. Minor ups and downs that I have occasionally suffered are quickly sorted out.
It strikes me that there is something fundamentally wrong regarding the way in which medicine is controlled and practised, as far as chronic illness is concerned. My experience raises very serious questions, which warrant serious consideration. Psychology and psychiatry are nebulous areas, and too often when conventional medicine cannot find the answers, patients are being referred into the unknown. They are weaned out of the system if they fail to take up the psychiatric route – which is, at best, only an attempt to paper over the cracks.
My heartfelt thanks to Mr Amir for succeeding where others have failed, for thinking laterally, for his power of prediction, for leaping forward for and, in his profession, for being brave and forthright in his judgements, for his ability and confidence, for not giving up, for his passion in the care of his patients and making the dreams of many come true. I was fortunate enough to meet him.
Mr Amir Comments
While I can understand the patient’s sentiments, I would be most reluctant to raise hopes for millions of sufferers of this serious condition. I can confidently say that persons suffering from the extreme form, which is Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, cannot be successfully treated with my methods. With milder cases, especially for those where the condition has not been long standing, this may be a breakthrough. However, even to make this claim I need to have successfully treated many more patients. The lasting effect of the treatment will not be known for many years to come. It does appear already that ongoing supervision will be necessary but refinement of technique together with patient motivation may obviate it in some cases.
Constraints laid down by the scientific community require that the treatment methodology must be reproducible at other centres before any real claims of a cure, or rather relief of symptoms, can be made. The methods also have to withstand the rigours of a peer review and recognition by the governing body of my profession for the necessary protection of patients.
Perhaps we are on the threshold of a definitive new discipline. This requires funding for the establishment of a centre for excellence where researchers and practitioners from multiple disciplines can combine the hardware, software and training facilities together for the advancement and implementation of this discipline.
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