Parkinson’s Disease Linked to Head Injuries from Sports

Parkinson’s Disease, Parkinson’s, Sports Injury, neurological disorder, Head InjuryWhat exactly is Parkinson’s disease? It is a neurological disorder that can be described as progressive and long-lasting in nature. The end result is the death of brain cells, particularly neurotransmitters that are responsible for dopamine release. The creates motor impairments, such as:

  • Tremors
  • Instability of posture
  • Problems with cognitive impairment (from mild forgetfulness to dementia)
  • Delayed movement
  • Increased falls due to imbalance
  • Anxiety, depression, and other mood conditions
  • Problems swallowing and talking

These symptoms can be different for each person.

How Is Parkinson’s Related to Sports?

Interestingly, three famous men involved with sports have all been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. These are late heavyweight champion Muhammad Ali, NFL Hall of Famer Forrest Gregg, and professional basketball player Brian Grant. All of them had repeated head and neck trauma due to their professions. Their stories in the Huffington Post, USA Today, and other news reports reveal this common thread. So, the question remains, can anything be done to help before things reach the stage of Parkinson’s?

New Research Brings Good News

A new condition has been defined by those in the medical field called craniocervical syndrome. Technology is helping to offer hope and answers for those suffering from Parkinson’s disease. FONAR UPRIGHT Multi-Position MRI is able to show the damage associated with injury to the cervical spine and reveal misalignments in the upper neck. These are more-than-likely leading to partial or total blockage of cerebrospinal fluid flow. This creates changes in the brain as the cerebrospinal fluid leaks causing intracranial buildup. This is possibly the reason for not only Parkinson’s disease but other conditions like neurodegenerative diseases (Alzheimer’s, autism, and ALS) and multiple sclerosis. So, where can a person find help?

Upper Cervical Chiropractic

My goal is to help my patients to have the healthiest spine possible for them. I start by examining the upper neck vertebrae, the C1 (atlas) and C2 (axis), for misalignments. Then I work to correct this misalignment by a gentle adjustment, allowing the body’s restorative powers to take over and heal the damage done. Once corrected, research reveals that the changes in brain function can be detected immediately. By keeping the neck in proper alignment, it is possible that Parkinson’s will not be in a person’s future.

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Dr. Jeff Leach of Living Well Chiropractic, in Plymouth, Minnesota is a Plymouth Chiropractor and Upper Cervical Specialist trained by the National Upper Cervical Chiropractic Association (NUCCA). His upper cervical clinic also serves Minnetonka, Maple Grove, Wayzata, and St. Louis Park. 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, including migraines and other headaches, sciatica, neck and back pain, and torticollis. More information can be found on our website at