We say upper cervical because we work only with the top two bones in the neck, but we get questions sometimes saying, “Hey, what can you do for my mid-back? My low back? I have pain here. I have pain there.” We will talk about that in a little bit. But first, let’s talk about something that happens, usually in the low back, called a disc bulge, which can turn into a disc herniation, or even a disc rupture, which can be very problematic. In between the bones in the spine, called vertebrae, we have pads called intervertebral discs. These discs have two parts to them. One is the annular fibers of the annulus, which surrounds, two, the nucleus. The nucleus is more of a harder substance. It is kind of like a ball bearing. It allows us to have some space in between the bones and provide mobility.
The annulus provides some cushion, and it also helps the nucleus stay in the center of the vertebrae. A disc bulge means that the nucleus starts to move into the annular fibers. It starts to move in a direction we do not want it to go. As a result, the annulus starts to push out. Usually, it pushes out in the posterior, or backward direction, and it puts pressure on the spinal cord. We start to have pain, we start to have a loss of bowel and bladder control, pain down the legs – anything that can happen by putting pressure on the spinal cord. Usually, what conventional medicine will do is take that annulus that has been pushed out of its normal space and cut it out. The person feels good for a little bit, but that nucleus is still not in the correct position. The nucleus continues to go out… out… out until finally, that disc ruptures or the nucleus pushes completely through the annulus. Now, we really have an issue.
Once that disc is ruptured, we have permanent damage to the spinal cord. Usually, they replace the disc or fuse these bones together, which can be a very detrimental surgery. Unfortunately, we don’t see very good results with surgery when we look at the statistics. What can we do as upper cervical chiropractors to not only help with this condition, but prevent it from happening? With upper cervical care, what we look at is the misalignment at the top of the neck. When this misalignment happens, it forces compensations throughout the rest of the spine, which produce weak spots in the spine. These weak spots force abnormal curves in the rest of the spine. These abnormal curves are what push the nucleus of the disc into the wrong position. Over time, as this bone stays misaligned, this position gets worse and worse until that disc bulges or even ruptures.
We see amazing results with mid back pain and low back pain because we can adjust the top of the neck, which is the cause of the misalignment, or the imbalance to the rest of the spine. We put the top bone back where it needs to go, allowing the compensations to literally align themselves. The body doesn’t need the compensations anymore, allowing the spine to get back to its normal position, also allowing this nucleus to get back to its normal position. You have never had a drug deficiency; you have never had too many body parts, so it never makes sense to take drugs or cut something out. It all happens at the nervous system, and that is what we look for at the Upper Cervical Spine Center. We check if you have pressure on the nervous system, which could be creating body imbalance or this disc bulge.