Head / Neck Misalignment – vs – Head / Neck Alignment
The brain controls all messages to every cell in the body, including messages of health and healing. The upper cervical vertebrae—the atlas and the axis—directly affect the spinal cord and the control centers of the brain. If the atlas and axis are not aligned, the brain cannot communicate properly with the rest of the body. As a direct consequence, health problems may begin to appear. Upper Cervical is a specialized approach to chiropractic that corrects misalignments of the atlas or axis, thus restoring the body’s normal function and health. It’s as simple as that.
Upper Cervical care focuses on the proper alignment of the top vertebrae in the neck.The reason that head alignment is so important is that this part of your body protects your brainstem. Upper Cervical doctors believe that inference or disruption to the normal activity of your brainstem may potentially contribute to a number of health conditions.
An Upper Cervical correction is different from what many people think of as chiropractic manipulation. There is no pulling, tugging, or jerking of the head. This precise yet gentle touch allows the head, neck, and spine to return to the proper position, helping to remove the interference and restoring balance to the body.
The focus of Upper Cervical Care is the correct alignment of the two vertebrae in the spine: the atlas and the axis. Think of your spinal cord as a computer cable that transmits information between your brain and the rest of your body. The atlas and axis protect the brainstem, which is the control center for all communication in the brain and body.
These top two vertebrae also support the full weight of the head: approximately 4.0 Kg, which is the same weight as a bowling ball.
When the atlas and axis are aligned, the brain is able to communicate properly with the rest of your body. Your body is able to function and do what it is supposed to do. However, if the atlas and axis are not aligned, they cannot support the weight of the head and create body imbalance. This imbalance creates tremendous physical stress through every joint in your body.
An upper cervical misalignment may also disrupt the communication between the brain and the rest of the body. This problem may lead to a wide array of neurological or spinal-related disorders, which people have reported to improve following upper cervical care.
Upper Cervical is remarkably different from what most people experience as “general chiropractic.” The focus of Upper Cervical chiropractic is to correct a misalignment of the upper neck. Although the scope of Upper Cervical care is small, by addressing the cause of injury at the power source means there can be potential benefits throughout the body.
After graduating from general chiropractic college, Upper Cervical doctors continue post-graduate training in upper cervical care. This includes advanced studies in anatomy, neurology, biomechanics, radiology, instrumentation and corrective procedures specific to the upper cervical spine. Because the field requires such rigorous training, there are only ~900 doctors in the world certified to provide upper cervical care.
Upper Cervical is different from traditional medicine, physical therapy and general chiropractic. Upper cervical doctors use precise and objective spirographs or X-rays of the head and neck. Measurements are taken, and an analysis is made to determine exactly how the top vertebrae are misaligned and what the appropriate course of action needs to be.
Traditional medicine prescribes drugs or performs surgeries. Physical therapy uses a wide array of modalities, stretching and strengthening. General chiropractic utilizes a variety of manipulations to increase the range of motion within the spine. Make no mistake: these healing arts help millions of people each year!
Nevertheless, many people are turning to upper cervical care if the customary approaches aren’t working as we hope. Upper Cervical care uses 80 years of clinical research, precision X-rays, mathematical measurements, spinal analysis, and pre/post objective instrumentation to determine how to adjust misalignments of the upper neck … and to know when we’ve been able to do so.
The intent of upper cervical care is not to make a correction every visit but rather to make a correction and have it hold for an extended period of time, thus allowing the body to heal itself. We emphasize prevention rather than the treatment of disease.
There is no simple answer to this question. However, there are three guidelines or Rules of Healing that may give you some idea of how long it may take and how much work may be required.
Like going on a diet or starting an exercise program, you don’t lose 10Kg in just a couple of days. Even at the end of 6 weeks, it does not mean that things will be 100% perfect. Much of it depends how well you are able to do the necessary things so that your body can heal.
Certainly, I prefer rapid change myself. However, the fact is that change happens one step at a time. There are no shortcuts. Chiropractic is not a cure for any disease or ailment. It is an approach to promote health and proper body functioning.
There is a difference between symptom relief and healing. Symptoms can subside quickly. Tissue repair and healing usually take longer.
This rule is true even if the underlying condition (ie, spinal misalignment) has not been causing you any grief previously. In fact, people can suffer an injury 10-15 years prior to the onset of any major problems.
For this reason, it is important when starting care to keep a close eye to monitor how you respond to your adjustments. Let me be clear: I do not like keeping anyone on a high-intensity schedule of care for long at all. As soon as you notice an improvement and it is clear that your adjustment is holding, we can reduce the frequency of your checkups.
I will always give you my best recommendation of care. However, I never want you (or anyone else) to ever feel pushed into accepting any more care than is comfortable for you. We will always do things one step at a time at a pace that is comfortable for you.
That is ideally what we are trying to achieve. However, it is extremely rare that anyone needs just one adjustment that resolves all of their health problems. We all like instant results, but the human body does not work that way.
If you cut your finger and cover it with a band-aid, the band-aid does not fix the cut. When muscles, ligaments and nerves have been damaged, they take time to heal. The good news is that no matter your age, your body never forgets how to heal itself. All it needs is the time and opportunity to do so.
As your body heals, the important thing is that the adjustment holds. I often use the expression, “The adjustment is holding,” which means that a joint is staying in the correct position. There are 3 reasons that an adjustment may not hold right away:
Your muscles/ligaments get weak. They are not strong enough to keep the vertebra where it should be. Your nerves are resistant to change (aka muscle memory). Your body must unlearn bad habits. Life goes on. By doing the same things that caused the vertebra to misalign in the first place (eg sleeping the wrong way, working and driving too much, etc), your body will take longer to heal. As your body heals, generally your adjustment holds longer. And the longer the adjustment holds, the better!
What Can I Expect After an Adjustment?
There are three possibilities that follow a chiropractic adjustment.
1. You feel better.
About 50% of people notice a positive change following an adjustment. About 30% of people may experience fatigue, headaches or soreness from using muscles that have not been used for some time. Symptoms usually settle within 48 hours, but we will provide you strategies to minimise any discomfort you may experience.
2. You feel no change.
The changes that need to be made inside your body take time. However, there is a chance that your condition may not respond to chiropractic treatment. If, after starting care you experience no positive results within 2-6 weeks, we will refer you to another health practitioner in order to achieve your goals.
3. You feel worse.
Although exceedingly rare (less than 0.01%), we are required by law to inform you of the possibility that chiropractic care may exacerbate cerebrovascular insufficiency, severe disc injuries, or other pre-existing conditions. That said, I have never come across a single case of severe injury following a specific Upper Cervical correction performed by a qualified Upper Cervical chiropractor. If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to ask us.
An adjustment is the physical correction of a misaligned joint. When a vertebra is misaligned, it may impinge (not ‘pinch’) and exert pressure on a nerve or the spinal cord.
If the vertebra is jammed (similar to a cogwheel getting stuck), the resulting long-term pressure may cause inflammation and abnormal nerve function. The purpose of the adjustment is to un-jam the vertebra and restore its normal movement. When the vertebra is un-jammed, it can release the pressure and restores the normal clarity of nerve impulses between the brain and the body.
The Knee Chest Upper Cervical Technique is unique among Upper Cervical and other full-spine chiropractic methods in that it is a custom-tailored adjustment. Every person’s anatomy is different … even on the left and right sides of their bodies. For this reason, in the Knee Chest Upper Cervical Technique, we must determine what your own bone structure is using a specialised series of x-rays because if we don’t know what your normal is, there’s no way we can know what your “abnormal” is.”
With this information, we are able to perform a highly specific “torqued” adjustment with an exceptionally light amount of force. A drop mechanism in the headpiece allows for a small vibration, which we believe allows the atlas, axis and other cervical vertebra to “reseat” themselves without having to manipulate the bones into place. The correction is performed by hand, and there is no cracking and zero rotation of the head.
Study shows asthma sufferers improve over 87% with Upper Cervical Care.
Can Upper Cervical Help Asthma?
The most common misperception about Upper Cervical care is that it only helps back and neck pain. Although our doctors can certainly help those who come to us seeking relief from back and neck pain, these patients represent a small percentage of
those helped by Upper Cervical doctors. Patients suffering from a variety of conditions, including asthma, have had their health restored through Upper Cervical care.
Upper Cervical Care - A Simple Concept
Upper Cervical care is based on the universal law of cause and effect. For every effect or symptom, physical or mental, there must be a cause. Upper Cervical chiropractors focus on locating and removing interference to the nervous system that can be the cause of the health condition. Removing this interference allows the body to heal itself naturally without drugs or surgery. An Upper Cervical correction is very controlled; there is no pulling, tugging, or jerking of the head. This precise yet gentle touch allows the head, neck, and spine to return to the proper position, thus removing the interference and restoring balance to the body.
The Brain Stem & Breathing
The nervous system is a very complex communication network designed to control and coordinate the body’s vital functions. One of those functions is to control the respiratory system and lungs. Consider that you can climb a flight of stairs, run, swim, or ride a bike without even thinking about your breathing. That’s because the respiratory center, housed in the brain stem, is responsible for adjusting the rate of breathing to the demands of the body so that proper oxygen and carbon dioxide levels remain unchanged even during strenuous exercise.
Asthma involves both the lungs and the immune system and has become the most common and costly illness in the United States.
An estimated 17 million Americans suffer from asthma at an annual cost of over $13 billion. Asthma accounts for more hospitalizations than any other childhood disease, and children suffering from asthma miss more than 10 million days of school every year. Nearly 5000 people die from causes related to asthma each year, and it is one of the many diseases with an increasing death rate.
Even though asthma is a common condition, if is far from simple. During an asthma attack, the airways become narrow and obstructed due to a combination of muscle spasm, inflammation, and excess mucus production. The symptoms, which vary among sufferers, include wheezing, shortness of breath, chest tightness and chronic coughing.
Asthma attacks can be triggered by any condition that causes inflammation in the airways. These triggers include irritants like the following: dust mites, animal dander, pollen, mold, pollution, smoke, exercise, cold air, or intense emotions.
Asthma & Allergies
Many asthma sufferers also have allergies, which, although related, differ from asthma. However, allergens like pollen, mold, animal dander, and dust mites can make asthma symptoms worse by increasing inflammation in the airways.
Common Medical Treatments for Asthma
Common medical treatments for asthma include anti-inflammatory drugs, inhaled corticosteroids, or long-acting bronchodilators, names like Singulair®, Albuterol®, Ventolin®, Atrovent®, and Prednisone®. According to the Physician’s Desk Reference, all of these drugs can have dangerous side effects.
Possible Causes of Asthma
While the cause of asthma is still unknown, many researchers believe asthma is caused by a disturbance of the respiratory center within the brain stem. In fact, one study suggests this is the “common denominator” and basic underlying mechanism in all varieties of asthma. This disturbance is believed to cause the muscles of the airway to contract thus restricting the flow of air in the lungs.
Upper Cervical Care & the Brain Stem
Misalignments of the top two vertebrae (bones) in the cervical spine (neck) can cause disturbances within the brain stem and respiratory center. Studies have shown that Upper Cervical care dramatically improves lung function. One published report showed that each asthma patient in the study improved from 87% to 100% with Upper Cervical care.
Carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) is a debilitating disorder caused by irritation or pressure to the median nerve. The median nerve originates in the neck, runs through the shoulder, arm and forearm into the wrist and hand.
Can Upper Cervical Help Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?
The most common misperception about Upper Cervical care is that it only helps back and neck pain. Although our doctors can certainly help those who come to us seeking relief from back and neck pain, these patients represent a small percentage of those helped by Upper Cervical doctors. Patients suffering from a variety of conditions, including carpal tunnel, have had their health restored through Upper Cervical care. Upper Cervical chiropractors recognize that the body is a self-healing organism controlled and coordinated by the central nervous system, which is protected by the skull and spine.
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS) is a debilitating disorder caused by irritation or pressure to the median nerve which originates in the neck, runs through the shoulder, arm and forearm, and into the wrist and hand. It is one of the major nerves in the hand that provides sensation and movement for the thumb, index and middle fingers. CTS is often described as an aching pain with burning, tingling, and numbness in the wrist or hand and, occasionally, in the forearm. In some cases, muscle weakness, swelling and loss of temperature sensation may be present. Sufferers of carpal tunnel may begin to drop objects or have difficulty lifting small items or turning doorknobs.
Some think there is a higher incidence of CTS among those who do work which requires them to use their hands, wrists, or arms in a repetitive manner, but renowned hand surgeon, Dr. Charles Eaton, says there is no scientific evidence that shows such activities actually cause carpal tunnel syndrome.
The standard medical treatments for CTS include braces, splints, over-the-counter or prescription non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), vitamin B6, cortisone injections, or surgery. Unfortunately, drugs have potential side effects, and surgery is not always successful.
Three separate studies published in the Journal of Hand Surgery followed the failure rate of some of the common treatments for CTS. One study revealed that wrist splints and NSAIDs had an 82.6% failure rate while another showed steroid injections had a 72.6% failure rate. The third study showed an average failure rate of 57% in patients that underwent carpal tunnel release surgery.
These failure rates support the idea that the actual cause of CTS in the majority of patients might be nerve irritation at a site away from the wrist, as is the case with Double Crush Syndrome.
Double Crush Syndrome & Carpal Tunnel
Stress to the median nerve commonly begins in the neck (Diagram #1 - cervical spine), where the median nerve begins. The nerve is then aggravated by added pressure or irritation anywhere from the neck to the wrist (Diagram #2), which can then cause symptoms in the hand and fingers. This is called “Double Crush syndrome” and is widely referenced in the scientific and medical research journals as a consistent finding in patients with carpal tunnel syndrome. Pressure or irritation to the nerve roots as they exit the neck makes the median nerve more vulnerable to injury at the wrist.
A growing number of studies suggest that the Double Crush phenomenon is one of the most common causes of CTS. The prestigious medical journal, The Lancet, found that nearly 7 of every 10 CTS patients had nerve irritation in the neck. Another study found that 89% of carpal tunnel sufferers also had arthritis in the neck. Both studies suggest the vast majority of CTS patients actually have Double Crush phenomena.
This would explain the high failure rate of common medical treatments for carpal tunnel syndrome. Treatments directed solely at the wrist neglect possible nerve irritation or compression in the neck, which renders the lower nerves in the wrist more susceptible to injury. In this case, it is essential to first correct the cervical problem to allow the wrist condition to fully heal. A similar phenomenon can also occur with Thoracic Outlet Syndrome (TOS) and cervical radiculopathy (tingling, pain down the arms).
CTS and the Cervical Spine
Problems in the neck or cervical spine can be as simple as poor posture and muscle tension, or as serious as disc bulges, arthritis, or spinal misalignments, also referred to as subluxations.
A proper evaluation for CTS should include an exam of the entire length of the median nerve, starting at the neck and working down to the hands, wrists and fingers. Since the neck is the most common site for Double Crush to occur, a consultation with an Upper Cervical doctor would be in the best interests of any CTS sufferer, especially if they have
been recommended for carpal tunnel surgery.
The purpose of Upper Cervical care is to correct misalignments in the neck that produce irritation to the nerve roots that extends to the wrist, hands and fingers. Clinical findings document that this can prevent the need for surgery.
Upper cervical chiropractic is a safe and gentle way to reduce or relieve many childhood conditions or symptoms that relate to the nervous system.
Upper Cervical Care Benefits for the Whole Family
There are many benefits to upper cervical chiropractic care in general and specifically when children are involved. However, you may wonder if upper cervical care is safe for your child. Also, what types of conditions can be helped with this unique subspecialty of chiropractic care?
Safe for the Entire Family
Upper cervical chiropractors focus on the C1 and C2 vertebrae that are located at the base of the skull. Misalignments of these two bones can have far-reaching effects due to their proximity to the brainstem, vertebral arteries, Eustachian tubes, and other key structures of the central nervous system (CNS), vascular system, and vestibular system. Mere fractions of a millimeter can make a difference.
Upper cervical specific care involves precise measurements of the C1 and C2 using modern diagnostic imaging techniques. This allows the practitioner to calculate a precise adjustment that can then be performed manually or with the use of an adjustment instrument or a specialized upper cervical chiropractic table.
Because adjustments are so precise, there is no twisting or jerking motion. There is no popping or cracking sound. There is no pain associated with the adjustment. Relief is often immediate, and the benefits only grow as time passes with the C1 and C2 in the proper location. It is so gentle that everyone, from great-grandparents to infants can benefit. Yes, upper cervical chiropractic truly can be FAMILY CARE.
Upper Cervical Chiropractic for Children
If your child has a history of any of the types of injuries or is suffering from any of the conditions mentioned in this article (especially if the cause seems to be a mystery), an upper cervical misalignment may be at work. An upper cervical chiropractor can pinpoint and precisely measure the misalignment and provide a safe and effective adjustment. This, in turn, may result in the lessening or elimination of a number of health problems and symptoms.
How Could My Child Have a Misalignment?
This is a common question that parents ask. However, there are many ways to get an upper
cervical misalignment. The C1 and C2 are responsible for more than half of the movement of the head, but along with this additional mobility comes a greater risk of the bones becoming misaligned. Here are some examples of ways that a child could end up with an upper cervical misalignment:
These are just a few ways that a child may have ended up with an upper cervical misalignment, perhaps even months or years ago.
Childhood Health Conditions that May be Related to the C1 & C2
We don’t have room to discuss every condition that may be related to a C1 and C2 misalignment, but here are some of the more common ones:
These are just some of the conditions where upper cervical chiropractors have published case studies regarding the benefits of care for children. Additional health conditions that have responded to upper cervical care: ear infections, bed wetting, allergies, asthma, colic, digestive disorders and more.
Concussion Confusion - You’ve Sprained Your Brain...Now What?
There are many myths and confusion about how to care for your brain after experiencing a concussion. Many people don’t realize the severity of even a mild concussion and that they can be caused by a direct or indirect hit to the head or body. Not all concussions are suffered by athletes while playing sports; falls and accidents can cause them too. All concussions are serious injuries that can have severe repercussions if not managed properly. Proper care during the first 7 - 10 days is crucial to ensure your recovery.
Symptoms are not always immediately present and may take up to 24-48 hours to manifest.
A concussion takes an average impact of 95 G’s of force, but a neck injury occurs at only 4 G’s of force. You cannot sustain a concussion without also experiencing an underlying injury to the neck. Both injuries need to be managed appropriately. An Upper Cervical chiropractor will work to balance and stabilize the neck, which is vital for optimal communication between the brain and the body.
Immediately following the incident:
After 3 hours you may sleep for 2-3 hour increments. Someone should wake you every 3 hours and ask simple questions to ensure that a more serious brain injury hasn’t occurred.
If you feel fine following the incident but notice any of the following symptoms, you should seek emergency care as soon as possible:
Think of a concussion like any other injury such as a sprained ankle or a broken arm. What would you normally do to manage those types of injuries? Rest!
A major problem is that many people don’t know what it means to ‘rest’ a brain. If you go right back to work or school, or resume any physical or mental activity, it’s as though you are going for a run on a sprained ankle. Remember the brain needs a LOT of energy to heal.
There is a 30-day window following the incident in which you are most vulnerable. It is crucial that during the first 10 days you refrain from any activity that could put you at risk for any kind of physical contact, even if you are feeling recovered and asymptomatic. The brain is extremely vulnerable after a concussion; even if you feel no symptoms, any further jostling or sudden movement, even small impacts, can actually cause a more severe brain injury. How you feel doesn’t always coincide with how well your brain has recovered.
The Recovery Process
Step1: First 3-4 Days
If after 4-5 days you are still symptomatic with complete rest, return to your Upper Cervical chiropractor for re-evaluation. The underlying neck injury needs to be assessed and addressed, and there are other exercises that may facilitate the recovery; this should be monitored very carefully with your practitioner.
Step 2: Light cognitive activity allowed. You should still be resting for the majority of the day, but you can attempt to read a book or do homework for a 30-45 minute daily maximum. If symptoms occur during or in close proximity to the cognitive activity, this is considered a failed step and you need to go back to Step 1 for a minimum of 24 hours.
If no symptoms occur after 30-45 minutes of cognitive activity, you should still discontinue the activity for the remainder of the day. The following day you can proceed to Step 3.
Step 3: You are now ready for a half day of work or school. No driving, no tests, no homework, no recess, no gym, no manual labor or heavy equipment usage (this includes power tools and saws, etc.)
If any symptoms arise while at school/work or later in the day, return to Step 2 for the next 24 hours. If no symptoms occur, proceed to Step 4 the following day.
Step 4: This step involves exactly the same recommendations as Step 3, but you may attend work or school for the full day with restrictions. If any symptoms occur, return to Step 3. If no symptoms occur, proceed to Step 5.
Accommodations that should be made during this step include allowing for frequent breaks, no tests or heavy thinking, having another student take notes, doing 50-70% of the normal workload, avoiding over-stimulating environments, crowds, loud noises or jostling in crowded hallways.
Step 5: Slowly start removing restrictions and prepare for a full return to school or work as tolerated. It is recommended that you lift one restriction per 24-hour period, and once again, if no symptoms are provoked, continue to lift one restriction until a full return can be tolerated.
Step 6: A full return to work or school with no restrictions. Driving is now permitted. Physical activity should be kept to light walking or gentle range of motion exercises until you have fully reintegrated your normal daily activities. At this stage, another evaluation should be done by your Upper Cervical chiropractor to begin the process of returning to full physical activity or sports. For more information about your concussion and recovery, schedule an appointment with an Upper Cervical chiropractor.
Exciting new studies show “significant improvement” in depression test scores after specific Upper Cervical corrections.
Can Upper Cervical Help Depression?
The most common misperception about Upper Cervical care is that it only helps back and neck pain. Although our doctors can certainly help those who come to us seeking relief from back and neck pain, these patients represent a small percentage of those helped by Upper Cervical doctors. Patients suffering from a variety of conditions, including depression, have had their health restored through Upper Cervical care. Upper Cervical Doctors recognize that the body is a self-healing organism controlled and coordinated by the central nervous system, which is protected by the skull and spine.
Millions of Americans swallow pills daily hoping they will work some kind of magic and make their lives easier, less stressful. Maybe this pill, that white powder, or these capsules will make them feel better once they dissolve in their stomach, enter the blood stream, and travel to the brain. They have put their faith in medication, hoping it will relieve their present state of disease.
Antidepressant pharmaceuticals are a multi-billon dollar industry. Every media is bombarded by ads for these drugs. As you watch these commercials, note the careful language they use in suggesting that depression “may” be caused by a chemical imbalance in the brain. They go on to tell you how the medication “can correct” this biochemical imbalance. What many Americans don’t know is that there has never been definitive research that proves depression is caused by a chemical imbalance. The problem with the theory that depression is a consequence of a “chemical imbalance in the brain” is that depression can be both triggered and resolved by life events. The truth is the relationship between brain chemistry and life experience is a two-directional phenomenon: Life experience affects brain chemistry at least as much as brain chemistry affects life experience.
A true diagnosis of major depression involves a combination of most of the following: inability to feel pleasure of any kind, loss of interest in most everything, self-hatred or guilt, inability to concentrate or do the simplest things, sleeping all the time or not being able to sleep at all, dramatic weight gain or loss, and suicidal thoughts or actions. Truly depressed people seldom smile or laugh; they may not talk; they are not fun to be with; they do not wish to be visited. They may not eat, and sometimes have to be fed with feeding tubes to keep then alive. They exude a palpable sense of pain. Depression is a thing unto itself, an undeniably physical and medical affliction.
Exciting new studies show “significant improvement” in depression test scores after specific Upper Cervical corrections. This safe, noninvasive alternative should be the starting point in seeking treatment for anyone suffering from debilitating depression.
A Growing Trend
Of the 17 million children worldwide taking prescribed psychiatric drugs, 10 million are in the United States. These drugs include addictive stimulants, antidepressants and other psychotropic (mind-altering) drugs for educational and behavioral problems.
In 2003, the FDA approved Prozac® for treating depression to children under eighteen. Then reports of young people attempting or committing suicide while using the drug became too numerous to ignore. The following year, the FDA reviewed 24 studies and concluded that the drugs in question doubled the risk for suicidal behavior.
By 2004, the FDA ordered that the most serious alerts, called “black-box warnings,” be added to all antidepressant drug labels. This warning clearly states that antidepressants raise the risk of suicidal thoughts and hostile behavior in children and adolescents. In spite of the evidence and clear warnings, preschoolers are now the fastest growing age group taking antidepressants.
Health or Money?
David Healy, in Let Them Eat Prozac® (NYU Press, 2004), calls it “a creation of depression on so extraordinary and unwarranted a scale as to raise questions about whether pharmaceutical and other health care companies are more wedded to making profits from health than contributing to it”. Dr. Irving Kirsh, a University of Connecticut psychology professor had to use the Freedom of Information Act to extract startling information from the Food and Drug Administration. In over 50% of the trials used by the FDA to approve the six leading antidepressants, the drugs failed to outperform the placebo sugar pill.
Upper Cervical Care
Even a mild concussion to the head, neck or upper back can increase the risk of depression. Studies show that depression is a common diagnosis in patients with whiplash, an injury that can directly affect the upper neck and lower brain stem. Following the trauma, mood disorders can be triggered immediately, or they can take months or even years to develop.
While science has not determined the exact cause of depression, research has pointed to a likely involvement of the brain stem and upper cervical spine in many mood disorders. This seems logical as the lower portion of the brain stem is located in the uppermost part of the spine and is involved in the regulation and control of brain chemistry as well as other vital functions.
Patients with both Type I and Type II diabetes have long benefited from Upper Cervical care given the fact that the nervous system controls and coordinates all bodily functions, including the pancreas.
Can Upper Cervical Help Diabetes?
The most common misperception about Upper Cervical care is that it only helps back and neck pain. Although our doctors can certainly help those who come to us seeking relief from back and neck pain, these patients represent a small percentage of those helped by Upper Cervical doctors. Patients suffering from a variety of conditions, including diabetes, have had their health restored through Upper Cervical care. Upper Cervical chiropractors recognize that the body is a self-healing organism controlled and coordinated by the central nervous system, which is protected by the skull and spine.
Types of Diabetes
There are two types of diabetes. Type I is commonly referred to as juvenile or insulin dependent diabetes which typically develops in children prior to puberty. Type II diabetes usually develops after age 40 and is often associated with obesity. An estimated 16 million people in the United States suffer from Type 1 or Type II diabetes.
In Type I diabetes, the destruction of the insulin producing cells (islet cells) in the pancreas leaves the body without insulin to regulate blood sugar levels. Severe complications, even with daily insulin injections, may include blindness, limb amputation, kidney failure or death.
It has been generally accepted that Type I diabetes occurs after a severe malfunction of the immune system which causes insulin-producing cells in the pancreas to be destroyed. However, current research suggests the immune system isn’t the only culprit; the nervous system plays a pivotal role, as well.
Looking at the nervous system as a possible cure for diabetes is a new concept, but one that is research based and gives hope to millions. The idea that a component of one body system can have a positive impact and even prevent disease in another body system is gaining wider acceptance.
Ground Breaking Diabetes Research
Research conducted at the Hospital for Sick Children and the University of Calgary discovered there is a “control circuit” necessary to retain the health and normal function of the cells that produce insulin located in the pancreas between insulin-producing cells and nerves. This “control circuit” has long been known within the Upper Cervical profession as the “brain to body communication circuit,” the same brain to body communication that was recently studied by the medical profession to determine not only the cause or contributing factors associated with diabetes but other diseases as well. As part of the study, scientists “knocked out” specific nerve cells and discovered that doing so created an interference with the brain to body communication. These nerve cells had a direct and profound effect on the pancreas, diabetes, and blood sugar levels, and the research concluded that the nerves are critical in the development of diabetes.
This helps explain a condition that diabetics often suffer from called peripheral neuropathy, a numbness or pain described as a burning sensation or a feeling like “pins and needles” being stuck in the arms or legs. The research suggests that neuropathy may be more than a result of diabetes; it may be related to the nervous system’s role in the whole disease process.
Commenting on the research project published in The Scientific Journal, cell immunologist, Dr. Terry Delovitch, said the work illustrates the importance of not viewing one system of the body in isolation. “It’s an excellent example of system biology, where different systems interact and cross-regulate each other’s activity.” Delovitch is a diabetes and immune system specialist at Robarts Research Institute.
Upper Cervical Care for Diabetics
Another study conducted in 2001 demonstrated that Upper Cervical care stabilized the blood sugar levels during the initial 3-hour fasting period. Patients with both Type I and Type II diabetes have long benefited from Upper Cervical care given the fact that the nervous system controls and coordinates all bodily functions, including the pancreas.
Research and clinical evidence continues to suggest that a malfunctioning nervous system may be a key factor in the development of many digestive disorders.
Can Upper Cervical Help Digestive Disorders?
The most common misperception about Upper Cervical care is that it only helps back and neck pain. Although our doctors can certainly help those who come to us seeking relief from back and neck pain, these patients represent a small percentage of those helped by Upper Cervical doctors. Patients suffering from a variety of conditions, including digestive disorders, have had their health restored through Upper Cervical care. Upper Cervical chiropractors recognize that the body is a self-healing organism controlled and coordinated by the central nervous system, which is protected by the skull and spine.
For most people, digestion is a natural process that we take for granted. However, there are millions of Americans who are not as fortunate. When the digestive process goes awry, it can result in any number of digestive disorders which can interfere with normal, healthy functioning.
While the list of digestive disorders is vast and varied, some of the more common ones are colic, acid reflux, constipation, irritable bowel syndrome and Crohn’s disease. A component many of these disorders share is a nervous system that is “out of sync.”
Every section of the GI tract is prone to its own unique disorder - some are merely annoying, such as heartburn, while others can be painful or even debilitating with cramping, bloating, diarrhea, constipation, or bleeding. If the condition persists, it can undermine a person’s overall health, and, in some cases, threaten his or her life.
Many sufferers attempt to treat their symptoms with over-the-counter (OTC) drugs. If this fails, they are typically given prescription drugs or steroids. As a last resort, surgery may be recommended to repair or remove a section of the digestive tract. However, the Physician’s Desk Reference reveals that the drugs used to treat digestive disorders can have dangerous side effects. Some may even cause further digestive distress.
Digestive Disorders & the Brain Stem
Much of the control of the digestive system is under the direct control of the brain stem via the vagus nerve. The brain stem is the command center for many vital functions, including digestion. It works very much like a telephone cable with thousands of individual wires or nerve fibers sending signals back and forth between the brain and brain stem to every cell, organ, and system in the body.
Misalignments in the upper cervical spine (neck) can interfere with the function of the brain stem which can be a critical factor in many health problems, including digestive disorders. These misalignments can be caused by a number of things - bumps, falls, sports injuries, car accidents, birth trauma, and emotional stress. Health problems may appear immediately after the injury or several years later.
One study shows that after receiving a series of Upper Cervical corrections, 80% of the children were free of ear infections.
Can Upper Cervical Help Ear Infections?
The most common misperception about Upper Cervical care is that it only helps back and neck pain. Although our doctors can certainly help those who come to us seeking relief from back and neck pain, these patients represent a small percentage of those helped by Upper Cervical doctors. Patients suffering from a variety of conditions, including ear infections, have had their health restored through Upper Cervical care. Upper Cervical Doctors recognize that the body is a self-healing organism controlled and coordinated by the central nervous system, which is protected by the skull and spine.
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, over five million children suffer from chronic ear infections, resulting in 30 million visits to doctors’ offices and over 10 million prescriptions of antibiotics each year. Half of all antibiotics prescribed for preschoolers are for ear infections.
Symptoms of ear infections may include mild discomfort, irritability, fever or severe pain. Almost 50% of all children will have at least one middle ear infection before they’re a year old, and two-thirds of them will have had an ear infection by age three. Frequent ear infections are the second leading cause for surgery in children under two, right behind circumcision.
Antibiotics, Tubes & Ear Infections
According to the Center of Disease Control (CDC), the American Academy of Family Physicians, and the American Academy of Pediatrics, ear infections with fluid build-up (otitis media with effusion) do not require the use of antibiotics. In fact, one study with 3,600 children found that children who did not take antibiotics had a higher rate of recovery than those who did take antibiotics. Despite such clear guidelines, many pediatricians continue to prescribe unnecessary antibiotics for the treatment of ear infections. This error contributes to the development of antibiotic resistant bacteria.
When antibiotics are not successful in treating ear infections or if a child has multiple infections, specialists often prescribe myringotomy and tympanostomy, more commonly known as “ear tubes.” During this surgical procedure, general anesthesia is used and a small opening is cut into the eardrum to place a tube inside. In most cases, the membrane pushes the tube out after a couple of months and the hole in the eardrum is closed with scar tissue. If the infection persists even after tube placement and rejection, the entire surgical procedure is performed again, or children may undergo adenoidectomy (surgical removal of the adenoids).
Unfortunately, most children who have this procedure have recurrent fluid build up (effusion) within two months, resulting in permanent structural damage to the tympanic membrane (ear drum) in 40% of the children who have had ear tubes. Ear tubes have even caused 25% of the children to suffer total hearing loss.
It is amazing that in the face of this evidence, not to mention the risks and costs associated with antibiotics and surgery, ear tubes remain the treatment of choice in many medical practices.
Anatomy of the Inner Ear
The Eustachian tube acts as a valve that connects the back of the nose to the middle ear and allows air to enter behind the sealed eardrum. This muscular tube normally opens and closes to equalize pressure changes in the outside air. An example would be the “popping” sound people describe when going up or down a mountain or flying in an airplane. The ability of the inner ear to open or “pop” is essential in preventing ear infections or other inner ear disorders. The only muscle responsible for opening the Eustachian tube (tensor veli palatini) is directly controlled by nerve fibers at the top of the neck.
Upper Cervical Care & Ear Infections
Misalignments in the top two bones in the neck, which is often caused by birth trauma, have been shown to affect the ability of the Eustachian tube to open and close correctly. This provides an environment for bacteria to thrive and multiply, creating an ideal setting for chronic inner ear infections.
A New Approach to Ear Infections - Upper Cervical Care
Before taking another round of maybe-they’ll-work-and-maybe-they-won’t antibiotics or undergoing a drastic procedure like surgery, consider Upper Cervical Care. UCC is a viable, non-invasive way to help your child with chronic ear infections. One study shows that after receiving a series of Upper Cervical corrections, 80% of the children were free of ear infections.
Upper Cervical Chiropractic Care enables the inner ear to open and drain which, in turn, allows the body to resist the buildup of fluid and possible infection. Many children develop their own antibodies and recover quickly and naturally without the use of unnecessary antibiotics and tubes. The discomfort of chronic inner ear infections, lost days of schools for children, and lost days of work for parents can become a thing of the past.
Statistics show that fibromyalgia is one of the most common musculoskeletal pain and fatigue disorder in America, affecting up to 10% of the population.
Can Upper Cervical Help Fibromyalgia?
The most common misperception about Upper Cervical care is that it only helps back and neck pain. Although our doctors can certainly help those who come to us seeking relief from back and neck pain, these patients represent a small percentage of those helped by Upper Cervical doctors. Patients suffering from a variety of conditions, including fibromyalgia, have had their health restored through Upper Cervical care. Upper Cervical Doctors recognize that the body is a self-healing organism controlled and coordinated by the central nervous system, which is protected by the skull and spine.
Most FM patients suffer with chronic pain, stiffness and burning in the neck, shoulders, lower back and hips. Others experience depression, chronic fatigue, irritable bowel syndrome, numbness, dizziness, headaches or sleeping disorders. Even minor exertion can aggravate the pain and increase fatigue.
Statistics show that fibromyalgia is one of the most common musculoskeletal pain and fatigue disorder in America, affecting up to 10% of the population. FM occurs most frequently in women ages 20-50.
Sufferers of fibromyalgia usually try the most common medical treatments - pain killers, muscle relaxants, antidepressant drugs, sleeping pills, corticosteroid injections and, in extreme cases, surgery.Unfortunately, the Physician’s Desk Reference reveals that drugs used to treat fibromyalgia can have dangerous side-effects.
Fibromyalgia & Neck Injuries
Although the cause of fibromyalgia is not fully understood, studies and clinical trials show that FM often develops after traumatic neck injuries. In fact, nearly 70% of fibromyalgia patients relate the start of their symptoms to a specific injury to their neck. These injuries can be caused by car accidents, sports, work, falls, or even birth trauma.
Renowned neurosurgeon Dr. Michael Rosner, states that when the neck is hyper-extended backward, the spinal canal narrows, impacting the spine and brain stem. This can occur in cases of whiplash in automobile accidents, extended dental work in which the head is bent back, or severe bouts of coughing. Even activities like painting a ceiling can cause injury to the neck that may lead to fibromyalgia.
Fibromyalgia and the Brain Stem
The brain stem, which can be compared to a telephone cable with thousands of individual wires or nerve fibers sending signals between the brain and the body, controls nearly all vital functions. Misalignments in the upper cervical spine (neck) can affect the function of the brain stem, which can be a critical factor in the development of fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome.
Trauma or compression of the upper neck can cause the same symptoms seen in fibromyalgia or patients with CFS. These symptoms may appear immediately after the injury or several years later.
Upper Cervical Care & Fibromyalgia
Upper Cervical chiropractors are getting exceptional results with fibromyalgia patients. Clinical trials and case studies document the improvement fibromyalgia patients are making under Upper Cervical care.
A study performed by medical doctors determined the decrease in patients blood pressure after upper cervical treatment was equal to patients taking two blood pressure medications.
Can Upper Cervical Help Lower Blood Pressure?
The most common misperception about Upper Cervical care is that it only helps back and neck pain. Although our doctors can certainly help those who come to us seeking relief from back and neck pain, these patients represent a small percentage of those helped by Upper Cervical doctors. Patients suffering from a variety of conditions, including high blood pressure, have had their health restored through Upper Cervical care. Upper Cervical Doctors recognize that the body is a self-healing organism controlled and coordinated by the central nervous system, which is protected by the skull and spine.
High Blood Pressure
The American Heart Association defines high blood pressure, or hypertension, in an adult as a systolic pressure of 140 or higher and/or a diastolic pressure of 90 or higher. Nearly one in three adults in the United States suffers with high blood pressure and over 50,000 people die each year as a result of this condition. What is more startling is that the actual number of deaths from high blood pressure rose 56% between 1994 and 2004 despite an increase in prescription drug use to combat hypertension.
A non-invasive and drug-free procedure has been shown to significantly reduce blood pressure in patients with hypertension, according to an exciting study published in the Journal of Human Hypertension. According to Dr. Thad Vuagniaux, Co-Founder of the Upper Cervical Health Centers®, “the brain and brain stem play a vital role in the regulation of blood pressure. In order to have normal blood pressure, you must have proper communication between the brain and the body. When a misalignment occurs at the top of the neck near the level of the brain stem, brain to body communication is affected which may result in high blood pressure.”
The Atlas vertebra, which is at the top of the neck, is not anchored like the other bones in the spine. It relies solely on soft tissue (muscles and ligaments) to stay in place, which makes it vulnerable to misalignment. In many patients, the Atlas can become displaced or misaligned without pain and therefore, often goes undetected and untreated. Dr. Vuagniaux states, “Upper Cervical doctors have seen a link between injuries to the upper neck and high blood pressure for decades, but only recently has the medical profession begun to study how Upper Cervical care helps those suffering with high blood pressure.”
When a gentle and non-invasive Upper Cervical correction is made and the Atlas is properly repositioned, brain to body communication is restored and the body begins to heal itself. “This procedure has the effect of not one, but two blood-pressure medications given in combination,” study leader George
Bakris, MD, tells WebMD. “And it seems to be adverse-event free. We saw no side effects and no problems,” adds Bakris. “We were shocked to find out that we got more than double what we expected in blood pressure reduction.”
In the interview with WebMD, Dr. Bakris said, “It is pretty clear that some kind of head or neck trauma early in life is related to this.” Upper Cervical misalignments can be caused by falls, auto accidents, sports, on-the-job injuries, concussions, physical or emotional stress, poor posture, and even birth trauma.
There are several inner ear disorders that cause dizziness or vertigo, nausea, hearing loss, and tinnitus (ringing in the ears). Although symptoms may differ from patient to patient, there often is a common link with inner ear disorders and injuries or trauma to the upper cervical spine (neck).
Can Upper Cervical Help Inner Ear Disorders?
The most common misperception about Upper Cervical care is that it only helps back and neck pain. Although our doctors can certainly help those who come to us seeking relief from back and neck pain, these patients represent a small percentage of those helped by Upper Cervical doctors. Patients suffering from a variety of conditions, including inner ear disorders, have had their health restored through Upper Cervical care. Upper Cervical Doctors recognize that the body is a self-healing organism controlled and coordinated by the central nervous system, which is protected by the skull and spine.
Inner Ear Disorders
There are several inner ear disorders that cause dizziness or vertigo, nausea, hearing loss, and tinnitus (ringing in the ears). Although symptoms may differ from patient to patient, there is often a common link with inner ear disorders and injuries or trauma to the upper cervical spine (neck).
Vertigo or Dizziness
Vertigo is the false sensation of movement or dizziness as if the world was spinning. This can range from mild episodes to severe, extended attacks. Vertigo is sometimes accompanied by nausea, vomiting, malaise, hearing loss, tinnitus (ear ringing), and a feeling of ear fullness or pressure. There are several different types of vertigo, including positional, post-traumatic and cervicogenic vertigo (dizziness caused by the neck).
Dizziness, instability and imbalance occur in approximately 50% of all head and/or neck injuries. This includes even mild injuries that don’t require medical attention. According to medical literature, vertigo can also be caused by hyperactivity or irritation to the joints and nerves in the upper neck which assist in the coordination of the eye, head, and body, as well as control posture and spatial orientation.
Meniere’s disease is a disorder characterized by sudden, recurring attacks of disabling vertigo (a whirling sensation), hearing loss and tinnitus (ringing in the ears), and nausea and vomiting. These symptoms usually last two to three hours, but can sometimes last for days. A sufferer sometimes feels fullness or pressure in the affected ear. Hearing tends to fluctuate but worsens over the years. Tinnitus, which may be constant or intermittent, may be worse before, during, or after an attack of vertigo. Both hearing loss and tinnitus usually affect only one ear. In some cases of Meniere’s disease, hearing loss and tinnitus precede the first attack of vertigo by months or years.
In the book, “What Time Tuesday?”, Dr. Kevin Broome, an Upper Cervical doctor in Hickory, N.C., describes his battle with Meniere’s disease. As a child, Broome was so sick that he fell on the floor with dizziness, hearing loss, nausea, and projectile vomiting. He writes, “I was told that the only medical solution was to destroy the ‘balance’ nerve in my inner ear. As a result of the surgery, I would never run, play soccer, go swimming, and, worst of all, never go to bed without a light on because the surgery would destroy my body’s computer mechanism.” A shunt was put into Broome’s ear to reduce the amount of fluid that built up. This helped with the hearing loss, but all the other symptoms remained. By this time, I was missing more than 90 days of school a year! “
Broome continues, “I regained my hearing within fifteen minutes of my first Upper Cervical correction. This Upper Cervical chiropractor gave me my life back, so that I could function as others did. He gave me the ability to return to school, be part of a state-championship soccer team, go to college, and, in hindsight, he gave me the ability to help hundreds of thousands of suffering people”.
Inner Ear Disorders & Trauma
Available research shows the relationship between inner ear disorders, (vertigo, tinnitus, Meniere’s disease, etc.) and trauma, trauma that can range from a mild bump on the head to a fall, a concussion, or even whiplash from a motor vehicle accident or sports injury. Inner ear disorders can appear immediately after trauma or take months or years to develop.
How Upper Cervical Care Relates to Inner Ear Disorders
Upper Cervical doctors have extensive education, training and experience in the Upper Cervical spine, brain stem and inner ear disorders. Our goal is not to treat the inner ear disease, but to correct or reverse the vertebral misalignments that cause nerve irritation in the upper neck and inner ear that can trigger vertigo. An Upper Cervical examination will assess whether an upper cervical injury is present and whether the patient suffering from an inner ear disorder can benefit from Upper Cervical care.
An estimated 80% of the population will experience lower back pain. It is one of the leading causes of missed work, and it costs the United States an estimated $25 billion annually.
Upper Cervical care is based on the universal law of cause and effect. For every effect or symptom, physical or mental, there must be a cause. Upper Cervical doctors focus on locating and removing interference to the nervous system that can be the cause of the health condition. Removing this interference allows the body to heal itself naturally without drugs or surgery. An Upper Cervical correction is very controlled; there is no pulling, tugging, or jerking of the head. This precise yet gentle touch allows the head, neck, and spine to return to the proper positions, thus removing the interference and restoring balance to the body. That, in essence, is how Upper Cervical care can help those suffering from lower back pain.
Low Back Pain, Arthritis & Disc Degeneration
The spine, an incredible arrangement of bones, discs, ligaments, tendons, muscles and nerves, is designed to be strong, protective and flexible. Most people take what the spine does naturally for granted - until something goes wrong. An estimated 80% of the population will experience lower back pain. It is one of the leading causes of missed work, and it costs the United States an estimated $25 billion annually.
Common Treatments for Low Back Pain
Standard treatment for lower back pain in the medical community includes rest, over-the-counter or prescription painkillers, muscle relaxants, physical therapy, spinal injections, and surgery. However, a five-year study conducted by the United States Agency for Health Care Policy Research (AHCPR) found little evidence that these treatments are effective for acute back pain. This study also found that only 1% of the patients who underwent surgery for back pain benefited from the surgery. As part of the “first-line” treatment, the AHCPR panel recommends spinal adjustments and exercise.
Can Upper Cervical Care Help With Your Lower Back Pain? For years, Upper Cervical chiropractors have been helping patients with low back pain. Most sufferers experience a phenomenal improvement in both the severity and frequency of their low back pain with Upper Cervical care.
Failed Back Surgery Syndrome
Dr. Peter Ullrich, a spinal surgeon with the NeuroSpine Center of Wisconsin, states that a common reason for failed back surgery is a condition called “transfer injuries.” These injuries occur when the areas above and below the location of the surgery begin to degenerate due to excessive stress and strain from spinal fusion.
Low Back Pain & Trauma
While some pain sufferers recall specific injuries that caused their lower back pain, the majority do not. Some state that one day they just woke up in pain. Some say that they felt the onset of back pain when they coughed or sneezed, while others recall they were involved in an everyday activity like putting on shoes or taking a shower when they experienced terrible back pain. Movements like these should not injure a healthy back. When they do, it can be the first indication of a chronic, underlying weakness due to spinal imbalance.
Upper Cervical Care & Low Back Pain
Many treatments focus on the lower back when the actual cause of the problem may be in the upper spine. The upper neck can be a factor in the development of lower back pain for two reasons. First, the spine works and moves as one, continuous unit. The top two vertebrae, called the atlas and axis, are the most mobile segments in the spine. These two bones move in six different directions, allowing the head to move up or down, bend side to side, or turn left to right. The other vertebrae move primarily in two directions, making them stronger and more stable than the top two vertebrae.
Secondly, the Upper Cervical spine (neck) has thousands of “sensors” responsible for maintaining proper posture, the alignment of the spine, and the balance and stability of the head. These sensors are constantly monitoring the head position, making necessary changes throughout the lower spine to assure that the head remains upright.
When the spine is aligned, it is extremely strong and stable. However, due to their mobility, the top two segments are especially vulnerable to injury or misalignment. When a misalignment occurs at the top of the neck, the spine compensates or adapts in an attempt to protect the vital nervous system it houses. This triggers a chain reaction from the top to the bottom of the spine. When the head is thrown off balance, the lower spine is compromised; the pelvis is tilted, and one leg may be drawn up or shortened, resulting in an imbalanced and weak spine (see illustration). This chain reaction makes the spinal muscles, bones, and discs more vulnerable to injury - an accident waiting to happen. If neglected, an Upper Cervical misalignment can lead to premature arthritis and irreversible spinal degeneration.
Many migraine sufferers are now pain-free and living a more productive and enjoyable life thanks to Upper Cervical care.
Can Upper Cervical Help Migraine Headaches?
The most common misperception about Upper Cervical care is that it only helps back and neck pain. Although our doctors can certainly help those who come to us seeking relief from back and neck pain, these patients represent a small percentage of those helped by Upper Cervical doctors. Patients suffering from a variety of conditions, including migraines, have had their health restored through Upper Cervical care. Upper Cervical Doctors recognize that the body is a self-healing organism controlled and coordinated by the central nervous system, which is protected by the skull and spine.
If you are currently living with migraine headaches, you know the classic symptoms of pain, sensitivity to light or sound, nausea, and vomiting. Some
migraine sufferers also experience visual disturbances, numbness, tingling, clumsiness,
or have difficulty communicating.
Typical medical treatments include both over-the-counter and prescription drugs. However, if you’ve seen the drug ads on TV or read the Physician’s Desk Reference, you know that all of the common migraine drugs are potentially dangerous and can cause serious side effects.
Migraines can be triggered by a number of factors including stress, excessive light or sound, fatigue, hunger, diet, hormonal changes, weather changes, caffeine, cigarette smoke, head trauma, neck movements, and even the use of a low pillow. However, it is important to understand that these “trigger factors” do not cause migraine headaches.
Dr. Seymour Diamond, Executive Director of the National Headache Foundation, has announced that new imaging techniques now allow scientists to identify what they believe to be a cause of migraines: a malfunctioning brain stem. When the brain stem, located near the top of the neck malfunctions, it increases the swelling of blood vessels surrounding the brain, setting up a chain reaction that results in a migraine headache.
Migraines & Upper Cervical Care
A misalignment in the Upper Cervical spine (neck) can affect the function of the brain stem. This, in turn, can cause migraine headaches. Car accidents, sports injuries, work-related injuries, physical or emotional stress, falls, or even birth trauma can cause upper cervical misalignments.
Upper Cervical chiropractors receive extensive training and education in both the upper cervical spine and the brain stem. They use the latest technology to analyze and correct upper cervical misalignments and achieve predictable results that heal. The goal of Upper Cervical is to correct spinal misalignment and to restore normal function to the brain stem or nervous system, thus correcting the cause of migraines instead of treating the symptoms.
MS affects more than one million people around the world. This disease is unpredictable and varies in severity, from a mild illness in some patients to a permanent disability in others.
Can Upper Cervical Help Multiple Sclerosis?
The most common misperception about Upper Cervical care is that it only helps back and neck pain. Although our doctors can certainly help those who come to us seeking relief from back and neck pain, these patients represent a small percentage of those helped by Upper Cervical doctors. Patients suffering from a variety of conditions, including MS, have had their health restored through Upper Cervical care. Upper Cervical Doctors recognize that the body is a self-healing organism controlled and coordinated by the central nervous system, which is protected by the skull and spine.
Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a chronic, potentially debilitating disease that affects the brain, brain stem and spinal cord. MS affects more than one million people around the world. This disease is unpredictable and varies in severity, from a mild illness in some patients to a permanent disability in others.
Symptoms typically begin between ages 20 and 40, with women being afflicted twice as often as men. The most common symptoms of multiple sclerosis include numbness and tingling in the arms and legs, difficulty walking, impaired balance, muscle weakness, visual disturbances and memory loss.
Your central nervous system contains millions of nerve fibers that carry electrical impulses from your brain and brain stem to almost every tissue, organ, and cell in your body. The degenerative process of MS is called demyelination. This is the destruction of the fatty substance, or myelin, which coats and protects the nerve fibers. This fatty substance functions much like to the insulation that shields electrical wires. In patients with MS, the body mistakenly destroys the myelin sheath, which becomes inflamed and swollen and detaches from the nerve fibers; then, hardened (sclerosed) patches of scar tissue form over the fibers. Eventually, this damage slows or even blocks the nerve signals from the brain, brain stem and spinal cord that control muscle coordination, strength, sensation, and vision. This results in some of the permanent disabilities that may develop in patients with MS.
Medical Treatments for Multiple Sclerosis
According to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, the typical medical treatment for MS includes a variety of Interferon drugs (Avonex®, Rebif® and Betaseron®, Copaxone®, Novantrone® and Tysabri®). For acute relapses, corticosteroids such as Prednisone are used, as well as muscle relaxants, antidepressants, anticonvulsants, central nervous system stimulants and NSAIDS.
Multiple Sclerosis & Physical Trauma
For more than a century, physicians and scientists have unsuccessfully attempted to determine the cause of multiple sclerosis. The textbook, Current Medical Diagnosis and Treatments, states that trauma may trigger or precede exacerbations.
An article in the European Journal of Neurology concluded that there is a definite sub group of MS patients in which trauma, specifically whiplash of the neck, appears to worsen the natural course of MS. In susceptible individuals, these injuries can unleash critical changes in the central nerve system and trigger the onset of MS symptoms.
A renowned expert on Multiple Sclerosis, Dr. Charles Poser of The Harvard Medical School, published a similar article entitled “Trauma to the Central Nervous System May Result in Formation or Enlargement of Multiple Sclerosis Plaques”. Dr. Poser concluded that trauma to the head, neck, or upper back can act as a trigger for the appearance of new or recurrent symptoms in some patients with MS. He further stated that only trauma affecting the brain and/or spinal cord can be considered significant, as is the case in some whiplash injuries.
At the very least, these studies show that indeed there is a relationship between trauma and the aggravation or creation of MS. However, in this particular situation, the symptoms of multiple sclerosis may not develop for days, months, or even years after the injury.
Upper Cervical Care & Multiple Sclerosis
Some of the newest and most relevant research on Upper Cervical care has demonstrated the link between MS and the upper cervical spine. A study published in 2005 revealed that 100% of the patients with multiple sclerosis had a history of upper cervical injuries, although the injuries could be months or years old.
Another recent case study by Dr. Erin Elster, an Upper Cervical chiropractor, showed that the correction of upper neck injuries may reverse the progression of multiple sclerosis. Elster’s report published in The Journal of Vertebral Subluxation Research stated, “According to medical research, head and neck injuries have long been considered a cause of multiple sclerosis, but this is the first research to show that the correction of those injuries can have dramatic effects on reversing MS.” The same, promising results Dr. Elster had with MS patients are now being duplicated in Upper Cervical centers across the country.
Although Upper Cervical care is not considered a cure for MS, studies show that patients suffering from multiple sclerosis benefit greatly from Upper Cervical care.
Stress, sleep position, posture, smoking, and even modern technology can result in
chronic neck pain. Upper cervical chiropractic offers a natural, gentle, and effective solution.
The Symptoms of Neck Pain
Neck pain can encompass several different sensations. For example, the pain may involve tightness and spasms in the muscles of the neck. It can result in a decreased range of motion making it tougher to nod the head up and down or to turn from side to side. Pain may grow worse when you hold your head in one position for long periods of time - for example, when you have to spend long hours looking at a computer monitor. Neck pain can also lead to tension headaches.
Common Causes of Neck Pain
Neck pain can spring from many different sources. For exam-ple, if you sleep in an uncomfortable position, you may wake up with a stiff neck. If you spend long hours driving in a vehicle or working at a desk, poor posture may become an underlying problem. People who frequently use mobile technology may suffer from what has been termed “text neck” or “tech neck.” Nerve compression can result in radiating pain that enters the shoulders and may even extend down the arms. Trauma such as car accidents and sports injuries can also lead to chronic neck pain. Stress is another major factor as it can provide the basis for tension in the neck.
Preventing Neck Pain
There are a number of ways to try and combat neck pain. Most of these have to do with avoiding the common sources of neck pain. For Example:
Change your sleep position
If you often wake up with a stiff neck, you may need to get a new pillow or change the position you sleep in. Sleeping on your stomach is the worst for your neck because your head will be turned to the side so you can breathe. Imagine walking around for 8 hours with your head turned to the side? It is not a surprise when a stomach sleeper wakes up with neck pain.
Take breaks at work
If you spend long hours driving or sitting at a desk for work, take regular breaks (every 45-60 minutes) to get up and stretch a little. This will keep neck muscles from staying in a stressed position for too long.
Smoking can damage the discs between the vertebrae and lead to the premature onset of arthritis in the neck.
Get a better bag
If you regularly carry a heavy bag over one shoulder, you should consider switching to a backpack or another type of bag that allows you to distribute the weight evenly.
Good stress management techniques can help you to reduce the amount of stress that ends up trapped in your neck and shoulders.
In addition to these preventative measures, you can also find relief from many forms of neck pain through upper cervical chiropractic care.
What is Upper Cervical Chiropractic?
This subspecialty of chiropractic involves very precise and gentle corrections of the C1 and C2 vertebrae, the top two bones in the neck. When neck pain becomes chronic, it is often due to the fact that many of the origins of neck pain lead to misalignments. While you may change your behavior that initially resulted in the misalignment, an upper cervical correction could also be necessary to achieve long-term relief from the pain.
Holding is healing! When the top two bones are in alignment, communication between the brain and body is restored, and the body has a greater chance to heal itself naturally and keep the pain away.
As it took time for the condition to change from health to a maximum degree of dis-ease, it takes
time to retrace back to health.
Retracing: Cycles of Repair
What is retracing? Retracing means going over ground which has already been covered until the individual reaches the point from which he/she started. When a patient is under upper cervical care, sometimes symptoms that have not manifested for months or even years will reoccur. Patients’ first impression is that they are getting worse when they are really experiencing a retracing of the several stages through which the disease progressed
in the making.
The question of time is essential in retracing. If a disease has been in process for years, patients should not always expect to regain the normal state within days. It took time for the condition to change from health to dis-ease, and it will take time to retrace from the dis-ease back to health.
The time it takes for recovery does not always equate to the time it took for the disease to develop. As a general rule, however, acute diseases respond rapidly, while chronic cases of long standing are slower to respond.
Some abnormalities show very extensive involvement of tissues, while others show very little tissue involvement. Anytime tissue is involved, the structures must retrace the steps through which it passed before it can return to normalcy. Evidence of this can be seen in the varying stages of skin eruptions as they heal. Tissue below the skin’s surface goes through the same process while healing; it’s just not visible to the naked eye.
What the Upper Cervical Doctor Does
Upper cervical doctors of chiropractic are thoroughly trained to detect the abnormal positions of the vertebrae in the spine. They are trained to restore these vertebrae to their normal positions. After an upper cervical correction, the vertebra is returned toward its normal position. It usually requires a series of adjustments before the correction is complete, and muscles and ligaments regain their normal tone which permits them to hold the vertebra in a more normal state.
Points To Remember
The spine is subject to strain during every-day life, and it is possible that the vertebra may recede toward its old abnormal position, necessitating another correction. Tissues often must be rebuilt in order for the vertebra to hold its normal position. In addition, tissues that have perhaps for years assumed an abnormal condition due to the gradually increasing pressure upon the nerve fibers, must be given time to return through the various stages they passed in the production of the abnormality. This takes time, and patience becomes a cardinal virtue based on the knowledge that all is progressing as it should.
Upper cervical patients must realize the necessity of continuing with upper cervical care, even though they may not see their body moving toward health day to day, or may even believe their condition is worsening. This period of retracing is essential and patients are urged to continue treatment through it so as not to preclude the ultimate health which will be theirs if they continue.
TRUE HEALING TAKES PLACE OVER TIME
As it took time for your condition to reach a maximum degree of abnormality it will take time to retrace back to health. Whether your problem is from a recent injury or from a long history of troubles, there is damage to local spinal tissues such as ligaments, tendons, muscles, cartilage, and nerves.
Cycles of Repair Occur Every Three Months.
When going through cycles of repair and retracing, it is common to feel symptoms that you have not felt for months or years. You could feel symptoms from an old injury or an illness. You may even experience past emotional distress. These symptoms may last anywhere from a few minutes to a number of days. The most significant retracing takes place in the “purple” zones indicated in the above chart.
Epilepsy is a relatively common condition affecting about 1% of the population with 125,000 new diagnoses made annually in the United States alone.
Can Upper Cervical Help Seizure Disorders & Epilepsy?
The most common misperception about Upper Cervical care is that it only helps back and neck pain. Although our doctors can certainly help those who come to us seeking relief from back and neck pain, these patients represent a small percentage of those helped by Upper Cervical doctors. Patients suffering from a variety of conditions, including seizure disorders and epilepsy, have had their health restored through Upper Cervical care. Upper Cervical Doctors recognize that the body is a self-healing organism controlled and coordinated by the central nervous system, which is protected by the skull and spine.
Epilepsy is a relatively common condition affecting about 2.5 million Americans, with 125,000 new diagnoses annually. Nearly 9% of the general population will have at least one seizure during their lives. Symptoms include convulsions, staring, muscle spasms, odd feelings, or episodes of impaired consciousness. Seizures that occur more than once are called epilepsy.
What Causes Seizures & Epilepsy?
Epilepsy occurs as a result of abnormal electrical activity in the brain. Brain cells communicate by sending electrical signals in an organized and orderly pattern. In epilepsy, these electrical signals become abnormal, giving rise to an “electrical storm” that produces seizures.
The cause of epilepsy and seizure disorders is not well understood by the healthcare community, yet researchers continue to focus on trauma as a key cause. Regardless of age, an injury to the head or trauma to the neck and/or upper back can play a key role in the development of seizures. In certain pediatric cases, the injury may occur during the birthing process. After an injury, seizures may begin immediately or, in some cases, take months or years to develop.
Upper Cervical Injuries, Seizures & Epilepsy
Without constant nerve signals from the brain stem to the cerebrum, the brain becomes useless. This can be a critical factor in the development of seizure disorders. Misalignments in the upper cervical spine (neck) can affect the function of the brain stem and trigger an “electrical storm” within the brain that could develop into seizures.
If you are currently suffering from seizure disorders or epilepsy and would like to seek advice from an Upper Cervical chiropractor, schedule an appointment today.
Common Medical Treatments for Seizure Disorders & Epilepsy
According to the Physician’s Desk Reference, the traditional drugs used to treat seizure disorders and epilepsy are associated with many adverse side effects; a number of them are potentially dangerous.
A study published by the American Family Physician states that many of the drugs used to treat seizures and epilepsy fail to adequately control seizures, and 25 to 40% of patients with epilepsy continue to have seizures despite treatment with traditional antiepileptic drugs. Up to 61% of patients with seizures report having side effects with antiepileptic drugs. Newer antiepileptic drugs may be more effective, but their potential for serious side effects requires careful consideration of the risks verses benefits.
At least 40 million Americans each year suffer from chronic, long-term sleep disorders and an additional 20 million experience occasional sleep problems.
Can Upper Cervical Help My Sleep Disorder?
The most common misperception about Upper Cervical care is that it only helps back and neck pain. Although our doctors can certainly help those who come to us seeking relief from back and neck pain, these patients represent a small percentage of those helped by Upper Cervical doctors. Patients suffering from a variety of conditions, including sleep disorders, have had their health restored through Upper Cervical care. Upper Cervical Doctors recognize that the body is a self-healing organism controlled and coordinated by the central nervous system, which is protected by the skull and spine.
At least 40 million Americans suffer from chronic sleep disorders, and an additional 20 million experience occasional sleep problems. Of the 70 known sleep disorders, the most common are:
Insomnia, the most prevalent of the sleep disorders, is characterized by either an inability to fall asleep and/or waking up during the night and having difficulty going back to sleep.
Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is a potentially life-threatening disorder in which breathing is interrupted during sleep. An estimated 12 million Americans have OSA.
Restless legs syndrome (RLS) is a neurological movement disorder that is often associated with unpleasant leg sensations and an almost irresistible urge to move the legs.
Narcolepsy is a chronic disorder characterized by excessive and overwhelming daytime sleepiness, even after adequate nighttime sleep. Daytime sleep attacks may occur with or without warning and may be uncontrollable.
Many Americans struggle through episodes of sleep disorders on their own, while others turn to over-the-counter drugs, prescription drugs, or sleeping devices for help. However, a growing number of people with sleep disorders are being helped by Upper Cervical care without the potential unpleasant, sometimes dangerous, side effects of traditional treatments.
Sleep & Overall Health
Although we spend about one third of our lives asleep, most of us know little about the importance of sleep. Even scientists are just beginning to fully understand the function of sleep, but they do agree that sleep is absolutely essential, not only for physical and mental health, but for our very survival.
Loss of sleep creates an overwhelming and sometimes uncontrollable need to sleep and affects nearly all physiological functions. Sleepiness is associated with difficulty in concentrating, memory lapses, loss of energy, fatigue, lethargy, impaired motor response, and emotional instability.
The functions of many organ systems - the endocrine system (hormone secretion), the renal system (blood filtering), and alimentary activity (digestion) are linked to sleep cycles. Studies show that sleep deprivation also has a detrimental effect on the immune system. In fact, chronic sleeplessness can be deadly. Men with insomnia have a fourfold higher death rate then those that get at least 6 hours of sleep per night. The risk is even higher for insomniacs with diabetes or high blood pressure.
Sleep & the Brain Stem
Sleep is a highly organized sequence of events that follows a regular, cyclic program each night. It is controlled and coordinated in the brain and the brain stem. The region of the brain stem, known as the pons, is critical for initiating REM sleep (the dream cycle).
The brain stem, which can be compared to a telephone cable with thousands of individual wires or nerve fibers sending signals between the brain and the body, controls nearly all vital, bodily functions. Misalignments in the upper cervical spine (neck) can affect the function of the brain stem, which can be a critical factor in many health problems, including sleep disorders. These misalignments can be caused by bumps, falls, car accidents, emotional stress, or even birth trauma. Resulting health problems may appear immediately after the injury or several years later.
If you are suffering from a sleep disorder and would like to seek advice from an Upper Cervical chiropractor, schedule an appointment today.
One of the most commonly overlooked causes of TMJ pain is trauma to the upper neck and nervous system.
Can Upper Cervical Help My TMJ?
The most common misperception about Upper Cervical care is that it only helps back and neck pain. Although our doctors can certainly help those who come to us seeking relief from back and neck pain, these patients represent a small percentage of those helped by Upper Cervical doctors. Patients suffering from a variety of conditions, including TMJ, have had their health restored through Upper Cervical care. Upper Cervical Doctors recognize that the body is a self-healing organism controlled and coordinated by the central nervous system, which is protected by the skull and spine.
The lower jaw hinges at the temporomandibular joints (TMJ), located in front of each ear. These most complicated joints in the body allow the lower jaw to open, close, rotate and slide. The TMJs are used over 5,000 times each day when we chew, swallow, yawn, smile, laugh, eat, and speak. The top row of teeth actually hinge when the skull rocks up and down on the top vertebrae in the neck.
The TMJ & the Trigeminal Nerve
Movement of the left and right TMJs must be coordinated, working at the same time for the jaw to move properly. This movement is orchestrated by a complex set of muscles that are directly controlled by the body’s nervous system, specifically branches of the trigeminal nerve, which is one of the most complex and powerful nerves in the body. It feeds sensation and function to one’s jaws, face, tongue, sinus, palate, eyes, teeth, and lips. Since the trigeminal nerve feeds the jaw, it is closely associated with the function of the TMJ and is critical in the development of TMJ pain.
There is a delicate working relationship between the TMJ, the muscles that move the jaw, and the nerves that control these muscles. Therefore, healthy function of the TMJ system requires normal structure and function of both the temporomandibular joints and the trigeminal nerve.
Causes of TMJ Pain
One of the primary causes of TMJ pain and disorders is damage to the joint itself. Direct or indirect trauma can affect the TMJ and clearly cause pain and dysfunction. Motor vehicle accidents, sports injuries, and dental work have been shown to trigger TMJ disorders, but even subtle, repeated traumas like clenching the teeth, excessive gum chewing, nail biting, or cradling a phone between your shoulder and the side of your head can cause TMJ pain. One of the most commonly overlooked causes of TMJ pain is trauma to the upper neck and nervous system.
Trauma to the upper neck can cause a misalignment which results in pressure or irritation to the trigeminal nerve. This pressure can cause the muscles that control the jaw to malfunction, thereby changing the movement of the TMJ. The joints do not work properly because the disc is pinched while opening or closing the jaw, and the neck and shoulder muscles go into painful spasms during the normal process of eating, talking, laughing, or smiling.
Symptoms of TMJ Dysfunction
TMJ dysfunction occurs when the joint is misaligned or malfunctions. Over time, this abnormal wear and tear can cause irritation, inflammation, and eventually arthritis within the joint itself, all leading to TMJ dysfunction. The symptoms of TMJ dysfunction can appear suddenly after a trauma, or they may take years to develop.
The symptoms of TMJ vary from person to person and can affect one or both joints. Symptoms vary from mild to severe and may include:
Common medical treatments for TMJ dysfunction include:
How Is Upper Cervical Care Different?
The area of expertise for Upper Cervical chiropractors is the top two bones in the neck and, most importantly, the brain stem. When a misalignment occurs between the head and neck at the level of the top two bones in the neck, brain to body communication is disrupted and the jaw doesn’t open or close properly. This can result in TMJ pain, facial pain, ringing in the ears, headaches, and muscle tension.
Because of the close relationship between the TMJ and the cervical spine, patients should be examined by an Upper Cervical doctor. The longer a person has the problem, the more damage can be done to both the jaw and the neck.
Technology May Be Affecting Your Health
Text Neck refers to pain caused by texting that starts in the neck and upper back. Text Neck is a growing problem because so many people, including children, are constantly using smart phones, iPads, handheld computers, video games and other devices.
Text Neck refers to pain caused by texting that starts in the neck and upper back. Most people are looking down at their phone when they are text messaging. It is estimated that most people spend 2-4 hours everyday looking down at their phone while texting, emailing, using apps, or on social media. This adds up to between 700-1400 hours a year and for most teenagers it can be more than 5000 hours - with the head in a down and forward position that will pull on the neck and the supporting muscles and ligaments.
Text Neck is not officially used as a diagnosis for health problems. However, an increase in the kinds of issues it can create has been observed. Continuously looking down at a portable device can change the way that the spine is designed. It specifically affects the natural curvature of the neck. Repeatedly looking down causes the curve of the neck to reverse, leading to deformity of the ligaments and the muscles that hold the head up. Nerves in this area are abundant, and they can become stressed. This is called occipital neuralgia and results in such things as headaches and migraines.
What Causes Text Neck?
The number one cause of Text Neck is bad posture. When we text or play video games with our heads bent forward and down, we increase the stress on our neck and upper spine. The average human head weighs between 10-12 pounds, but texting with our head bent at a 60º angle increases it to the equivalent of 60 pounds. Even just a 30º downward angle puts 40 pounds of pressure on the neck four times the pressure our necks are used to dealing with.
The neck (cervical spine) is designed to achieve several important functions:
Without the natural and proper curvatures to the spine, we wouldn’t be able to bend, twist, and turn properly. Texting or spending time on social media with our heads bent down and forward is an unnatural position for the neck, pulling the curvature of the spine in the opposite direction it is supposed to go. This is unhealthy for the neck and upper spine.
Over time, the hours of bad posture pull against the natural curvature of the spine, and instead of our necks curving properly toward the back, the natural curvature of the cervical spine (neck) can be reversed and actually bend in the opposite direction. In addition to the neck bending the wrong way, hours of sitting (or standing) with our heads in the forward and down position will weaken the muscles in the neck and upper back, damage the tissues in the neck, and round the shoulders forward. In the initial stages of Text Neck you may not experience much pain, or have pain that comes and goes, but over time if left uncorrected text neck will lead to a lot of pain.
Problems Due to Text Neck
Text Neck can be causing damage before most people are aware there is a problem. Usually, most people become aware that something is wrong when they start experiencing headaches and neck pain. As Text Neck pulls the cervical spine and upper back forward, the nerves it protects can become pinched, experience pressure, or even become herniated discs. Text Neck causes subluxations (misalignments) in the spine. These subluxation in turn cause interference in the nervous system causing, not only pain, but poor communication between your brain and the muscles, organs, and every function of the body. Physically, over time, your muscles will get weaker, your shoulders will round forward, and you gain a hunched over appearance.
The nerves most affected by Text Neck are located in the cervical spine. As Text Neck pulls the head forward, in addition to changing the natural curvature of the spine, it also transforms the shape and size of the openings the nerves use to exit the spine. This causes the nerves to be pinched and their function to be diminished.
Protect Yourself from Text Neck
The first thing is to be aware of the poor posture that texting can bring, and be consciously taking measures to avoid the amount of time we spend with our heads in the down and forward position. Simply lifting your smart phone to a higher position will help reduce the pressure on your neck. Stand up and move around for at least 5 to 10 minutes every hour. This will help improve your posture.
Text Neck and Upper Cervical Chiropractic
Text Neck can contribute to misalignments of the C1 (atlas) and C2 (axis) vertebraes in your neck. The misalignment can compress your brainstem and interfere with the nerve communication from your brain to every part of your body. When your body does not receive 100% nerve signals, health symptoms can develop. Proper spine alignment allows your body to function at its optimal. Upper Cervical chiropractic will go a long way toward protecting your spine and the function of your nervous system. Schedule a check up with your Upper Cervical chiropractor today.
Trigeminal Neuralgia (TN) is described as one of the most severe pains known to man. It is a disorder of the trigeminal nerve that produces sudden, excruciating bouts of facial pain.
Can Upper Cervical Help My Trigeminal Neuralgia?
The most common misperception about Upper Cervical care is that it only helps back and neck pain. Although our doctors can certainly help those who come to us seeking relief from back and neck pain, these patients represent a small percentage of those helped by Upper Cervical doctors. Patients suffering from a variety of conditions, including TN, have had their health restored through Upper Cervical care. Upper Cervical Doctors recognize that the body is a self-healing organism controlled and coordinated by the central nervous system, which is protected by the skull and spine.
Trigeminal Neuralgia (TN) is described as one of the most severe pains known to man. It is a disorder of the trigeminal nerve that produces sudden, excruciating bouts of facial pain. This pain typically strikes where the nerve branches to the nose, lips, eyes, ears, scalp, forehead, upper and lower jaw, and even the tongue. TN most often affects only one side of the face, and, over time, the pain usually increases in severity and frequency. The pain is so intense that TN is often referred to as the “suicide disease.”
“By the grace of God, my wife heard about Upper Cervical care on the radio. Within eleven days of my first Upper Cervical correction, after three corrections, I had no pain!”
Renowned author and Upper Cervical advocate, Pastor James Tomasi knows the agony firsthand, having fought the pain of TN for twelve years. In his book, What Time Tuesday?, Tomasi details his struggle with TN: “The pain started as a series of jolts that progressively became a steady, throbbing pain. Sometimes, it was like a drill going through my molars in my upper right jaw. Then, it would suddenly stop. Certain things would trigger the pain: a touch with a toothbrush, soap on my cheek, opening my mouth, speaking, turning my head too fast, even a slight breeze. Other times, I would awaken to the sensation of an electric drill driving bits into the back of my eyeball. It was so unbearable that I would scream out loud while I held the pillow over my face.”
Medical Treatments for Trigeminal Neuralgia & Associated Facial Pain
The most common medical treatments for TN include either prescription medications or surgery. Typical drugs used to treat this disorder are anti-seizure drugs, such as Tegretol® or Neurontin®. In recent years, different drugs such as Trileptal®, Topamax®,
Depakote® and even anti-depressants have been prescribed for TN.
However, over a period of time, the drugs’ effectiveness may diminish or serious side effects may develop. As a last resort, many TN patients consider surgery to end their suffering. According to the Mayo Clinic, the goal of most surgical procedures is to either damage or destroy the part of the trigeminal nerve that is the source of the pain. Because the success of these procedures depends on damaging the nerve, one obvious side effect is facial numbness. Some of the more common surgical procedures include:
A recent medical report revealed a 50% failure rate for the treatment of trigeminal neuralgia.
Upper Cervical Care & Trigeminal Neuralgia
Research shows that TN is caused by irritation or damage to the trigeminal nerve and the central trigeminal system in the upper spinal cord and brain stem. Medical reports also suggest that trauma to the head, neck, and upper back can injure the nerve pathways in the spinal cord and brain stem and cause TN. The facial pain can begin immediately after the injury, or in some cases, takes months or years to develop.
A recently pilot study, conducted at Life University’s Sid E. Williams Research Center, yielded impressive results with Trigeminal Neuralgia patients. The participants received Upper Cervical care over the course of eight weeks. Every TN patient who participated in the study had major pain relief within the first four weeks and continued to improve gradually after that. Research director, Dr. Roger Hinson, suggests that when TN develops, it may be because an Upper Cervical misalignment has contributed to the hyperactive state of the nerve, thereby causing the severe facial pain associated with TN.
A subluxation, or misalignment as defined in Upper Cervical Chiropractic, is a bone at the top of the neck that is out of alignment with the one above and below, closing the canal causing nerve pressure and reducing brain to body communication. Upper Cervical doctors locate, analyze, and correct misalignments to restore brain to body communication.
The Concept is Simple
Our goal as Upper Cervical doctors is to properly align the top two bones in your neck. When these two bones are aligned, your head is “on straight” and your brain can effectively communicate with your body to achieve optimal function, simple!
The nerve system controls every function in your body.
Nerve impulses or messages travel from the brain to every part of your body via the brain stem which starts at the base of your skull and passes through the top two bones.
Those two bones are unlike any other bones in your spine. They have no interlocking joints which allow them to turn our heads left/right and up/down. These bones are also at a higher risk to become subluxated or misaligned.
If they become misaligned, pressure is applied to the brain stem and the healing messages are distorted and do not reach their intended destination at 100%. This is when symptoms develop.
What is Upper Cervical Care?
Upper Cervical care is a rapidly growing form of chiropractic that focuses on the intimate relationship between the first two bones in the neck, called the Upper Cervical spine, and a vital portion of the nervous system, known as the brain stem. This relationship is essential to the body’s ability to preserve and restore health. Think of the brain stem as the control center that extends down an opening in the base of your skull, making it vulnerable to injuries or irritation around the upper neck. The brain stem works like a telephone cable with thousands of individual wires or nerve fibers sending signals back and forth between the brain and spinal cord to every cell, organ and system in the body. Every nerve impulse between the brain and the body must pass through the brain stem.
The top two vertebrae, the Atlas and Axis, are especially vulnerable to injury or misalignment because they are the most mobile segments of the spine. A misalignment here can produce nerve irritation/pressure to the brain stem that can affect nearly all vital functions and systems in the body. If neglected, an Upper Cervical misalignment can lead to irreversible spinal degeneration and chronic ill health. Upper Cervical misalignments can be caused by falls, auto accidents, sports, job injuries, concussions, physical or emotional stress, poor posture, or even birth trauma.
A Natural Approach to Health
People suffering from a variety of health conditions have had their health restored through Upper Cervical care. This “natural approach” confirms the fact that the body is a self-healing organism directly controlled and coordinated by the central nerve system. The nerve system is responsible for all communication within the body. It controls your immune system, emotions, vision, hearing, balance, breathing, heart rate, blood pressure, digestion, muscle tension, posture, hormones, and every other function. Irritation or pressure within the central nerve system can interrupt communication between the brain and the body, thus creating a variety of health problems.
Holding is Healing
The goal of Upper Cervical care is to determine if and where you are subluxated/misaligned and act to correct it. Done correctly, the alignment becomes stable and holds in place allowing the body to heal due to the correction. This allows the body to become healthier and stronger therefore requiring fewer corrections and decreased need for check-ups.
However, if a patient becomes subluxated and nothing is done to correct it, the opposite occurs. Your body stops/slows healing and can even begin to malfunction and allow for an environment in your body for symptoms and diseases to reappear or redevelop. This will then require more frequent check-ups to reestablish the healing process.
Who Can Benefit?
Everyone - infants to seniors, mothers-to-be, athletes, and accident victims will benefit from a healthy spine and nerve system! If you have a health problem, our doctors will strive to correct its cause, not just treat the symptoms. If you are symptom free, Upper Cervical care is one of the best ways to stay healthy.
Conditions/Symptoms that have Responded to Upper Cervical Care
• Acid reflux
• Attention Deficit Disorders
• Auditory (ear) dysfunction
• Bell’s Palsy
• Carpal tunnel syndrome
• Chronic fatigue
• Digestive disorders
• Disc bulges/herniations
• Gastrointestinal dysfunction
• High blood pressure
• Hyperactivity (ADHD)
• Immune function
• Irritable bowel syndrome
• Knee pain
• Learning disorders
• Low back pain
• Menstrual disorders
• Meniere’s syndrome
• Migraine headaches
• Multiple Sclerosis
• Neck pain
• Neurological disorders
• Otitis media (ear infections)
• Shoulder & arm pain
• Seizure disorders
• Skin disorders
• Sports injuries
• TMJ dysfunction
• Trigeminal Neuralgia
• Vertigo (dizziness)
• Visual (eye) disturbance
Upper cervical chiropractic offers natural, holistic wellness care with real long-term results by correcting the underlying cause of many chronic health problems.
Are You Searching for Natural Wellness Care?
Wellness care is a key aspect of health that is often left out in western medicine. According to CNBC, Americans spend $3.4 trillion dollars per year at the doctor, on medications, and for other healthcare expenses. Yet, it is clear that many health problems are on the rise.
In 2008, Americans spent $242.7 billion on prescription drugs. In just 10 years, that number increased to $360.2 billion. While some of these medications are keeping people alive, there are far more people who are disappointed in their current health care, and who want natural options with fewer side effects, better results, and a smaller bill.
We would like to introduce you to the long-term benefits of upper cervical chiropractic care as an alternative option for achieving your overall health and wellness goals. Many patients are finding this to be a cost-effective way to maximize health benefits with few or no side effects.
Long-Term Effects of Upper Cervical Misalignments
Upper cervical chiropractic care is all about cause and effect. When the C1 and C2 (atlas and axis are the top two bones in your neck) vertebrae are out of alignment, there are a number of changes that take place in the body that can have long-term and far-reaching effects on a person’s health. Here are just a few examples of things that can happen when the top two bones in the neck are out of alignment.
Long-Term Benefits of Upper Cervical Chiropractic Care
There are clear connects between upper cervical misalignments and ongoing effects in the spine, nerves, central nervous system, blood flow, and more.These misalignments are common due to the accidents and injuries that just about everyone suffers at some point over the years. This knowledge gives you a unique opportunity to improve overall health and wellbeing with one simple and natural therapy.
When upper cervical chiropractors use precise and gentle adjustments to correct C1 and C2 misalignments, the effects can be immediate. However, the long-term benefits can continue because these long-lasting adjustments give the body the time that it needs to promote healing. It is no wonder that people have found long-term relief from conditions and symptoms like migraines, vertigo, fibromyalgia, high blood pressure, multiple sclerosis, seizures, spinal pain, nerve pain, and many other chronic health issues.
So does this mean that once a person seeks upper cervical chiropractic that he or she is locked into a lifetime of weekly visits to ensure that proper alignment is maintained? Absolutely not! Upper cervical chiropractic adjustments are performed on an as-needed basis. If you find that you are going three or four visits without needing an adjustment, it makes sense to start spacing your visits further apart.
Cost-Effective, Whole-Body Wellness Care
As adjustments hold longer, appointments can be spread further apart. Your body gets the time it needs to heal, and you get a cost-effective solution to many problems that usually come with hefty healthcare price tags. That’s the entire idea behind holistic medicine. By caring for underlying causes of your symptoms, you get real, long-term effects without the need for expensive daily pills.
If you are tired of receiving care for your symptoms and want to get to the bottom of many health problems that are common around the world, upper cervical chiropractic may be the long-term solution you have been searching for. We invite you to learn more about how patients all over the world are taking control of health problems that they once were merely coping with, trying to get by from day to day. The benefits of upper cervical chiropractic are providing hope for many people who are seeking natural care with long-term results.
What do whiplash injuries and concussions have in common?
In the past, these types of injuries were often dismissed as somewhat minor and were thought to heal on their own relatively quickly. In reality, the newest research shows that whiplash, like concussions, can cause permanent and severe impairments that may show up years after the initial trauma.
Historically, concussions were thought to be short-term injuries, but it has become increasingly more evident that the real damage may take 15 or 20 years before its full impact is known. Many former NFL football players are now showing signs of permanent brain damage (chronic traumatic encephalopathy) as a result of multiple concussions. Some are left with physical, emotional, or mental disabilities, while some are so disabled they become suicidal. In light of this new evidence, what was once a few weeks off from practice and games has now become a possible career-ending injury.
Unfortunately, it has been shown that whiplash injuries can have a similar effect. Initially thought to be just a minor soft tissue injury, it has now been shown that for many people the real damage may not show up for decades after the initial trauma. Some people may be sore for a few days or weeks after experiencing a whiplash injury and then feel as though they’ve completely recovered. When years or decades later they experience symptoms, the patient may not recognize that the two are connected. These symptoms can appear as chronic neck pain, weakness, headaches, migraines, fibromyalgia, bulging or ruptured discs, TMJ, dizziness, ringing in the ears, premature arthritis, PTSD… the list goes on and on. Even more confusing is the fact that the time between the initial injury and the onset of debilitating symptoms is often so long that the patient doesn’t even realize that the two are directly related.
Common Factors Potentially Complicating Whiplash Injuries
Currently, the standard protocol for concussions is to be evaluated and treated immediately, and the same is true with even the mildest of whiplash injuries. These low impact accidents have been proven to occur at speeds as low as 5 mph with little to no obvious damage to the vehicle.
How your injury is treated can determine whether you heal properly or risk a life-long disability. Patients who are treated through more traditional channels are frequently prescribed medications and may undergo some physical therapy. If these treatments fail, the patient may be sent to a pain clinic for a series of injections to manage the pain. Unfortunately, surgery is often their last resort.
In reality, none of the traditional treatments actually correct the most critical component of whiplash which is a condition called the Atlas Subluxation Complex. This condition occurs when one or both of the upper cervical vertebrae (top two bones in the upper neck) become misaligned and cause both neurological and musculoskeletal damage. This condition is most commonly detected through a thorough examination by an Upper Cervical Chiropractor.
Upper Cervical Care is a specialty within chiropractic that focuses on the upper neck and more importantly, the brain stem area. Mild trauma, such as whiplash or concussions, can cause an atlas subluxation (neck misalignment) that will often go undetected to the untrained eye. It is this type of injury that can lead to years of unnecessary pain and suffering. If you, or anyone you know has had a whiplash-type injury, do yourself and your family a favor and get checked by an Upper Cervical Chiropractor today!
For more information about Upper Cervical Chiropractic or to locate a doctor near you, visit