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Upper Cervical Chiropractic - New Year, Fresh Start

Posted in Chiropractic on Jan 02, 2020

Upper Cervical Chiropractic - New Year, Fresh Start, Healthier You

What are you going to do differently this year?

What are you experiencing that may be preventing you from experiencing the fullness of life that you want?

Here we are on the other side of the holidays and just about to start the new year.

Unfortunately for so many people dealing with some type of chronic health issue, their symptoms do not always go on holiday either.

And if you suffered an attack over the holidays, it can certainly dampen the entire experience with your friends and family.

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It is both frustrating and disappointing. It can feel like you’re sabotaging the experience with your friends and family, but the truth is that you want nothing more than to just feel normal in these special times.

Nevertheless, as we approach the new year, which represents the opportunity for a fresh start, it also represents the opportunity to do something different to achieve a different outcome to improve the quality of your life.

So let me ask you: What are you experiencing in your life that you want to improve?

  • Headaches? Migraines? Neck Pain?
  • Dizziness or Vertigo? Tinnitus (ringing in your ears)? TMJ problems? 
  • Or some other type of health neurological issue?

Now let me ask you: Are you willing to do something DIFFERENT about it in the year ahead? 

If your answer is, “Yes,” then I want to share with you a DIFFERENT approach to healthcare with a long history of being able to help people experiencing all types of health ailments to improve the quality of their lives.

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What you don’t know about your body might be the key

If I asked you what is the master control organ in your body, many people say “The Heart.”

True, you can’t live very long without a heart (a few seconds). 

However, you can’t live even a split second without a brain and a central nervous system to coordinate all the processes that occur in your body, including controlling your heart.

So it’s all about your central nervous system is the point.

Your brain is essentially the executive control or master command centre that processes all the information from your body and tells your muscles and organs what to do.

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What you may not know is that it is your brainstem which is the master control centre that actually drives and makes all these processes happen in your body.

You might be wondering, “So what does my brainstem have to do with my health problem?” Well, let’s have a look. The brainstem - particularly the medulla, which is the base of the brainstem - is approximately 1cm long, and it contains a diverse and vital array of neurological processing centres:

  • Vestibular nuclei, which coordinate nerve signals among your inner ear (aka vestibular apparatus), eyes, neck, jaw and other centres of the brain to maintain your sense of balance and equilibrium
  • Proprioceptive nuclei (aka gracile and cuneatus nuclei), which receive the position-sense information from your lower body, which influence your muscle tone and tension all the way down from your head to your feet
  • Autonomic sensory nuclei - namely something called the nucleus tractus solitarius (NTS) - which processes the sensory information from all your inner organs, including your heart, lungs, digestive system (including liver, spleen, pancreas)
  • Autonomic motor nuclei, which influence the function of all these same organs, plus the nerve fibres called sympathetic nerves, which control blood flow in all parts of your brain and body.

In addition, there are additional highways of nerves that travel through the brainstem to higher areas that are responsible for transmitting signals of pain from all other parts of your body.

So you see, your brainstem is the grand central hub - the master control centre - for all the processes that occur in your body.

So can you imagine what would happen if something affected the function of your brainstem?

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Neurological tissue is the softest, most sensitive tissue in your body.

It is the reason that it is enclosed by bone within your skull and within the 24 vertebrae + tailbone to transmit the control signals to all parts of your body.

How sensitive is it? Researchers found that all it takes is the pressure of a 10c coin to decrease the ability of a nerve to fire by about 50% in just 15 minutes!

In other words, all it takes is very small amounts of pressure - but over a long period of time - to produce some very big problems.

And if you aren’t entirely convinced by that, let me have you consider if you have ever had a splinter in your finger or a speck of dust in your eye. How big is a splinter? Or a speck of dust? … And how much pain did you experience just from that one little thing?

So yes, your nerve system is sensitive! And even very small things can potentially cause very big problems.

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So what do you support would happen if you have something - however small - affecting the function of your brainstem?

Do you think it is possible it could cause pain? Or muscle problems? Or other problems potentially anywhere in your body?

For whatever the condition is that you experience, have you, your medical or your healthcare providers ever explained that this is how your bodywork? Or that a problem in this area of your body could be the actual issue?

Now, maybe you have had a brain MRI, which came back as “normal.” If so, that doesn’t mean you’re out of the woods. It is because so many issues that can affect the brainstem are known as functional disorders.

In other words, there isn’t giant cancer, bleed or infection causing the problem. But instead, there is something much smaller - and unless examined from a very specific angle - that is affecting the way that the system works that is causing the problem.

Think of it as a computer virus. It isn’t something that you can see, per se, but it is definitely something that affects the way that your computer works, leading to all kinds of potential problems.

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So this leads us now to have to examine the possibility of things - small things - that can affect the functional integrity of your master control centre.

And to do this, we will look now at your neck.

You may have hurt your neck and never realised it.

It’s because your brainstem is located at the base of your skull and at the level of the top vertebrae in your neck: the atlas (C1) and the axis (C2).

This area, also known as the craniocervical junction or the upper cervical spine, has been likened to a “heavy flower on a weak stem.” It is the most delicate and most flexible area of your entire spine. It is also the most fragile, and thus susceptible to injury.

So what kinds of injuries are we talking about? Let’s go in reverse chronological order to consider the possibilities. That way, if you have been experiencing problems for just a few days, weeks, months years or even decades you may be able to realise what happened?

  • How about a trip, fall or bump on either your head with the car door, cupboard or kerb? Even if you landed on your tailbone, the injury can ripple can cause your neck to “snap” like cracking a whip.
  • How about a car accident - even a very minor one - where just the pain was scratched?
  • How about a sports tackle, fall or spill? That includes skateboards, skiing, surfing and swimming.
  • How about something that happened when you were a little kid like learning to ride a bike, running or walking where you fell and bumped your head?

You may be familiar with the expression, “As the twig is bent, so grows the tree.” 

In other words, even things that happen as a child can have an impact on your body’s structure as you grow up, causing it to adapt in wonderful but also atypical ways.

The reason that this is important causes your body will attempt to compensate using its every resource to do so. However, its ability to adapt is finite, and eventually, something will give.

The only questions are “Where?” and “When?”

Now, we aren’t talking about the kinds of injuries that represent medical emergencies such as a fracture or dislocation.

We are talking about the kinds of injuries - sprains and strains - that can cause the vertebrae to shift from their normal centre of gravity, and then get stuck in a weird position that affects their neutral alignment and motion.

The reason this is so important with the atlas and axis vertebrae at the top of your neck is because this abnormal alignment and motion may have the potential to produce a physical pull, or at the very least a functional disturbance to your brainstorm’s ability to process neurological information.

And how much are we talking about? Maybe a shift of a couple of millimetres, which is why so many of these problems go undiagnosed: either because people are not looking at the brainstem or upper neck and the source of the problem; or because they are not looking at things from the right angle to consider such small, but also important issues.

Now, you might be wondering can a 2mm problem actually be such a big deal.

Well, remember that splinter or speck or dust? That’s even smaller! Moreover, when you woodier that the normal movement for any vertebrae in your neck is between 10-20mm, what we are describing may represent a 5-20% displacement!

What are you going to do DIFFERENT this year?

Your body has an amazing capacity to health itself given the opportunity. Nevertheless, its power is finite. 

An important rule-of-thumb when dealing with non-life-threatening problems - but certainly the ones that can make your life miserable - is to consider the first number in your age.

 That is the number of DAYS that you should be noticing improvement if your body is able to fix itself. If problems persist beyond that, then there is something wrong that requires attention.

In other words, the problem won’t just go away on its own.

You may have tried a wide variety of therapies in the past. And wonderful as they may be, if they have not been able to help, it may because what you have going on simply requires a different approach. 

I’m sure that you’ll agree that the process makes sense, and if you find that the message resonates with you, upper cervical care might be the different approach to take that may be able to help you find the answers you are looking for.

If you have not heard of upper cervical care before, it is because it is still exceptionally rare in Australia with only around 15 practitioners in the whole country. … That’s 1 per 1.6 million people! 

Even in Brisbane, our practice - Atlas Health Australia - is still the only upper cervical specific healthcare centre even though this unique and powerful form of healthcare has been around for nearly 80 years!

Upper cervical care represents a special division of chiropractic, developed and researched in the USA that does not use twisting, cracking or spinal manipulation. Even if you have tried general chiropractic, many people are amazed at how different upper cervical care is.

Foremost is the use of computerised scanning protocols and customised 3D imaging that allows us to consider the alignment of your upper neck - and its impact on your brainstem - in ways that no other healthcare profession does.

From there, we are able to identify the exact direction and degree of misalignment in you neck that could be causing your issues.

When we know that, we don’t need to “crack” things into place, but instead usually need only apply a specific impulse - about the amount of pressure that you would use to feel your pulse - in order allow your body’s own muscles to recapture the vertebrae and then to help bring it back into alignment on its own.

In this way, as an upper cervical chiropractic doctor, we never tell anyone that we can “fix” or “cure” their symptoms.

It is because what we are doing is working with your body - to help restore the alignment and integrity of that master control centre of your brain and body - so that your own body will be better able to do what it is designed to do: heal itself on its own naturally and without interference.

Our goal in helping people if ultimately to provide as little care as necessary so that your body is able to become independent again, and ultimately able to take care of your own self in restoring your quality of life.

What is the next step for you in the new year?

If the information in this article makes sense and you want to take the next step, we would like to invite you to do just that.

At Atlas Health Australia, we offer a 15-minute over the phone consultation to discuss your particular case, to answer any questions you may have, and so that you can decide if upper cervical care may be right for you.

If you or a loved one would like to accept this offer this new year, you can reach our office at 7 3188 9329. Alternatively, you can click the Contact Us link on this page to send us an email, and one of our staff will contact you back to coordinate an appointment.

Our practise is located in North Lakes just off the Bruce Highway for convenient access from Brisbane, the Sunshine Coast and even the Gold Coast. It is not uncommon for many of our clients to travel 60-90 minutes, and our office systems are catered to accommodate. We also see many people who travel across Queensland and even Interstate.

Our local communities that we serve therefore include Albany Creek, Aspley, Bridgeman Downs, Brighton, Bulimba, Burpengary, Cashmere, Chandler, Dakabin, Dayboro, Griffin, Hawthorne, Indooroopilly, Kalinga, Mango Hill, Narangba, New Farm, Newport, Newstead, North Harbour, North Lakes, Samford, Scarborough, Shorncliffe, South Brisbane, Spring Hill, Teneriffe, Toowong and West End.

Even if you are outside the Brisbane area, we would still like to hear from you so that we may be able to direct you to your nearest upper cervical chiropractic doctor.

Our principal chiropractic doctor, Dr Jeffrey Hannah, is an advanced board certified Blair practitioner with extensive knowledge in many forms of upper cervical care. He an international lecturer, author and advocate for upper cervical care and enhancing people’s quality of lives. 

Atlas Health Australia - “A passion and purpose for helping people improve the quality of their lives.”

 

References

Cailliet R. Neck and Arm Pain (2nd Ed). FA Davis. 1981.

Daligadu J, Haavik H., Yielder PC, et al. Alterations in cortical and cerebellar motor processing in subclinical neck pain patients following spinal manipulation. Manipulative Physiol Therap. 36(8); 2013:527-537. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24035521

Eriksen K, Rochester BP, Hurwitz EL. Symptomatic Reactions, Clinical Outcomes and Patient Satisfaction Associated with Upper Cervical Chiropractic Care: A Prospective, Multicenter, Cohort Study. BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders 2011, 12:219 doi:10.1186/1471-2474-12-219. https://link.springer.com/article/10.1186/1471-2474-12-219

Eriksen K. Upper Cervical Subluxation Complex: a review of the chiropractic and medical literature. Lippincott, Williams and Wilkins. Baltimore (MD). 2004.

Hannah J. The Doctors Who Give No Medicine. International Health Publishing. 2013. https://www.amazon.com/Doctors-Who-Give-No-Medicine/dp/0985795646

Rosa S, Baird JW. The craniocervical junction: observations regarding the relationship between misalignment, obstruction of cerebrospinal fluid flow, cerebellar tonsillar ectopia, and image-guided correction. Smith FW, Dworkin JS (eds): The Craniocervical Syndrome and MRI. Basel, Karger, 2015, pp 48-66 (DOI:10.1159/000365470).

Sharpless SK. Susceptibility of spinal roots to compression block. The Research Status of Spinal Manipulative Therapy. NINCDS monograph 15, DHEW publication (NIH) 76-998:155, 1975.

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