Even if it isn’t stopping you from doing anything, is it making it really unpleasant doing anything where you need to use your neck or your arms? Doing computer work? Chores? Driving?
Have you already been to your GP, physiotherapist, chiropractor, massage therapist and acupuncturist but haven’t found any of that to work for more than a few days? Sure, you could always take anti-inflammatories, but is that what you really want? Or would you prefer a natural solution for your neck and shoulder pain that addresses the cause and not just the symptoms?
If so, upper cervical may be the solution you are looking for your neck and shoulder pain!
“Your problem is tight muscles.” You’ve probably heard that one before! But let me ask you to consider this question: “Why are your muscles tight in the first place?”
Muscles don’t just contract on their own. And before you blame it on poor posture, that doesn’t create tight muscles either. It’s actually the other way around! But the question remains: “What are your muscles tight in the first place? And why are they causing your neck and shoulder pain?” It’s because your brain is commanding your muscles to be tight. Every sensation, movement , thought and emotion in your body starts with your central nervous system: i.e., brain and spinal cord.
So here’s what the problem is. First picture a balloon with a string attached on the bottom. The balloon is your brain, and the string is your spinal cord. If something creates physical tension that pulls on the string, it’s going to create tension on the balloon as well. So anything that creates physical tension on your spinal cord has the potential to disrupt the function of your brain! Not a good idea!
Now, your brain isn’t stupid. And your body isn’t weak. So what does your brain due to minimise the tension if it can’t fix the misalignment on its own? It causes your posture to shift. It causes your head to tilt sideways and to lean forwards. It causes your shoulder to lift on one side. And it causes your lower back to compensate.
So poor posture isn’t a muscle problem. And it isn’t laziness either. A posture problem is a sign of a nervous system problem.
The problem is that your muscles are only so strong. They can only compensate for so long they can’t bear the burden anymore. That’s when things like the burning, sharp stabbing and grabbing sensations of neck and shoulder pain appear. But the real issue is that no matter how many exercises, stretches or massages your have, your neck and shoulder pain keeps coming back. Why? Because whatever the underlying condition that is creating the nervous system tension in the first place is still there!
If you experience neck and shoulder pain, it’s because your brain is causing your neck and shoulder muscles to be tight. Why would that be?
One of the major underlying conditions that people who experience neck and shoulder pain have is an unresolved injury to the alignment of the vertebrae in their spines: specifically top two vertebrae in the neck, the C1 (atlas) or the C2 (axis). Unlike other bones in the spine, these two vertebrae contain a series of strong ligaments that tether directly onto your brainstem to help stabilise its position when you move your head.
The problem is if you’ve ever suffered an injury that shifted the alignment of these two bones just far enough that your body has not been able to self-correct the problem, then they can actually exert physical tension on your spinal cord: just like the balloon and the string!
The part of your brain that is most directly affected by a C1 or C2 misalignment is your brainstem, which controls all your vital life functions: circulation, respiration, digestion, etc.
So your brain will do whatever it takes to minimise tension on these centres … even if it means sacrificing the muscles in your neck and shoulders to do so! Of important note, there is a major muscle called the levator scapula that directly connects your shoulder blade with your C1 and C2 vertebrae. It is one of the reasons that neck and shoulder pain are so common in people with an upper neck misalignment.
If your brain did not cause neck and shoulder pain by tightening your muscles, you could be experiencing all kinds of other health issues such as carpal tunnel syndrome, headaches, neuralgia or migraines. Unfortunately, these same problems are often closely intertwined, meaning that if you do experience neck and shoulder pain, you probably experience at least one of these other symptoms as well.
So the question then is, if your neck and shoulder pain is coming from a misalignment in your upper neck, what can you do about it that won’t just mask the symptoms, but will actually allow you to be well again? That’s where Blair upper cervical care may be able to help you.
Upper cervical care is a precise and personalised form of chiropractic that was developed in the USA to the correct alignment of the C1 and C2 vertebrae. Although many people see the word “chiropractor” and think it involves twisting or cracking the neck - or that they’ve already tried it - hear me out.
Upper cervical care is different.
If you’ve never heard of upper cervical care for neck and shoulder pain before, it’s not surprising. There are only a dozen doctors in all Australia who do this kind of work, and we are the only practice with advanced certification with the Blair upper cervical technique.
The Blair upper cervical begins with a thorough analysis of your condition including precise posture analysis - i.e., an in-depth look at what your posture reveals about why you experience neck and shoulder pain - computerised thermography and a unique series of digital x-rays that show the precise alignment of the vertebrae in your neck.
A Blair upper cervical adjustment does not involve any twisting or crack. Instead, it uses a light and precise “tap” - customised for your own bone structure - using the same amount of pressure you would use to feel your pulse.
Unlike many general forms of spinal manipulations used by chiropractors in Australia. the key to success with Blair upper cervical care is to use the least amount of force in the most precise manner to make the best corrections that allow your body to heal … and in so doing, allow your neck and shoulder pain to resolve on their own, naturally.
You can continue to ignore your neck and shoulder pain, or you can decide that “enough is enough” and seek help for a long term solution. Remember: neck and shoulder pain aren’t just muscle problems. And they aren’t just posture problems either. Neck and shoulder pain is a sign of an upper beck and nervous system problem.
Even if you think you’ve tried all the normal things including general massage, physiotherapy and chiropractic, if you have not had your upper neck thoroughly examined by a Blair upper cervical doctor, you could be missing an important piece of the puzzle to solve your neck and shoulder pain.
If you are looking for a natural solution for your neck and shoulder pain, contact our practice in North Lakes at 07 3188 9329 to speak with one of our doctors about how we can help you. Alternatively, if you are outside of the Brisbane area, contact us, and we will be happy to refer you to your nearest upper cervical practitioner..
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
Cailliet R. Neck and Arm Pain (2nd Ed). FA Davis. 1981. Lennon J et al. Postural and respiratory modulation of autonomic function, pain, and health. Am J Pain Manag, 1994;4(1):36-9.
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.
Haavik-Taylor H and Murphy B. Altered sensorimotor integration with cervical spine manipulation. J Manipulative Physiol Therap, 31(2);2008:115-126. Ogura T, Tashiro M, Masud M, et al. Cerebral metabolic changes in men after chiropractic spinal manipulation for neck pain. Altern Ther Health Med. 2011 Nov-Dec;17(6):12-7.
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