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Archive for March, 2011

Result after scoliosis surgery.

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Previously in this blog we have looked at the connection of the position of the head and how that relates to the rest of the spine.  A recent case study demonstrates this correlation once again.  Dr. Marshall Dickholtz Sr. an excellent NUCCA Chiropractor practicing in the Chicago area had a fifteen year old female patient with a history of scoliosis, vertigo, lower back pain, and lack of energy. 

Objective indicators of an Atlas misalignment (the top bone in the spine just underneath the skull) were identified. 

She had scoliosis with a Cobb angle of 44 degrees!  

Standard treatments for scoliosis include (a) observation for curves Between 0-20° (otherwise known as letting it get worse), (b) bracing for 20 to 40° (brace is worn up to 23 hours per day), and (c) spinal surgery for curvatures over 40°.  With this patient she would be in the surgery category.  The image above demonstrates a “successful” scoliosis surgery. 

In 2008, Weiss et al. concluded that evidence for conservative treatment including exercise and bracing were limited and case controlled studies did not exist supporting surgery.  Bracing is definitely a difficult sell for a child.  Most kids are not going to wear the brace consistently due to several factors: (a) the need to wear the braces up to 23 hours a day (b) psychological reasons related to embarrassment at school and poor body image (c) back pain and (d)
lowered level of quality of life. 

Additionally, as talked about in the study O’Brien et al. published that an Adolescent Idiopathic Scoliosis patient, in 2007, could spend more than $500,000 for 4 surgeries over a 40-year span.

So what is the alternative?

How about addressing the underlying cause of the abnormal spinal curvatures?

In this study, NUCCA chiropractic adjusting directed at reducing misalignments in the upper cervical region were performed. Post upper cervical X-rays revealed a reduction of the Atlas misalignment.  After 5 months of care, the Cobb angle was reduced to 32-degrees.  A 27% decrease!

If the head is kept in that position throughout the rest of the patient’s life for a lot less than 500K what will take place?

The scoliosis most likely will continue to improve or at worst not progress any further.  Our bodies are designed with an amazing ability to adapt.  Moving the atlas to properly balance the head on top of the spine has a profound impact on scoliosis even with those who have suffered with scoliosis for years.  In my office just in the past few months I have seen reductions in scoliosis under NUCCA care from 16.5 to 12.5 in 90 days in a 65 year old female and from 16.5 to 13.5 in 120 days in an 82 year old female!  25% and 19% respectively.

So if you or your child had been diagnosed with a scoliosis and there is a history of head or neck injuries, then an upper neck evaluation should be performed.  The most vulnerable place in the spine to injure is the upper neck because it is the most movable.  When accidents or injuries have torn loose the connective tissue that hold the spine in place in the upper neck it creates a weakness which allows the spine to break down and lock into a stressed position.

Once the position of the eyes have been deviated from being level with the horizon the brain will immediately initiate the righting reflex which is a reflex in the brain designed to keep the eyes level.  As a result of misalignments in the upper neck and alteration of the position of the head the entire spine most compensate.  If this misalignment occurs at birth or early on in life than scoliosis may develop as a result.

Do you want to know if you are a candidate for this type of care?

Is surgery or bracing the last thing that you want to do?

Then an Upper Cervical Chiropractor could be the answer.

In the San Diego County area?  Go to www.nuccawellness.com

Anywhere else go to www.nucca.org or www.upcspine.com to find a doctor near you.

Dr. William R. Davis Jr., D.C. is a Carlsbad Chiropractor and Upper Cervical Specialist. He is in private practice in Southern California in the city of Vista. He specializes in correcting problems in the upper cervical spine (upper neck). This vital area is intimately connected to the central nervous system and problems in this area have been shown to be an underlying cause of a variety of different health problems. More information can be found on his website at http://www.nuccawellness.com
References:

Improvement in Adolescent Idiopathic Scoliosis in a Patient Undergoing Upper Cervical Chiropractic Care:  A Case Report-Kim B. Khauv, D.C., MPH & Marshall Dickholtz, Sr., D.C., FICPA

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Illustration of Parkinson's disease
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Previously on this blog I have talked about the connection between problems in the upper neck and Multiple Sclerosis and Parkinson’s. 

In the March Edition of the Journal of Upper Cervical Chiropractic Research Dr. Justin Brown and Dr. Jonathan Chung describe the great results that a patient from their clinic had with symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease following the correction of a specific misalignment of the bones in the upper neck, known as the Atlas Subluxation Complex Syndrome utilizing the NUCCA Procedure www.nuccawellness.com

It was a 67 year-old female patient who was presenting with complaints of weakness, tremors, scoliosis and rigidity due to Parkinson’s disease (PD).  She reported the symptoms began 5 years prior to starting care and was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease shortly after the symptoms began. She also stated that she fell almost every day due to the issues with the balance. The severity of her symptoms had contributed to her missing work and reducing her ability to perform her normal activities.

During her care over a 6 month period the patient reported:

  • 60% improvement in the weakness
  • 60% improvement in tremors
  • 30% improvement in rigidity
  • 70% improvement in mobility
  • Significant decrease in the number of falls 
  • Improved ability to perform activities of
    daily living, including work. 

Jubault et al found evidence that brain stem atrophy may be the first identifiable stage of neurodegeneration in patients with Parkinson’s.  The authors also note that the neural degeneration at the brainstem level may be responsible for many of the symptoms experienced by patients with PD.  Dysfunction at the brain stem level is also implicated in other studies of advanced PD.  It is hypothesized that the upper neck misalignment can aggravate and mimic Parkinson’s symptoms by progressively altering the blood and nerve flow to the brain stem.

The correction of the atlas subluxation complex can only be accomplished through specific upper neck adjustments by specially trained upper cervical chiropractors.  General chiropractic manipulation cannot correct this problem. 

If you or someone you love has been diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease then an upper neck evaluation should be performed to see if an undetected brain stem injury could be the root cause.  If in San Diego County go to www.nuccawellness.com in other areas of the world go to www.nucca.org or www.upcspine.com to find an upper cervical specialist in your area today!

Dr. William R. Davis Jr., D.C. is a Carlsbad Chiropractor and Upper Cervical Specialist. He is in private practice in Southern California in the city of Vista. He specializes in correcting problems in the upper cervical spine (upper neck). This vital area is intimately connected to the central nervous system and problems in this area have been shown to be an underlying cause of a variety of different health problems. More information can be found on his website at http://www.nuccawellness.com

References:

Reduction in Symptoms Related to Parkinson’s Disease Concomitant with Subluxation Reduction Following Upper Cervical Chiropractic Care by Jonathan Chung DC & Justin Brown DC as published in the Journal of Upper Cervical Chiropractic Research

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A diagram of the forces on the brain in concussion

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For years I have been asking my patients if they have a history of head and neck injuries including, car accidents, falls, times where they have been knocked unconscious, had a concussion or stitches to their head.

Why?

When accidents and injuries tear loose the connective tissue that holds the spine in place it creates a weakness, which allows the spine to break down and lock into a stressed position.

The area of  the body that is the most vulnerable to injury and has the most far reaching effects is the upper neck.  The top bone in the spine,  the atlas sits right underneath the skull and when the tissues around it become stretched and damaged the weight of the head will be shifted from center.

Once the position of the head is altered the position of the eyes and ears is altered as well.  The brain will initiate a reflex called the righting reflex in order to balance the eyes and the semicircular canals in the ears with the horizon.

The problem is now the head is slightly off center and the spine must adapt to that position by twisting and turning the remaining structure of the spine.  This will lead to tilting of the shoulders, the hips and imbalance all the way down to the legs leading to an unequal distribution of weight.

Body imbalance can lead to a variety of different health problems, but frequently has the same root cause…

The original head or neck injury created a misalignment of the Atlas bone at the base of the skull which led to the subsequent problems with the structure of the body, nerve and blood flow from the brain to the body.

Here is a great example from a recent research article published in the Journal of Upper Cervical Chiropractic Research ~ January 6, 2011

A 23-year-old female patient presented for upper cervical chiropractic care five months after a slip and fall that resulted in a concussion.  The patient presented with symptoms of vertigo and headaches consistent with post concussion syndrome.  The patient had a longstanding history of headaches that were exacerbated by the concussion and a new complaint of positional vertigo that occurred immediately following the trauma.  Significant body imbalances were noted including a leg length difference.  Specific Upper Cervical X-rays demonstrated an upper cervical misalignment.

She began to receive Upper Cervical Specific Chiropractic care and the headache and vertigo was gone immediately following the first adjustment. Post X-Ray evaluation showed a significant improvement in the alignment of the head and neck.  The follow up examination the following day revealed a significant decrease in muscles spasm in the neck and the legs were balanced. 

The patient’s fourth visit was two weeks following the first adjustment and at that time the patient reported a slight nagging headache had begun earlier that day, rated at 2/10, but she did not have any symptoms of vertigo.  The patient’s care was continued on a frequency of twice per month for evaluations and progress monitoring. She was evaluated with Atlas Orthogonal protocol for necessity of adjustment and her symptoms were monitored at every evaluation. She continued to report a complete resolution of vertigo and intermittent headaches rated as 2/10 that occurred at an average of two hours/day.

Who do you know that has had a concussion?  Do they have a chronic health problem?  Is there a connection to the upper neck?

Only an upper cervical specialist could tell you. 

Find out more at www.upcspine.com or www.nucca.org or if you are in the San Diego County area give us a call

760-945-1345

 William R. Davis Jr., D.C. is a Oceanside Chiropractor and Upper Cervical Specialist. He is in private practice in Southern California in the city of Vista. He specializes in correcting problems in the upper cervical spine (upper neck). This vital area is intimately connected to the central nervous system and problems in this area have been shown to be an underlying cause of a variety of different health problems. More information can be found on his website at http://www.nuccawellness.com

References:

Journal of Upper Cervical Chiropractic Research ~ January 6, 2011

Upper Cervical Chiropractic Care of a Patient with Post Concussion Syndrome, Positional Vertigo and Headaches

Alisha Mayheu DC & Matthew Sweat DC

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An infant

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Do babies need upper cervical chiropractic care?

It depends…are they misaligned?

Not all children are misaligned.  In my experience approximately 50% of the kids that I evaluate are misaligned.  In babies it is an even lower percentage.  But when the spine is misaligned as a result of birth trauma it can have significant effects shortly after birth.  Colic and other digestive conditions, ear infections, sleeping problems and more have been associated with upper neck misalignments.

An example is found in the January 28, 2011 issue of the scientific periodical, the Journal Pediatric, Maternal & Family Health.  There is a case study documenting improvement in a child with gastroesophageal reflux disease, constipation, and head deformation undergoing chiropractic care.

The authors of the study explain that the American Academy of Pediatrics defines gastroesophageal reflux (GER) as the passage of gastric contents into the esophagus while GER disease (GERD) is the presence of symptoms or complications from GER.

In this case, a 5-month-old girl was brought in for chiropractic care with gastroesophageal reflux, constipation and a deformed head known as “plagiocephaly”. The girl had been suffering with GERD since birth and was experiencing approximately 8-10 regurgitations per day consisting of 2-4 tablespoons of gastric content. The history noted that the reflux was exacerbated by movement of the baby or sitting up on her own for over 5 minutes. The infant girl was breast-fed since birth and her diet was supplemented with small amounts of baby oatmeal.

A chiropractic examination was performed and showed multiple areas of muscle tightness, reduction in joint movement and muscular asymmetry. Palpation of the spine also showed areas of spinal fixation and muscular changes. It was determined that vertebral subluxations were present in the infant’s spine.

Chiropractic care was initiated on this infant girl to correct the subluxations and correct the subsequent nerve system interference. As a result of care, the child’s medication for the reflux disease was reduced and eventually eliminated. The study also notes that her constipation was resolved, her muscle tone had returned to normal and her head asymmetry was significantly reduced.

Should all infants be checked for spinal misalignments?

Doesn’t it make sense for a child to grow up with an aligned spine?

What’s the worst that could happen the infant is evaluated and found not to be in need of any care.  Or a problem is identified in a little spine that would have negatively impacted the rest of that person’s life.

To me it just makes sense…what about you?

Dr. William R. Davis Jr., D.C. is a Oceanside Chiropractor and Upper Cervical Specialist. He is in private practice in Southern California in the city of Vista. He specializes in correcting problems in the upper cervical spine (upper neck). This vital area is intimately connected to the central nervous system and problems in this area have been shown to be an underlying cause of a variety of different health problems. More information can be found on his website at http://www.nuccawellness.com

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First cervical vertebra, or Atlas

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Epilepsy or Seizures are a problem for many Americans.  Frequently a person will be prescribed medications to cover up the effects of the seizures.  Many people do not want to just cover up the symptoms but try to find the underlying cause of the seizures and eliminate it.  Seizure medications do have serious side effects in many people including liver problems, blood disorders, rashes and altered thinking patterns.

In the February 3, 2011 issue of the Journal Upper Cervical Chiropractic Research, a case study research article documents the improvement of a 9-year-old girl with Occipital Lobe Epilepsy undergoing upper cervical chiropractic care. In this case, improvement was shown with specific chiropractic adjustments being rendered to the upper cervical (neck) spine.

The study notes that epilepsy is a condition characterized by two or more seizures, brief attacks of altered consciousness and abnormal motor activity. The worldwide population with epilepsy is estimated to be 10.5 million, 25 percent of whom are children under the age of 15.

In this case, a 9-year-old girl was brought to the chiropractor by her mother. The child was suffering with uncontrollable blinking of the left eye. She had been previously brought to a neurologist who diagnosed the girl with occipital epilepsy. The neurologist recommended an anti-convulsion medication but the girl’s mother decided to seek upper cervical chiropractic care rather that subject her daughter to drug therapy.

The girl started suffering from uncontrollable eye blinking approximately two weeks before the visit to the chiropractor. Additionally, she had shown other associated symptoms including seizures, tics, spasms, dizziness, and fainting. Other conditions the patient suffered from included constipation, seasonal allergies, rashes, itching, and skin lesions.

A upper cervical chiropractic examination was performed that included a variety of specific procedures including x-rays designed to look for misalignments in the upper cervical spine. These tests confirmed that the girl was a candidate for upper cervical chiropractic care. Care was initiated with a specific adjustment to the top of the neck.

Within six days of the initial visit, the girl’s mother reported that the left eye blinking had decreased in frequency. Shortly thereafter, it was noted that her symptoms were progressively decreasing and were only present at night. After two months of care, the eye blinking had completely stopped. The blinking only returned once after that but disappeared again following another adjustment.

In his conclusion, the author summed up this case and explained how chiropractic can help those with epilepsy by saying, “The relationship between an upper cervical subluxation and epileptic conditions in children exists but remains elusive. Evidence from this case supports the elimination of the upper cervical subluxation in the resolution of occipital lobe epilepsy signs and symptoms. Epilepsy is a neurological disorder and it is the opinion of this author that it should be treated conservatively in children before medical and surgical intervention.”

Dr. William R. Davis Jr., D.C. is a Oceanside Chiropractor and Upper Cervical Specialist. He is in private practice in Southern California in the city of Vista. He specializes in correcting problems in the upper cervical spine (upper neck). This vital area is intimately connected to the central nervous system and problems in this area have been shown to be an underlying cause of a variety of different health problems. More information can be found on his website at http://www.nuccawellness.com

References:

http://uppercervicalsubluxation.health.officelive.com/2011_1053_occipital_lobe_epilepsy.aspx

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