Posts Tagged ‘Brain’

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A recent case study published in the Journal of Upper Cervical Chiropractic Research titled “Improvement in a Female with Multiple Sclerosis Undergoing Chiropractic Care Utilizing Toggle Recoil Technique: A Case Report” by John Taylor Thornhill, DC.  Again raises the question…

…is Multiple Sclerosis related to trauma to the head and neck?

On this blog in the past we have looked at the correlation between blood flow studies and head and neck trauma (http://wp.me/pscJU-5Q).  We have looked at the research out of Europe demonstrating how an invasive surgery to the veins that drain from the brain is showing remarkable improvement in MS patients (http://wp.me/pscJU-5L).  And now another study linking MS to the neck.

Approximately 400,000 Americans have MS and every hour someone is newly diagnosed.  Worldwide, MS affects approximately 2.1 million people.  No two people experience the symptoms of MS the same way nor do any two individuals show the same progression of the disease. The Central Nervous System dysfunction associated with MS results in a wide variety of neurological symptoms ranging from tingling, numbness, and slurred speech to visual disturbances, changes in brain function, and paralysis in severe cases.

Some chiropractors specialize in techniques focused solely on the upper cervical area of the spine (upper neck). These techniques have been shown to have a global effect on physiology with positive outcomes in patients with upper neck misalignments.  It should be noted that the objective however is not to treat the presenting symptom as much as it is to reduce the upper cervical misalignment  itself for the inherent benefit of improving the function of the nervous system.

The positive outcomes from this type of correction have been observed in all age groups from pediatric to geriatric. Upper cervical chiropractic care has been shown to be safe in spite of complicated case presentations including those with previous spinal injury due to trauma, infection, or other abnormality.

There is growing evidence linking previous trauma to the onset and diagnosis of Multiple Sclerosis, implying a connection between stability of the cervical spine and the onset of the disease.  Dr. Elster has also reported on some promising work on the effects of upper cervical specific chiropractic care and the positive outcomes of MS patients further linking the progression of the disease with the position and stability of the upper cervical spine (http://www.erinelster.com/PDFabstract.aspx?PDFID=10).

With all of the evidence pointing in this direction…doesn’t it make sense to at least evaluate that area of the body to see if you could be helped with Upper Cervical Specific Chiropractic Care, such as NUCCA?

You have nothing to lose and much to gain from an evaluation!

To get a thorough Upper Cervical Spine Examination contact our office www.nuccawellness.com or if you are not in the Southern California area go to www.nucca.org or www.upcpine.com.


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Many times after an initial adjustment in the office a patient will report feeling a flushing in their face or a feeling of a changed blood flow in their neck or other area of the body.  Why does this happen?  And how is changing blood flow patterns important to health and function of the body.

Chiropractic is primarily about changing nerve flow from the brain to the body.  But when nerve flow is changed so is blood flow.  Both directly by the veins and arteries that are not flowing properly and from the nerve connection to the arteries and veins.

A great example from our office was Maureen.  Maureen had suffered multiple injuries from car accidents and had lost a majority of the strength in her legs.  At 31 she was struggling to walk and was resigned to a wheelchair due to the injuries to her neck and back.  Severe numbness and tingling into both legs.  After an 8 year battle that cost her more than $45,000 out of pocket for just the diagnostic tests alone, she finally found the help she needed with NUCCA care.  Here is her story in her own words.

I had multiple injuries to my back and neck 8 years ago that compounded and deteriorated to the point of using a wheelchair and crutches to walk. All my hope was almost lost, but Dr. Davis was an answer to my prayers. The day after my first adjustment, I heard and felt a loud release at the base of my skull. A few days after that I was down to using only one crutch to walk, after years of using two. After continued care I have been able to ditch the crutches completely and I am able to stand and walk without assistance. I am so excited about all the things that I can do again thanks to my NUCCA care. From being able to sleep on my back, to being able to stand in the shower and to be able to stand in church and raise my hands! The NUCCA method is non-invasive; it is gentle, with absolutely no cracking of the spine. In fact I hardly feel the adjustment, but I definitely feel a huge improvement in my health. Dr. Davis is a wonderful chiropractor and is doing God’s service!

The changes that happened with Maureen are related to both blood and nerve flow.  She told me when she began to notice the changes, that she felt like life was coming back into her legs.  Well, when the brain and the body are disconnected by an upper cervical misalignment, the life that flows through the nerves and blood vessels into all areas of our body are extremely effected. 

If you remember Christopher Reeve, Superman took a fall from a horse that fractured those all important bones at the top of the neck.  Imagine a light switch, for him it was as if the lights were turned out.  He was in a wheelchair unable to move or breath on his own.  A 100 % loss of function.

Now imagine a dimmer switch, when there is a misalignment at the top of the neck that dimmer switch is turned down.  Each person’s switch is turned down a different amount.  For one person it may be 10%, another 35%, well with Maureen her dimmer switch was probably 75-80 % or more.

Is your switch turned down?  How much?  How is it effecting you?  Headaches, sleep problems, multiple sclerosis, chronic pain, 300 trillion nerves coming out of the brain which nerves is that misalignment effecting in your body?

If you are in the San Diego county area call the office today to schedule an initial evaluation at 760-945-1345.

Or find an upper cervical specialist in your area at www.nucca.org or www.upcspine.com

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Deep dissection of cortex and brain-stem.

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What happens to the human body as a result of an Atlas Misalignment is variable.  One patient may develop Migraine Headaches another Lower back Pain and still another pain in the face or digestive problems. 

Why is that? 

The short answer is that the brain is changed.

When the spinal column is misaligned as a result of problems in the upper neck it begins a cascade of events that leads to poor health.

Frequently it begins with accidents and injuries that tear loose the connective tissue that holds the spine in place in the upper neck.  This creates a weakness which allows the spine to breakdown and lock into a stressed position.  The head will frequently tilt to one side, the shoulders will tilt.  Standing up one of the hips will be higher than the other due to uneven muscle pulling, lying down one of the legs will be shorter than the other due to spastic contracture of the muscles around the pelvis.

Once the structure of the body is in this misaligned position pressure begins to develop into the nervous system beginning in the lower part of the brain where it enters the spinal cord at the level of the Atlas (top bone in the spine).  And extending down from there into the spinal nerves that go into the legs and arms and into all internal organs.

So what does this all have to do with Post Polio?

If you had Polio as a child and years later you began developing strange symptoms that are being traced back to the original Polio virus than you may have been told that there is not much that they can do for you.

But if there is problems in the body as a result of a trauma to your head, neck or spine and there was some underlying neurological problems as a result of the damage from the Polio, than the combination of the two issues may lead to the symptoms of post polio.

Problems in the upper neck at the level of the atlas cause dysfunction into the brain stem.  Brain stem dysfunction has been linked to the development of post polio syndrome as Dr. Susan Pearlman of the UCLA Post Polio Clinic has stated in her work looking at Polio above the neck. 

When the underlying spinal problems in the upper neck are corrected and brain stem function is improved amazing things happen with a variety of different body systems including many of those connected to post polio and the lower brain stem including improvement in:

  • Fatigue
  • Joint Pain
  • Muscle Pain and Weakness
  • Atrophy
  • Cold Intolerance
  • Breathing Problems
  • Problems Swallowing
  • Blood Pressure Changes 

In my Upper Cervical Chiropractic office I have seen changes in all of these symptoms in those with Post Polio and other conditions as well when the underlying injuries to the upper neck are corrected and allowed to heal.

So have you been diagnosed with Post Polio Syndrome?

Do you have a history of head, neck or spine trauma?

What would happen to your body if that pressure that has developed from the upper neck problems were removed?

Would you get better?

Only one way to find out…have an upper cervical spine evaluation in a specific upper cervical chiropractic office.

Find out more info at www.nuccawellness.com or www.nucca.org or www.upcspine.com

Dr. William R. Davis Jr., D.C. is a Vista 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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Dr. Davis, N.U.C.C.A. Chiropractor here again from Vista California…

Brain Plasticity also called Neuroplasticity is the ability of your brain to reorganize neural (nerve) pathways in the brain. In simple terms, every time you learn how to do something, you are unconsciously memorizing the process of how it’s done and what the outcome will be. As you learn, your brain is making subtle changes to accommodate the new information and ability.  Neuroplasticity is generally a good thing and allows us to survive. However, there can be negative consequences.

When a person suffers a head or neck injury as a result of a car crash, fall or other accident, the tissues around the spine are stretched and torn.  This damage creates a weakness which allows the spine to break down and lock into a stressed position.  One of the hips will be higher than the other in the standing position.  One of the shoulders will be higher and the head will generally lean to one side.  If this acute injury is not corrected a chronic pattern will develop.  Just like shaping something made of plastic the nervous system begins to develop a fixed pattern. Think of this like a bad habit.  If you do the same thing all the time your brain and your body begins to develop that pattern and the longer you have had that habit the harder it will be to break.

In the same way with these chronic spinal patterns…the longer it has been there the more difficult is will be to break the pattern.

What does chronic pain have to do with neuroplasticity?

As research techniques become more refined, researchers are able to study the human brain and its function in living people, rather than waiting for an autopsy. Up to now, researchers have been able to establish the existence of a network of pain-transmitting areas within the central nervous system (CNS). This was first demonstrated with animals and, more recently, by performing brain studies with humans.

Chronic pain is pain that has been present, either continually or off and on, for at least three to six months.  Chronic pain is complex and often difficult to pinpoint and treat by the medical profession. Acute pain is a sudden pain that can usually be identified and treated, such as a toothache, stubbing your toe, or having surgery.  Chronic pain is very common among North American adults. Data from 1999 demonstrated that about 50 million people seek help for chronic pain. Chronic pain affects people’s lives because it can cause other physical problems, affect the ability to work and enjoy life, and it can affect the social and economic status of people. Chronic pain causes lost productivity and increases health care costs.

Where neuroplasticity comes in is when acute pain develops into chronic pain. Your body reacts to acute pain as it warns you that something is wrong. Usually, once the acute pain has been dealt with, the pain goes away and becomes a distant memory. However, if the cause of the acute pain is not dealt with over the course of a few weeks, months, and sometimes even years, your brain’s “wiring” may reorganize itself and tell your body that the chronic pain should be there and will stay there.  How this change occurs is different from person to person.

Chronic back pain, particularly of the lower back, is the most common complaint of pain in the developed world, even more than headaches
and migraines. It’s estimated that 70 to 85 percent of people in developed countries have had, have, or will have chronic lower back pain at some point in their lifetime.  The connection between back pain and brain function has interested researchers for quite a while. In 2004, A.V. Apkanian and colleagues analyzed 17 patients who complained of chronic back pain. After examining the patients’ brains, the researchers found that the patients had some brain atrophy (wasting away of tissue) in the brain.

“Other researchers, such as T. Schmidt-Wicke, agreed with Apkarian when that team studied 18 patients and matched them with controls, people without chronic back pain. The researchers found the same decrease in brain tissue among those patients who had pain, but not in the controls.”

Eight studies that looked at the shape and changes in brain tissue point to the issue that there is a connection between neuroplasticity and chronic pain. It appears that no matter what is causing the chronic pain, the same changes are taking place in the brain and in the same areas.

What is actually causing the brain cell shrinkage or loss?  That’s the key issue.

New research relating to the blood flow to and from the brain may provide a connection.  Phase contrast MRI of the veins and arteries from the brain to the body are showing that when a person has a misalignment of the upper neck (Atlas vertebrae) the blood flow from the brain is altered.  Once the atlas is restored to it’s normal position the blood flow is normalized.

So if someone suffers a injury that causes a misalignment of the atlas at 25 and does not find the underlying structural problem for 10 years…the brain has not had normal blood flow for 10 years! That may result in the atrophy that the researchers are detecting.  And why so frequently we see patients with Lower Back Pain or Sciatica respond so well to an upper neck adjustment with the NUCCA procedure.

If you are experiencing chronic pain an underlying Atlas Misalignment could be the reason.  To have your brain stem and upper cervical spine evaluated for an undetected injury go to  http://www.nuccawellness.com if you are not in the San Diego County area go to www.nucca.org




Dr. William R. Davis Jr., D.C. is a Vista 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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Dr. Davis here from Vista California

How does a Brain Stem Subluxation (a problem in the upper neck) cause you to not be able to sleep?  Are you a person who has a hard time falling asleep?  Staying asleep?  Or you just can’t turn your brain off?  Maybe you do sleep but you wake up in the morning just as tired as you were when you went to bed?  Even when you get enough sleep?

It has been known for some 40 years that waking and consciousness depend upon nerve cells within an area of the brainstem called the reticular formation. The Brain stem is a part of the brain that dips down into the top part of you neck (upper cervical spine).  These nerve cells activate portions of your brain that produce wakefulness and in turn sleep.

Magoun states that the central reticular formation of the brain stem exerts ascending (up to the brain) and descending (down from the brain) influences upon the cerebral cortex and upon the motor outflows from the spinal cord.  Tractionization of the brain stem by a misalignment in the upper neck causes a disruption in the function of the reticular formation of the brain stem resulting in a variety of postural changes verified by the National Upper Cervical Chiropractic Research Foundation. 

So when a person has accidents and injuries that tear loose the connective tissue that hold the spine in place it will create a weakness and allow the spine to begin to breakdown and lock into a stressed position.  And this is a progressive condition…so the longer the spine is left in that state the worse it gets.  This tractionization on the brain stem is the underlying cause of the sleep problems in so many of our patients.  A Simple postural and neurological evaluation by an upper cervical specific chiropractor will tell you whether or not you have this common condition.

Who do you know that isn’t sleeping?  We spend a third of our lives in bed…how important is it to our work, family, and personal lives that our sleep is good and restful?

If your life is not what it should be because of sleeping problems, then you should be evaluated by an Upper Cervical Specialist as soon as possible. 

Get your head on straight and get back to sleeping the way that you should.

Find out more info at www.nuccawellness.com for those in Southern California.

Anywhere else in the country go to www.nucca.org or www.upcspine.org



God Bless and Be Well,

Dr. Bill Davis

Upper Cervical Specialist

Breath of Life Chiropractic













1. Magoun, H.W. (1968) Brain stem, Encyclopedia Brittanica, Vol. 4.

2. http://www.sleephomepages.org/sleepsyllabus/e.html




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