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Posts Tagged ‘Cervical vertebrae’

sleeping

Sleeping on Your Stomach

This is the one habit that is the most harmful to the health and function of our spine and our nervous system.  When the head is turned to the side and then the weight of the body is placed upon it…the muscles, ligaments, tendons, joints, discs, nerves, etc. are compressed.  The application of this stress of stomach sleeping will lead to an acceleration of degeneration of the discs and joints.  Some of the worst degenerative disc disease that I have seen in the spine is in those that have spent their life sleeping on their belly.  We spend a third of our lives sleeping!
 
So if you shouldn’t sleep on your stomach…how should you sleep?  Flat on your back is best.  Some people will find that placing a pillow underneath the knees will be more comfortable.  You should always sleep with only one pillow under your head though so the neck is in a relaxed position.  If you are unable to sleep on your back then the next best option is on your side.  When you are sleeping on your side, you want to make sure that your head and neck are in as an aligned position as possible.  You should only use one pillow that is thick enough to support between your shoulder and your head.  Most people have a pillow that is too thin to sleep on your side…so there head is side bent all night.  The most vulnerable position for the neck to be in is side bent or extended.
 
 
Popping or Cracking Your Neck
 
This habit, which can feel good at the time will lead to hypermobility in the joints and more and more instability over time as this habit has a tendency to make you want to do it more and more.  This is a sign that your spine is probably extremely misaligned and should be evaluated asap.
 
 
 Laying on the Couch with Your Head Propped up on the Arm
 
Here is that vulnerable position again.  A side bent head is much more likely to cause a misalignment, especially when kept in this position for 30, 60 minutes or longer why you watch TV.
 
 
Sedentary Jobs/Lifestyle
 
The longer you sit the more your posture begins to breakdown.  If you are sitting for a few minutes it is much easier to keep a good posture.  When you sit for hours the chances that your posture is breaking down is very high.  So tip #1 is to sit as little as possible.  If you can stand to do a task then do it.  A least once per hour you want to get out of your chair and walk around and change the posture that you are in…something that helps you to remember to do this is to drink lots of water…which is tip #2.  Drinking at least 8 glasses of water per day…preferrably more.  A good rule of thumb is to only drink water and drink about 1/2 of your body weight in ounces per day.  So if you weigh 150 pounds then you should drink 75 ounces of water per day.  The more you weigh the more you need to drink to be healthy.  So if you are drinking water all day then you will need to get up and go to the bathroom which will greatly benefit your spine as well…it’s a win-win.  The third tip is to change positions as much as possible when you are sitting.  Change the angle of your chair, the height of your chair, move things around throughout the day.  Your body gets bored sitting in the same position all the time!
 
 
Never Ever Exercising
 
The less we exercise the more the joints of the spine begin to stiffen and deteriorate.  So move around!  Our bodies were made to move!  The best exercise is the one that you will do consistently.  Fast walking, swimming, elliptical etc.  Pick a cardiovascular exercise and get going.
 

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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Dumont Dunes, California. Rider (author) is on...

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Hope is a very powerful emotion.  John Maxwell once said “when there is hope in the future, there is power in the present.”  Many patients come into my office as a last hope.  They may have tried the medical approach, alternative approaches and even other chiropractic approaches.  But when they hear about NUCCA, a sliver of hope is born.  NUCCA is a form of care that is focused on restoring the heavy head to a centered and balanced position on top of the neck.  The rehabilitative process that ensues once the underlying problem is identified is truly amazing.  As the brain can begin to send proper messages to all areas of the body, hundreds of different conditions have responded to properly aligning the head and the neck. 

Typically accidents or injuries will tear loose the connective tissue that holds the spine in place which will lead to a weakness in the spine at the level of the atlas the top bone in the spine.  This weakness will allow the weight of the head to shift from center and begin a cascade of compensations throughout the body leading to pain frequently and poor health.

A great example of this is a recent patient of ours who was struggling with a chronic mid-back pain.  He had a series of dirt bike accidents that had led to the instability and misalignment in his spine.  At 20 years old he had already tried many different treatments including physical therapy, stretching, exercises and medications.  But until the underlying cause was properly identified and corrected the problems continued to plague him.  T.J. was losing hope that he would ever be free from this pain and able to work and exercise like a 20-year-old should.  Here is his story…

When I first came to Breath of Life, I was suffering from extreme back pain that was resulting from motorcycle crashes and weight lifting injuries. I had been to other doctors and took medication all in hopes of finding relief, but nothing worked. I looked to NUCCA Chiropractic as a last attempt to find relief.

I have seen many improvements in my health since starting NUCCA care. Not just in my back, but in my energy level, mood and overall well-being.

I am now able to lift weights without worrying about starting another flare up. At work I am so much better now, that I am pain-free and I am even nicer more of the time. I never realized how much being misaligned affected my moods.

If I see someone who is suffering from any kind of pain that they don’t know how to alleviate, I tell them to try NUCCA, because it worked wonders for me when I had no hope.

I now look forward to every adjustment. Knowing that when my body is in alignment I will always leave feeling so relaxed and in the best mood!

Do you know someone who has lost hope?  NUCCA may be the answer.  Find out today by scheduling an evaluation at www.nuccawellness.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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A hand scraching at a pruritus on arm

Image via Wikipedia

Are your arms itching and burning?

Is the only relief an ice pack applied to the area?

Does it get worse at night?

Do you have a history of head or neck injuries?  Car accidents?  Falls?  Other Traumas?

Recently we have published a Case Study in the Journal of Upper Cervical Chiropractic Research on the resolution of a condition called Brachioradial Pruritis  in a 37 year old female utilizing Upper Cervical Chiropractic for the correction of structural misalignments in the neck.  This particular patient had a fall on a staircase where she hit her head about 8 years before the symptoms began.  As a nurse she was able to diagnose herself as having Brachioradial Pruritis a somewhat rare condition that Dermatologists typically see and have little answers for.

According to Medscape

Brachioradial pruritus is a nerve related itch syndrome of the upper extremities. It is typically localized to the skin on the forearm, but involvement of the upper arms and shoulders is also common.  It may be one sided or both sided. Scratching reportedly only makes the discomfort worse, and most patients discover that application of cold packs is often the only therapy that provides symptomatic relief.

Jennifer went the Dermatologist route at first and had no results.  She just continued to suffer until the cause was identified and then she was on the path to recovery.

Dermatologists are frequently baffled by this condition and maybe for good reason, much of the research available points to the neck as a probable cause (see references below).  So if you go to a skin expert and they see itching skin then they will frequently prescribe some sort of topical cream or other medication to no avail.  But if the problem is being caused by an underlying neck condition as it was in Jennifer’s case, a skin expert is going to have a hard time properly diagnosing or treating such a condition.

If the cause is pressure on the nerves as they leave the neck and travel into the arm then covering up the sensation with Benadryl or even ice packs are at best a temporary solution.

If you have been diagnosed with Brachioradial Pruritis or if you just have the symptoms described above then a structural evaluation of your neck would be appropriate.  Now the problem is not all neck evaluations are created equal.  Without a thorough understanding of the misalignments in the neck the problem could be unchanged or made worse.

So make sure that you go to an upper cervical specialist that will take the time and the effort to understand the misalignments with precise upper cervical x-rays and a thorough evaluation.

Many excellent upper cervical specialists can be found at www.nucca.org or www.upcspine.com  or if you are in the San Diego County area than come into to our office and we will evaluate you.  You can find us at www.nuccawellness.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

References:

Heyl T. Brachioradial pruritus. Arch Dermatol. Feb 1983;119(2):115-6.

Tait CP, Grigg E, Quirk CJ. Brachioradial pruritus and cervical spine manipulation. Australas J Dermatol. Aug 1998;39(3):168-70.

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Cervical spine in X-ray, lateral view

Image via Wikipedia

According to Wikipedia…”Ménière’s cannot be cured, treatments focus more on addressing symptoms.”

From a medical perspective Meniere’s Disease is an incurable condition.  Once you have it, you always will and it will only get worse.  But from an Upper Cervical Chiropractic perspective the symptoms of Meniere’s Disease are frequently eliminated or significantly reduced when the upper neck misalignment is corrected. 

Why is there such a different perspective?

It really goes to the basics of chiropractic philosophy versus medical philosophy.

Chiropractic philosophy teaches that the body is designed to be healthy and if there is a problem with the body then there is a cause of that problem.  Medical philosophy comes from mechanistic and reductionistic viewpoint that says the whole is the sum of the parts only and that are bodies are not designed but evolved.  The medical answer is to cover up the symptoms or the effects of the problem with drugs rather than address the underlying cause or perform surgery to remove parts that are deemed unnecessary (i.e. appendix, tonsils etc.).

So what does this have to do with Meniere’s disease?

If you have been diagnosed with Meniere’s, then you have been struggling with a combination of symptoms, classically vertigo or dizziness, hearing loss and tinnitus or ringing in the ear.  Now most people are going to be struggling with these symptoms for some time before there are diagnosed.  And once diagnosed the medical doctor will must likely tell you that they can try to control the symptoms as much as possible with drugs or possibly surgery.

Most people today once they go home from the doctor with a label the first thing that they will do is google Meniere’s Disease and get info from places like  National Institute of health, Wikipedia and a variety of other websites outlining the condition.  Looking at the NIH’s website in all that bleak information there will be one mention of head injury as a possible cause (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMH0001721/) but no mention of what to do about the head injury that may have caused the condition.

Head injury affects the alignment of the upper cervical spine (upper neck).  Once the upper neck is misaligned pressure begins to develop into the all important nerves at the base of the brain.  This brain stem pressure can lead to vertigo, hearing loss, ringing the ears and many other conditions.

If someone was to Google Meniere’s Disease and the Upper Neck a very different picture would be found.

One of hope, healing and the logical connection of the head or neck trauma to the onset of the symptoms and how once the underlying head and neck injuries are healed the symptoms of Meniere’s go away or are greatly reduced.

So do yourself a favor if you have been diagnosed with Meniere’s…don’t just look at the medical perspective but look into the best kept secret in health…Upper Cervical Chiropractic and seek the cause of the problem.

To find out more about upper cervical chiropractic go to www.nuccawellness.com.

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

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A diagram of the forces on the brain in concussion

Image via Wikipedia

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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First cervical vertebra, or Atlas

Image via Wikipedia

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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I have previously talked about a rare condition called Brachioradial Pruritis (BRP) on this blog and how NUCCA Spinal Care was able to get to the underlying cause of the condition and eliminate it by correcting problems in the neck (see https://nuccadoctordavis.wordpress.com/2010/03/05/nucca-and-brachioradial-pruritis/ for more info). 

The Journal of Dermatology describes Brachioradial pruritus (BRP) as a localized itching or burning sensation of the arm. BRP is an enigmatic condition with a controversial cause; some authors consider BRP to be a photodermatosis (sensitivity to sunlight leads to changes in the skin) whereas other authors attribute BRP to compression of cervical nerve roots (nerves in the neck).

Several dermatologists have done research into this condition that makes sense with what I am seeing in my office.  They sought to investigate the presence of neuropathy (nerve related problem) in patients with BRP.  They performed studies of the median, ulnar, and radial nerves (nerves leaving the lower portion of the neck that go into the arm) in consecutive patients with BRP, including measurement of sensory and motor function.

Included in the study were 7 patients, 5 men and 2 women, with an average age of 58.3 years (range: 42-72 years). Of the patients, 4 (57%) had abnormal responses on testing that were diagnostic for cervical radiculopathy, and 3 of these patients had prolonged distal latencies of the nerves tested, which may be interpreted as sensory motor neuropathy secondary to chronic radiculopathy.  The fourth patient had polyneuropathy secondary to diabetes mellitus.

They authors concuded that BRP may be attributed to a neuropathy, such as chronic cervical radiculopathy. The possibility of an underlying neuropathy should be considered in the evaluation and treatment of all patients with BRP. 

In another study the Medical charts of patients with BRP seen in the Division of Dermatology of the University of Massachusetts Medical Center between the years of 1993 and 2000 were retrospectively analyzed. On the basis of clinical index of suspicion, some patients had undergone radiography of the spine.  Of the 22 patients with BRP, 11 had cervical spine x-rays. The x-rays showed cervical spine problems that could be correlated with the location of pruritus in each of these 11 patients.  All 11 showed the connection! 

The authors concluded “The main cause of brachioradial pruritus (BRP) is not known but there is evidence to suggest that BRP may arise in the nervous system. Cervical spine disease may be an important contributing factor.”

NUCCA Spinal Care is focused on correcting structural problems with the alignment of the head, neck and spinal column.  When the spine is misaligned it will cause degeneration of the spine and interference with the function of the nerve system.  Frequently in my office looking at the x-rays of hundreds of patients with upper cervical misalignments I will see that a majority of the degeneration is in the lower cervical bones…C5, C6 & C7.  This is the area where the nerves leave the spine and go into the arm and hand.  By correcting the alignment of the spine the pressure can be relieved and the degeneration and nerve irritation can be stopped.

If you have itching or burning in your arms or have been diagnosed with Brachioradial Pruritis than an upper cervical evaluation is warranted.  If you are in the San Diego CA area than go to our website at www.nuccawellness.com to find out about our evaluation special.  If you are not in the area go to www.nucca.org or www.upcspine.com to find a doctor in your area today!

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:

J Am Acad Dermatol. 2003 Jun;48(6):825-8.

J Am Acad Dermatol 2003 Apr;48(4):521-4

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