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Posts Tagged ‘Chronic pain’

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Searching for information about the importance of weight distribution to the health of the body will reveal information from the personal fitness industry, athletic training, podiatry and others all showing the importance of equal distribution of weight.  The human body weight should be distributed fairly evenly within about 5 lbs plus or minus.  For example, a 200 pound man should have about 100 lbs distributed to his right side and 100 lbs distributed to his left side.

In our office as part of our NUCCA evaluation we use 2 high end weight scales to see how a person’s weight is distributed.  The scales measure sway for awhile and then lock in the actual weight distribution.  The most I have ever seen is 57 pounds distributed unevenly (148 pounds distributed to the left and 91 pounds to the right!  This was a man with chronic lower back and one sided hip pain.  The chronic pain was resistant to all sorts of therapies and surgeries.

As a way of assessing progress when a patient is holding their correction, (which means that their hips, shoulders and legs are measuring level and balanced for the time between the last appointment to the current appointment), we will recheck the scales.  This particular patient went from 57 lbs unevenly distributed to 10 pounds in about 4 weeks (Left 124 lbs and Right 114 lbs) when he was in alignment for about 4 days!  His chronic pain was finally starting to improve as well.  What will happen when his weight distribution is normal and stays that way for weeks and then months?

I expect him to do better and better with his health.

So how did we do that?

The distribution of the weight of our body is very much connected to the position of our head.  Our heads are very heavy, they weigh 10-14 pounds and for our body to work most effectively, the head needs to be centered right over our pelvis.

Accidents and injuries to the head and neck can lead to a tearing loose of the tissue that holds the spine in place.  When these injuries occur to the upper neck it will create a weakness and allow the spine to break down and lock into a stressed position.  This misaligned position of the head will lead to compensations of the entire frame of the body.

The longer the weight of the body is distributed unevenly the more likely that your walking patterns, standing and exercise will be effected.

Hip, knee, foot and ankle injuries can be next.

If you have a chronic one sided hip, knee, or foot problem…have you checked to see if your head is on straight?

It could be the missing piece in the puzzle for your optimal health and well-being.

If you are in the Southern California area and would like to get your head and neck alignment assessed.  The go to www.nuccawellness.com and schedule an initial evaluation today.

Anywhere else in the world go to 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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So lets pretend you have a chronic neck or back pain, Fibromyalgia or another condition that has a lot of inflammation and swelling that goes along with it.  So your friendly MD puts you on Prednisone to help it…what’s the big deal?

Well, basically what Prednisone does is decrease inflammation while depressing your immune system.

Common Side Effects according to www.drugs.com include difficulty sleeping; feeling of a whirling motion; increased appetite; increased sweating; indigestion; mood changes; nervousness.

Severe side effects include severe allergic reactions (rash; hives; itching; difficulty breathing; tightness in the chest; swelling of the mouth, face, lips, or tongue); appetite loss; black, tarry stools; changes in menstrual periods; convulsions; depression; diarrhea; dizziness; exaggerated sense of well-being; fever; general body discomfort; headache; increased pressure in the eye; joint or muscle pain; mood swings; muscle weakness; personality changes; prolonged sore throat, cold, or fever; puffing of the face; severe nausea or vomiting; swelling of feet or legs; unusual weight gain; vomiting material that looks like coffee grounds; weakness; weight loss.

Prolonged use of prednisone can cause adrenal glands to atrophy and stop producing cortisol.  That’s not good!  Patients are often told not to stop taking prednisone suddenly. The dose has to be tapered gradually to allow the adrenal glands, which have atrophied, time to recover. If not, the person could put themselves into an adrenal crisis (e.g., nausea, vomiting, shock).

So if you are put on any medication for any reason continue to seek the cause of the condition.  Especially if it is a drug as dangerous as Prednisone.

Do not just continually rely on a medication to cover up the effects but seek the cause.

If you have Fibromyalgia or Chronic Pain, please continue to read about NUCCA and seek answers.

It’s your body and your responsibility.

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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Schematic Examples of CNS Structural Changes i...

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Fibromyalgia is a little understood illness that still has the stigma of not being a real disease to many ignorant people and doctors.  However, people who do have fibromyalgia would argue that the reality of their life with fibromyalgia includes pain, stiffness, fatigue, and difficulty sleeping.  As a recent patient told me “everything but my eyeballs hurt!”  I have also been told by patients that it feels like you have the flu…achy all over…but it never goes away!  Perhaps studies of the brain changes and chronic pain may help researchers and doctors better understand illnesses like fibromyalgia.  The latest research is suggesting that fibromyalgia has a connection with the central nervous system and is the result of a malfunction, or dysfunction, of the central nervous system.  A. Kuchinad and colleagues studied 10 women who had fibromyalgia and compared them with 10 women who did not have the illness. Among the women with fibromyalgia, Kuchinad’s team found a reduction in brain tissue that wasn’t found in the controls. This finding was backed up by yet another study not long after.  Other research has shown awake like brain activity in patients with Fibromyalgia when sleeping.  No REM sleep leads to the unrefreshed sleep common with the condition. 

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is another syndrome that has its skeptics.  There is no test for IBS (nor for fibromyalgia). Diseases that have no tests are diagnosed through exclusion. This means that doctors must do
tests to rule out all other possibilities and IBS is only diagnosed when all other illnesses are ruled out.  People with IBS experience pain and cramping, and diarrhea or constipation, or both. As with fibromyalgia, brain imaging of patients with IBS has found a loss in brain tissue and the patterns are very similar to fibromyalgia and other chronic pain issues.

So what is wrong with the central nervous system with people who are suffering with these mysterious conditions?

Frequently, an undetected head or neck injury that is affecting the brain is the cause.  A Brain Stem Subluxation causes pressure on the central nervous system at the level of the atlas (top bone in the neck).  When accidents and injuries tear loose the connective tissue that holds the spine together it will create a weakness and allow the spine to break down and lock into a stressed position.  The most vulnerable area of the body to trauma is the upper neck because it is the most movable area of the entire body.  If that top bone is misaligned it disrupts the function of the central nervous system.

I have seen hundreds of patients with brain stem subluxations in my practice and frequently it is an underlying cause of conditions like Fibromyalgia and Irritable Bowel Syndrome.  For instance my patient who 3 months ago said that everything but her eyeballs hurt…reported today that 80 % of all the Fibromyalgia symptoms are gone!  This is a condition that she has struggled with for over 9 years and has seen a half a dozen different doctors. 

What has happened to her body?

Due to a head trauma that had occured earlier on in her life, her head and neck were significantly misaligned and that misalignment was causing pressure into the brain stem.  As the pressure has been removed her body has begun the healing process.  The longer that nervous system has been dysfunctional the longer it takes to heal.  But at 3 months she has already had a dramatic decrease in pain and stiffness, can sleep through the night and has near normal energy. 

Patients with Irritable Bowel Syndrome have similar results.  As the nervous system begins sending the proper messages to the digestive system again…digestion frequently becomes normal.

So does this type of treatment help everyone with Fibromyalgia and Irritable Bowel Syndrome?  Of course not!  Nothing is 100%.  But if you have had a head or neck trauma prior to the onset of the symptoms then Upper Cervical Chiropractic could be the answer.

Here is a quick way to see if you may be a candidate.  Postural problems are common with Upper Neck Misalignments.  So stand in front of a mirror and close your eyes.  Bring your head down and back up and then open your eyes.  Do you notice that your head is tilting to one side?  Are your shoulders level?  It is not definitive…but if you have a history of any type of head or neck trauma then the chances that you are a good candidate go up dramatically.  Sometimes it is difficult to remember head or neck traumas especially if they have been years or even decades earlier.  So here are some questions to ask yourself.  Have you had a concusssion?  Been knocked unconscious?  Had stitches to your head?

Most doctors will do a complimentary consultation to see if you are a candidate. 

Don’t give up hope…there is a cause behind every effect in the body. 

Just when you thought you checked everything…have you checked to see if your head is on straight?

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

References:

http://www.spineuniversity.com/files/Journal_Watch/spineU_neuroplasticity.pdf

http://ucrf.org/projects-funding/project-descriptions#cerebral

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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