Posts Tagged ‘Migraines’

my brain

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Have you been asking this question?

How long have you suffered?

In the Journal of the American Medical Association it was once stated “Headaches are not headaches at all but really a pain in the neck.” Seletz E. Whiplash Injuries. JAMA, 1958; 168(13): 1750-1755

So why is most headache help focused on numbing the head?

The most common form of migraine treatment today is the use of prescription drugs. Not only are these medications costly, but they also can cause numerous, negative side effects.

Common drug therapies and their side effects.

| Imitrex | Maxalt | Zomig | Relpax |

  • Abnormal Sensations (tingling, burning)
  • Dizziness (Vertigo)
  • Weakness
  • Neck, Jaw, and Throat Pain
  • Nausea
  • Abdominal Pain

But what if there was a way to get the underlying cause of the Migraines? 

Not just cover it up but eliminate the Migraines completely by getting to the reason why you are getting the headaches?

Is it possible?

For many of our patients Upper Cervical Chiropractic Care has been the missing piece of the puzzle.

Upper Cervical Chiropractors have helped thousands of patients reduce the frequency and intensity of their migraine symptoms. Because the upper cervical region of the neck (C1-C2) is more susceptible to injury than the rest of the spine, upper cervical chiropractors have found a link between a misalignment of the upper neck area and migraine and other chronic headaches.

But the big factor with Migraines is blood flow.  Or more properly the improper flow of blood from the brain.  Upper Cervical Chiropractic adjustments in migraine patients are improving blood flow on before and after phase contrast MRI’s.

There is currently a large study beginning in Canada looking at this connection between the blood flow in the jugular veins and upper neck misalignments.

Recently one of our patients sent me this message on Facebook…

“After seeing Dr. Davis, I was migraine free. After suffering for over 10 years, this was truly a life changer!”

Joe Rangel 

Here is another one from a teacher from Valley Center that she posted on City Search.

“I came to Breath of Life after having migraines for years. I got the point where I was in constant pain. After my first few visits to Dr. Davis my headaches went away. It has been almost 2 years, and I can honestly say that I have only had a few headaches. I went from having a few a week to a few a year. That has been amazing for me and my family.”

Katie Aguilar

So what are you waiting for?

The science is showing the connection and if you want to hear from more real people like you who have found the help that they needed than read some more below.

You can read more of our reviews on City Search here


We also have lots of reviews on Google


On Insider Pages


And On Yelp


So before you pop those pills for those recurring Migraines…give us a call instead and maybe you to could end those Migraines forever! 

Breath of Life Upper Cervical Chiropractic         760-945-1345
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 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.


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


 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


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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Generic regular strength enteric coated 325mg ...

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Although most people get the occasional headache, there are people who experience headaches for more than 15 days (or more) each month. They are said to have chronic headaches. It is estimated that between three to five percent of people worldwide have chronic headaches.  There are several subtypes of chronic headaches, such as chronic migraine, chronic tension-type headache, medication overuse headache, and hemicrania continua (a headache that only affects one side of the face and head).  The most common subtypes are the chronic tension type and the medication overuse type.  There is a significant difference between the two headaches though. While it can be difficult to treat the tension type headaches, it’s relatively simple to treat the medication overuse headaches.  These headaches go away if the patient stops taking analgesics (pain killers). 

Researchers examined the brains of people with either tension type headache or medication overuse headaches and compared them with people who didn’t have headaches.  The researchers found that neither patients with medication overuse headaches nor the controls had any changes in brain tissue, but patients with tension type headaches didAnd, the longer the patients had their headaches, the more tissue was lost in the brain While investigating patients with episodic headaches and patients with tension type headaches, researcher M.S. Matharu and colleagues fond that patients with episodic headaches didn’t have any brain changes, while, as expected, those with tension type headaches did have changes. These findings were challenged by other researchers who came up with different findings. 

Migraines are more than just severe headaches.  Migraines are in a class by themselves.  The only thing they have in common with headaches is the head pain. A migraine usually, but not always, involves a severe, unilateral (one-sided) headache that is often described as pulsing or throbbing. In addition to the pain, many people with migraines also become very sensitive to light (photophobia), sounds, and odors. They may also be nauseous and vomit.  Many studies have been done on migraineurs, people who have migraines. This research has shown that there are changes in the brains of migraineurs, much like those with other chronic pain. Although there hasn’t been a connection made between the changes in the brain as a result of the pain, researchers have found that these changes may actually have a part in causing the migraine pain.

Spine University’s Guide to Neuroplasticity and Chronic Pain Compliments of: Spine University M.A. Rocca and colleagues studied 16 patients with migraines and they also found changes in their brain tissue. Two other studies compared patients with migraines to control subjects who didn’t have migraines.  Both studies also found brain changes in the migraineurs.  When interpreting the study data, Rocca’s group suggested that the changes could have been caused by the repeated pain attacks on the brain. However, the pattern of the tissue changes seemed to be more in line with the idea that they are caused by the duration of pain, not the frequency.  An interesting issue though is that migraines tend to come less often as people age and researchers aren’t sure how this is connected to the changes in the brain.

When the upper cervical spine is misaligned the blood flow is changed from the brain.  That is being demonstrated with Phase Contrast MRI on the arteries and veins from the brain to the body.  Altered blood flow can change the brain.  Our brain needs proper blood flow in order to function properly.  The longer the misalignment has been present the more damage is done.

If the upper neck has become misaligned due to accidents and injuries than a change is happening in the brain.  This brain research is showing how those with chronic headaches are suffering brain damage as a result of the chronic headaches.  Do you see the connection?  Misalignment causes altered blood flow…the brain needs blood in order function properly…without proper venous drainage many people begin to suffer with headaches.  Correct the cause by realigning the upper cervical spine with a precise upper cervical procedure such as NUCCA, Orthospinology, Atlas Orthogonal or Advanced Orthogonal and the blood flow begins to change.  Headaches frequently go away and the brain begins getting proper blood flow again so that it can heal.

For many people it is as simple as that! 

I have seen a 90-95% success rate with patients with headaches of all types in my clinic.

If you have chronic headaches find an upper cervical specialist in your area and correct the cause!

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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Troy Aikman, American football quarterback.

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Dr. Davis here from Vista CA…

I was recently watching a you tube video where Troy Aikman describes his battle with Migraine headaches and how now that he is on the right medication everything is alright (see the video here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y3XMafyMCYM).  What is the logical fallacy in that thinking?  If you have the right medication everything is okay.  Well what does medication do on its most basic level?  Is it really better living through chemistry?  Let’s a take a look.

When drugs (chemicals) are put into the body your body’s chemistry will be altered.  We already have a lot of chemicals in there and adding some more will alter the levels.  This is the effects of a medication…altered body chemistry.  Some of the effects are desired and some are not.  This is the difference between desired effects and side or adverse effects.  It is like the example of Viagra.  It was originally tested as a blood pressure medication.  However during the clinical trials the desired effect of lowering blood pressure wasn’t happening…however something was happening to the male participants!  After a change in the marketing voilà!!!  We now have a new erectile dysfunction medication.  The side effect has become the desired effect!

There are 13,000 prescription drugs on the market.  According to a 2009 Congressional Budget Office study, the pharmaceutical industry spends about one-third of its $20 billion direct-to-consumer advertising budget on just 10 drugs. Medicines for erectile dysfunction, depression, cholesterol and high blood pressure tend to get big campaigns.  But headache medications also get more than enough money for advertising.  All that marketing has convinced millions of Americans including Troy Aikman that drugs are the answer to symptoms. 

Now if you just want to get rid of the symptoms and not address the cause, than medicines are good for that.  Migraine headaches are not caused by a lack of Imitrex or any other medication in the body, that I can guarantee.  Imitrex can with certain people cause many of the symptoms of Migraine headaches to go away, but it does not get to the cause of the headache…regardless of the advertising and marketing.

So it comes down to a personal choice.  Do you want to cover up the symptoms or find out the cause?  If you choose to cover up the symptoms…what happens if a year down the road after your body begins to build up a tolerance, that medication doesn’t work anymore and now you have to take Vicodin or some other narcotic…would you do that ?

The medical approach is a way to look at health called the outside in approach.  Something is happening to your body and you need to add something to your body in order to change the symptoms.  Alter the chemistry.

Now there is a different approach, it is called an inside out approach.  This approach looks at what you already have inside your body and trusts the design of the body.  The first question of this approach is why?  Why do I have Migraines?  Is it related to my diet, my sleep patterns, my water intake or something else.

Could it be that the blood flow from your brain to your body is altered?  The veins that drain the brain are not working right and sometimes it is too much for your body to take and you get a massive headache (a migraine)?  Now what could cause a change of blood flow from the brain to the body?  Research using Phase Contrast MRI looking at the blood vessels from the brain to the body in migraine sufferers is now demonstrating that when a person has a misalignment of the top bone in the neck called the atlas, the blood flow is altered and when the bone is repositioned using a highly precise procedure the blood flow is changed and the Migraine headaches go away.

Now this procedure is not manipulation!  There is no cracking, popping or twisting of the spine.  It is a specialized realigning of the spine using a procedure called NUCCA.  NUCCA stands for the National Upper Cervical Chiropractic Association.  These special chiropractors are able to visualize this misalignment with a very precise 3 dimensional X-ray series.  Based on the measurements from the x-rays the position of the Atlas is determined and then is realigned over time back to as normal as a position as possible.  This procedure produces changes in both blood and nerve flow from the brain instantly.

So maybe Troy Aikman, a NUCCA doctor could help you. 

At least you would be addressing the cause and not just covering up the symptoms for the rest of your life.

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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Ben Affleck at the 2008 World Series of Poker

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Dr. Davis here from Vista CA…

“Ben Affleck Out of Poker Championship due to Migraine” was the headline in the New York Post back in July of this year.

We see many athletes, artists, and celebrities getting migraine headaches including NFL giants Terrell Davis and Troy Aikman, tennis great Serena Williams, basketball superstar Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, and baseball stars Jonathon Papelbon and Johnny Damon; actors Ben Affleck and Whoopi Goldberg.  Migraines are a debilitating type of headache that literally takes days, weeks, months and years away from many people in our society.  For instance,  I have a patient right now who gets 2-3 migraines per month.  That doesn’t seem that bad maybe to you.  But the truth is when the headaches come she is unable to do anything!!!  She lays in a dark room until the migraines go away.  The migraines last between 1-2 days at a time.  So lets say conservatively that she is losing 3 days a month to these migraines.  That’s 36 days a year…over a 10 year time period that is a 360 days…one year out of ten is lost to migraines!!!

In my office I have seen a 90-95 % success rate with Migraine Headaches being eliminated.  The other 5-10% at least see a reduction in the frequency and intensity of these headaches.  So why doesn’t Ben Affleck get into a NUCCA doctor’s office and get rid of those migraines?  How many games did Terrel Davis miss because of headaches?

So why is NUCCA so effective at getting to the underlying cause of headaches?  The answer is trauma.  Physical trauma…such as car accidents, falls, sports injuries, childhood injuries and more lead to a tearing loose of the connective tissue that holds the spine in place.  Which creates a weakness.  Once that happens the spine begins to breakdown.  It starts in the most movable and vulnerable area, the top of the spine where the skull and the spine come together at the Atlas vertebrae.  This misaligned upper neck area creates pressure on the brain stem and veins that drain the brain.  This is why pressure will begin to build up into the head often leading to headaches.  The brain stem irritation explains the nausea, vomiting, light sensitivity, etc that frequently goes along with Migraine headaches.

These observations are now being demonstrated in the research as well.  A recent case study is showing that after an Atlas correction using the NUCCA procedure, a follow-up Phase Contrast Magnetic Resonance (PC MR) Study demonstrated changes in flow from the jugular veins that leave the brain.   The subject of the case study obtained relief from migraine headache pain consistent to maintenance of his Atlas correction by the end of thirty days. The exam continued to show improvement of the blood flow measured over the 16-week study period consistent to maintenance of Atlas alignment.  Additional funding is being sought to do a larger study on Migraines, Atlas misalignments and blood flow changes.

So who do you know that is still getting migraines?  Does anyone know Whoopi?  Johnny?  Troy?  How about you?  Are you losing parts of your life because of the effects of Migraine Headaches?  Or do you have them “under control” with medications.  At some point covering up the symptoms will lead to other problems.  Or those meds won’t work anymore and you will have to get stronger ones.  Do you want to find out the cause and eliminate it?  If so go to www.nuccawellness.com if you are in the San Diego County Area.  If you are anywhere else go to www.nucca.org

You can be helped!  But you have to take the first step…

God Bless and Be Well,

Dr. Bill Davis

Upper Cervical Specialist

Breath of Life Chiropractic

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blood pressure measurement

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Dr. Davis here again from Vista CA…Recently, we took a look at what the research is showing regarding the connection between the upper cervical spine and blood flow to and from the brain and how that is an important factor in how trauma can induce conditions like Multiple Sclerosis and Migraine Headaches.  And how when the traumatically induced upper cervical spine injuries are corrected and the underlying cause is identified frequently all or most of these debilitating conditions go away.

Well now we look at another major health issue in America…High Blood Pressure.  In my own office I have seen patients blood pressure drop by over 30 points in the systolic when the upper neck misalignment is corrected.

Looking again at what the Upper Cervical Research Foundation (ucrf.org)  found in their research with Phase Contrast Magnetic Resonance Imaging (PC MR).  It demonstrated the change in blood flow from the brain in Migraine patients and how all Migraines went away when the upper neck misalignment was corrected…they stated “These results coupled with previously documented normalization of blood pressure in a randomized double-blind study indicate a casual physiologic and measurable effect occurs after the correction of an Atlas misalignment….Possible Atlas misalignment interaction with the Trigeminovascular System via decreased intracranial compliance may produce neural influences on cerebral circulation as proposed by Dr. Goadsby providing impetus for further study…”

So what is the research that they are referring to regarding blood pressure?  

Researchers at the Hypertension Center at the University of Chicago Medical Center reported stunning reductions in the blood pressure of patients afflicted with hypertension following NUCCA chiropractic care.

 In the study – published in the March 2, 2007 issue of The Journal of Human Hypertension and featured on WebMD, Good Morning America and other sources – 50 patients with hypertension were divided into two groups of 25 each.  One group of 25 received a NUCCA spinal correction to the atlas vertebra (uppermost bone in the neck).  This vertebra holds up the head and only relies on soft tissue to maintain alignment.  Misalignment, also known as subluxation, usually goes undiagnosed and causes no pain or discomfort. The other group of 25 received a similar procedure but with no adjustment being given. Researchers called this procedure the “sham adjustment.” Since the type of adjustment given was very light force, the patients involved in this study did not know if they were receiving the real or sham adjustments.

After 8 weeks of care, the 25 people in the group receiving the real chiropractic adjustments all showed a significant reduction in blood pressure compared to the group that received the sham adjustment. Those patients who got the real adjustment showed an average of 14 mm Hg greater drop in systolic blood pressure (the top number in a blood pressure count), and an average of 8 mm Hg greater drop in diastolic blood pressure (the bottom blood pressure number) over those who got the fake or sham adjustment.

X-rays confirmed that the adjustments actually changed the position of the atlas vertebra among those in the study group.  The study leader reported that the procedure had the effect of not one, but two blood pressure medications given in combination.  And, his team reported no side effects whatsoever from the adjustment.

So if this NUCCA Procedure has been shown to reduce blood pressure, effect the blood flow from the brain in Migraine patients and influence Multiple Sclerosis and many other conditions that effect millions of Americans…why hasn’t hardly anyone heard of it?

Good question…Tell a Friend about NUCCA today!

Dr. Bill Davis

Upper Cervical Specialist-NUCCA Procedure








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The vertebral vein.

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So what does Multiple Sclerosis have to do with Migraine Headaches?  New research is now providing a possible explanation of the correlation between MS & Migraine sufferers and how Upper Cervical Specialists are able to get such good results with the correction of Atlas misalignments in both conditions.  The Upper Cervical Research Foundation (ucrf.org) has been doing some very interesting research with Phase Contrast Magnetic Resonance Imaging (PC MR) lately.

In their paper Changes in Cerebral Blood Flow Patterns and Velocities of Migraine Subjects Following an Atlas Correction they stated “Results of a case study describing a subject diagnosed with migraine headache (without aura) reveal compelling results obtained with Phase Contrast Magnetic Resonance Imaging Angiography (PC MR). The subject was evaluated using the protocol of the National Upper Cervical Chiropractic Association (NUCCA) to determine the presence of an Atlas misalignment. After Atlas correction, a follow-up PC MR Study demonstrated changes in cerebral venous outflow. A change in vessel outflow pattern from a jugular to the paravertebral plexus route was discerned. Venous flow rate and vessel pulsatility decreased as well as cerebrospinal flow rate across the Atlas (C-1) vertebra. Most significantly, the imaging procedure measured a distinct decrease in intracranial compliance. The subject obtained relief from migraine headache pain consistent to maintenance of his Atlas correction by the end of thirty days. The PC MR exam continued to show improvement of the hemodynamic parameters measured over the 16-week study period consistent to maintenance of Atlas alignment.”

What does that all mean in english…if you correct problems with the alignment of the bones at the top of the neck with a precise form of chiropractic care called NUCCA then it changes the blood flow from the brain to the body.  And since Migraine headaches are frequently vascular in origin…changing the blood flow from the brain is important and can take away the migraines completely…as in this case study and many others.  I have seen in my own office someone who has had Migraines for 50 years have them go away after restoring the proper alignment of the atlas.  Another patient who was getting up to 30 Migraines a month had her Migraines completely go away after properly aligning the Atlas.

So what does this all have to do with Multiple Sclerosis?

According to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society website Chronic Cerebrospinal Venous Insufficiency (CCSVI), is a reported abnormality in blood drainage from the brain and spinal cord, this may contribute to nervous system damage in MS.  CCSVI has been getting a lot of press recently because Dr. Paolo Zamboni from the University of Ferrara in Italy published his initial findings in June 2009 from a study of approximately 65 patients.  Based on the results of preliminary research which has been published in respected peer journals, Dr. Zamboni and others have recommended larger scale studies to determine if CCSVI may be treated through an endovascular surgical procedure, which involves inserting a tiny balloon or stent into blocked veins in order to improve the flow of blood out of the brain and spinal cord.  This procedure produced complete remissions in MS in 90% of the participants of the study!

My question is why are the veins blocked to begin with?  What has occurred that has led to the changes in the veins?  Instead of forcing the veins open with a stent…why not correct the underlying cause of the malformation?

Then you look at Dr. Erin Elster’s research with trauma and multiple sclerosis where she found that 90% of patients diagnosed with MS have had a trauma to the head or neck prior to the onset of the symptoms. And when x-rayed these patients have a clearly misaligned spine that is putting pressure on the nervous system and the blood vessels.  When these misalignments of the upper cervical spine are corrected over 90% of the patients in her study had results.  Some patients were able to get out of their wheelchairs!

What happened to them?  The same thing that Dr. Zamboni was doing…changing the blood flow from the brain to the body.  Only in Dr. Elster’s results she wasn’t artificially forcing the vessels open she was correcting the underlying cause of the vessels malformation!

Now not all MS patients responded to either of the treatment options…and perhaps there are other factors involved…but wouldn’t it make sense if you have MS or Migraine headaches to have an upper neck evaluation by an upper cervical specialist?  Especially if you have a history of head or neck trauma?

If you are in the San Diego County area call the office or go to www.nuccawellness.com to get a complimentary consultation to see if you have an Upper Cervical Misalignment.  If not, go to www.nucca.org or www.upcspine.com to find a Doctor in your area.

The longer you wait the more damage is done…put your scepticism aside and see if you can be helped!

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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