Posts Tagged ‘Neurological Disorders’

Brain Injury (journal)

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A recent case study published by the legendary Dr. Roy Sweat is linking head trauma, concussions and seizures together.  According to the case study there are about 500,000 brain injuries in the United States every year. Of the people hospitalized for a brain injury only 5-7% ever experience a seizure disorder from their injury. Seizures within the first week of a brain injury, in the elderly, and immediate seizures (within 24 hours of a brain injury), are more likely to lead to post concussion seizures.

Dr. Sweat’s patient had developed a number of symptoms as a result of the head injury 10 years earlier, where she slipped and fell getting out of the shower and hit the back of her head.  She immediately had a migraine and a seizure and was taken to the emergency room.  Later she was released after medical tests were normal.  She continued to have symptoms sporadically over the next 10 years finally getting progressively worse in the last part of the decade including:

  • Positional seizures (When bending forward she would experience a seizure that would leave her unable to walk or talk for several days)
  • A wide gait, left sided walking and swaying that got progressively worse
  • Extreme exhaustion
  • Restricted range of motion in her neck
  • Blurred vision
  • Blood Pressure fluctuations (Ranging from high blood pressure to low blood pressure)

After a thorough evaluation in an upper cervical chiropractic office the 76-year-old patient was found to have an Atlas Misalignment based on objective measurements.  She was then x-rayed and her misalignment was mathematically calculated to decide the type of correction that was necessary.

After her first Atlas correction she was able to look over her shoulders, her wide gait was improved. She was no longer feeling like a seizure was coming on.  After 2 months of care the patient was re-evaluated and the objective findings were much improved including neurological, muscular and postural testing. The patient had no seizures since the first correction, normal, pain-free neck rotation, normal walking pattern, increased energy, improved clarity and brightness in her vision and improved hearing. The patient has her blood pressure checked regularly with her family practitioner and no longer experiences blood pressure fluctuation.

So what about you?

Have you ever had a concussion?  Lost consciousness?  Had stitches to your head?

Has is that trauma effecting you?  Maybe you are having seizures or some other symptoms that are effecting the quality of your life.

Then an upper neck evaluation is extremely important.  There are very few doctors that have the training and experience required to properly evaluate and correct an underlying cause of a variety of different health problems called an Atlas Misalignment.

To find a doctor in your area go to www.upcspine.com or if you are in the southern california area go to 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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United Cerebral Palsy

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Cerebral Palsy (CP) is the most prevalent lifelong developmental disability in the United States.  Recently I have seen a tremendous change in a patient with Cerebral Palsy and began investigating the impact that upper neck misalignments have on people diagnosed with CP.

Dr. William Amalu of the International Upper Cervical Chiropractic Association has published an amazing case study of a 5-year-old boy confined to a wheelchair with Cerebral Palsy, blindness, chronic ear infections, and severe seizures (30 per day).

After a thorough evaluation the patient was determined to have an upper neck misalignment and Dr. Amalu began a course of care.  After the first adjustment, the patient’s mother noted that he had his first good night sleep in weeks. After the second adjustment, the patient’s seizures reduced dramatically to only 10 per day, his vocal drone became a quiet intermittent moan, and he began to clap his hands. His mother noted that he had become more alert, continued to sleep more soundly, began sitting up and looking around, responded to sounds by looking toward the source, and continued with a decrease in seizures to only 5 per day.

During the third and fourth week of care the seizures continued to occur at 5 per day, but all grand mals had ceased. He was sleeping completely through the nights now.  For the first time in his life he said “dada”. By the end of the fourth week, his therapists suspected that his vision was suddenly improving.  A re-examination of the patient was also performed at this time. There were no signs of any: vocal drone, writhing motions, upper neck muscle spasms or tenderness, restricted neck ranges of motion, or ear fluid.  He was now capable of sitting up on his own and his mother reported that for the first time he pulled himself up and stood for over one minute. He began showing fine motor skills this week by grabbing his own pacifier and placing it in his mouth. The patient now showed avoidance to bright light, visual fixation and following, and normal direct and pupil reflexes. His mother noted that this was his first month free from ear infections in 9 months.

By the end of the fifth week of care the patient was seen by his neurologist and ophthalmologist. His ophthalmologist noted a drastic improvement with a recovery of central field vision. The patient’s neurologist reported that his CP had greatly improved and that he would be requesting further tests to evaluate his seizure condition.

The patient’s follow-up examination with his pediatrician noted that his ears were normal and that tubes would not be necessary.  During the time period between the seventh and twelfth week, the patient’s seizures steadily reduced to the point of staring episodes only.

There were no outward signs of seizures by the end of the twelfth week.  Over the next 10 months, the patient continued to improve. His neurologist slowly reduced his medication causing his staring episodes to go away. With further testing, the patient was eventually classified as non-epileptic and final withdrawal of all medication was made. He never experienced another episode of the ear infections. His vision improved to the point where he was prescribed glasses. The patient continued to learn simple words with clear pronunciation of “dada, mama, eat, and food”. His fine motor coordination improved such that he was learning to feed himself. The patient’s mother noted that he was also potty training. His gross motor coordination continually progressed to the point that he was able to walk slowly with the assistance of holding one hand.

Absolutely incredible!

Another study was published where seven patients were tested – two children and five adults. All patients in this study had improvements in many areas including decreased muscle spasms, improved sleep patterns, decreased irritability, decreased pain, and decreased incidence of respiratory and other infections. One child had four unsuccessful surgeries to correct strabismus (crossed eyes) after two adjustments, the crossed eyes were gone. The children were able to hold their heads up for longer periods and are making more attempts at crawling or standing with support. There is also improved clarity and volume of speech in patients with speech and hearing problems. With care, there is overall decrease in muscle activity at all levels and balance improved with eyes closed.

It is clear to see from this research that the connection between neurological conditions like Cerebral Palsy and the upper neck area should be investigated.  The brain stem dysfunction that is present with an upper neck misalignment is significant and a variety of different conditions can be caused or exacerbated by this type of a problem.

All Cerebral Palsy victims should be evaluated for upper neck misalignments and brain stem dysfunction as soon as possible.

If you are in Southern California go to www.nuccawellness.com if not visit 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


Amalu, W. Today’s Chiropractic May / June 1998.  Cortical Blindness, Cerebral Palsy, Epilepsy, and Recurring Otitis Media: A Case Study in Chiropractic Management.

Collins, KF et al. Chiropractic Pediatrics 1994; 1 (1):13-15

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Image by Fitz Villafuerte via Flickr

Vertigo, dizziness, disequilibrium and many other of these types of conditions can be directly related to old head and neck injuries that have never been properly addressed and the underlying damage to the upper neck has led to dysfunction in the ears, the balancing system of the body or both.

When the head or neck is injured the upper neck (Atlas & Axis) frequently become twisted and misaligned leading to a slight displacement of the head…sometimes by as little as 3/4 of a degree.  Once the heavy head (10-14 lbs) is tilting to the side the brain has to compensate for that change through the righting reflex to keep the eyes and ears level with the horizon at all times.

The entire structure of the body will twist and tilt in order to compensate for those upper neck misalignments and head tilt.  Eventually leading to pressure building up into the nerve system.  The area that is first impacted by these problems is the brain stem area, which is just basically a part of the brain that extends down into the spine and connects the the spinal cord.

The brain stem area is a key to the balance of our bodies.  This upper neck area has more pressure sensors the anywhere else in the body that feed information into the brain stem and the brain.  Also the brain stem send messages via the cranial nerves to the ears for balance as well.  Blood flow is also effected when the brain stem function is altered.

When someone is suffering from vertigo, dizziness, or disequilibrium, the brain stem is frequently involved.  Upper neck misalignments alter the brain stem function and lead to these types of problems.  When these old injuries are dealt with by the correction of the head position by a precise upper cervical corrective procedure such as NUCCA, the healing process can begin.

Holding the corrections is the key to healing, not having your spine manipulated 1000’s of times by a general chiropractor!

Now here is an example…Terry is in property management and is also an avid Bicyclist, riding up to 100 miles per week.  When he began to develop vertigo it was about 2 years after he had taken a pretty significant fall from his bike and had a motorcycle accident that seemed to make the dizziness and vertigo attacks much worse.  To the point that he was concerned even about going up on a ladder at one of his rentals.  Here is his story…

I have been suffering from vertigo (dizziness) for 6-7 years, getting more constant as the years progressed.  I tried everything…Every doctor that I could think of, EENT, general doc, vertigo specialist and finally my last hope, a NUCCA doctor.  Dr. Davis helped me almost instantly.  I have not been dizzy for 8 weeks!  Thanks Breath of Life for giving me my health back!!!

Now not all dizziness, vertigo and disequilibrium is related to head and neck traumas.  But if you have a history of those types of accidents then an evaluation with a qualified upper cervical specialist is very important.  If the underlying cause can be identified, what a difference it can make for your life!

If you or someone you know is suffering with Vertigo, dizziness or disequilibrium and you are in the Southern California area go to www.nuccawellness.com and schedule an evaluation today.  If you are anywhere else go to www.nucca.org to find a doctor near you.

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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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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First cervical vertebra, or Atlas

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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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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Tired Woman

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Dr. Davis here from Vista California…

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and a similar condition called Fibromyalgia are 2 very common conditions seen in an upper cervical chiropractic office.  What is Chronic Fatigue Syndrome?  The Mayo Clinic describes it this way…

“Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) is a complicated disorder characterized by extreme fatigue that may worsen with physical or mental activity, but doesn’t improve with rest. Although there are many theories about what causes this condition — ranging from viral infections to psychological stress — in most cases the cause is still unknown.  Because its symptoms are difficult to measure, CFS wasn’t widely accepted as a real medical condition for several years. Today, however, doctors and researchers agree that this chronic condition should be taken seriously.”

So if most people get tired they rest and they get more energy.  But if you have chronic fatigue than your batteries don’t recharge the same as other people.  You can lay down for a nap or sleep 8 hours at night and still wake up as tired as before!  How frustrating!

Frequently what we find with patients is Chronic Fatigue will be associated with an undetected brain stem injury.  The Brain Stem is very important for regulating our energy level.  If the brain stem is not functioning the way it was designed you will have a hard time recovering.

When someone has accidents and injuries that have torn loose the connective tissue that holds the spine in place it will allow the spine to breakdown and lock into a stressed position.  The area of the spine that is most frequently affected is the upper neck area because it is the most movable and the most vulnerable to injury.  Once this upper neck area is misaligned it will begin to affect the function of the brain stem.  This brain stem pressure can lead to a variety of problems including dysfunction with the release of cortisol.  Altered cortisol levels can have many different effects on both the mind and the body for more info on that look at our post from a few weeks ago on cortisol and chiropractic here  (https://nuccadoctordavis.wordpress.com/2010/11/02/cortisol-chiropractic-and-the-chronic-stress-response/)

One of the top NUCCA doctors in the world Dr. Marshall Dickholtz Sr. along with a medical doctor and a psychiatrist did some very interesting research several years looking at the connection between the upper cervical spine and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.  Here’s what the found when they compared quality of life measurements using a survey called the SF-36 six months after the initial correction to normal subjects:

  • Physical Functioning increased from 58% to 85%!
  • General Health improved from 35% to 55%
  • Vitality improved from 17% to 55%
  • Social Functioning increased from 40% to 70%
  • Mental Health improved from 50% to 70%

In addition both the quality and quantity of sleep improved based on all testing and there was significant decrease in sleep medication usage.  And maybe most remarkable all subjects in the study found a normalization of cortisol levels in the morning and evening readings at 6 months into care!  Amazing improvement!

Here is an example from my office of a person with severe chronic fatigue who was able to get back to a normal life  after beginning care.  Mary was in bed up to 2 days at a time if she did any activity!  If she went to the store and came back she would have to lay down for days!  The last time we heard from Mary she was keeping a schedule that she could never imagine before having her upper cervical injuries corrected.  Here’s Mary story in her own words…

“I have had Chronic Fatigue Syndrome for the past 12 years and if I had a busy day it would take me up to two days to recover!  I have also had serious chronic muscle pain, leg pain, headaches, sleep problems an inability to take walks for exercise. 

 The first thing that changed was my energy level…since the first treatment, I began to notice that I only needed to lay down mid-day for a short time to recover…rather than the 2 days that I used to need just to get through the day.  I also noticed my headaches disappeared immediately.  My muscle pain has definitely improved and I use much less prescription pain killers.  My body feels “smooth” or at peace all over after an adjustment…wonderful!

I would encourage anyone to come see Dr. Davis.  Especially anyone like me that has had long standing chronic health issues, don’t believe your body will stay the same and/or continue to deteriorate…there is great hope!!!  The most enjoyable part of Breath of Life is the true, genuine and tender concern for the patients which you experience the moment you first step into the office and it never quits.  Dr. Davis is a true Godsend and I am privileged to have him for my Doctor.”

Mary M.  San Diego CA

If you are struggling with Chronic Fatigue like Mary was there is hope!  Go to www.nuccawellness.com to find out more information and to schedule your appointment today.

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



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Hippel Lindau

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What causes Multiple Sclerosis?  Although it is obviously a multi-factorial condition one continuing connection has been investigated for nearly a century.  The link between head and neck trauma and multiple sclerosis.  Dr. Dan Murphy who is one of the preminent researchers in the field of whiplash has looked into the connection between MS and Whiplash…here are his findings… 


(1) Whiplash and other spinal trauma can initiate MS signs and symptoms in asymptomatic, perfectly healthy individuals. 

(2) Of those with MS, 25% have asymptomatic “silent” MS. 

(3) Whiplash and other trauma can adversely affect the course of benign MS. 

(4) The initiation of MS symptoms following trauma may manifest within hours, peak within days to weeks, and is rare after 3 months. 

(5) Breakdown in the blood-brain barrier (BBB) is an essential event in the development of MS. 

(6) Breaching of the BBB results in a pro-inflammatory cytokines immune system response. Consequently, I suggest that a logical aspect of management is chiropractic nerve function improvement (segmental, systemic, and postural chiropractic subluxation management), and the anti-inflammatory diet (more omega-3s with antioxidants and fewer excitotoxins, trans fatty acids, omega-6s, and saturated fats). 

(7) The whiplash trauma involved may be minor. 

Other authors note: 

1. “Direct impact to the head is not necessary for brain injury; whiplash injuries can also cause brain damage.” 

2. “The degree of associated bone and soft tissue injury has no bearing on the extent of the spinal cord injury or neurologic deficit.”  The fact that CNS trauma affects the deep cerebral white matter has also been demonstrated by MRI, even in patients who had experienced mild head injuries. Such white matter changes indicate alteration of the BBB.  Research on monkeys has shown that a blow to the occipital area altered the BBB in the medulla and in the cervical spinal cord.  

3. “Although there are many potential reasons for the BBB break, a simple model of traumatic damage could account for the commoner sites of lesions being in the highly mobile optic nerve and cervical cord, especially when tethered by the dentate ligaments. 

4. Any mechanism which physically destroys the components of the BBB will render the CNS open to the cellular and molecular constituents of the blood. This causes inflammatory participants to be rapidly delivered to the site of injury in a gross, nonspecific fashion. 

In another article the authors stated “We report here 39 cases in which definite multiple sclerosis (MS) was precipitated or exacerbated by specific hyperextension-hyperflexion cervical cord trauma.  Our data suggests that central nervous system (CNS) — specific acute physical trauma such as cervical cord hyperextension-hyperflexion injury (whiplash) may aggravate latent clinical symptoms in MS.”  These authors documented 39 patients who developed symptomatic MS or in whom a stable disease with minimal disability was converted to a rapidly progressive form within some days to weeks after an acute hyperextension-hyperflexion injury to the cervical spinal cord (whiplash type injury).  The authors cited 9 studies (1946, 1950, 1957, 1964, 1966, 1975, 1975, 1988, 1991, 1992) that support that specific CNS trauma may precipitate or aggravate MS.  They also stated “The cervical region is the commonest site of spinal cord involvement in MS and spinal cord atrophy provides the best correlate of the degree of disability. Thus, it would only seem logical that rapid progression of disability was a direct consequence of the cervical cord disease in our cases.” 

With still much to be determined between the connection between the Blood Brain Barrier, Chronic cerebrospinal Venous Insufficiency and MS (see our other posts on MS for more details on CCSVI), the connection between trauma and MS remains an important one.  Can trauma to the head and neck create a structural problem that leads to CCSVI?  That is the question.  But wouldn’t it make sense to at least get your upper head and neck evaluated by a trained doctor who corrects structural problems in the upper neck?  Before doing a surgery trace back to the original cause…the head and neck injury and undo the damage that has been done with upper cervical care. 

Go to www.upcspine.com for a doctor in your area or if you are in the San Diego County area go to www.nuccawellness.com 
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


Acute cervical hyperextension-hyperflexion injury mayprecipitate and/or exacerbate symptomatic multiple sclerosis 

Eur J Neurol 2001 Nov;8(6):659-64. Chaudhuri A, Behan PO 

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Magnetic Resonance Imaging scan of a head

Image via Wikipedia


As I continue to investigate the connection between Multiple Sclerosis and trauma to the head and neck…I came across this information linking whiplash and MS from 1996….check it out. 

Whiplash Trauma and Multiple Sclerosis 

by Daniel J. Murphy, DC, FACO 

Multiple sclerosis linked with trauma in court case 

British Medical Journal, Vol. 313, 

November 16, 1996 

Reported by Bryan Christie 

A former policeman was awarded $820,875 in damages by a court which accepted that he developed multiple sclerosis after sustaining whiplash injures in a road accident

Although the judgment is controversial, it is expected to give rise to further legal action from patients with multiple sclerosis who suffered injuries before the onset of their symptoms. 

 The 49-year-old man developed symptoms within a week of injuring his neck during a crash and overturn motor vehicle accident. 

Neurologists who gave evidence on behalf of the officer told the court that they had seen people in which symptoms of MS developed within weeks of suffering whiplash injuries

One professor of neurology emphasized that such injuries could not cause MS by themselves but could bring on the condition in already susceptible individuals. He noted that the patient “might well have lived a normal life but for the injuries he sustained.” 

Dr. Charles Poser of the Harvard Medical School, said: “there were hundreds of such cases, too many to be caused by chance.” 

            The Judge (Lord) “accepted that the historical, anecdotal and experimental evidence supported the proposition that a causative factor in some cases” of MS, noting: “the medical witnesses “had all themselves seen cases where they had accepted that the onset or recurrences of symptoms had been brought about by trauma, especially whiplash injury. In my opinion, these circumstances are far too strong to be put down mere chance.” 

Trauma to the Central Nervous System May Result in Formation or Enlargement of Multiple Sclerosis Plaques Controversies in Neurology Charles M. Poser, MD; Archives of Neurology; Vol. 57 No. 7, July 2000 Dr. Poser is from the Department of Neurology, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and Harvard Medical School, Boston, Mass. In this article, he notes the following: 

            In some patients with multiple sclerosis (MS), trauma may act as a trigger for the appearance of new or recurrent symptoms.   Only trauma affecting the head, neck, or upper back, which may affect the brain and/or spinal cord, can be considered significant.  This premise is based on the two considerations: 

            1. An alteration of the blood-brain barrier (BBB) is a necessary step in the pathogenesis of the MS lesion, and 

            2. Trauma to the central nervous system (CNS) can result in a breach of the BBB. 

            The fact that an alteration of the BBB is an important step in the formation of the MS lesion has been demonstrated many times by serial magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) studies and from positron emission tomography (PET) studies. 

            The alteration in the permeability of the BBB for the development of MS is most frequently triggered by an inflammatory immunological phenomenon. 

            Poser notes others who contend: 

            1. Repeated episodes of asymptomatic breakdowns of the BBB eventually leads to demyelination and symptomatic relapse. 

            2. Without BBB penetration, myelin injury would not occur. 

            3. The fact that MS is focal could be explained by local breakdown of the BBB. 

            4. It is clear that a breakdown of the BBB is an early if not the first step in plaque generation. 

            “For many years, trivial head injuries such as concussion were considered to result only in physiological disruption of neural function without anatomical changes.” 

            However, both spontaneous and experimental concussive CNS injury can cause diffuse microscopic lesions of blood vessel walls that often escape notice on superficial examination of the brain. 

            “The effects of minor trauma on the CNS assume great importance because whiplash injury is a frequent result of minor vehicular accidents, in particular, the rarely mentioned minor rear-end collision.” 

Next time we will look into this link between minor rear end collisions, whiplash and MS a little closer. 

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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Dr. Davis here from Vista CA…Here is a follow-up to our recent post…a little a long and a little technical but very informative…

Upper Cervical Chiropractic has been demonstrated in the medical journals to be a very effective approach to restoring proper neurological and structural integrity to the body after a whiplash injury.  In fact The Journal of Whiplash and Related Disorders, a peer-reviewed publication, documents the effectiveness of upper cervical chiropractic care in the care of post whiplash patients.  The entire research article is available as a pdf file

Whiplash Facts*:

  • There are 7-8 million motor vehicle crashes (MVC) in the U.S. per year
  • 3 million of those involve whiplash injury
  • 42,000 are killed each year
  • 50% of those injured have long-term symptoms
  • 10% of those injured become disabled
  • 45% of chronic neck pain sufferers attribute the problem to past Motor Vehicle Crashes

*Statistics come from the Spine Research Institute of San Diego, an internationally recognized organization committed to preventing crashes and reducing its burden as an epidemic.

Following a head or neck trauma such as a whiplash type injury one area that is commonly damaged is the proprioceptive system of the neck.  Proprioception is your body’s ability to perceive your position is space.  The upper cervical spine has the most dense collection of proprioceptors in the body.  When these proprioceptors are damaged people tend to have an increase sensitivity to pain stimuli which can lead to chronic pain.  An Upper Cervical Corrective Procedure is designed to correct this underlying cause in order to restore proper neurology and physiology to the body.  This underlying proprioceptive imbalance could be the reason why Upper Cervical Care is so effective in helping those with whiplash injuries.    

A study done in June 2005, that was published in Spine demonstrated some key points regarding a small muscle in the upper neck called the rectus capitis posterior minor (a major proprioceptive muscle) and how chronic neck pain and headaches can follow Whiplash type injuries:

1) The rectus capitis posterior minor tendon fuses with the spinal dura.
2) The rectus capitis posterior minor tendinous fibers, fascia and the perivascular sheathes form the posterior atlanto-occipital membrane.
3) The posterior atlanto-occipital membrane fuses with the spinal dura.
4) The nuchal ligament does not attach to the spinal dura.

1) Connections between the spinal dura and muscles / ligaments in the posterior atlanto-occipital interspace may transmit forces from cervical spine joints to the pain-sensitive dura, generating cervicogenic headaches.
2) The tendinous fibers of the rectus capitis posterior minor muscle fuse with the spinal dura via the posterior atlanto-occipital interspace.
3) This study clearly demonstrates that the rectus capitis posterior minor tendon fibers are directly continuous with the spinal dura via the posterior atlanto-occipital interspace and become a part of the spinal dura.
4) The direct continuity of the rectus capitis posterior minor muscle to the spinal dura prevents dural enfolding and injury during extension of the head and neck.
5) When the rectus capitis posterior minor muscle extends the cranio-cervical junction, a small portion of its muscular fibers simultaneously contract to pull the spinal dura posteriorly, preventing dural enfolding and dural injury.
6) Static strain and/or trauma to the rectus capitis posterior minor muscle may stimulate the pain-sensitive dura, generating a cervicogenic headache.
7) The rectus capitis posterior minor fascia is the main connective tissue structure in the posterior atlanto-occipital interspace, and that the rectus capitis posterior minor fascia and muscle are the main contributors to posterior cranio-cervical stability.

[Hack GD, Koritzer RT, Robinson WL, et al. Anatomic relation between the rectus capitis posterior minor muscle and the dura mater. Spine 1995;20:2484-6.]
The original study by Hack (above) documenting a connection between the rectus capitis posterior minor muscle and the spinal dura mater through a connective tissue bridge was published in 1995, and at that time I proposed the following:

1) The spinal dura is innervated with pain afferents.
2) Contraction of the rectus capitis posterior minor pulls the spinal dura into a safe position so that is does not enfold into the spinal cord causing cord injury or injury to the dura itself.
3) Whiplash extension injuries occur so quickly (taking less than .1 seconds) that the rectus capitis posterior minor muscle does not have enough time (requiring about .2 seconds) to contract and pull the spinal dura to safety.
4) The resulting injury to the pain sensitive dura could be a cause of post whiplash headache.

This study supports the contention that chronic upper neck postural stress and distortions can cause chronic stress on the spinal dura mater.  Only an Upper Cervical Corrective Procedure such as NUCCA is effective at correcting this underlying problem.  Find out more at www.nuccawellness.com or call the office for an evaluation today to see if NUCCA could help you….760-945-1345.


Journal of Whiplash & Related Disorders, Vol. 5(1) 2006
Available online at http://www.haworthpress.com/web/JWRD

Configuration of the Connective Tissue in the Posterior Atlanto-Occipital Interspace Spine Volume 30(12) June 15, 2005 pp 1359-1366 Nash, Lance MSc; Nicholson, Helen MB, PhD; Lee, Antonio S. J. MSc; Johnson, Gillian M. PhD; Zhang, Ming MB, MMed, PhD

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