Posts Tagged ‘Sciatica’

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In the June 2011 edition of the Journal of Upper Cervical Chiropractic Research.  Dr. Nimira Alibhoy DC presents the case of a 45-year-old female with a history of two major head traumas and 10 car accidents leading to complaints of an 11 year history of fibromyalgia.  The history from the study is quite remarkable:

The patient was a 45-year-old female who presented for chiropractic care with complaints of migraine headaches, chronic pain in the neck, upper and lower back, fibromyalgia, numbness in fingers, sciatica, right knee pain, depression, and duodenal ulcer. She attributes the following history to her condition.
She sustained a traumatic injury from diving head first into a shallow pool at the age of 15. This caused stabbing pain in her neck and back, as well as the inability to continue participating on the swim team. She was given Tylenol with Codeine for pain and attended physical therapy.

The patient was also in 10 car accidents over 25 years. The car accidents brought about right leg pain.  She experienced stabbing, tingling and numbness in her legs and back from her pregnancies. The patient was given cortisone injections in the groin to relieve the pain. She was diagnosed with fibromyalgia by her medical doctor. Five years after the diagnosis, she had another traumatic head injury, when she fell head first down a flight of stairs. This increased her sciatica, neck, and back pain. 

The patient had been to five chiropractors over 12 years, who provided temporary relief of her symptoms. She was in chronic pain and suffered from depression. She was given Vicodin, Flexeril, or Soma at different times for her pain and soft tissue injuries. Her activity levels were limited in that she could not use stairs, swim, or walk further than 20 feet. She used a wheelchair as it helped her complete her daily routine and limit her tiredness.

Over and over on this blog I have talked about the connection between head and neck trauma and the Fibromyalgia or Chronic Fatigue type syndrome.  A history of head or neck trauma should always be investigated by an Upper Cervical Chiropractor trained in the detection and correction of the Atlas Subluxation Complex (A misalignment of the top bone in the neck).  This misalignment causes brain stem dysfunction which can lead to all sorts of changes in the way that all the body systems work.  Specifically important in patients diagnosed with Fibromyalgia is the brain stem connection to the immune system, circulatory system, respiratory system and digestive system.  Along with the connection of the brain stem with the postural muscles up and down the spinal column.

Here is the results for the patient in the study who was able to get the proper upper cervical chiropractic care needed to correct the underlying Brain Stem Subluxation.

Within six months of the first upper cervical correction, the patient revealed that she no longer needed wheelchair assistance. At the first re-evaluation, she reported that her fibromyalgia and left leg sciatica had resolved. She was able to move and perform basic daily functions and sleep in any position. She was feeling more relaxed and had more energy throughout the day. She stated that the sciatica in her right leg improved by 60% and was no longer on any medications. 

At second re-evaluation, she stated that her chronic back pain and headaches had resolved. She only continued to have minor right sciatica. By the fifth re-evaluation, 6 months into care, her knee tenderness had also resolved. Her sciatica on the right had 98% improvement.  She stated she was able to perform house and yard work. She was also able to swim, walk distances, and stand for long periods of time without taking Tylenol or Advil. The only complaint she had at this point was right hip pain.

Have you been diagnosed with Fibromyalgia?

Do you have a history of head or neck traumas?  Car Accidents?  Falls?  Other Head Injuries?

Then you owe it to yourself to find an Upper Cervical Specialist in your area.  If you are in the San Diego County area go to www.nuccawellness.com anywhere else www.nucca.org or www.upcspine.com

Get your life back!

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 frequent condition that I see in practice is what’s called Sciatica.  Sciatica is pain or other symptoms that affect the legs that originate in the lower back where the sciatic nerve originates.  Sciatica that affects both legs is less common than one sided sciatic nerve pain.  When the sciatica affects both legs the symptoms can be highly variable.  Some patients demonstrate pain only.  While others experience numbness, tingling, weakness or achy pain in different areas of the lower back, buttocks, legs and feet.

Being an upper cervical chiropractor many people cannot understand how I can get such good results with lower back and leg pain.  But the truth is one of the most common conditions that I see in my practice is lower back pain with or without leg pain or sciatica.

So what does the neck have to do with the lower back and legs?

Upper neck misalignments cause the posture of the body to be altered.  Accidents and injuries to the head and neck will tear loose the tissue that holds the spine in place which will create a weakness and allow the spine to break down and lock into a stressed position.

The most movable bone in the body is located at the base of the skull and is called the Atlas.  When the Atlas has lost it’s normal position the weight of the head is shifted to one side or the other.

Once this shift has taken place the body will begin to compensate.  One of the shoulders will typically become lower and the pelvis will distort in order to compensate for lack of balance in the upper neck.

This Functional Pelvic Distortion is the underlying factor in many sciatic cases.  This twisting and tilting of the pelvis causes a tethering on the sciatic nerve or nerves, inflammation and muscle spasms in most cases.

Here is an example from my office just last month.

Jim had lower back pain for years and was seeking help for severe degenerative disc disease in the lower back from a spinal decompression center in the area.  After receiving the spinal decompression treatment his lower back pain increased and eventually he began getting intense sciatica down both legs.

He was referred to our office by a friend and came in quite sceptical that an upper cervical correction could help his lower back and legs.  But at the encouragement of his friend he decided to give it a shot.

He had a history of severe head and neck traumas including several concussions and a auto racing crash at 145 mph.

He was assessed and found to have significant postural problems originating from the upper neck.  His head and neck were markedly off to the right side and his pelvis was severely tilted and twisted 3 degrees from level.  His thermographic scans showed severe inflammation in the upper neck and lower back.

He had lower back pain mostly on the left side and leg pain from the buttock to the foot on the left and sporadically on the right as well.  He also had numbness and tingling on both sides worse in the feet.

He noticed if he moved his head back into extension it would increase the leg pain. 

He was barely walking, could not sit for more than 5 minutes and was taking 4 Codeines and 12 Advil per day!

His x-rays showed significant disc degeneration in the lower back and neck and a very complicated and unstable upper cervical misalignment.

We began working on him and results were slow because of the instability of his misalignment.  Once he began to hold his correction and the pressure remained off of the nerves for prolonged periods of time, his pain began slowing improving.  A 30% reduction in the pain and the majority of the numbness in the legs was gone in the first month.  He is in his second month now and his corrections are holding better and better.  His hips stay level for weeks at a time and now he is completely off of the pain pills and able to sit for long periods of time again and his pain has gone from a constant 10/10 pain to a sporadic 3/10 pain that has localized to one leg.  He and his wife just left on a week long cruise and he is very happy!

I never did any treatment on his lower back!  I only corrected the underlying postural problems in the spine that were causing the lower back pain and the sciatica.  By balancing out the head and the neck the pelvis is able to stay level and the pressure stays off the nerves.

Who do you know that has recurring lower back pain or sciatica?  Who do you know that is considering surgery, decompression, injections or other overpriced and dangerous options?

The best questions to ask to see if upper cervical chiropractic could help you is…

Have you had head or neck traumas in the past?

Do you have obvious postural issues?  Head tilts to one side, shoulders uneven, etc.

The results that I see are common in upper cervical offices.  If you google upper cervical and sciatica you will see many of the patients who have been helped with sciatica across the country.

To find out if upper cervical chiropractic is right for you go to www.nuccawellness.com, www.nucca.org or www.upcspine.com and find a doctor in your area 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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Dr. Davis, N.U.C.C.A. Chiropractor here again from Vista California…

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

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

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

What does chronic pain have to do with neuroplasticity?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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




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

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Dr. Davis here from Vista…In the first installment of this blog post we looked at where the nerves go and what types of conditions can be a result of problems with these nerves.  So lets continue that look at the nerves as they go into the body…

  • The nerves from that go into the body cavity go into the heart-problems may manifest like irregular heartbeat, palpitations etc,
  • Then the lungs are next-this can lead to shallow breathing, shortness of breath, asthma, allergies
  • Then the next set goes into the liver, gallbladder, and stomach-this can lead to indigestion, heartburn, bloating and gas.
  • The next set goes into the energy producing organs-the pancreas, spleen,  and adrenals-interference can lead to decreased energy and vitality.
  • The next set goes into the intestines-constipation, diarrhea, cramps, irritable bowel syndrome, etc can result.
  • Then there are the nerves to the kidneys,  and urinary system.  If that system is weakened it may result in chronic infections (UTI).
  • Then there are nerves that control the reproductive system-in women may see irregular or painful menstrual cycles.  In men, this can lead to impotence or other sexual dysfunctions.
  • And lastly there are 3 nerves that come out of the lower back and go into the legs….one goes across the hips down into the knees and the outside of the legs…this can lead to pain, numbness, tingling or weakness in these areas.
  • The next nerve is the classic sciatic nerve…goes into the back of the hip down the back of the leg into the calf, down the leg into the outside of the foot…this nerve also effects the prostate…this can lead to pain, numbness, tingling or weakness in this area as well and prostate dysfunction.
  • The last nerves goes around the belt line and goes into the groin and down inside of the leg to the big toes.  Problems here can lead to pain, numbness, tingling or weakness in this distribution.

Courtesy of Dr. Brooks…

So when the spine is misaligned it can virtually affect any of those nerves in any of those ways and those are just the peripheral nerves and not the central nervous system…which can affect the body in completely different ways…(see what is the brain stem? for more info https://nuccadoctordavis.wordpress.com/2010/06/11/whats-the-brain-stem/)

Now do you better understand the results that we see at Breath of Life?  How a patients digestive function improves?  Why a person with chronic urinary tract infections finds a resolution?  How a person’s hearing can improve?  God has put an amazing amount of power inside our body’s nervous system…and when that system is working at less that 100% then the entire body is compromised…Is your nervous system working at 100%? 

If your spine is misaligned the answer is no!

Schedule a complimentary consultation to find out if you are a candidate for NUCCA Spinal Care today!


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Wellness is a journey!  Pursuing better health is a continuum…you are always either getting healthier or getting sicker we are never stagnate.  Here is an example of a practice member from our office, Susan who knows that tapping into the best kept secret in health, Upper Cervical Care is the first step towards better health and well-being.

“I had been experiencing numbness into my right thigh when standing for over a year.  I had seen an orthopedist for this and had physical therapy with no results.  When I first came to see Dr. Davis I had never been to any type of Chiropractor before.  I was truly afraid of the popping and cracking that I had heard about!  But Dr. Davis and his gentle adjustments was just what I needed.  He found the source of my problem and I am well on my way to wellness!

I feel so much better overall.  The numbness is almost gone.  My neck pain that I had accepted “as a part of life” is gone!  I am sleeping better and so many of the pains of daily life are gone! 

Dr. Davis and Linde couldn’t be kinder and the whole atmosphere here is one of peace and relaxation.  I feel my progress is truly the aim of this office and Dr. Davis & Linde are both concerned and happy with my ongoing progress.”

Susan H.

What a blessing it is to serve!  Susan is now maintaining her alignment and living a healthier life than she has in years.

Tell a Friend today about Upper Cervical Care!  760-945-1345  www.nuccawellness.com

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Medications are frequently used as a solution to symptoms…but obviously this is not getting to the cause of the problem.  All medications have side effects…why not get to the cause of the problem instead?  That is what one of our patients found through Upper Cervical Care…here is her story from Vista CA….

“When I first came to see Dr. Davis I had severe neck pain, lower back pain and headaches following a work injury.  I also had numbness and weakness into my arms and legs.  I was so weak all over my body…I was taking Advil at least 2-3 times per day.  Over a year and a half, I had been to other doctors and had MRI’s, X-Rays, physical therapy and general chiropractic.  But nothing was helping…I was just getting worse.  I was unable to work more than 4 hours at a time and I couldn’t do many of my daily activities with my family.

 Now not only has the pain almost completely gone away and my arms and legs are getting stronger but I also have more energy, I sleep better and for the last 3 years I have had problems in my lungs (Chronic bronchitis) it has completely gone away!  I am losing weight now because I am so much more active.  I am doing better at work…and my hours have been able to increase.  I am cooking my favorite recipes again for my family, I can go walking and share time with them and take care of my children.

 There are 3 things that I would say to anyone who is considering care in this office…first, your health will be better and the pain will go away, second, all of your body will be working better and you won’t need medications, and third you will feel more relaxed and more happy!

 I have recovered my health and I am so happy with your work…I tell everyone.  Thank You Breath of Life!”

Mrs. Cardona has referred over 10 patients to our office in the past few months…Thank you Mrs. Cardona for spreading the word of Upper Cervical Care to our community!

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Dr. Davis here again from Vista CA…

This week I want to encourage you to trust the design of your body.  If you have a symptom that is a sign that your body is not working the way that it was designed.  What needs to change?  The way you eat?  The way you sleep?  Your exercise routine or lack there of?  The way you handle stress?  Or is it something else…body imbalance the best kept secret in health is the underlying cause of hundreds of different health problems.  NUCCA corrects body imbalance so the structure of the body is in alignment and the body can work the way that it was designed again…simple but extremely powerful.

Here is an example from a 20 year old patient who was feeling more like an 80 year old….

“I had severe lower back pain which affected my entire left side.  My entire left side was cramped and I had no feeling in my left leg.  I couldn’t sleep, had headaches all the time and I had severe indigestion. 

 Since I started my care I no longer have the lower back pain, my entire left side has feeling again.  My range of motion has increased dramatically!  And I can sleep through the night and I rarely have a headache anymore.

 I can now go to events without having to be worried about using the bathroom.  I’m more active at work…and I can live like a 20 year old should!

I would encourage anyone to just do it!  There is nothing to lose but your pain and reclaim your life back again.  Live in the design God created you to be!”                                         Alex R.   October 2009

Reclaim your life with NUCCA Spinal Care!


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