Benefits of Upper Cervical Chiropractic Care

The body is like a well-oiled machine: when all the parts are in their proper places and functioning properly, the machine hums along and works great. However, if even one little cog in the machine is malfunctioning, it can lead to a breakdown of the whole thing. Any engineer or mechanic knows that there are certain parts on every machine that are essential to the overall functioning of the machine. To keep the machine running appropriately, it is important to keep certain parts in good condition, especially the system that controls the machine!

In the human body, the most overlooked part that is essential to your body’s functioning is the nervous system.  We tend to believe that the cardiovascular, respiratory system or even the immune system are more important.  However, did you know that these and ALL the other systems could not function independently or without the NERVOUS SYSTEM?  Yup!  And the part of the nervous system, the upper cervical spine is the most neurologically dense in the nervous system.  It houses the main control centers for your cardiovascular, respiratory, and motor (postural muscles) systems.  You’ll find this part of your spine starting just below the skull and going down the neck. These vertebrae’s job is to support the weight and movement of the head, as well as protect the spinal cord where it connects to the brain stem. 

The neck and head are vulnerable and prone to injury from even jolts, accidents, or poor posture. It is easy for the vertebra in the upper cervical spine to become misaligned, and this can have a domino effect that causes a wide variety of issues that impact your health and well-being.

 

How can upper cervical chiropractic benefit you and your health?

Pain Relief

Of course, you’ve heard that chiropractic, in general, can help with pain—that’s not new news.  However, upper cervical chiropractic has a huge advantage when it comes to correcting the “balance of the body” that is a primary cause of pain throughout the spine and even in the limbs. Many painful conditions can be traced to a misalignment in the upper cervical spine.  When there is even a minute misalignment of the neck vertebrae, you unconsciously shift your body posture to compensate, putting undue strain on other joints, muscles, bones, and ligaments. 

Think of the spine as a train with the upper cervical spine (C1/C2, atlas/axis) as the engineer to the entire train.  Then the neck is the engine and the low back/pelvis the caboose! What happens when the engineer takes the train off the track?  Right! The ENTIRE train goes off the track.  If just the atlas (C1) is out of alignment this is what happens to your ENTIRE SPINE!

It was Dr. Rene Calliet’s 1987 book Rejuvenation Strategy that stated, “Most attempts to correct posture are directed toward the spine, shoulders and pelvis. All are important, but, head position takes precedence over all others. The body follows the head. Therefore, the entire body is best aligned by first restoring proper functional alignment to the head“.  Dr. Calliet was the Director of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at USC’s School of Medicine at the time he wrote this book.

Improved Sleep

Corrections to realign the upper cervical spine can help you get a better night’s sleep. One simple reason for this is that a properly aligned spine will relieve you of the nagging aches and pains that otherwise might keep you up at night. As you can see from the picture above, having an atlas misalignment can greatly affect your low back and cause significant issues like sciatica, hip and leg pain that can keep you up all night!  

Look at this study showing how detrimental low back pain can be to a good night’s sleep:  “Non-specific low back pain leads to sleep disorders, which decrease the sleep quality and increase the unpleasant emotions and memories in return; these can exacerbate the severity of LBP, with the cycle repeating to form a vicious circle.” https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5436560/

In addition, an upper cervical misalignment can disrupt signals from the brain meant to regulate the cycles of wake and sleep.  Researchers don’t fully understand how the sleep process works, but they know enough to recognize the role of the brainstem. This part of the body that controls many of the processes that take place without conscious decision making (i.e., breathing) also sends the signals that the body uses to regulate its own internal clock (called a circadian clock). That means both the sleep and wake cycles are dependent on the brainstem.  https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23950941/

Recent studies prove that the parafacial zone in the brain stem seems to regulate what is known as gamma-hydroxbuyrate (or GABA), which is a critical neurochemical that can induce healthy sleep. 

Upper cervical chiropractors are trained to remove brain stem interference, should it stem from a mechanical misalignment, naturally correcting malfunctions and enabling patients to enjoy the benefits of healthier sleep. These benefits include a better state of focused relaxation while awake and lower blood pressure.

BONUS! Blood pressure study:  “We conclude that restoration of Atlas alignment is associated with marked and sustained reductions in BP similar to the use of two-drug combination therapy.”  https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/17252032/

Support for the Immune System

The immune system is a complex system that helps the body fight infections and diseases. This entire system is controlled by the central nervous system. Misalignments in the vertebrae that cause inflammation and swelling may compress nerves, causing them to misfire. This leads to malfunctions. Let’s talk some history and show studies and research to back up this statement—'cause we are ALL about FACTS!

1918-Spanish Flu

The 1918 flu pandemic established Chiropractic as a valid healthcare force. Although chiropractors don’t ever treat diseases, making sure the nervous system via the spine is in proper working order is one of many ways to keep the body strong and resilient when facing a health challenge. Afterall, chronic back and neck pain can truly affect all facets of your life and zap you of the energy you need to fight whatever ailment you may be presented with.  That premise of Chiropractic hasn’t changed in the lifetime of the profession: well-being comes from the overall health and function of the spine and nervous system.  

Recently published immune study and Upper Cervical Chiropractic Care:  https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/35463842/

Note:  The Texas Board of Chiropractic Examiners have mandated we do not claim Chiropractic can help the body’s immune system, so I will simply post the statistics from Dr. Rhodes researched book, History of Chiropractic in Texas.

Statistics from that time reflect a most amazing, seemingly miraculous situation.  These statistics were found and vetted by Dr. Rhoades in these states’ archives. 

Here is what Dr. Rhoades found:

  • In the state of Iowa, patients under medical care died at a rate of 1/15 (one death per 15 patients).  In the same state, patients under chiropractic care died at a rate of 1/789.
  • In the state of Oklahoma, chiropractors were called in 233 cases where medical doctors had cared for the patients, and finally gave them up as lost.  The chiropractors saved all but 25 of these lost cases.
  • The national numbers are also staggering.  National figures indicate 1,142 chiropractors treated 46,394 patients with influenza during 1918, with a loss of 54 patients.  1 out of every 886 chiropractic patients died.
  • There are many other examples of Chiropractors handling cases during the 1917-18 flu epidemic, with astonishing results.  The publicity and reputation of such effectiveness in handling flu cases also brought new patients and much acclaim from people who knew nothing of chiropractic before 1918.
  • Once again, chiropractic does not treat any disease, nor do we at HealthWorks claim this, it simply removes the interference that can cause significant pain which can impair the body’s natural healing abilities. It is definitely a great addition to traditional medicine during a health challenge.

Increased Energy

As noted, proper alignment of the upper cervical spine helps relieve pain, improves sleep, and keeps the body’s major systems functioning properly. It should come as no surprise then that many patients who get regular check-ups and corrections when necessary, will find that they have more energy. 

Studies have also shown that upper cervical care supports those that have been diagnosed with chronic fatigue syndrome—the mother of all energy zappers!  https://www.semanticscholar.org/paper/Quality-of-Life-Improvement-in-Patients-with-Upper-Woodfield-Dickholtz/835cd29b27a86a4de96a08ef70f3dc3c2bd9e24f

Improved Mood

It is hard to keep up morale when you suffer from pain, mobility issues, or chronic illnesses that interfere with your daily activities. It should come as no surprise, then, that any treatment alleviating aches, pains, mobility issues, sleep issues, etc., will have a positive effect on a person’s mental and emotional state. Some mental health issues, such as depression or anxiety, may also be due to blockages in nerve flow or vessels leading to the brain. Research shows some promise in upper cervical care in helping to treat such conditions. 

While an estimated 19 million Americans suffer from depression, there are twice as many women suffering from it as men. People suffering from depression will have persistent sadness or pessimism. They have times of feeling helpless, hopeless, worthless, or guilty. Have difficulty concentrating or remembering things. They will lose interest in activities, have insomnia or oversleep. They can also have weight gain or loss and feelings of fatigue. They may also be irritable or anxious.

Depression can affect family and home life, as well as people’s performance at work. Severe depression can lead to attempts at suicide.  If you or someone you know is suffering from depression, encourage them to take action before it gets out of hand. Upper Cervical Chiropractic may be a natural option for them should an upper cervical misalignment/subluxation be present.

The Journal of Vertebral Subluxation research published a study that shows that over 70% of the participants showed a “marked improvement” with treatment of the upper cervical misalignment. Fifteen participants were chosen based on a history of depression. An upper cervical misalignment was diagnosed using postural analysis as well as precise x-rays based on the Orthospinology Upper Cervical procedure.

Study:  “The data supports the hypothesis that the orthospinology technique to correct the occipito-atlantoaxial subluxation complex using the Grostic procedure may relate to reduced depressive symptoms.”  https://vertebralsubluxationresearch.com/2017/09/06/improvement-in-depression-following-reduction-of-upper-cervical-vertebral-subluxation-using-orthospinology-technique/

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If we find we’re not the best suited to help with your condition or it is out of our scope of practice, we promise to refer you to someone who is.

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