I was standing at the bathroom sink staring at myself in the mirror and asking myself the same question over and over. Am I losing my mind? I had just attempted to put a used (by me) toothbrush in my mouth and literally gagged. My bathroom drawer was filled with cheap dollar store toothbrushes, because I couldn’t bring myself to use one more than once. So I grabbed, brushed, threw away. Day after day. Every so often, in an attempt to defeat myself, I tried to use one twice. I kept losing.
Next, I would head out of the house and stare at the ground. I wasn’t afraid to make eye contact with anyone, nor did I despise seeing the sights, I had to watch where every step was placed. I couldn’t step on a crack, or take an uneven amount of steps on a clearly defined section of floor, or in crossing a room. If the steps got out of sync, I would either take a little stutter step to even them, or as I left the room, reach back and tap the foot that was one short on the floor.
Had you been watching me from a distance you might have thought my real delusion and issue was my belief I was Wonder Woman. Why else would a grown man be twirling in circles? The truth is I had probably counted four consecutive turns in a certain direction, and felt I needed to spin the other way to even it out. I felt an actual physical pull to even it out. If I couldn’t correct it at that moment, you better believe as soon as physically possible I would spin the other way.
These were the most profound things I focused on daily. I won’t even go into how things had to be even, turned the right way, and all the small things that would drive me nuts. This is the pain of living with obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD).
I was really starting to think I was losing it, and my big fear was how bad was this going to get. It seemed I was just adding things on little by little, and during times of stress all the issues were so much worse. So, I did what most people in that situation do. I tried medication. Did it help? Well, I worried a little less about whether I was losing my mind, but I still counted steps and twirled like Linda Carter. The only other thing the medication did, was make me a zombie with no personality and no ambition.
When the medicine failed, I just assumed that this was the way I would have to live. Then something surprising happened. I was in chiropractic school, and had a class on the philosophy of upper cervical chiropractic. It made so much sense to me, and as I was suffering from migraines, digestive issues, and severe low back pain, what did I have to lose?
I decided to become a patient of the doctor that taught the class. As I had hoped, my pain went away, my headaches disappeared, and my stomach felt great. The most amazing thing was one day I realized I wasn’t watching the floor anymore, I didn’t count steps, and I could turn anyway I wanted! Toothbrush you ask? I started keeping them longer than I should have. Hey, I had already spent a lifetime of toothbrush money, so don’t judge me.
My mind felt so free, and it turned out I wasn’t going crazy. Sometimes physical issues cause mental disturbances, and sometimes mental issues cause physical disturbances. I had a physical problem, the top bone in my neck was misaligned and putting pressure on my nervous system. This disruption caused my brain to misfire a little, and create the OCD issues that were starting to dominate my life. Once it was corrected, and my brain was free to work properly, they just faded away.
Over the last nine years in practice, I have had the honor of helping so many others that were dealing with the same OCD issues. A man came along, adjusted a single bone in my neck, and changed my life forever. What if the same could be done for you?
If you have ever been in a car accident (and here in SWFL who hasn’t been…) you know how it usually goes. The instant it happens, first you get your bearings, and then you do a mental checklist of injuries, and evaluate if you are ok. If the accident is severe enough, you go to the ER to get checked out. They shoot some x-rays and do some other tests. Sometimes whiplash is given as a diagnosis, but often you are checked out, told all is well, and sent home.
The ER does a great job if you are injured, and a great job at making sure there are no fractures or serious injuries. What they are not looking for is something we call an Atlas subluxation, and it might be the most significant factor that can affect your short, and even long term health.
What is an Atlas?
Remember Atlas from Greek mythology? The poor Titan, whose punishment was to hold up the heavens for eternity? The top bone in your neck is named the Atlas after this Greek myth. It holds up our brain, the most important part of our body. While Atlas the Titan is strong and powerful, our Atlas is a bit different.
The average head weighs about 10 lbs. The average Atlas vertebrae weighs 2 oz. Imagine that head whipping around when your car gets hit, and the force that gets applied to that little bone at the base of your skull. Crash tests have shown that a rear impact of even 8mph can generate a 5g force on the upper neck. More than enough force to injure the soft tissue there.
Very often, once the trauma is over, this small area becomes a big issue. You can develop lingering headaches that don’t seem to go away, lower back pain, “brain fog” where you just can’t seem to think clearly, insomnia, etc… the list can go on and on as the symptoms seem to pile up over the months or even years following the accident.
One of the first questions I ask new patients is, “have you ever been in a car accident?” The answer isn’t always yes (there are certainly other ways to injure that area), but very often we can trace their current condition back to the moment of, or shortly after, the accident.
What is an Atlas subluxation?
In medicine, a subluxation is an incomplete or partial dislocation of a joint.
The Atlas is in close proximity to a part of your central nervous system called the brain stem. The brain stem controls and coordinates virtually all of your body's vital functions. When damage to the connective tissues occurs due to accidents and injuries, the Atlas can misalign and get stuck into an abnormal position, resulting in pressure, tension, irritation, and disruption to blood flow and cerebrospinal fluid circulation. An Atlas subluxation will also result in a postural distortion. Those distortions can lead to headaches, neck pain, upper/lower back pain, sciatica and even hip, knee, or ankle pain.
Very often the Atlas is stuck for years and slowly health problems develop due to the pressure and irritation it causes. In our office we see these cases daily. Many are people who have searched for years for an answer to their health problems. Usually they have been to multiple medical providers with little to no answers.
Upper cervical chiropractors are experts at analyzing the Atlas subluxation, and restoring it to its normal position (without cracking or twisting the neck). Once the Atlas is returned to the right position, the body is able to start healing itself, and we see some incredible results. Best of all, we often provide an answer to the question “what is wrong with me?” that was often asked for years, even decades. Contact us for more details or use the link below to book a free consultation.
Concussions are a huge topic now, as they should be. The NFL has poured millions of dollars into research on brain injuries, and parents are now forced to evaluate the risk/reward ratio of allowing their kids to play contact sports.
There are an estimated 2.5 million sports-related concussions a year. A majority of cases reach full recovery in a few weeks, but 15%-20% will have symptoms that last for three weeks or more, and for some it can be a life-altering experience.
The answer for why those 15%-20% still suffer may lie in a condition known as Cervicogenic Post Concussion Syndrome. In Cervicogenic PCS an upper neck injury happened along with the concussion. The brain itself can “heal” and begin to function normally pretty quickly, but the upper neck injury and ligament damage is often the underlying reason that symptoms persist.
In fact, the symptoms of post concussion syndrome and whiplash are almost identical.
Post Concussion Syndrome Whiplash
Dizziness/Balance problems Dizziness
Brain Fog Brain Fog
Cognitive dysfunction Cognitive Dysfunction
Fatigue Neck Pain
Resolving Cervicogenic PCS with upper cervical care
Correcting the top bone in the spine is often an important component in finding relief from the brain fog, vertigo/dizziness, headaches, and difficulty processing related to Cervicogenic PCS.
The neck trauma can trigger two different issues:
1. Inflammation and damage to the structures of the neck bombard the brain with nerve signals that trigger a pain response. This barrage of pain signals can be the trigger for headache disorders which are common after head trauma.
2. Disruption of the ligaments in the upper neck interferes with the body’s joint position system. When your brain has poor joint-position sense, it can trigger symptoms like vertigo and balance problems.
Many patients seek out a variety of treatments and suffer for months or even years without addressing the underlying neck injury. Upper cervical chiropractors are trained to evaluate this area, determine the issue, and restore it back to normal position and function. The adjustments are precise, painless, and do not involve any twisting or turning of the neck.
We have seen tremendous results in these cases by addressing the main issue causing the symptoms, and often see significant improvements in the first few days/weeks after patients have suffered for months or even years.
If you’ve suffered a concussion or head and neck injury please give us a call or book an appointment and let us help you find relief from the pain.
When it comes to Upper Cervical Chiropractic, there are plenty of health symptoms that you may automatically think would be alleviated through an adjustment. In truth though, there are a lot of health issues you may never even consider seeing me for. High blood pressure is usually one of those things you would never even think of bringing up during your visit to me.
The good news is that a research study found that an “Atlas” adjustment in the upper cervical part of your neck could significantly lower your blood pressure. Dr. George Bakris, did a study in 2007 as the director of the University of Chicago hypertension center. Here’s what he found during his study.
“This procedure has the effect of not one, but two blood-pressure medications given in combination,” said Dr. Bakris. “And it seems to be an adverse-free event. We saw no side effects and no problems.”
In the study, none of the patients took blood pressure medicine. Half of those who were studied got upper cervical adjustments and the other half got “fake” adjustments. Those with the real adjustments had a significant drop in their blood pressure.
“When the statistician brought me the data, I actually didn’t believe it. It was way too good to be true,” said Bakris. “The statistician said, ‘I don’t even believe it.’ But we checked for everything and there it was.”
Bakris decided to do that study after a fellow doctor told him something strange was happening in his family practice. The doctor had been sending some of his patients to an upper cervical chiropractor and some of them had high blood pressure. After seen the chiropractor, the patients’ blood pressure had normalized and a few of them were able to stop taking their blood pressure medications. So Bakris decided to do a formal study of it.
“Is it going to be for everybody with high blood pressure? No,” Bakris said. “We clearly need to identify those who can benefit. It is pretty clear that some kind of head or neck trauma early in life is related to this. On the other hand, if people have high blood pressure, there is a tremendous possibility they need an Atlas adjustment.”
We’ve seen patients’ have great results in this area as well. In fact, I hope you’ll take the time to watch the testimonial video we’ve provided here as well. This patient was beside himself, because in spite of a change in diet and exercise and multiple medications, his blood pressure kept rising. He saw great improvement after just one adjustment.
So if you’ve gone to your primary care physician and you’ve gotten a diagnosis of high blood pressure, you should give us a call at Upper Cervical Health Centers.
Have you seen the movie 28 Days Later? Cillian Murphy and a small group roam the English countryside fighting to survive 28 days after a virus was released that turned most of the country into zombies. As frightening as that plot is imagine you are sitting in the doctors office and it’s 28 days later since your last bowel movement…..
As I was going over a new patient’s chart before entering the consultation room to meet them, I noted that the primary reason they were in the office was about with Bell’s Palsy. The patient had also noted digestive issues and a few other things. I sat down with her and began to get a picture of her health history. I asked about the digestive issues ,and I wasn’t really prepared for her response. Let me say I have had countless patients with digestive issues, from IBS to chronic diarrhea, constipation, Crohn’s disease, and just about anything else you can think of. I was still thrown off by her story. She stated she had issues with constipation. I asked her about the severity, and she told me that, on average, she went about once every seven days. That sounded rough, until she told me that at that time it had been 28 days……and that a few times a year she suffered that sort of timeframe. Not surprisingly she felt terrible, her body was toxic, and her overall health was suffering greatly.
The real story of upper cervical chiropractic isn’t about bones. Sure, that’s what we move, but the nerves the bones protect are the real players. At the very top of the neck, and the bottom of the brain, is the most important part of our nervous system, and the thing we can’t live without—the brain stem. This part houses many of our major control centers: respiratory, cardiovascular, and gastrointestinal. Misalignments in the upper cervical spine (neck) can interfere with the function of the brain stem which can be a critical factor in many health problems, including digestive disorders. The vagus nerve in particular has a tremendous impact on the function of the digestive organs. If a spinal misalignment interferes with the communication from the brain to the stomach and intestines, the wrong information is going to be sent, and suddenly things don’t work properly. Imagine if that communication is interfered with at even 10%, that means now your digestive system is working at 90%. Anything less than 100% and you may start seeing the symptoms.
So, back to our patient. This wonderful lady’s life was being ruined by this issue. I did an exam that revealed she had a lot of pressure on her brainstem from an upper neck misalignment. X-rays revealed a large misalignment, and then I gave her an adjustment to correct the misalignment. A post exam showed the pressure had been relieved. In my office we rest patients for 15 minutes after an adjustment, to allow the body time to relax and accept the correction. After she had rested for about 5 minutes, I heard the door open, and she rushed to the bathroom. From that point forward she was as regular as a clock, and years later she is still doing great.
If you are suffering from digestive issues, make sure you have your upper cervical spine evaluated, to find out if it is a contributing factor. If you are in SWFL give us a call, and we offer a complimentary consultation and exam to find out of you are in the right place. If you live elsewhere call the office or send us an email and we would be happy to find someone in your area.
Dr. Lee Angle
Dr. Lee Angle is originally from southern West Virginia. After having his life changed through Upper Cervical Care he chose to pursue it as a career. He has been practicing Upper Cervical Chiropractic for over nine years. Dr. Angle previously worked as a certified personal trainer. This background allows him to educate his patients on proper movement and exercises to speed their recovery and enhance their Upper Cervical Care.