You know all those times when you can’t seem to think straight? When you are trying to concentrate on something, but the focus just isn’t there? People have used the phrase, “get your head on straight,” for a long time, but few people have any idea how literally having your head on straight can make a huge difference, not just in your thought processes, but in pretty much everything having to do with your health. Have you noticed that your head is tilted to a certain side in all the old family photos? Or in “selfies”? I’m not talking about when you make duck lips and try to be “cute,” I am referencing when your head isn’t straight, and you didn’t choose to do it in the photo on purpose..
Let’s look at head tilt and what it might be telling us. If your head is always tilting off to one side it is a strong indicator that the top bone, the Atlas, in your neck is misaligned. That top bone is the connecting point between your head and your body. If that bone has gotten stuck out of position, it is going to have your head out of position. So, head tilt occurs. The next question, of course, is why does that matter?
Our brains were designed to be level. When your head tilts, it has your brain off level, which will have your senses send the wrong information to the brain, and in turn the brain can’t respond properly.
The way your nervous system should work, is your brain uses your inner ear, your eyes, and the small muscles of your neck to determine what “straight” is. If you move your head, or lean etc., the brain then activates this system to return your brain to its proper position. If you suffer an accident like whiplash, concussion, or a fall, this system begins to break down.
The two most common things we see following an injury are eye disturbances and balance issues. If the head is tilted due to misalignment of the neck and soft tissue injury, the brain can’t get level and the system malfunctions.
This can lead to:
Autonomic Nervous System Disruptions
Over time this can lead to your body and mind’s inability to handle stress, pain, immune function, and many other health crises. That’s the bad news. The good news is, an upper cervical chiropractic adjustment can get your Atlas and Axis properly aligned, which in turn will have your brain and your nervous system communicating effectively with your whole body. Give us a call to set up your free consultation. At Upper Cervical Health Centers, we’ll help you get your head on straight.
There are several different types of vertigo. One of the most common I see is Cervical Vertigo. This is when, regardless of body position, a person experiences vertigo when their neck is in a certain position. For example, everytime you turn your head right and look up it happens.
The culprit in this case is the vertebral artery. There are two main arteries that deliver blood to your brain. One on each side of your neck. Our neck is meant to turn but in these cases that particular turn/position causes one of the arteries to be compressed and deliver less blood.
One of the most common causes is a misalignment of the first cervical vertebrae called the Atlas. The vertebral arteries pass through the outside edges of the Atlas before heading into the skull and delivering blood to the brain. If the Atlas is misaligned and unable to move through its entire range of motion, certain neck postures can cause the artery to get kinked. Think about a water hose that is bent and suddenly doesn’t deliver the same amount of water at the same pressure. This loss of blood flow can cause balance organs to malfunction, and cause a vertigo attack.
An upper cervical chiropractor in New York, Dr. Scott Rosa, has been studying the role of the Atlas and blood flow to the brain for years. He has been able to show, through the use of upright MRI, that an adjustment to the Atlas can restore proper blood flow.
Often the vertebrae has been misaligned due to a whiplash injury. The Atlas gets knocked out of place by the trauma, and the body is unable to return it to normal motion without assistance.
I find this is quite often the case in my vertigo patients. Following a car accident, or some other sort of trauma, they began to suffer from vertigo. Once we confirm that they do, in fact, have a misaligned Atlas, a very gentle and precise correction is made. This correction allows the Atlas to return to normal motion, and the vertebral artery compression no longer occurs, which means the vertigo no longer occurs.
If you are suffering from vertigo in the Fort Myers area, we offer a free screening to find out if your neck is involved. If you are not in SouthWest Florida, I would be happy to help find an upper cervical chiropractor in your area that could determine if your symptoms are coming from your neck.
For a consultation and more information please use the Request a Consultation form on this page, we look forward to speaking with you.
Opening your eyes, and seeing the world standing still and in its proper place is something we all take for granted. That’s how it should be and how it is . . . unless you suffer from vertigo. With vertigo, at any moment, your reality may shift dramatically, and the room begins to spin. Suddenly you are on the floor, extremely nauseated, and have to ride it out until the world returns to its normal position.
For many people suffering from vertigo, multiple MRI’s, countless exams, and a variety of specialists leave them where they started—asking what is wrong with me and still without an answer. Let’s look at what determines balance and what might be getting missed.
There are three main areas that take in information and send it to the brain (more specifically the brainstem) and determine balance.
Putting it altogether, the brainstem takes information from your eyes, balance organs in the ear, and sensors in your muscles and joints. If any of these is off, you may suffer a vertigo attack.
In my office I usually see the people that have tried physical therapy, have had MRI’s, and are still suffering. Having an upper cervical exam is a great first step if you suffer from vertigo, as this can rule in or out, the possibility that your vertigo is coming from your neck.
I have had a lot of success with people who have come to me with vertigo. Quite often, they find relief after just one upper cervical chiropractic session with me. By using the techniques of upper cervical, I can gently move the axis and atlas bones back into place, which allows the brain to communicate with the rest of the nervous system in the correct way, and stopping the world from spinning for vertigo sufferers. So if you are suffering from vertigo, please come visit us for a free consultation at Upper Cervical Health Centers of Fort Myers.
I normally start an initial patient consultation off with one simple request—tell me what is going on. I have reviewed the chart, but that only tells part of the story. I want the full story. How is it affecting your life? What have you tried so far? How long has this been going on? Very often, as they tell me their struggle, I feel a mix of compassion and excitement. Compassion for their struggle, and excitement that I have a different approach that is unlike anything they have tried, and my confidence is ultra high that I will be able to help them.
One of the conditions that elicits the greatest amount of these two feelings in me is Meniere’s disease. If you or someone you know suffers with this disease, then you already know it is life altering. The symptoms of this disease are debilitating and include:
The treatment options aren’t really all that encouraging. Physicians recommend dietary changes, medications, injections, physical therapy, and at the end of the road, surgery. For some patients, one of these may be the answer to their problems, but for many, they have little to no impact.
If you have Meniere’s disease, and have not been able to find relief for it, I have some exciting research to share with you. Dr. Michael Burcon, Upper Cervical Chiropractor and director of the Meniere’s Research Institute, conducted a 5-year study with 300 Meniere’s disease patients, and the results are incredible. Let’s look at the results first, then I will tell you how they were achieved.
Vertigo intensity was rated by 300 patients on a scale of 1-10
The improvements made a significant difference for 291 out of 300 patients, affecting whether or not they could work, drive and/or have a positive relationship with their spouse. For those that still had occasional attacks, they occurred less often, lasted for a shorter duration, and were not as intense. Recovery time was also significantly shorter.
The results speak for themselves. The next question is, how were they achieved?
Dr. Burcon has established a strong link between whiplash trauma (car accident, fall, blow to the head) and the development of Meniere’s disease.
The whiplash injury creates an dysfunction in the upper bones of the neck, known as subluxation. The joint abnormalities are a function of tight cervical musculature, limiting the joints and the cervical spine range of motion. The subluxation or abnormal joint motion of either the Atlas or Axis (the top two joints in the vertebrae) creates abnormal input into the central nerve system (CNS). The end result is Eustachian tube dysfunction in the ears.
By analyzing and correcting misalignments in the upper neck, Dr. Burcon was able to return the bones to normal function, and restore Eustachian tube function.
In my office, here in Fort Myers, I practice the same Upper Cervical Chiropractic technique as Dr. Burcon, and have seen very similar results. One of my recent Meniere’s disease patients was suffering from two to three severe attacks a week. Right now, she has experienced a whole month without a severe attack, and we are both so thrilled with this result!
If you suffer from this debilitating disease, I urge you to have your neck evaluated by a trained upper cervical specialist to find out if you can be helped as so many others have.
Health Outcomes Following Cervical Specific Protocol in 300 Patients with Meniere’s Followed Over Six Years Michael T. Burcon, B.Ph., D.C. 1
When it comes to head and neck injuries, research shows us that men and women do not respond the same way. The extent of injury, the length of recovery, and severity of symptoms is a worse outcome for females.
That fact has been backed up by study after study. The big question has always been, why?
A study just published may give us some insight. The symptoms of concussion and whiplash are the result of the misfiring of nerves. The nerves in the neck get stretched during impact, then for a period of time they do not behave properly. The recent study found that the part of the nerve that is affected the most is thinner in females, and as a result it suffers more trauma in an accident. So, painful symptoms are usually worse and recovery takes longer for women who experience this kind of injury.
Another culprit is the strength of women’s neck muscles. As I have talked about in previous blogs post concussion and post whiplash symptoms are extremely similar. Female’s neck muscles are normally not as developed or strong as male’s, so in a head injury, the neck is likely to also receive more damage. Women on average have 50%-60% less neck muscle mass, so the soft tissues and bones in the neck are less protected, and as such receive much more damage..
What does that mean for the female athlete?
It’s a good news bad news scenario. The bad news is you can’t do anything about the thickness of nerves. The good news is you can do a great deal to strengthen your neck. That doesn’t mean you have to walk around looking like Brock Lesnar, but a stronger neck doesn’t require that. Isometric exercises can develop neck strength without adding much in the way of bulky looking muscle mass.
Another way to minimize damage is making sure the your upper cervical area is properly aligned. This is one of the most overlooked areas—proper neck mechanics and structure. If the neck is properly aligned and structurally sound, it might minimize the damage done during an car accident or sports injury. Regular upper cervical chiropractic care can ensure that you are in alignment. Avoiding head trauma is the only real way to prevent concussions, but having a healthy strong neck is always a good idea and may lessen the impact and rehabilitation period.
But, if whiplash or concussion does happen to you, upper cervical chiropractic care will help you recover much more quickly as well. As an upper cervical doctor, I am an expert in neck injuries. I deal with whiplash and concussions on a daily basis. The upper neck is so susceptible to trauma that it is often injured and misaligned when you fall or trip, or through any number of things you do when you are playing sports, or if you get rear-ended in your car. When someone comes in with these injuries, my first goal is to restore movement in the top of the neck (the area often most affected) and then strengthen the area to restore stability.
Having an evaluation to find out if an upper neck misalignment is contributing to post concussion or whiplash symptoms is always a good idea. Correcting the misalignment will help speed recovery and healing time.
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.