I recently had a patient come in that was suffering with severe tooth and jaw pain. They, of course, went to the dentist initially, assuming a cavity or some sort of tooth issue. X-rays and a full exam later, the dentist informed them that their teeth and gums were perfectly healthy.
The pain persisted, and the next step was a CT scan to try to identify the source of the pain. Again when the report came back, there were no findings. At this point, they consulted another dentist and oral surgeon, and again no answers.
After one specific upper cervical adjustment the pain was reduced by 50% and within a week it was essentially gone. How can that be? Why would adjusting the neck resolve tooth and jaw pain?
There is a very direct link between the upper neck and the jaw because that is were there are several muscles, nerves, and blood vessels. There are several nerves that can be the cause, one of them even has a named condition when it elicits severe pain. It is called Trigeminal Neuralgia. It is also known as the “suicide disease.” The pain is so intense and sufferers feel so hopeless, they take their own lives to end the pain. The trigeminal nerve can be impinged by a misalignment of the top bone in the neck and in fact there are thousands of success stories of healing this condition through upper cervical chiropractic.
We also have the occipital nerves that pass through the upper cervical spine and into the back of the head and forward near the back of the jaw. These nerves can sometimes be the source of severe head pain, and a very painful condition known as occipital neuralgia.
The Greater Auricular nerve is often the culprit, as it passes through the top 3 bones in the neck and then passes along the jaw and in some people to the molars. This can cause radiating pain in the upper or lower jaw, and teeth along most of the side of the face.
Any of these nerves can be impinged and cause pain with an upper cervical misalignment. The bone moves and compresses the tissues and nerves. Until the bone is corrected and the pressure removed no other types of treatment will suffice.
Pain medication may be necessary to make life livable until a solution is found, but getting to the root cause is essential to ending the pain. If you are suffering from unexplained tooth and/or jaw pain, have your neck checked to see if you can be helped. We offer a free evaluation to determine if your upper cervical spine is in the proper shape and working correctly. We specialize in making sure your head is on straight, ensuring proper spinal health. Call us at Upper Cervical Health Centers of Fort Myers for your free consultation today, 239-243-8810.
How many times have you caught yourself lost in your phone as your chin drops ever closer down to your chest? Before you know it your neck is stiff, you don’t feel all that great, and you may even get a bit of a headache.
The constant bending down of the head while on a phone is where the popular term “text neck” developed. Text neck is a term used describe the forward head posture and resulting strain of the neck that is formed after prolonged use of mobile devices. The number of U.S. smartphone users was estimated to be more than 230 million in 2018, which roughly corresponds to ten percent of the estimated number of all smartphone users worldwide for that year. The United States is one of the biggest markets for the smartphone industry worldwide. Given the amount of time we all spend on our phones these days, it’s no wonder that it’s become common to have a stiff neck and shoulders and a headache every day.
A recent study looked at 180 children and teenagers with six months or more of neck and shoulder pain. All of them spent an average of five to seven hours a day on their smartphones and handheld devices. They were all observed to have their neck bent forward at an angle greater than 45 degrees. No wonder there are many more cases of degeneration and misalignment in the lower parts of the neck these days than there were 10 years ago.
In the short term, tight muscles in both the neck and shoulders is a given. The spinal cord is also stretched a bit and creates a bit of distress on the nervous system. This can lead to fatigue and even a bit of nausea in some people. But I want you to be aware that there may be serious underlying health problems developing in your brain and body as well.
Because this is a constant habit, it can cause chronic conditions. One of the most significant effects can be the stress response created from the forward head posture that is created. Research shows that every inch forward that the head goes, it adds about 10 pounds of weight that must be handled by the muscles, ligaments and bones of the neck, which strains them and gives you headaches, neck aches and back aches. It also starts to train the muscles to stay in that position, which is very bad for you. Done chronically, this causes degeneration and arthritis of the neck and cervical spine. It also decreases brain function.
Another thing it does is by having your neck tucked into your chest and is forward and down, you are diminishing lung capacity by as much as 20% to 30%. This can really affect people with asthma, OPD, and emphysema. Also, the muscles in the front of the neck which help with breathing become tight and weak. Oxygen to the brain and body is decreased. Blood pressure has to rise to pump more oxygen to tissues. High blood pressure is associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular diseases (strike and heart attack).
I recommend a few things to help with this issue of text neck. First, create a new cell phone habit. Hold it in your hand, tuck your elbow in to your side, and hold your phone about chest height and out in front of you. Catch yourself every time your chin starts to drop and hold it back up again. Second, do regular posture exercises and stretches for your neck and upper back.
Finally, come see me to get a thorough examination with respect to your posture, muscle strength, brain and nerve function, and spinal mobility and alignment. If you are constantly looking down at your phone, you may want to get on a regular schedule to get your upper cervical neck aligned properly to reduce the strain on it. We offer a free evaluation to determine if your upper cervical spine is in the proper shape and working correctly. We specialize in making sure your head is on straight, ensuring proper spinal health. Call us at Upper Cervical Health Centers of Fort Myers for your free consultation today, 239-243-8810!
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.