Few things in the world are as bad as tooth pain. The severe, sharp, hard-to-even-think pain that you just can’t get away from. It is so intense because it is nerve pain. Whether you have a broken tooth or an infection etc., something is damaging the nerve, and signaling intense burning pain. What do you immediately do? Call the dentist, and beg for the soonest possible appointment so they can help rid the infection, pull the tooth, perform a root canal or whatever the situation dictates. This same path needs to be taken with nerve pain anywhere in the body. Not just an attempt to numb it, but to remove the cause of the symptoms.
Let’s talk about about a specific condition called Occipital Neuralgia. The name, broken down, says it all. The occiput is the back of the skull, right above the back of your neck, and neuralgia is simply nerve pain. Severe pain that is right at the base of the skull, and generally radiates up into the head on one side (most of the time).
Here are some of the most common symptoms of Occipital Neuralgia.
What we find in most cases of Occipital Neuralgia is a previous whiplash injury. The trauma leads to injury and misalignment of the upper neck. This causes muscle spasms in the upper neck muscles. The occipital nerves, the lesser and greater, run up the back of the neck to the skull right along with the muscles. When these muscles are spastic, they can cause pressure and irritation of the nerves, and suddenly you experience severe pain.
Most often medication is given to numb the pain. If that doesn’t work, the next move is usually injections into the area. The problem is none of this removes the root cause. Let’s go back to the tooth. Once the dentist numbs the area, you don’t just hop up out of the chair and leave do you? No way! You wait for him to correct the problem. The same applies here. If you don’t remove the pressure from the nerve, you will always be chasing the pain away with one drug or another.
That’s where upper cervical chiropractic comes in. It’s a good idea to get checked to see if it is an upper neck misalignment that is causing the nerve pressure. We’ve discovered this to be the issue most of time in these cases. An upper cervical adjustment can relieve the impinged nerve and the correct alignment can be kept in place to find lasting relief. An upper cervical focused chiropractor (like myself) is best suited to evaluate this possibility. We are whiplash experts, and can tell you with a quick non-invasive exam, whether your issue is coming from an upper cervical misalignment. If it is indeed the issue, relief may just be an adjustment away.
Contact us today at Upper Cervical Chiropractic Centers of Fort Myers to set up your free consultation!
“The power that made the body heals the body.” That quote is almost as old as the practice of chiropractic itself. It is also as true today as the day it was first said.
What is the power that made the body? To answer that, let’s take a quick look at our initial development. There will be a quiz on zygotes and embryo stages at the end. Your high school biology teacher provided the questions. Relax, I decided to delete the quiz. Let’s jump a bit past that, and look at the first major organ to develop. Many people will guess the heart, but the answer is the brainstem...followed by the rest of the brain and the spinal cord. This allows our entire body to be hardwired to our central nervous system, the master control.
Once developed, this communication system is vital to proper body function, healing, and most all body processes. In simple form, the brain tells the body what to do, the body tells the brain what it needs, and information flows up and down the spinal cord. The closer to flowing easily at 100% this information is, the closer your potential for health is to 100%. When this communication flow gets stopped in any way or even slowed down, so does your health potential. Imagine if the communication between your right hand and brain was at 70%, how well would that hand work? About 70% right? We can ask the same question, and give the same answer for pretty much every part of your body. If that communication is restored, then your hand can heal up and work properly again. The power that made the body, heals the body right? We are a self healing organism, but require proper communication channels to accomplish that.
Not every single thing that can go wrong in a body is due to poor nerve communication, but it is a far more widespread possibility than you might think, and it often gets overlooked in traditional medicine. I see patients daily with chronic auto- immune diseases, digestive issues, liver problems, heart conditions, and just about anything you can think of, and see tremendous improvements when we correct nerve impingement in their upper cervical neck area. Why? Not because we adjust their stomach, heart, or liver, but because we find out where the nerve interference is taking place, and remove that interference. Once removed, the brain and body can communicate properly, and we see an incredible variety of things clear up.
Due to how our body is designed, this correction happens in the upper neck the majority of the time. We have a 12 pound head resting on a two-ounce bone, held together with soft tissue. It doesn’t take a tremendous amount of force to cause that two-ounce bone to get out of its normal position. Once out, it causes nerve interference and a decrease in brain to body communication function.
Most of the time, patients don’t just have one thing wrong, they have multiple symptoms of this impingement happening in their body, since the entire brainstem is in that part of your neck. As a patient myself, first introduced to this concept, it made more sense to me that this one central problem could be causing all of these things in my body to go wrong, rather than me having 10 different body parts/systems messing up at the same time.
If your body isn’t functioning properly this is a possibility you need to have evaluated. Poor communication doesn’t improve on its own, and over time your symptoms will tend to get worse, since your other systems aren’t getting the information they need to function properly. Get your spine, and specifically your upper neck evaluated, to find out if two-ounces could be the difference in health and sickness for you.
Autoimmune disease rates keep going up year after year. Things like Type 1 Diabetes, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Lupus, Celiac disease, Psoriasis, Irritable Bowel Disease, and Thyroid issues (Hashimotos and Graves) are becoming more and more common. Autoimmune diseases as a whole are the second cause of chronic illness in America. The question is why?
First, let’s look at what autoimmune really means. Basically, it is your body attacking itself. It identifies healthy tissue as a foreign invader and attacks. Depending on which tissue is attacked we give it a different name. There are a couple of things that can lead to an autoimmune issue. Genetics can play a role, as it seems to occur more often in women and runs in families. The “western diet” can lead to a damaged gut, which in turn can disrupt the immune system and cause an issue.
One thing that is often left out is the role of the nervous system in immune function. These two systems are interwoven, with the nervous system being in control of the immune system. If the communication between the two is interfered with, the immune system can get somewhat “confused” and begin attacking healthy tissue i.e. autoimmune disease. The brain and brainstem are the control areas of the nervous system. The spinal cord and nerves transmit the instructions to the body, and send sensory information back to the brain.
Imagine you are on the phone making dinner plans, and there is a lot of static on the line. It’s possible you show up at the wrong restaurant at the wrong time on the wrong day. The nervous system can also experience “static” in much the same way, communication breaks down and now we are in trouble.
The most common place this occurs is the upper neck. The lower portion of the brainstem (the master control of the nervous system) resides there, and anatomically, it is also a relatively weak area. Our 12 lb head sits on top of a 2 oz bone, connected by soft tissue. Even a mild whiplash type injury can knock this bone out of position, and cause it to interfere with the function of the brainstem. When this happens any number of things can go wrong, and improper immune function is one of them. As the bone sits out of position day after day, greater and greater damage is done, which often leads to a worsening of symptoms over time.
Not all autoimmune issues stem from the neck, but as I have seen over the last decade, a great number of them can be alleviated by correcting an upper cervical misalignment, and a alot of patients have experienced complete remission.
We all like a miracle story right? Several years ago a patient we will call Ann came into my office. She suffered from Rheumatoid Arthritis. She was in constant pain, scared to death about her future, and on the maximum dose of her meds. Ann asked if I could help her. I told her that I couldn’t make any promises, but everyone can benefit from an interference-free nervous system. An exam and precision x-rays showed us the top two bones in her neck were misaligned. They were corrected, and within three months Ann was off all her medications, and had a new lease on life. Not every case is a homerun like Ann, but I have seen far more successes than failures. It is an easy thing to have your upper neck evaluated to see if it may be contributing to your illness. From what I have seen, it is worth your time to investigate.
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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.