“My MRI was normal…” “My CT scan was normal…” I hear this daily from patients seeking answers to why they are feeling pain. All the testing was negative, but they are still experiencing, often severe, symptoms. It can be frustrating, and even scary. When advanced imaging doesn’t appear to provide the answers as to why you don’t feel well, where do you turn?
First, let’s look at the intent of doing this type of diagnostic imaging. Doctors are looking for the obviously visible things, such as torn ligaments, herniated discs, tumors, or visible nerve impingement. Radiologists are highly trained, and have a great eye for the things they are taught to look for. It’s the same with neurologists, they are highly trained to look for some very specific things when looking at diagnostic imaging. But that doesn’t mean either of these types of specialists are always going to pick up on why you don’t feel well. And that is often a source of major frustration for people, which has them seeking answers elsewhere.
Sometimes your symptoms are caused by something so subtle, that it’s missed by the specialists. Something that is often missed by the radiologists and neurologists is the subtle misalignment of the upper cervical part of the neck. Why is it missed by the neurologist, or any number of other specialists? Simply because they weren’t trained to look for it.
An upper cervical misalignment (sometimes referred to as the craniocervical junction) can be very small in measurement, but is often very large in effect. I have seen a misalignment of a millimeter or two devastate a patient’s health. This area houses your lower brainstem, which dictates the behavior of the rest of your spine, so even the smallest misalignment can cause big problems.
As an upper cervical chiropractor, I have been highly trained to look for upper cervical malposition when I look at x-rays, MRI’s, and CT scans. This misalignment can reduce blood flow to the brain, disrupt cerebrospinal fluid flow, cause nerve compression, cause the rest of the spine to twist, and a number of other significant issues. It is simply a different skill set to identify these misalignments.
If you are still searching for answers after being told there is nothing wrong with you, it may be time to have a different set of eyes evaluate your imaging. We offer a complimentary imaging review to evaluate if an upper cervical misalignment could be contributing to your issues. Don’t wait until your symptoms get worse, call us today for a complimentary review.
Growing up, everyone around me would get so excited for Fall and Winter. College football, back to school, Thanksgiving, and Christmas. I secretly thought, “Oh great, Fall and Winter, time for sinus infections, sick days, and a cold I won’t be able to shake for months.”
Despite the fact that I was an athlete, ate well, and on the surface looked healthy, I had to face the reality that my immune system was terrible. I evaluated my diet, and it was solid. Very little sugar, lots of fruits and vegetables, and all the things that should strengthen my immune system. I exercised almost daily. I was doing all the things I was supposed to but…..still sick all the time.
I entered into upper cervical chiropractic care hoping to rid myself of my headaches, sciatica, and ankle pain. Turns out my immune system also got supercharged once I started getting adjusted.
It has been 12 years, and I have had a grand total of ZERO sinus infections. I have only been sick/had a cold two or three times, and have only missed a total of three days of work in 10 years.
How does getting your neck adjusted improve the immune system? It is actually pretty simple.
The nervous system and the immune system are incredibly intertwined. The better the nervous system is functioning, the stronger the immune system functions. There is a system in the brain called the HPA (hypothalamic-pituitary-axis) and one of its functions is determining how much cortisol (the stress hormone) to produce. An increase in stress will signal the HPA to give the command to release more cortisol and it turns out cortisol level balance has a big effect on the immune system. So more cortisol in your system, means a lowered immune response.
If you get really stressed out, your chance of getting sick goes up. Most of us have noticed that overworking, family stress, etc. can run us down, and make us more susceptible to colds/flu and other bugs and viruses. This increase in stress activates the HPA, so more cortisol is released.
If your cortisol levels go too high or too low, it can lead to regular infections, chronic inflammation, and a depression of the immune system in general.
A misalignment of one of the top bones in the neck causes stress, and can also activate the HPA which then releases cortisol, and the whole process begins. This is why it is so important to have proper spinal alignment in order to have a strong immune system.
Research indicates that chiropractic patients have incredibly strong immune systems. Dr. Ronald Pero, chief of cancer prevention research at New York’s Preventive Medicine Institute and professor in Environmental Health at New York University measured 107 individuals who had received long-term Chiropractic care. The chiropractic patients were shown to have a 200% greater immune competence than people who had not received chiropractic care, and a 400% greater immune competence than people with cancer or serious diseases.
Summarizing the research, Pero concluded, “Chiropractic may optimize whatever genetic abilities you have so that you can fully resist serious disease…I have never seen a group other than this show a 200% increase over normal patients.”
It is great to eat proper food, exercise, avoid sugars, and do the best you can for your body, but you also have to ensure your body can do the best for you. Have your spinal alignment checked to make sure your immune system has the best chance to fight off the coming season. Call Upper Cervical Chiropractic Centers of Fort Myers today for your free consultation.
We know concussions are bad. As more and more research comes out, we are really starting to understand just how bad, and gain greater insight into the long term effects of this type of brain injury. A few years ago, we understood bruising the brain was bad, but we didn’t really understand exactly what happens, and how the effects might linger.
To understand what happens, we need to look at a key point of brain anatomy. You may have heard of the blood-brain barrier, this barrier is vital to keeping our brain safe. The barrier is a permeable membrane, that surrounds the brain. Its job is to allow in nutrients and fluid that the brain needs and keep out harmful substances that can damage the tissues.
In a significant concussion, (or Traumatic Brain Injury) the blood-brain barrier can be torn and allow harmful chemicals and minerals to enter the brain. This causes the body’s immune response to kick in. While an immune response is usually good, in the brain it can lead to cell death and damage. If there is a loss of consciousness, this process becomes even more harmful due to a lack of oxygen for a short period of time.
Activating the immune response leads to deposits of a certain type of plaque. Think about heart disease, and what we know about plaque. It accumulates in the arteries and begins to block them. In the brain this plaque can block nerve transmission and cause certain areas to malfunction. These plaques are a hallmark sign in Alzheimer’s disease, and help explain why the risk of Alzheimer’s Disease is increased following head trauma. Much has been said surrounding CTE (Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy) in NFL players. This is due to multiple head injuries. The greatest risk seems to occur when a previous concussion is not fully healed, and a new injury occurs. This short circuits the healing process, and leads the brain’s immune response to overact, and create even more plaque in an effort to heal.
One of the most common outcomes of traumatic brain injury (concussion) is depression. This is due to reduced levels of serotonin (the happy hormone) and a disruption in brain communication in vital areas. Those who have suffered a TBI are also at double the risk of developing addiction issues due to the loss of serotonin.
Often the most debilitating part of this injury is the loss of cognitive ability, which includes attention span, memory, and decision making capabilities. For some it’s a short term issue, but for some it can be long term. The amount of nerve injury, inflammation, and malfunction can lead to a foggy brain that doesn’t function at the speed or accuracy it did prior to the injury.
Roughly 80% of those that suffer a concussion or TBI return to reasonably normal function in two to six weeks. The other 20% continue to suffer symptoms. After three months, this is termed Post Concussion Syndrome or PCS.
This is often a by product of the associated whiplash injury that occurs in most head traumas. Headaches, dizziness, and foggy thinking are often seen in PCS. The upper neck injury, and subsequent misalignment reduces blood flow to the brain and causes interference to nerve transmission. If it is not addressed, symptoms can linger for months or even years.
This is an area where upper cervical chiropractic has shined in terms of helping people recover. By restoring the upper neck to the proper position (without turning or twisting the neck) the whiplash injury heals, and the brain is able to receive what it needs and symptoms generally subside.
If you’ve had a concussion at any time in your life and have been experiencing any of the symptoms mentioned above, a short, non-invasive upper cervical examination can determine whether or not this correction can be the answer. Call today for your free consultation at Upper Cervical Health Centers of Fort Myers!
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.