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!
Most people associate chiropractic with neck pain, back pain, and possibly headaches. While those issues all do extremely well under chiropractic care, the potential benefits are so much greater. Did you know the first chiropractic adjustment ever made restored a man’s hearing?
It is a really interesting story. The founder of chiropractic, D.D. Palmer was working late one night when the janitor Harvey Lillard came in to clean. Mr. Lillard was deaf and had been for 17 years since he hit the back of his neck standing up under a set of stairs. D.D. reasoned that a bone in Lillards neck must have been knocked out of position and led to the hearing loss. He also reasoned that putting the bone back into place might restore Lillards hearing. D.D. took a shot at it and managed to get the bone back into normal alignment and almost immediately Mr. Lillards hearing was restored. Am I saying that chiropractic is a cure for deafness? Absolutely not, but I have seen some amazing things happen when putting the top two bones in the neck back into position.
It is important to not focus on the bones themselves. The structures they protect are what is important, because this is where the lower brainstem and spinal cord are, the heart of the central nervous system. If I told you there was pressure on your spinal cord that would seem like a big deal right? Well, a spinal misalignment can do just that and interfere with your body’s ability to communicate. Just like a computer network that relies on clear signals to function properly, the nervous system needs clear pathways for the brain to speak to the rest of the body through its network of nerves. When a vertebrae and or disc is misaligned, it’s like putting a kink in a hose, except in this case it is a kink in a neural pathway so that the nerves can’t speak to each other. In Mr. Lillard’s case that misalignment led to deafness, in some it might be neuropathy, in others it is liver dysfunction, and I could go on and on.
In the end chiropractic is about keeping your nervous system clear of interference so your body can function, adapt, and heal as it was designed to do. It just so happens that anatomically the most critical point in the spine, both structurally and neurologically, is the place where your head and neck meet, and that area is extremely vulnerable to getting misaligned.
Before you dismiss chiropractic for your health issues or health care strategy, why not take advantage of a free consultation to find out if it can be dismissed as not causing the problem? Call us at Upper Cervical Health Centers of Fort Myers for your free consultation today at 239-243-8810
Remember when you were a kid (and probably some of you now) how excited you got when a package came in bubble wrap? Forget what it was protecting, it was popping time . . . snap, crackle, pop time.
A similar sound is what many people think of when they picture having a neck adjustment. A big twist followed by a loud crack. For most that is a bit of a scary thought. Especially when the subject of adjusting children comes up. Well those adjustments do not exist in the Upper Cervical chiropractic world.
The reality is we are adjusting small bones and moving them a small amount. The top bone in the neck (called the Atlas) weighs approximately 2 oz in the average person. If you had a 2 oz object in your hand, chances are you could blow on it and move it a bit. It doesn’t require much force to move 2 oz, but to move it into the right position takes precision.
We take very precise x-rays to not only determine what bone is misaligned, but also the exact direction we need to move it. This is based on the patient’s individual anatomy. We all look different on the outside, and the same is true on the inside. Think about a key unlocking a lock. If the key is cut pretty close to fit the lock, it will work, but you may have to jiggle it and even jam it a bit to get it to work. If the key is cut perfectly, it just slides in and does its job effortlessly. Through our examination and precision x-rays, we get the key cut just right, so we can unlock the misalignment smoothly, and almost effortlessly.
More precision equals easier adjustment and longer holding time. The key to chiropractic in general isn’t the adjustment, but the amount of time the adjustment holds. Holding is healing we like to say, because the longer the bone is in the correct position, the more time the nerves and tissue around it can heal.
This also allows us to safely adjust those that have had previous neck surgeries, including fusions even at multiple levels. The same goes with children, even newborns. I have seen the lightest touch change the health and life of week-old babies.
Chiropractic can be gentle, it can be specific, and it can be life changing. Give us a call at Upper Cervical Chiropractic Centers of Fort Myers for your free consultation today! 239-243-8810
“Why does it seem like once someone goes to a chiropractor, they have to go forever?” This is one of the most common questions I’m asked, and there are actually several different answers to this question.
First of all, once you feel what it is like to have such improved function, range of motion, and health, you never want to go back to where you were before you started. I am a living testament to this. When I began undergoing upper cervical chiropractic care I didn’t realize just how bad I felt, until I felt good. I never want to return to any level of that pain, and so I will always have my spine checked to make sure I am in alignment.
Second, and just as important, is the fact that we live in a stressful world—work stress, family stress, financial stress—any of these things can lead to tightening up and possible misalignment of your spine. On top of that, all of us hold our head and body particular ways when we are on the computer, or texting someone on our phone, and those positions cause repetitive strain injuries over and over again. In my practice the goal is the best possible results with the fewest visits because of both our philosophy and our precision, but when life events or traumas occur the body can’t always hold up. This makes maintenance care a necessity.
The average head is 10-12 lbs. The top bone in the neck that it sits on weighs about 2 oz. The upper neck has the weight of the head on top of it, which creates greater stress on the bones and the nervous system. No matter how great the care is, once in a while the weight of the head is going to win, and pull that bone out of position. Again, this makes some level of maintenance care necessary.
I like to compare upper cervical care to getting braces. First you get braces, and that is a more intense phase of care. Then you transition to a retainer for a period of time, less intense but still some intervention. After that you still visit the orthodontist or dentist periodically to make sure your teeth are healthy and to catch deeper issues before they develop. Chiropractic care is relatively the same. We get the spine aligned and healed, then get it strong and stable. After that the occasional check up and realignment is done when necessary.
The super short answer is, once you experience the power of an upper cervical alignment you tend to want to make that a part of your life and healthcare plan. Give us a call at Upper Cervical Health Centers of Fort Myers, 239-243-8810, and let us give you a free consultation.
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.