There can be many causes of neck pain, from various traumas like falls and automobile accidents to slowly developing spinal conditions and muscle strains. The main source of neck pain however, usually come from joint related issues. For example; large studies on arthritis show that although degeneration can cause stiffness or limited motion in the neck, it rarely causes pain. Joint problems in the upper neck can cause malfunction of the nervous system and refer pain across the back of the neck and over the top of the skull while joints not working correctly in the lower neck can produce radiating pain across the shoulders and upper back.
Typical medical treatments for neck pain include pain killers, muscle relaxants, physical therapy and anti-inflammatory injections. These treatments focus on pain relief but only mask the symptoms you are feeling while not addressing the root cause of the problem. The most common cause of neck pain are misaligned vertebrae in the upper neck which disrupts normal nerve function. By addressing the cause of the problem, Advanced Orthogonal chiropractic has proven to be one of the most effective solutions to correcting the cause of your neck pain and producing long term benefits that help keep you healthy.
Headaches and Migraines
Headaches are one of the most common issues that we hear from our patients and that we have addressed with great success. Migraines and other types of headache, such as tension and sinus headaches, are painful and can rob you of quality of life There are several types of headaches. In fact, over 150 different diagnostic headache categories have been established! According to the National Headache Foundation, over 45 million Americans suffer from chronic, recurring headaches and of these, 28 million suffer from migraines. About 20% of children and adolescents also have significant headaches.
Headache pain results from signals interacting between the brain, blood vessels, and surrounding nerves. During a headache, specific nerves of the blood vessels and head muscles are activated and send pain signals to the brain. A migraine begins when hyperactive nerve cells send out impulses to the blood vessels, causing constriction, followed by the expansion of these vessels and the release of serotonin and other inflammatory substances that are the source of the pain.
Because headaches are generated by the brain stem and surrounding areas, the Advanced Orthogonal procedure can effectively release the tension associated with compressed nerves that cause these different issues. Ultimately, this provides lasting headache relief to people who have sometimes dealt with painful headaches their whole lives. In fact, a 2011 study in the BMC Journal of Musculoskeletal Disorders found that significant improvements were found in headache patients who received specific realignment of the upper cervical structures. Patients with headaches of all varieties have found long lasting and consistent relief from Advanced Orthogonal care at the Pierce Clinic of Chiropractic.
Whiplash is described as an injury to the cervical spine resulted from a sudden acceleration and deceleration trauma, most common with rear end automobile collisions. As the car is suddenly struck from behind, the occupant’s body is jolted forward while the head stays in the same position. This causes a spontaneous backward strain on the curve in the neck which can damage ligaments that hold the bones in their natural alignment. At the peak of the whiplash injury a great load is placed on ligaments, discs, and joints of the neck. Even a 5 mph collision places 4.5 times the force of gravity on the neck and skull.
Some people may not have immediate symptoms and may not realized they are injured for weeks but, victims of whiplash type injuries often suffer chronic neck pain for years after their injury. It is also common for patients to develop pins and needles in the arms as well as headaches. In these kind of injuries the upper neck area is especially vulnerable to misalignment. After these various joint traumas occur, they begins to disrupt nerves function throughout the neck, upper back, as well as the shoulders, arms and hands. This can be a long term complication that slows patients healing and recovery.
The Doctors at Pierce Clinic of Chiropractic use a revolutionary healthcare procedure called the Advanced Orthogonal technique. This procedure is uniquely focused on identifying those serious, though sometimes subtle misalignment of the top vertebrae in the neck, and precisely corrects them precision percussion wave adjusting. Because of the traumatic nature of a whiplash injury, and the fact that it can do so much damage to the upper cervical area in particular, the gentle alignment is a perfect approach to dealing with the whiplash injured patient. This approach of our Doctors is renown in how it has been able to help so many patients with Whiplash injuries.
Ménière’s Disease and Vertigo
Ménière’s Disease is an inner ear problem that affects your hearing and balance. Research has found that the cause of Ménière’s Disease is directly related to a build up within the inner ear. Essentially, the passageways within the ear canal become blocked and fluid builds up behind these blockages. That said, the disease itself can develop very quickly and symptoms may present themselves rapidly. This can cause many issues such as loss of balance, falling, tinnitus (a low roaring, ringing, or hissing in your ear), hearing loss, vertigo (which is a temporary feeling that you or your surroundings are spinning), nausea and exhaustion. These symptoms can seem absolutely crippling at times, but are actually all related to the same specific problem. The common link among all of the symptoms of Ménière’s Disease (Tinnitus, loss of hearing, pressure in the ears, and Vertigo) is a structure in the ear called the Vestubulo-cochlear nerve. This nerve starts in the brainstem and is responsible for processing hearing and balance information. When the brainstem is disrupted due to upper cervical misalignments, this nerve has been found to be involved and can lead to any or all of the above symptoms.
Because of the common root cause, Ménière’s disease has been treated very effectively by the Advance Orthogonal approach through treating misalignments in the upper neck. Advanced Orthogonal care allows for the nerves to function better and heal. In fact, a 2008 study in the Journal of Vertebral Subluxation Research found that 100% of cases of Ménière’s disease showed symptomatic improvement or total resolution following a period of Upper Cervical chiropractic care.
Trigeminal Neuralgia is a condition that is generally characterized by intense, acute, intermittent and shooting pain in one side of the face and head. Trigeminal Neuralgia affects the trigeminal nerve which sends impulses of touch, pain, pressure, and temperature to the brain from the face, jaw, gums, forehead, and around the eyes. Because of this nerve’s broad innervation, malfunction of the TN can cause sudden, severe, electric shock-like, or stabbing pain that lasts several seconds. The pain can be felt on the face, around the lips, tongue, eyes, nose, scalp, and forehead. Symptoms can be brought on when a person is brushing the teeth, putting on makeup, touching the face, swallowing, or even feeling a slight breeze. The most frequent cause of Trigeminal Neuralgia is a blood vessel pressing on the nerve near the brain stem. Over time, changes in the blood vessels of the brain can result in blood vessels rubbing against the trigeminal nerve root. The constant rubbing with each heartbeat wears away the insulating membrane of the nerve, resulting in nerve irritation.
As the Trigeminal nerve exits the brainstem and the skull, it passes alongside the first bone in the neck (called the Atlas) on its way to the face. Because of its location, the Trigeminal nerve may lose function when there is a misalignment of the Upper Cervical spine, causing the acute suffering. A 2003 study in the journal Current Pain and Headache Reports discussed the relationships between the trigeminal nerve complex and the Upper Cervical spine, finding that dysfunction in the nerve complex itself can be contributed to compression within the upper cervical area of the spine. That said, relief of the nerves themselves through proper spinal alignment has shown a high level of success in helping to alleviate the Trigeminal Neuralgia condition.
Low Back Pain and Sciatica
Low back pain and sciatica are also some of the most common conditions we have great success with here at Pierce Clinic of Chiropractic. Extensive research tells us that 31 million Americans experience lower back pain at any given time. It accounts for the single largest cause of disability worldwide and affects nearly 80% of people at some point in their life time. The good news is, we know the cause.
Essentially, the vertebra in your spine are separated by discs which provide shock absorption and protection to your joints. Under certain situations these discs can become damaged and cause bulging in your lower back. When this happens, the bulge begins to press on the nerves as they exit the spine and the patient will often times experience nerve pain shooting into the buttocks and leg. This is called sciatica. If the pressure on the nerve persists for a long enough period of time, the patient can develop numbness, weakness in the leg and even muscle atrophy.
One of the reasons Pierce Clinic has such good results with low back conditions is that your low back muscles receive nerve energy from the brain. As the nerves exit the skull, they carry vital messages to the muscles of the low back to ensure proper and balanced function. Misalignments in the upper neck interfere with the communication to these nerves in the low back and can result in muscle imbalance producing twisting of the spine and pelvis. Over years of walking with a twisted pelvis, additional strain is placed on the low back joints causing pain, degeneration and weakening of the discs. This has proven to also be a cause of low back pain and sciatica for many of our patients. Through our corrective procedures, normal nerve function can be returned allowing the low back to unwind and begin healing. Because of these precise corrections, over the years we have been able to help thousands of people with low back pain and sciatica.
Concussions, also known as traumatic brain injury, are terrible injuries that are unfortunately becoming more common. When a person receives an acute blow to the skull, usually through a car accident or sports injury, the brain is spontaneously jarred inside the cranial vault. When this happens, it can strike against the wall of the skull and create direct damage to the brain tissue. This can include tearing of the stabilizing fibers between the brain and skull, bruising of the tissues, or tearing of arteries. What results can be widely diverse depending on which part of the brain was damaged. This can include issues such as prolonged dizziness, confusion, headaches, fuzzy vision, nausea, emotional disturbances, sleeping problems, and not being able to think clear.
Recent research is showing further involvement of the cervical spine in post concussive type injuries. Whenever a forceful trauma occurs to the head there is a associated misalignment in the upper neck. These misalignments can effect drainage of fluids out of the skull, blood flow into the brainstem, as well as cause direct pressure on nerves and other tissues. These issues are major contributors to the symptoms of concussions. Our Doctors here at the Pierce Clinic are experts at identifying these upper cervical misalignments and correcting them using the gentle, non-invasive Advanced Orthogonal technique.