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Neck Pain - Identifying the Underlying Issue

While neck pain may be no more than uncomfortable stiffness for one person, another may deal with disabling pain. In fact, more than 30% of people suffer from neck pain at some point during any given year. Unfortunately, even though it is one of the top five pain locations, neck pain doesn’t get as much recognition from the medical community as some of the other parts of the body.


Possible Causes of Chronic Neck Pain

Why is neck pain so commonplace? For many, the problem is related to work, and not just the type of work that a person does. Being unsatisfied with a job or hating the boss can be a literal pain in the neck. Stress leads to sleep problems and depression, both of which are connected to neck pain.


Another major factor when it comes to neck pain is posture. For some, technology is creating a habit of poor posture. Staring at a monitor all day at work or texting with the neck craned down on a regular basis can result in neck problems.


Sleep position may also be a factor. Sleeping on one’s stomach wreaks havoc on the neck. It is the equivalent of looking over your shoulder for eight hours straight.


At San Diego Integrative Spine Center, we focus on the C1 and C2 vertebrae which commonly come out of alignment when a person is stressed, has a habit of poor posture, or sleeps in the wrong position on a regular basis. For many, such a misalignment is the real underlying cause of the pain.


Once the misalignment is corrected, the tissues of the neck can begin to heal. When stress is reduced, posture is corrected, and sleep position is changed, these corrections can be long-lasting and provide ongoing relief. This is a safe and natural way to deal with neck pain without having to reach for a bottle of pain relievers.




To schedule a complimentary consultation with Dr. Spinato call (858) 484-0444 or just click the button below.


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Neck Pain and Gender Inequality

While times are rapidly changing, women still have to work just as hard if not harder in society. Scientific studies are starting to show that women are more likely to suffer from various health conditions than men.

A recent study shows that women are 1.38 times more likely to experience neck pain and spine problems.This evidence shows part of a pattern of increased prevalence of certain conditions in women. Women have migraines as much as 3 times more than men and are 3-6 times more likely to have multiple sclerosis.

Neck pain is often viewed as a relatively minor condition yet can be quite debilitating. The classic signs of neck pain include difficulty in turning the head and neck, and may include numbness and tingling in more severe cases. The causes of neck pain typically occur as a result of significant trauma or repetitive micro-traumas that are not properly addressed.

Whether you are a woman or a man, neck pain is not something you should cope with. As a neck pain specialist, it is all too common that many folks have tried just about everything before walking into my office. I am an upper cervical chiropractor which means that I focus on the first bone in the neck known as the atlas bone. The importance of the first bone in the neck is that the rest of the neck follows the first bone. After a trauma, the atlas is the most prone to become misaligned.

By performing a thorough examination and detailed x-rays, the precise degree of misalignment is located. Each individual then receives an adjustment that is unique to that person. Once the atlas bone is in its proper alignment the other bones in the neck will begin to return to the normal position.


1. National Pain report. Women Experience More Neck Pain than Men. (accessed 18 March 2016).

To schedule a complimentary consultation with Dr. Spinato call (858) 484-0444 or just click the button below.


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How to Treat Neck Pain Naturally

There is no denying neck pain. It makes even the simplest of tasks difficult from moving your head to backing the car out of the driveway, or even breathing. According to the National Centers for Health Statistics, 15% of Americans experience neck pain at some point. Some people even suffer from chronic neck pain which has been going on for several years.

Neck pain is so common, and we have all had it at some point, so there has to be a quick fix for it right? Unfortunately, there isn’t. The neck is a very complicated region of the body composed of muscles, bones, nerves, arteries/veins, and much more, so it must be treated carefully. Conventional treatments include physical therapy, massage, and pain medications; but most people are looking for natural options in this day and age.

Natural remedies are growing in popularity, and many people swear by them. Here is a short list of a few options that can be done right at home to alleviate some of that pain.

  • Arnica: This flower is a natural pain reliever and can be bought in oil and cream form.
  • Ginger: Ginger is known for its anti-inflammatory properties and can be consumed as the root, juice, or extract.
  • Menthol and Camphor: You can apply these directly to the area in pain, and it can increase the circulation to the area which helps in reducing pain and swelling.
  • Lavender: Lavender has been used for centuries for its medicinal qualities and helps in pain reduction.

To learn more about the connection between head and neck injuries and chronic neck pain download our complimentary e-book by clicking the image below:


These natural approaches to treating neck pain may help the effects, but it will not correct the underlying cause. Neck Pain specialist Dr. Dan Spinato helps provide relief to patients by finding the root problem. Dr. Spinato is an upper cervical chiropractor specializing in the spine and nervous system by focusing on the atlas vertebra. This bone is at the top of the neck and under the skull and is crucial to maintaining the health of the neck. When the Atlas becomes misaligned from its normal position it affects the entire spine, causes muscles to become tighter, and pain is a result.

By using an exacting technique and process of correcting the atlas bone, Dr. Spinato is able to correct the root cause of neck pain and get people back to enjoying life.

To schedule a complimentary consultation with Dr. Spinato call (858) 484-0444 or just click the button below.


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All About Whiplash in Rancho Penasquitos

Whiplash What Is It?

Whiplash occurs when the muscles in the neck are over-extended due to a forceful back and forth motion. It can be caused by such things as car accidents, amusement park rides, and sports injuries. When the ligaments, bones, and muscles that make up the neck are stretched beyond normal limits, you begin to feel the effects of whiplash. This can cause serious pain and constant discomfort, even though it is described as a minor injury.

What are the symptoms?

  • The neck may be stiff and painful to move
  • The neck may not be able to move to the full degree
  • Arm and shoulder pain
  • Repeated headaches
  • Extreme tiredness
  • Problems with memory and concentration
  • Feeling dizzy
  • Changes in vision

Should I Get Treated?

Some people do not. Instead, they try home remedies, such as rest and over-the-counter pain medications. These may give short-term relief from the pain of whiplash. However, whiplash will not get better until the underlying problem is treated. This has to do with the spine and the bones in the neck. It is very likely that the injury that was sustained caused certain misalignments of the vertebrae in the upper neck area. This can be the cause of the pain you still feel long after the accident occurred.

A good place to begin addressing your symptoms is to see an upper cervical chiropractor, such as Dr. Dan Spinato of Rancho Penasquitos, California. Dr. Spinato can examine your neck for these misalignments. Then he can create a detailed treatment plan. His adjustments are gentle and effective. When your spine is back to normal alignment, the blood flow and the soft tissues are restored and can begin to heal. Many whiplash patients are able to find the needed relief they seek without the use of medications. Why not see if you can find benefit in Dr. Spinato's treatments by making an appointment for your assessment with him.


To schedule a complimentary consultation with Dr. Spinato call (858) 484-0444 or just click the button below.


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Reasons for Back and Neck Pain in San Diego

Suffering Beyond Knots

That pain in your back or neck didn't just happen. There is a reason for it. And if there is a reason for it, there is something you can do about it.

Though, before we talk about what you can do to alleviate that pain in your back or neck, let's explore some of those things that may be the cause of your suffering. We hope it's just a knot, but it may be something more. Here are some of those more common causes. 

Causes of Back and Neck Pain

  • Herniated Disc – (Slipped Disc) A soft, gel like substance between your vertebra called a disc keeps your vertebra from grinding against each another. You feel the pain when a disc slips out of position and the vertebra grind against each other.
  • Cervical Osteoarthritis – (Cervical Spondylosis) This is also the cause of Arthritis in the neck and occurs due to the degeneration of the facet joints in the cervical spine.
  • Degenerative Disc Disease – Once a disc sustains an injury, because there is no blood flow to it, it takes longer to heal than other tissue. This disease occurs when the disc does not heal, and it is often the result of a low energy injury to a disc. 
  • Whiplash – It is not that difficult to strain the muscles in your neck, and that occurs when your neck is extended too far in any direction.

Realigning Your Spine

Now, these are just some of the conditions that may be the underlying cause of your neck or back pain. There is a chance that pain may subside with some ice, but there is a chance it may not. Even if it does, there is a chance it could come back at a later time in a more severe way.

Of course, whether your back or neck pain is due to one of the reasons above, another disease or condition, or just sleeping on it wrong, it's always a good idea to have an upper cervical chiropractor examine your upper neck vertebrae for any misalignments.

 Due to the position of the upper neck vertebrae, a misalignment of only ¼ of a millimeter can hinder communication between the brain and the body. That can cause all sorts of complications that can manifest itself as back pain, neck pain, or worse.


To schedule a complimentary consultation with Dr. Spinato call (858) 484-0444 or just click the button below.


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Text Neck: As Technology Moves Forward Health Takes a Step Back

A new phenomenon is affecting people all over the country and world, Text Neck. The news and media has recently highlighted this condition and bringing it to the attention of the mainstream public. Text Neck refers to the loss of the normal cervical curve in the neck which happens from the constant act of looking down to text or use smart phones or tablets. As more and more people are entrenched in their phones for every action this is becoming a real problem in society. Perhaps the biggest concern is that this is happening to younger and younger people.

It is difficult to properly discern between all the sources of possible text neck and being able to address the appropriate issue. The head weighs on average anywhere from 10-12 pounds and depends on all the parts for the neck for proper stabilization. The bones in the neck need to be in the proper position structurally which also affects the nerves controlling the neck muscles to properly balance and move the head.

When staring down at a device for several hours daily, this can affect the proper position of the neck. A head that is out of position can cause neck pain based on structure alone, compiled with the affects on the nervous system it is a perfect storm. The single most important part of the neck that should be examined in any Text Neck sufferer is the Atlas (C1) vertebra in the upper neck known as the upper cervical spine.

Natural relief to Text Neck is something that specialist, Dr Dan Spinato, is helping people in San Diego achieve. As an Upper Cervical Chiropractor, Dr Spinato specializes in finding the root cause of Text Neck and correcting the cause by customizing Upper Cervical Chiropractic Adjustment to the Atlas bone. Using Upper Cervical Chiropractic Care, neck pain has been scientifically proven through clinical trials to improve in as little as one precise adjustment.2 Once the proper position of the Atlas is restored the body can begin the healing process for proper realignment of the neck.


To schedule a complimentary consultation with Dr. Spinato call (858) 484-0444 or just click the button below.


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Common Reason for Lingering Neck Pain

When Central Sensitization Occurs:

When the body feels it is being threatened, it reacts by protecting itself. Sometimes, it goes a little too far and protects itself by going through a process called Central Sensitization. This is the body's way of overreacting to nerve damage or even to the threat of nerve damage.

Basically, the body becomes hypersensitive to tissue damage or the threat of tissue damage. This hypersensitivity is a reaction to the environment and manifests itself as certain conditions including the following.

Central Sensitization Induced Pain

  • Neuropathic Pain – This is chronic pain that is usually caused by nerve damage. There may also be damage, dysfunction, or injury to the nerve fibers. The nerve fibers then send incorrect signals to other pain centers causing a change in the location of the injury and around the area of the injury.
  • Inflammatory Pain – Inflammation occurs when the body's white blood cells and the substances produced by those white blood cells protect the body from infection that might be caused by a bacteria or virus.
  • Migraines – Current theories say the altering of sensory input in the brain causes migraine headaches. In other words, there's an intracranial hypersensitivity that manifests itself as these debilitating headaches.
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome – Recent studies suggest there is reason to believe there are abnormalities in central nociceptive processing in patients with irritable bowel syndrome. This leads to visceral hypersensitivity or a decrease in the gut's pain thresholds.

Central Sensitization and Upper Cervical

In order to reduce and eliminate the body's overreaction to pain, it's important to address the underlying causes of that pain. The way to reduce that threat is to eliminate those things that could be causing that threat.

That means restoring the body's communication system, which has been altered and is causing a change in how the body responds to outside stimuli. This miscommunication within the body leads to a heightened sensation of pain and needs to be restored.

This alteration in communication frequently begins in the upper neck where the brain and spinal cord come together. Even small misalignments in this area can have dramatic effects on the way the brain and body is operating.

To schedule a complimentary consultation with Dr. Spinato call (858) 484-0444 or just click the button below.


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Neck Pain – A Miscommunication in the Brain

Communicating with the Body via the Brainstem

The body is an amazing machine that has the ability to heal itself, but that means the body also has the ability to be injured in such a way so as to need healing. It also means that if the body has the ability to heal itself, that ability can be hindered.

What hinders that ability? One of the functions of the brain is to communicate with the body via the brainstem's connection to the spinal cord. When the upper neck vertebrae, also called the upper cervical spine, is out of alignment by only ½ millimeter, that hinders the brain's ability to communicate with the body.

The brainstem serves various functions throughout the body, so hindering it's ability to communicate properly will lead to many adverse effects. We listed some of its functions and those adverse effects that may take place because of that miscommunication.


Functions of the Brainstem

  • Motor control
  • Fine touch
  • Vibration sensation 
  • Pain
  • Regulation of cardiac function
  • Regulation of respiratory function
  • Regulation of the central nervous system
  • Consciousness
  • Sleep Cycles
  • Heart rate
  • Breathing
  • Eating
  • Sleeping

Upper Cervical and the Source of Your Pain

As you can see the brainstem plays no small role in how the body functions, and a misalignment in the upper neck vertebrae can lead to various types of conditions and diseases that can hinder a person's ability to live their day to day life free of pain and dysfunction.

If you are experiencing pain in your neck or other symptoms it is important that you have a thorough evaluation of your upper neck by an upper cervical specialist. It will be able to determine if you have an undetected brainstem injury that may be leading to your problem.


To schedule a complimentary consultation with Dr. Spinato call (858) 484-0444 or just click the button below.


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