The Brain stem is an extension of the brain itself that extends down into the upper neck area (upper cervical spine). The brain stem is susceptible to injury if the Atlas or Axis the top two bones in the spine are twisted or tilted as a result of traumatic accidents or injuries. Most of these injuries are to the head or neck. Examples would be car accidents, falls, diving accidents, surfing injuries, snowboarding falls, childhood falls from trees, off bikes, changing tables and more.
The common denominator is an injury that has torn loose the tissue that holds the spine in place in the upper neck which creates a weakness, which will allow the weight of the head (10-14 lbs) to become displaced from it's normal position. This misalignment of the head and neck relationship can be as little as 3/4 of degree and the brain will have to adapt to this new position. Our eyes and ears are created to be balanced. When the head is not balanced properly compensations will develop in order to rebalance the structure of the body and the eyes and ears through the righting reflex in the brain. Without this compensation we would just fall over when we stood up in a gravity environment.
The longer this compensation exists the more our body must adapt to this structural misalignment.
That depends on the person and the nerves that are effected.
For instance the brain stem through the Vagus nerves controls the digestive system. Dysfunction here can lead to conditions like Acid Reflux, constipation, Irritable Bowel Syndrome and colic in kids.
The Brain stem also has a major impact on the immune system, has nerve connections to the sinuses and the ears, eyes, nose and throat and lungs. This would explain the changes that we see with allergies, sinus problems, frequent colds and flu and breathing conditions like asthma.
And what about headaches?
Headaches can be caused by both the blood flow and nerve flow changes from the brain to the body and head and face when the brain stem function is altered.
So what can happen when the brain stem pressure is removed through the correction of an upper neck misalignment by a qualified upper cervical specialist?
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Dr. Dan Spinato of the San Diego Integrative Spine Center in San Diego, California is a Rancho Penasquitos Chiropractor and an Upper Cervical Specialist trained by the National Upper Cervical Chiropractic Association (NUCCA). Over the past 30 years, Dr. Spinato has helped many people find natural relief in San Diego, California. His upper cervical clinic also serves the communities of Rancho Penasquitos, Carmel Valley, Poway, Scripps Ranch and Rancho Bernardo.
He is uniquely trained to correct problems in the upper cervical spine (upper neck). This vital area is intimately connected to the central nervous system and problems in this area have been shown to be an underlying cause of a variety of different health problems, including migraine headaches, chronic neck and back pain, fibromyalgia, allergy and sinus problems and temporomandibular joint disorders. More information can be found here sdispinecenter.com
What is NUCCA
The National Upper Cervical Chiropractic Association (NUCCA) is an organization of Doctors of Chiropractic dedicated to patient care, education and research.
Spinal health care using the NUCCA procedures focuses on detecting and correcting a small misalignment in the upper neck area. Gentle, non-invasive adjustments don’t require any turning, twisting or popping.
Your upper cervical spine (neck) area influences all areas of your body. Injury or chronic misalignments can cause headaches, migraines, neck pain, low back pain, weakness and more.
The NUCCA technique is currently offered by less than 1% of all the Doctors of Chiropractic.
Before the NUCCA procedure can be performed, I will sit down with you and discuss your history and symptoms. If I determine that NUCCA can help, a thorough examination and x-rays will be done. A complete report of your findings and treatment options will be discussed.
Precision x-rays are taken of the spine before any treatment begins. The adjustment is performed with the patient lying on their side and the doctor applying a very light pressure behind the earlobe. A full demonstration can be seen on the video above.
The NUCCA procedure can be summed up with 5 major distinctions as compared to traditional Chiropractic:
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