Good Posture and the Health of Your Neck

Paying Attention to Posture

Most people don't pay attention to their posture, especially when they're sitting, but good posture is important to the functioning of a person's lungs. If a person sits or stands with poor posture, it will hinder their ability to expand properly and can lead to all sorts of health complications.

What's worse than poor posture is being so used to is that it begins to feel normal and your ignore the warning signs. This can cause your habits of sitting or standing with poor posture to regress into a cycle that causes muscle tension that leads to increased slouching and slumping. And when poor posture becomes normal, it becomes even harder to correct.

Computer Jobs and Posture

Of course, those people who are at the highest risk of suffering from various health related issues because of poor posture are those who sit in front of a computer all day. Those people take the chances of suffering from musculoskeletal disorders in their neck and shoulders, as well as various other health related conditions.

For those people with jobs that require them to sit at a desk in front of a computer all day, it is important that they pay attention to their posture. Neglecting their spine can lead to the deformation of their cervical and thoracic spine, which are the upper and mid parts of their spine.

Another common cause of neck pain is sitting or standing with forward head and shoulder posture. This is sitting or standing with the neck slanted forward, which causes the head to be in front of the shoulders. The problem with that is that the head is designed to sit on top of the head evenly. Sitting or standing in this position can decrease the shoulder blades' stability, alter the upper extremities mobility, increase the curvature of the lumbar spine, cause the hips and stomach to tilt forward, and more.

Improving Posture

Now that you know how important your posture is to the health of your neck, we're sure you want to do whatever you can to ensure you maintain good posture. Your spine isn't designed to sustain heavy weight for long periods of time, so putting undue stress on it will only lead to neck pain later on.

Though, you can avoid the chances of neck pain by using ergonomic office chairs, lumbar support, and any other safety equipment available to you. You will also want to stand up and walk around every 15 minutes or so, as well as you will want to stretch.

Though, the most important thing you can do for the health of your neck is to seek out the care of an upper cervical chiropractor. They will examine your upper cervical spine, which are the top two vertebrae in your spine, for any misalignments that may be the underlying cause of your neck pain and many other conditions you might suffer from.

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


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No More Advil! 92% of Headache Sufferers Find Help with Upper Cervical!

Is That Advil Really Helping You?

While there are many different causes of headaches, there has never been a documented case where the underlying cause was Advil deficiency! Advil, aspirin, Tylenol and others are only masking your symptoms while the underlying cause continues to worsen. While we have seen amazing results in our own patients. There is also a growing body of research that shows that upper cervical specific chiropractic is very effective at helping people with a variety of different headaches.

Reports documenting successful treatment of patients with headaches using upper cervical chiropractic care are many. Including seeing positive results where the headaches were improved or eliminated in approximately 1000 headache patients from the Palmer research clinic.

Other Studies…

“Based on Literature Review of Several Headache Treatment Options, a Panel of 19 Multidisciplinary Experts Concluded That Spinal adjustments resulted in almost immediate improvement for cervicogenic headaches and had significantly fewer side effects and longer lasting relief of tension type headache than a commonly prescribed medication.” [McCrory DC, et al. “Evidence Report: Behavioral and Physical Treatments for Tension type and Cervicogenic Headache.” Duke University Evidence-Based Practice Center, Durham, North Carolina, January 2001.]

1296 Less Headaches!!

In another study by Dr. Erin Elster, 101 chronic headache cases were examined. The 30 days prior to starting care in Dr. Elster’s office, the 101 patients had a total of 1407 headaches! Or, approximately 14 headaches per month per person. All 101 patients began upper cervical chiropractic care. The 30 days following the conclusion of their upper cervical chiropractic care program, the 101 patients had a total of 111 headaches (or approximately one headache per patient per month on average).

That is a 92% reduction in headache frequency! Upper Cervical Chiropractic Care is extremely effective in correcting the underlying cause of a variety of different headaches.

Who do you know that is struggling with chronic headaches?



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Quick Migraine Relief is Possible with Advanced Procedure

Quick Migraine Relief

When you suffer from the extreme pain and other effects caused by migraine headaches, you long for quick relief. Unfortunately, most treatments provided by conventional medicine are slow to mitigate symptoms or fail to do so all together. There is an alternative, however, and that is upper cervical chiropractic care. Read on to learn how upper cervical chiropractic care can provide quick migraine relief.

The fact is that many people never have a migraine until they suffer some form of head or neck trauma. Then, suddenly, they start to suffer from these debilitating neurological experiences. This is due to the fact that a serious head or neck trauma can throw the top two vertebrae in your neck out of alignment. When a bone is out of alignment, it can pinch nerves and wreak all sorts of havoc on the body. Imagine what it can do when that bone is positioned at the brain stem like the C1 and C2 vertebrae are.

Car accidents, sports injuries, and even injuries caused at birth can be the source of a C1 or C2 misalignment. Upper cervical chiropractic can fix this misalignment and provide quick relief for injury related migraines. Even if the injury isn't the cause of the migraine, upper cervical chiropractic can help your central nervous system to operate at a better capacity, so that your body can work to heal itself to the best of its ability. Upper cervical chiropractic may even be a permanent solution to your migraine problem.

Research with upright MRIs has shown that when a misalignment occurs in the upper neck. Blood and cerebrospinal fluid flow is changed, which can result in migraine headaches. Correcting this upper neck misalignments has been shown to change the flow of fluid to, from and through the brain, resulting in improved brain health and reduced or eliminated migraine symptoms.

What to Do Next

If you are interested in seeing if your migraines are a result of a misalignment in your upper neck. Find an upper cervical chiropractor in your area.

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


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A 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 neck 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. 

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.

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San Diego Integrative Spine Center
9320 Carmel Mt. Rd, Suite B - San Diego, CA 92129 Driving Directions
P: 858.484.0444 / F: 858.484.0552
We are located in the Carmel Valley area near Carmel Mountain Ranch.

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Migraines, Seizures, and Walking Problems Could They Be Related?

Migraines and Seizures

When the upper neck is misaligned it affects the way the brain is working. These brain changes can mimic a variety of different conditions.

Recently the Journal of Upper Cervical Chiropractic Research had a very interesting case study that discussed the impact of an upper neck misalignment on the brain.

After seeing a series of medical doctors, cardiologists and neurologists a 75-year-old woman finally found a neurologist who was familiar with upper cervical chiropractic. The neurologist determined that she had an upper cervical misalignment which he thought was causing an exacerbation of symptoms related to an old concussion.

According to the neurologist she had a history of concussion 10 years prior. Although her current episode was worse than ever before, the patient reported similar episodes in the past dating back to the concussion. The nature of the injury was a fall resulting in the impact of the back of her head with the floor. She was unable to talk immediately following the fall and was taken to the hospital. She reported receiving a CAT scan and MRI along with many neurological examinations over the next 3 months and then was released.

Her current symptoms were as follows:

  • gait ataxia (unsteady and uncoordinated movement)
  • strabismus (laziness) in the left eye
  • activity or posture induced seizures
  • low energy levels
  • migraine headaches

Exhaustion or bending forward brought on her seizures. When the seizures occurred, she felt a hot sensation in her upper chest, lost the ability to speak, and developed a painful migraine of the common type (no aura).

A Thorough Upper Neck Evaluation

After a postural and x-ray evaluation, it was determined that her atlas was out of alignment. After her initial adjustment her walking had improved as well as her neck range of motion - specifically rotation, which had been severely decreased "for years." The patient reported an increase in energy.

The patient's care was continued. During each visit, she was checked to make sure the adjustment was holding through subjective evaluation, scanning palpation, and supine leg check. Further visits saw improvement in her walking including the ability to walk heel-to-toe. Her balance improved to where she could stand on one foot. She noticed a general improvement in her vision - specifically clarity, brightness, and color perception are her lazy eye diminished and then finally went away. Finally, it should be noted that she had not had a seizure with the accompanying migraine since beginning care.

The authors suggest a change in blood flow to the brain a likely cause of the patient symptoms.

Do you have a collection of strange neurological symptoms? Do you have a history of head or neck trauma or concussion?

Then an upper cervical evaluation could be your answer.

References: Source: 
Seizure, Ataxia, Fatigue, Strabismus and Migraine Resolved by Precise Realignment of the First Cervical Vertebra: A Case Report Roy Sweat DC, BCAO & Tyson Pottenger DC Journal of upper cervical chiropractic research March 12, 2012


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Everyday Triggers of Migraine Headaches

Migraine Statistics

Did you know 5% of all people have had a migraine by the age of 15? With age, that percentage increases, leading to an estimate by the National Headache Foundation that 28 million people in the U.S. experience migraines.

No one is quite sure what causes migraines, but it seems they are often triggered by external factors. Knowing these factors can help individuals take steps to reduce the onset of these debilitating headaches, so they can live more pain free lives.

Migraines Headache Triggers

Food Allergies – Often it is not the food itself that triggers them, rather it is a chemical or preservative in the food or beverage that causes them. Some common culprits include: aged cheese, alcohol, pepperoni, hot dogs, lunch meat, and MSG. Up to 30% of migraine sufferers may experience these debilitating headaches because of a food or beverage related additive or preservative.

Emotional Stress – Our bodies are equipped with self-defense systems, which often go into defense mode when external factors try to invade our bodies. When a person experiences stress, certain chemicals are released into the brain. The release of these chemicals can cause vascular changes, which can lead to migraines.

Caffeine – This can occur in people because they either consume too much caffeine, but it often occurs in people who do not get enough caffeine. The blood vessels of a person who is addicted to caffeine develop a sensitivity to a certain amount of caffeine. They become dependent on receiving the proper amount of caffeine.

Migraines and Upper Cervical Care

If you suffer from migraine headaches, you can take steps to alleviate them. Though, the proper care from an upper cervical chiropractor can determine the cause of your headaches and make sure you receive the proper care. Changing your diet or avoiding situations that may trigger these headaches may mean changing your lifestyle, but a NUCCA specialist can make adjustments to your upper cervical spine so your brain and body communicate better.

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


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Whiplash: when, why and what’s next.

You may have just been in a major auto accident and now have pain and symptoms diagnosed as whiplash. Whiplash is most commonly caused by rear end collisions which account for 15% of auto accidents in America. Recent studies are showing that whiplash can happen in even the smallest of fender benders at speeds as low as 5 miles per hour.1-4

What it is:

Whiplash is the result of the head being forced backwards suddenly and then all the way forward as a reflex as the head comes to a stop. This motion is like that of cracking a whip, hence the name. When the head goes forward it causes damage to the muscles, ligaments, and vertebral discs in the neck.

  • This can cause pain and disrupt the proper position of the bones in the neck.
  • 84% of people have reported pain after a rear end accident.
  • Seatbelts increase the chance of whiplash by 20%.
  • 25% of people have chronic whiplash symptoms for 5 years.
  • 86% continue to have conditions for 10.8 years.
  • 68% of people have damage and degeneration to the neck/cervical spine.

What to do:

The Journal of Orthopaedic Medicine has stated: “The Chiropractic Answer to Whiplash Chiropractic may offer the best opportunity for relief from the pain of whiplash”. In a study they conducted of 93 patients with varying symptoms, 83% improved under chiropractic care and 31% had complete resolution of symptoms.

In another study of 57 patients showed an average recovery time of 29 weeks under Chiropractic care. These patients all had whiplash and were only examined for the presence of misalignments/Vertebral Subluxation in the spine, and most importantly the upper neck. Not only was there relief of pain but also, improved range of motion, muscle strength, and alignment of the neck demonstrated by x-rays. The most important part of this study showed that patients who stayed under care for longer periods of time and received fewer chiropractic adjustments continuously improved to the point of maximum benefit.


1. Severy DM, Mathewson JH, Bechtol CO. Controlled automobile rear-end collisions: an investigation of related engineering and mechanical phenomenon. Can Services Med J 11:727-758, 1955.

2. McConnell WE, Howard RP, Guzman HM, et al. Analysis of human test subject kinematic responses to low-velocity rear-end impacts. SAE Tech Paper Series 930889, 21-31, 1993.

3. McConnell WE, Howard RP, Poppel JV, et al. Human head and neck Kinematic after low-velocity rear-end impacts: understanding "whiplash." 39th Stapp Car Crash Conference Proceedings 952724, 215-238, 1995.

4. Szabo TJ, Welcher JB, Anderson RD, et al. Human occupant kinematic response to low-speed rear-end impacts. SAE Tech Paper Series 940532, 23-35m 1994.

5. Deans GT,Magalliard JN,Malcolm K,Rutherford WH.Neck sprain-a major cause of disability following car accidents.Injury 1987;18:10-12.

6. Deans GT,Magalliard JN,Rutherford WH.Incidence and duration of neck pain among patients injured in car accidents. British Medial Jouranal 1986;292:94-95.

7. Watkinson A, Gargan MF, Bannister GC. Prognostic factors in soft tissue injuries of the cervical spine.Injury 1991;22(4):307-309.

8. Khan S, Cook J, Gargan M, Bannister G. Symptomatic classification of whiplash injury and the implications for treatment. J Of Orthopedic Medicine 1999;21(1):22-24.

9. McCoy HG, McCoy M. A multiple parameter assessment of whiplash injury patients undergoing subluxation based chiropractic care: a retrospective study. JVSR. 1997;1(3):51-61.


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Understanding Vertigo and it Causes

Vertigo is one of those conditions you can't ignore. It may only last for a few moments or it might be recurring condition. So, what is it? It is the sensation that a room is spinning even when there is no movement. This happens due to a dysfunction in the Vestibular system, which is part of the inner ear, and allows us to maintain our balance and recognize spatial orientation. Now that you know what it is, it is important to know what causes it.

Vertigo Inducing Conditions

Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo – This is the most common cause of Vertigo and is a sudden spinning sensation. It can be triggered by sudden movements of the head and neck. It can be the result of a fall, car accident, other collision, or just standing up too quickly.

Meniere's Disease – This is a disorder of the inner ear that leads to hearing loss, Tinnitus, sometimes causes pressure in one of your ears, and can occur at any age but most often occurs in people in their 40's or 50's.

Vestibular Neuronitis – This is an inflammation of the inner ear, or the Vestibular Nerve, that causes this nerve to send incorrect signals to the brain that the body is moving. It may also lead to hearing loss or a ringing in your ear, and can be triggered by something as common as a cold or a flu.

Labrynthitis – This is an irritation and swelling of the inner ear and can lead to hearing loss. It is usually caused by a virus or bacteria that can be triggered by a cold, flu allergies, respiratory infection, and various other conditions.

When people think of Vertigo, they may think of a chronic condition that only effects a small percentage of people. The truth is it can affect anyone at any age. Sometimes it only comes because of standing up to quickly or because of a collision and only lasts for a few minutes or hours. But for some people it can become a chronic condition caused by one of the above conditions due to an upper cervical injury. For those who suffer from recurring and often more intense episodes, it is important for them not to accept it as part of their lives but to seek proper Upper Cervical care.

To schedule your NUCCA evaluation, click here.

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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 on his website at

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NUCCA Chiropractic Care

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. 

First adjustment
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:

  • Gentle adjustment to the neck with no turning, twisting or popping.
  • Precision x-rays to measure before and after corrections.
  • Total body posture and balance improvement
  • Greater stability to the spine
  • Hold adjustments longer with fewer visits

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