Sunday, August 8, 2010

Headaches and the upper cervical spine

People experience physical stress to their bodies every day.  Some of these stresses are small and seemingly insignficant like the force your body absorbs as you drive on a rough road.  Some hurt and are potentially signficant, like falling off a playground set.  How many times did you do that in your life?  Others, like car accidents, are obviously significant... the question is what to do?  

The human body can absorb a certain amount of physical stress but when the stress is too great, just like with a broken bone, the stress becomes a trauma and the body becomes injured.  Some injuries are obvious and the treatment is clear.  What happens when the injury isn't apparent to the person and when the body can't comfortably compensate any further? 

This is the story of a woman that came to our office with no apparent reason for experiencing pain.  Yet, on a daily basis she did, she suffered and didn't know what to do until a friend told her to come and see us.  When I examined her it was apparent that her upper neck had been exposed to trauma.  This was evident in the tenderness and tension in the tissues, her postural challenges and her x-rays.   She chose to begin care..... thank goodness!

A 45 year-old woman came to our office hoping to find relief from headaches that she had been experiencing twice a week for the past few years. Her headaches had become more frequent recently, and she rated the intensity of her pain at an 8/10, with a 10/10 being the worst pain she could imagine. Her headaches would begin in the afternoon and were usually gone the next day but activity would make them worse. At the end of her initial 8-week period of care she told us that she had not experienced a single headache since her first NUCCA upper cervical adjustment. One year following her first adjustment it was reported that the headaches were still 90% better.

This is a story that is repeated these days in our office about a hundred times a year.  People don't need to suffer they just don't know what to do or who to turn to for help.  People come to us for all sorts of different headaches.  The thing they have in common is that they have experienced a trauma to their upper neck and they may not even have known it.  When people come to us talking about suffering from global, sinus, tension, jaw, eye, temporal, base of skull, side of head, top of head and pressure headaches we do our best to help. 

There is hope and a few years ago I decided to look back over my practice and audit files.  When we did this we found that 166 people with these kinds of headaches completed the initial 6-8 weeks of care in our office between February 2002 and August 2004.

Of these 166 patients, 105 (63%) reported a 70-100% decrease in discomfort, and only 18 (11%) reported no change in their complaint within 8 weeks of their first upper cervical adjustment (14 people (8%) had a 10-40%% improvement and 29 people (17%) had a 70-100% improvement).

These statistics are tremendous!  The upper cervical spine needs to be addressed as a first step in the health care relating to those suffering from headaches.   Check out the 'Patient Experiences' tab on to see more of these kinds of statistics for issues from lower back pain to ear ringing to digestive challenges.  The results are astounding and many of those people suffering right now don't need to....

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