UPPER CERVICAL AND CRANIAL ADJUSTMENT
We all know that the brain directs the nervous system. In turn, the nervous system is the master controller for the entire body – not only muscles and ligaments, but also for the functions of the heart, lungs, liver, bladder, etc.The brain receives signals from all parts of the body. Information routinely collected by the nerves is carried back to the brain. After the brain interprets and processes this information and determines the state of the body, the brain then will communicate with different parts of the body, directing changes or adjustments to meet its own needs or respond environmental changes.The atlas (C1) vertebra is the first vertebra in the spinal column, and is located where the nerves ascend and descend to and from the brain. When the Atlas is displaced into an abnormal position, or the weight of the head shifts out of center alignment, all of the spinal nerves and some of the cranial nerves will be stretched at tension different from what is normal. The blood flow carrying the brain's oxygen and nutrition also passes through these areas to the brain. Misalignment of the base of the skull and upper cervical area will interfere with nerve signals, plus the twisting, stretching, and compressing on the artery to the brain will interfere with the free flow of blood to the brain. The brain's optimum function, as well as the communication between the brain and the body, is distorted and disrupted. A symptom of misalignment of the upper cervical vertebrae is imbalance and alteration of posture. The stretched nerves over-innervate (overload) the nerve pathways and cause the large anti-gravity extension muscles to contract, a type of spasticity. The spine, shoulder, and pelvis will twist from the normal position. One leg may become shorter than the other.
Our skull has eight cranial bones, connected by the cranial sutures, which are characterized by lines that you can see on the skull. Cranial sutures are actually joints, and these joints allow the cranial bones to have micro movement. In 1970s, development of an X-ray technique called cinemaroentyenography which provided a first time view of the movement of cranial bones in living subjects.
The right movement of cranial bones is critical to proper brain function. The movement allows the brain to expand and contract as necessary, to “pump” the cerebral-spinal fluid, and to maintain stable intra-cranial pressure. Cranial faults can not only disrupt normal brain function, but also affect the nervous system of entire body. Without proper movement, sinus problems, visual disturbances, headaches, and recurrent spinal problems may occur, and some complicated neurological conditions also may be related to improper movement.
Why are the Upper Cervical Vertebrae so easily put out of Alignment?
The weight of the head rest upon the atlas vertebra. The atlas (C1) and axis (C2) vertebrae are designed to allow the flexibility and rotation of head and neck. Because of their great mobility, strength and stability are sacrificed.
How can the Cranial Bone Alignment be disturbed?
- Birth trauma, sports injuries, auto accident
- Differing tension of the fascia and muscles attached to the skull
- Sinus, ear, and other infections
- Allergy and toxicity can change the flow of cerebral-spinal fluid, which also can change intracranial pressure
How is Diagnosis and Analysis Done?
- X-rays will be used to measure precisely misalignment of the atlas vertebra (C1) in relation to the skull and axis vertebra (C2).
- Palpation of the skull and neck to feel for any abnormal change. The skull’s micromovement and upper cervical misalignment can be felt by an examiner who has received special training. An experienced doctor is essential.
- The Muscle Response Test is a special kinesiology technique used by a chiropractor doctor. By comparing the strength or weakness of the muscle after challenging certain parts of the spine, the doctor can know whether or not this part of the spine is out of alignment, and in which direction the correction should be made if needed to explain further: 80% of the liquid is water, which is composed of hydrogen (H) and oxygen (O), molecular formula H2O.
Making an Adjustment
The adjustment is very easy. There is no crack, no pop, nor twisting of your neck or head. You might feel gentle vibration to the C1 and C2, and a gentle touch and lifting on the scalp or neck tissue from the doctor’s fingers, as you breathe naturally in and out.
Symptoms are not always the most accurate indicator of a patient’s health. After the adjustment, some patients may feel improvement; some may not feel better immediately. Because nerves heal at the rate of approximately 1/8 inch per month, most patients will notice a change in their symptoms within 2-3 weeks after the first adjustment. Some patients may experience some soreness or discomfort in the head and neck region as the cranial bones, vertebrae, ligaments, and muscles assume their new positions. Some patients may feel new and different sensations in other parts of the body.
Three Phases of Treatment:
Your Participation as a Patient Committed to Maintaining Optimum Health
The First Phase is Intensive Care
Intensive care focuses on alleviating the symptoms, such as pain and inflammation. In this phase, the doctor is working on your comfort level. Treatment decisions in the first phase are based on how to relieve your pain or other physical distress. Although your distorted posture may be creating a tension imbalance, and even if that is the cause or root of your problem, it is not considered the priority in this first phase.
The Second Phase is Corrective Care
After you feel better and your range of motion is improved, the second phase will begin. The goal is to restore any misaligned vertebrae to normal position. Posture imbalances will be corrected. The line of your center of gravity will be realigned, causing the stress on the discs between the vertebrae to be lessened or removed. The scar tissue will soften; some soft tissue will be repaired by the body. The tensions of muscle ligaments will be better balanced. Because they feel better after the first phase and are not aware of the importance and the added benefits from corrective care, many patients stop treatment too soon, even before this phase begins.
The Third Phase is Maintenance Care
Maintaining optimum function is always easier than relapsing and re-fixing. To avoid costly repairs, we do preventative maintenance on our cars by changing the oil every three months. In a similar way, your body cannot run forever without breaking down. Maintaining good health is a choice you can make, but it requires effort and investment from you – for you – of time, money, spirit, and energy. The choice for a healthier life is yours...