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Upper Cervical Chiropractors Offer New Hope to Pain Sufferers
After enduring car accidents when she was a young woman – none of which were her fault – Mary Steinhoff was left with chronic, debilitating pain that lasted for 29 years. “I was in constant pain, from head to toe,” the 56-year-old from Morrisville, North Carolina said.
In fact, the pain was so bad that she couldn’t raise her right arm or lie flat. As a result, she battled insomnia and fatigue, sleeping just 2 to 3 hours every night for years. It was also challenging to drive and impossible to concentrate or read a book. “It can be an excruciating journey physically, emotionally and spiritually,” she said.
It wasn’t until 2002 that she was finally diagnosed with fibromyalgia, but she continued to live in pain as she tried virtually every treatment available: physical therapy, massage, aqua therapy, acupressure, medication, yoga, psychotherapy, and prayer. She even bought a new mattress, tried a gluten-free diet, and stopped eating sugar – nothing helped. “I was desperate to fix this,” she said.
Although chiropractic treatment helped a bit, it wasn’t until she met Dr. Ray Drury, an upper cervical chiropractic doctor in Charlotte, North Carolina that she finally found some relief. Upper cervical chiropractors specialize in correcting a small misalignment of the upper neck known as the Atlas Subluxation Complex, according to the National Upper Cervical Chiropractic Association.
Drury discovered that Steinhoff’s atlas, or C1 vertebra, was tipped 4 degrees forward, which meant that her neck was flat. Since it didn’t have a natural curvature, it was impossible for her to lay flat. He also discovered that her upper cervical spine was not only turned to the right, which caused her spine to turn left, but it was also severely twisted.
After her first upper cervical adjustment, Mary returned home, took a shower, and started sobbing. When her husband walked in, alarmed, she rejoiced, “It doesn’t hurt to wash my hair!” “It was startling to say the least,” she recalled.
What is Upper Cervical Chiropractic?
The first spinal adjustment ever performed was on the upper cervical spine in 1895 by Dr. D.D. Palmer, who restored a deaf man’s hearing. Although the practice faded out over time, it has seen a resurgence and is the fastest growing area in chiropractic. The concept of upper cervical chiropractic has to do with the brainstem, which comes out of the head through the top two bones of the neck, known as the atlas (C1) and axis (C2). The brainstem works like a switchboard operator, controlling all of the messages between the brain and the body.
Using gentle adjustments to the upper cervical spine, the treatment can help people with things like ear and sinus infections, migraines, chronic fatigue syndrome, diabetes, sleeping disorders and digestive problems, multiple sclerosis, fibromyalgia, immune disorders, trigeminal neuralgia, and seizures.
In fact, a study conducted in Italy found that upper cervical chiropractic adjustments on patients with chronic venous cerebral-spinal insufficiency and multiple sclerosis had improved function in multiple areas of the body after just 6 weeks. Instead of treating the symptoms as Western medicine does, upper cervical chiropractic looks to identify and treat the root cause.
“We don’t treat conditions; we treat the body. When everything is balanced and nothing is interfered with, the body is a self-healing organism,” Drury said.
The number of adjustments needed and how often depend on the individual, the degree of misalignment and how long the individual has had the misalignment.
By Julie Revelant
Preliminary Results After Upper Cervical Chiropractic Care in Patients with Chronic Cerebrospinal Venous Insufficiency and Multiple Sclerosis
The aim of the study is to evaluate the clinical and x-ray results of the Upper Cervical Chiropractic care through the specific adjustments (corrections) of C1-C2 on patients with chronic venous cerebral-spinal insufficiency (CCSVI) and multiple sclerosis (MS).
We studied a sample of 77 patients before and after the upper cervical chiropractic care, and we analyzed: A) The change of the X-ray parameters; B) The clinical results using a new set of questions. The protocol of the C1- C2 upper cervical chiropractic treatment, specific for these patients, lasts four months. From a haemodynamic point of view, we divided the patients in 3 types: Type 1 – purely vascular with intravenous alterations; Type 2 – “mechanical” with external venous compressions; Type 3 – mixed.
We found an improvement in all kinds of subluxations after the treatment with respect to the pretreatment X-ray evaluation, with a significant statistical difference. The differences between the clinical symptoms before and after the specific treatment of C1-C2 are statistically significant with p<0.001 according to the CHI-Square test revised by Yates.
The preliminary x-ray and clinical improvements of the upper cervical chiropractic corrections on C1- C2 on these patients with CCSVI and MS encourage us to continue with our studies. We believe that the upper cervical correction on C1-C2 could be the main non-invasive treatment of the CCSVI mechanical type in patients with MS. Further studies are required to evaluate the correlation between the upper cervical chiropractic correction on C1-C2 on the cerebral venous drainage and the cerebro-spinal fluid.