What is Upper Cervical Chiropractic Care?
The upper cervical bones are located at the top of your spinal column. While chiropractors in Utah and throughout the United States may address these bones as part of an overall treatment plan, these vertebrae are more critical than many people – including most chiropractors – realize. Misalignment of the upper cervical bones can cause a wide range of problems, but the real cause may not be recognized by most health professionals. This means that while the symptoms may get treated, the root of chronic health issues is often overlooked.
Upper cervical chiropractic not only focuses on treating the upper cervical vertebrae, it is a recognized specialty within the field of chiropractic medicine. Chiropractors who enter this specialty spend years studying the effects of misalignment and the results of upper cervical care.
Who Can Benefit?
The kinds of problems that upper cervical chiropractic care addresses are often related to neck injuries. It is the preferred type of whiplash treatment and can help with whiplash pain. It is also helpful in addressing other types of neck muscle pain as well. Because the upper cervical bones can affect more than just the neck, adjustments in this area can benefit many patients experiencing a wide range of problems.
Some of the problems a person might have that can be related to upper cervical problems include:
- Migraine headaches
- High blood pressure
- Carpal tunnel syndrome
- Multiple sclerosis
- Digestive upset
- Inner ear disorders
This isn’t a complete list of the problems that might be triggered by a misalignment of the upper cervical portion of the spine, but a quick review of the conditions listed above can show you just how varied and unexpected these problems can be. Many people are surprised to discover that asthma, depression, and other conditions that seem to have no connection to the spinal column can be related to spinal misalignment. Correcting the problem at its source can reduce dependency on medications with potentially harmful side effects as well as providing you with a better quality of life.
Why It Can Help?
The upper cervical bones are different than the rest of your vertebrae. They have a much greater range of motion that the other bones in the spinal column. While this is necessary for providing unrestricted motion for your head, it also means that these two bones have a greater potential for getting out of alignment than the other bones in your spinal column do.
Not only that, but a part of your brain stem extends down into the protected area inside the upper cervical bones. This means that when these bones get out of alignment they can affect much more than just your neck muscles or your head; a misalignment of these two bones can affect many of the systems in your body.
If the upper cervical bones are out of place due to an injury, they may cause neck muscle pain or whiplash pain, and correcting the alignment is an important part of whiplash treatment. However, it is also possible for the bones to be misaligned due to other causes, and there may not be any pain to indicate the presence of a problem.
How the Bones get Misaligned
Some causes of upper cervical problems are fairly obvious. Neck injuries such as those from an automobile accident and resulting in whiplash pain will send most people in search of treatment, but other types of accidents, large and small, can cause misalignment of the upper cervical bones. Some of the more common causes of such injuries include falls, cycling accidents, and other types of sports injuries. The amount of force and the angles involved will typically dictate the extent of the injury.
Anything that causes misalignment of these two bones can create a situation that interferes with communication between the brain and the rest of the body, resulting in one or more of the various types of health effects noted previously.
What to Expect from Upper Cervical Chiropractic Treatment
It’s possible that you may be experiencing misalignment problems in this area and not even realize it. Poor alignment of these bones does not always cause neck muscle pain, headaches, or any of the other problems that you might expect. If the brainstem is involved, you may experience symptoms that include multiple body systems.
Correcting the misalignment of the upper cervical bones can provide relief, but the relief is not going to be instantaneous. Typically you can expect to need multiple treatments to correct the misalignment and then to keep the bones from slipping out of alignment again.
Whether you live in Utah or elsewhere in the United States, it is in your best interest to find an upper cervical care chiropractor like Dr. Spence at the Whiplash Center of Utah. He can help you find permanent relief from your health problems related to upper cervical misalignment. Once the upper cervical problems have been corrected and any inflammation present has had a chance to subside, you should experience a great deal of relief from the troublesome conditions related to the misalignment.