Vertigo, Migraine Headaches, and Car Crashes
Concussions and Other Head Traumas
While it’s pretty standard for doctors to ask patients if they’ve had any head or neck injuries, too many times patients will either not think something was important enough to report or they’ll think the incident occurred so long ago that it doesn’t impact them now.
Though, reporting any type of accident that happened at any point is always important because the effects of the accident don’t end just because it occurred many years ago or was minor. It doesn’t take that great of an impact to cause the connective tissue that holds the spine in place to be torn loose. And when that tissue is torn loose it weakens the spine, causing it to break down and lock into a stressed position.
Because of the weight of each vertebra, along with the vulnerability of the neck, the upper cervical spine is impacted the most. This portion of your spine consists of the top two vertebra in your spine, which are situated right below the skull. The breaking down of the the tissue around stretches and damages the upper cervical spine and causes the head to shift from the center.
Your Body and Righting Reflex
This repositioning of the head causes the body to begin a process called Righting Reflex, which causes the eyes and ears to reposition themselves. This balancing process begins in the semicircular canals of the ears, and is the process that keeps the body aligned with the horizon.
Though, now that the head is off-center, the spine needs to readjust itself by twisting and turning. This, then, leads to the need for the shoulders, the hips, and more to make adjustments throughout the body. This unequal distribution of weight will continue throughout the body leading to various health problems.
Once this domino effect throughout the body begins, there is only one thing that can stop it from manifesting itself as one of many health complications. That’s allowing an upper cervical chiropractor to examine your upper cervical spine for any misalignments in your upper neck. A misalignment of only ¼ of a millimeter places pressure on the brainstem, thus hindering the brain’s ability to communicate with the body. That can lead to all sorts of health complications that may not manifest themselves until weeks, months, or even years after the accident.
The original head or neck injury created a misalignment of the Atlas bone at the base of the skull which led to the subsequent problems with the structure of the body, nerve and blood flow from the brain to the body.
Here is a great example from a research article published in the Journal of Upper Cervical Chiropractic Research ~ January 6, 2011
A 23-year-old female patient presented for upper cervical chiropractic care five months after a slip and fall that resulted in a concussion. The patient presented with symptoms of vertigo and headaches consistent with post concussion syndrome. The patient had a longstanding history of headaches that were exacerbated by the concussion and a new complaint of positional vertigo that occurred immediately following the trauma. Significant body imbalances were noted including a leg length difference. Specific Upper Cervical X-rays demonstrated an upper cervical misalignment.
She began to receive Upper Cervical Specific Chiropractic care and the headache and vertigo was gone immediately following the first adjustment. Post X-Ray evaluation showed a significant improvement in the alignment of the head and neck. The follow up examination the following day revealed a significant decrease in muscles spasm in the neck and the legs were balanced.
The patient’s care was continued on a frequency of twice per month for evaluations and progress monitoring. She continued to report a complete resolution of vertigo and a significant improvement in the headaches as well.
Who do you know that has had a concussion? Do they have a chronic health problem? Is there a connection to the upper neck?
Only an upper cervical specialist could tell you for sure.
Journal of Upper Cervical Chiropractic Research ~ January 6, 2011
Upper Cervical Chiropractic Care of a Patient with
Post Concussion Syndrome, Positional Vertigo and Headaches
Alisha Mayheu DC & Matthew Sweat DC