In July 2010 there was a groundbreaking study published in Brain Injury. If you have been in a car accident in the past and have ANY head or neck pain please do continue to read on...
This is how the study was designed, now pay attention :)... The study included 1200 patients with head or neck pain. 600 had a history of a whiplash injury and 600 did not. Then they divided each group in half again and they performed a standard recumbent Magnetic resonance imaging or MRI (laying down in the tube) on 300 patients and a new type of MRI called an Upright MRI on the remaining in 300 patients in each group.
So, what were the results and why was this study so eye opening?
First, to build some context, let me explain a little bit about how the junction between the head and neck is designed. Our heads weigh about ten pounds, roughly the same weight of a bowling ball. The load of the head is supported by a ring shaped 2 ounce bone called the atlas. The atlas is the topmost bone of our necks.
Most of the million messages per minute that go from the brain to the rest of the body, and back up, flow right through the ring of the atlas vertebra. Also, it is important to note that the base of the brain is called the cerebellum. The brain stem should be up inside the skull, where it is safe from any harm.
Ideally and by design, it should not protrude down and out of the cranium at all. However, there are events that cause the brain to protrude. Examples include car accidents and high-impact contact sports. If the brain protrudes out it is called Cerebellar Ectopia. This is another cause for worry since it might lead to respiratory arrest.
Ok, back to the results of the study. When the upright MRI was performed on the whiplash group, the researchers found Cerebellar Ectopia 24% of the time! So, if you have been in a car accident there may be a 1 in 4 chance that your head or neck pain is due to YOUR BRAIN PROTRUDING OUT of the skull. This is mind-blowing.
Now, this is where it gets really interesting. And, this is one of the reasons why I am blogging about this. There is hope for a solution when it comes to this neck pain. Upper cervical specific chiropractors can help! I have the necessary experience to help you with this condition.
Follow up studies have been performed and they have shown that when upper cervical chiropractors like me realign the Atlas (C-1) vertebra, the tension on the brainstem and cerebellum is reduced. This allows the cerebellum to move back up to where it belongs which is inside the skull/cranium and not outside where it was protruding.
This explains why our patients' see improvements in: neck pain, headaches, energy levels, sleep patterns, mental clarity, numbness and the list goes on and on, upon rebalancing the head and neck in a gentle specific manner with the NUCCA technique.
I hope all of this made sense and convicts you to have your spinal alignment checked, especially if you have had any head or neck trauma.
Dr. Geoff Besso
Besso Clinic of Chiropractic, Inc. Stow, OH 330.689.1234
Cerebellar tonsillar eptopia is substantially more prevalent in whiplash- injured patients than in neck pain patients with no recent history of trauma.
In: Brain Injury, July 2010; 24(7-8): 988–994
Authors: Michael D. Freeman, Scott Rosa, David Harshfield, Francis Smith,
Robert Bennett, Chris J. Centeno, Ezriel Kornel, Ake Nystrom, Dan Heffez, Sean S. Kohles