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Published 1/15/2018 – Original Article
In my article last week I described the suboccipital area, a vitally important part of the neck. This week we will take a deeper look at this area and why when it’s not working properly it’s the most common culprit in causing headaches.
Headaches will affect everyone at some point. About 18% of adults have severe headaches and 90% of people will experience a headache at some time in life. The headache we are looking at is the classic tension headache.
The tension headache typically starts at the base of the neck and moves to the forehead. This headache usually happens after a bout of stress, either emotional or physical.
As you recall, a ligament is designed to keep things in place. It’s like a wrap holding bones together. If you stretch a ligament too much the joint will become loose. This looseness requires the muscles to work harder. When these muscles work harder it can create inflammation in the area, and this makes nerve endings fire more easily. This information to the brain is usually interpreted by the brain as pain – the headache.
The series of small joints in the suboccipital area all need to do their part. If one or two get subluxated then the others will need to work harder than they are designed to. This will, over time, cause ligaments to loosen and the headache cycle begins.
There are many ways ligaments can loosen:
- prolonged flexion of the neck
- looking at your device too long
- sleeping with a bad pillow
- doing excessive overhead work
Ok, now the good news: this problem is preventable! Simply, don’t rest on your ligaments. Don’t move your head to its end range of motion and stay there. Don’t sleep on the couch with your neck bent as far as it will go. Don’t spend hours staring at your device (or book) without changing your position.
So what do you do if you have subluxation in the upper neck? First you need to have it evaluated by your doctor of chiropractic. It’s important to understand which joints are dysfunctional. Second, follow the comprehensive plan designed by your chiropractor to get proper movement restored to the neck. Once this happens the headaches will be greatly reduced or eliminated.
Published 1/8/2018 – Original Article
Have you ever just felt off?
Something is not right, but you can’t put your finger on it. Maybe you feel tired, or mentally foggy. You know you’re not on your game but your doctors says you are in perfect health.
Let me introduce to you a critically important part of your body; it’s not part of most regular physicals, yet it’s an important component to healthy living. It’s a part of the neck just below your skull called the suboccipital area.
Aside from the obvious functions, like attaching your skull to your spine and allowing your head to move, your upper neck sends vital neurological information to the brain to;
- Regulate blood pressure and blood flow
- Work as a gyroscope for your nervous system
- Maintain thinking pathways and alertness
- Coordinate head movement and eye movement
- And much more.
If the upper cervical spine is not working properly you simply aren’t going to be at your best.
The skull sits on the highest vertebra, a ring-like bone called the atlas, named after the Greek god who holds up the globe. This bone has 5 attachment sites for other bones, creating joints that send mission-critical information to the cerebellum (a part of the brain behind the ear that controls movement, among other things.) This collection of joints and muscles is called the suboccipital area.
The second bone is called the axis. This ring-like bone acts as a pivot point for the head to rotate. Ligaments are strategically placed to prevent too much movement. These ligaments are stretched when we look down too long, like when staring at a phone or iPad for an extended period. These ligaments are essential keep your head on straight and are capable of holding a tremendous amount of weight.
This entire area is hardwired into the eyes, synchronizing the movement of your skull with your eyes. It’s quite an amazing orchestration of design and functionality. All this amazingness comes at a cost. When we abuse this area we can end up with regular headaches, foggy thinking, TMJ problems and dizziness.
This month in my office we are celebrating Cervical Spine Awareness month. Each week you will find an article from me as well as supporting podcasts. To top it off I’ll be hosting a seminar in my office on the cervical spine. The topic is specifically on dizziness but the entire neck will to reviewed and it will be informative for anyone to attend.
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You would never know it by looking at me, but I’m old enough to have been in practice for 20 years. I’ll give you a moment to get over the surprise…
Okay, now that has settled in. We have opened up 20 new patient slots per month for new patients for $20.
This new patient visit is my complete new visit process. Consultation, examinations and xrays if needed – my usual charge is $175 for this visit. This is a great opportunity to help your family and friends find relief and maximize their health with chiropractic.
Of course there is a limit the the number of patients we can see so if you are referring someone, have them call today, 314-292-9065. We also have a online scheduling options.
Thanks for being a great part of my practice. I’ll take care of anyone you refer like they were part of the family. (I love family, by the way).
You raise an interesting question. Back in 1994, the American Heart Association Task Force on Cholesterol Issues put out a statement entitled “Very Low Cholesterol and Cholesterol Lowering” which noted that there is an increase in deaths from trauma, cancer, hemorrhagic stroke and respiratory and infectious diseases among those with total cholesterol levels less than 160 mg/dl. However, a substantial portion of those deaths seemed to be due to poor health unrelated to low cholesterol. Since then, several s
We love pumpkin spice stuff (most of us). This type of spice has been used by people for thousands of years and brings with it some physiological benefits. This article on CNN.com has a good review of this phenomenon. –Dr. Anderson
Each fall, as leaves turn golden and the crisp autumn air carries the scent of pine, Catherine Franssen awaits her husband to bring home the latest pumpkin spice-flavored concoction he has discovered at the grocery store.
Probably the most important part of healthy living is getting good sleep. Without it we will get diseases of all sorts. -Dr. A
Sleep disturbance is a frequent and serious complication of hemodialysis (HD). Low serum vitamin D levels have been associated with sleep quality in non-HD subjects. Our aim was to examine the possible association between serum vitamin D levels and the presence of sleep disturbance in HD patients. We recruited 141 HD patients at the HD center of the First Affiliated Hospital of Jiaxing University during 2014–2015. Serum levels of 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25(OH)D) were determined by the competitive protein-binding assay. Sleep quality was measured using the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index (PSQI). Demographic, clinical and laboratory data were recorded. Meanwhile, 117 healthy control subjects were also recruited and underwent measurement of 25(OH)D. Eighty-eight patients (62.4%) had sleep disturbance (PSQI scores ≥ 5). Patients with sleep disturbance showed lower levels of 25(OH)D as compared to those without sleep disturbance (85.6 ± 37.4 vs. 39.1 ± 29.1 nmol/L, p < 0.001). In multivariate analyses, serum levels of 25(OH)D (≤48.0 nmol/L) were independently associated with sleep disturbance in HD patients (OR 9.897, 95% CI 3.356–29.187, p < 0.001) after adjustment for possible variables. Our study demonstrates that low serum levels of vitamin D are independently associated with sleep disturbance in HD patients, but the finding needs to be confirmed in future experimental and clinical studies.
In this episode I have a casual conversation about bone health and a company called OsteoStrong with Mike Baue. They have developed a way to maintain and gain bone density through a process called osteogenic loading. Listen below to this episode. We simulcasted on the Healthy Habits Podcast and and on our YouTube Channel. You can subscribe to the Healthy Habit Podcast here. -Dr.A
- andersonpodcast.com – Dr. Anderson’s Podcast
- facebook.com/osteostrongofallonmo – Mike’s OFallon Location of OsteoStrong
- osteostrong.me – The OsteoStrong Website
- craigandersondc.com – Dr Anderson’s practice site.
- craigdc.com/mike – The short URL to this page.