80% of Headaches Start Here

80% of Headaches Start Here

By: Dr. Craig Anderson

Published 1/15/2018 – Original Article

Dr. Anderson

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.

Chiropractic care has been shown repeatedly to lower the cost of healthcare. It’s the best first stop to solve your headaches.

To learn more, join us in person for our seminar later this month. You can grab your ticket here.

Critical Junction: The Head and Neck

Critical Junction: The Head and Neck
Dr. Anderson

By: Dr. Craig Anderson

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.  

If you have any questions comment on this Facebook post.

Listen to my podcast on this very topic here.

-Dr. A

Instrument Adjusting

Instrument Adjusting

By: Craig Anderson, D.C.


We offer a low force adjusting option that sometime is exactly what is needed.  The Activator uses the least amount of force to get fantastic movement improvement into the spine.

To learn more visit: activator.com

Dr. Anderson

An Introduction to Wind-Up

An Introduction to Wind-Up

By: Craig Anderson, D.C.

Every once in a while I like to lift the veil of health sciences and talk about something you probably have never heard of.  In this post, we’ll look at a neurological phenomenon that occurs in the spinal cord and Brain called wind-up.

Wind-up is a state of our nervous system where small stimulus (or no stimulus at all) can cause effects like irritability, anxiety and pain.

Without enough inhibition signals to the nerves, things can get out of control.  My work as a doctor of chiropractic involves daily helping patients that have this heightened response to stimuli.  Bad chemistry, eating a lot of garbage, taking strong medications and excessive worry are all causes of wind-up.

You can reduce wind-up with deep breathing, meditation, exercise and (of particular interest to me) a chiropractic adjustment.  An adjustment causes a blast of inhibition into the spinal cord.  This is one of the reason patients can feel an immediate reduction of pain after an adjustment.

If you would like to dig deeper and learn more about wind-up, review our archives.

Stay cool. – Dr. Anderson

The Danger of Sleeping with Your Arms Up

by: Craig Anderson, DC

It’s a typical case.  

A 65 year old woman is told she needs surgery to repair a torn rotator cuff muscle. This woman has no history of injury and can’t figure out why she has a shoulder injury common in baseball!  How could this be?

supraspinatusThe answer is found in the anatomy of the supraspinatus muscle.  This muscle attaches to the top of the arm bone (humerus) and the shoulder blade.  It lifts the arm. During the course of its normal function the blood supply is cut off.  

Yep, the blood to the tendon is temporarily restricted when your arm is over your head.

When you sleep with your arms above your head, you deprive the tendon of blood for many hours straight.  This weakens the tendon and at some point it will tear.

This does not need to happen.  

If every morning starts with achy shoulders you may be on your way to doing some permanent damage to you shoulder.  The insidious part is that it takes decades for this problem to be recognized.  So the fix is early detection.

Let me give you some free advice.  Try modified wall-angel exercises for a few weeks and see if it helps. The modification is keeping your arms below the plane of your shoulder.

  1. wall-angelStand against a wall with your arms out at 90 degrees.
  2. Slide your elbows down and together while keeping your knuckles as close to the wall as possible.
  3. Hold for 5 seconds and repeat.  Do about 10-15 repetitions.

Do this little routine before bed and before using your shoulder.  This exercise will help keep your shoulder blades in position.

After three weeks, if you are not seeing improvement give us a call.  An exam would be in order to determine if there is any damage and to see if it can be corrected before you become a surgical candidate.

Like most things in regard to your health, early recognition is important to a good outchealthy_logo-300ome.

To learn more listen to my podcast on this very topic.  To learn more about sleep view our sleep archives.



Blood Pressure and Chiropractic

When you think about chiropractic you are probably thinking about low back pain or maybe headaches. You may be surprised to know that chiropractic can help you generally be a healthier person.

It seems like most people have high blood pressure these days. Maybe it’s the stress of life or our less than stellar diets or our tendency to sit for long periods of time. Recently, I came across a study looking at blood pressure and the chiropractic adjustment.

The study looked at a vertebra in the upper neck called the Atlas (C1). When the chiropractic adjustment was applied to a subluxated atlas in subjects with high blood pressure, they had a 14 point drop in the systolic measurement as compared to a control group.

The results were equivalent to the drop in pressure seen in patients taking medications. The “procedure has the effect of not one, but two blood-pressure medications given in combination,” study leader George Bakris, MD. This study was done on patient with early hypertension.


Craig Anderson, DC


More than Low Back Care?

Far too many people still believe that chiropractic care isn’t necessary unless they’re suffering excruciating low back pain.

The millions who do receive regular adjustments know that chiropractic can resolve their back pain, and more and more may also be learning about the potential nonmusculoskeletal benefits.
Take as an example the patients in a recent study in the Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics. Twenty consecutive patients from each of 87 Swedish chiropractor’s offices (1,504 total patients) completed questionnaires within two weeks of previous treatment.

The questionnaires documented numerous reported improvements in nonmusculoskeletal symptoms, including:

  • easier to breathe (98 patients);
  • improved digestive function (92 patients);
  • clearer/better/sharper vision (49 patients);
  • improved circulation (34 patients);
  • less ringing in the ears (10 patients);
  • acne/eczema better (8 patients);
  • dysmennorhea (painful menstruation)
    better (7 patients); and
  • asthma/allergies better (6 patients).

The number of spinal areas adjusted was also related to the number of positive reactions.

  • Fifteen percent of patients reported positive reactions after having a single area adjusted;
  • 35% of patients reported positive reactions after having four areas adjusted. Overall,
  • 23% of chiropractic patients reported experiencing positive changes in symptoms that were not musculoskeletal in nature.

Have you experienced nonmusculoskeletal benefits following chiropractic care, and if
so, have you told your doctor of chiropractic? Always report any reactions (good or
bad) you experience during or following an adjustment.
Leboeuf-Yde C, Axen I, Ahlefeldt G, et al. The types and frequencies of improved nonmusculoskeletal symptoms reported after chiropractic spinal manipulative therapy. Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics, Vol. 22, No. 9, pp559-64.

Ageing Gracefully

You know the person who is hunched over all the time, always looking at the floor. Their spine simply does not allow them to stand up straight. How does this happen? If your answer is osteoporosis, then you are only partially right.

good-posture-vs-bad-posture-look-at-your-posture-others-do-jpegThe forward posture of the head is caused by years of stretching of the ligaments that support the spine. Yes, osteoporosis (the condition that causes bone weakened and small fractures throughout the spine) can be a major factor. But what most people do not realize is that forward posture is actually caused by repetitive micro trauma.

Small traumas throughout out the day that allows your ligaments to stretch. Maybe you drive all day flattening out the curves in the lower back or maybe you are hunched over a computer all day stressing and straining your neck. These stresses on your spine will eventually take its toll on your spine and result in poor posture.

The solution to aging gracefully is to have good habits and a very important habit is watching your posture.

Posture is not just about looking good. Abnormal posture is a serious health condition. The American Journal of Pain Management says that “posture affects and moderates every physiologic function from breathing to hormonal production. Spinal pain, headache, mood, blood pressure, pulse and lung capacity are among the functions most easily influenced by posture.”

If you look in the mirror and see a shoulder low or your head jetting forward the process has begun. Stop it before it become permanent with chiropractic care. If you are not sure what you next step is.  Schedule a time to speak with me directly but signing up for an free 8-minute conversation.  I’m happy to speak with you.


The Magic Pill of Perfect Health

If I could give you a magic pill to instantly make you perfectly healthy and it was totally free and guaranteed to work, would you do it?  Of course you would.  Now that you’ve taken the pill how do you feel?  I would guess that you have no symptoms, no pain, plenty of energy and you have a general feeling of optimism.  Feels great doesn’t it?
This may come as a surprise, but at one point in your life you were actually perfectly healthy. You probably don’t remember it because you were a baby.download
If your not feeling 100% healthy today, what happened?  The answer, although very complex, can be summarized simply — your ability to adapt didn’t keep up with the stress of life. If you are not feeling as healthful as you think you should there is good news.  There are three areas to address in order for your body to meet the challenges of everyday life.
  1. Coordinated Body Systems: The nervous system needs good input to manage all of your body systems.  If your brain cannot coordinate part of your body, that body part will not be able to adapt and slowly become diseased.
  2. Good Food Choices: Poor food choices robs your body of essential chemicals needed to repair tissue and build your cells.  If you eat garbage, your will get garbage.
  3. Steady supply of Movement: Our bodies are made to move, it you don’t move it you loose it.  It’s that simple.

Take a moment and watch this little video we produced last month.

[fbvideo link=”https://www.facebook.com/craigandersonchiropractic/videos/10152787853536065/” width=”560″ height=”315″ onlyvideo=”1″]

Now it’s time to take action?  Sign up for Anderson Jump Start and spend 2 hours over the next three days learning how to build a healthy routine that supports all three of these areas.  Sign up below for free.

Slow Nerves?

What would you feel if your nerves were slow? Fatigue? Brain-fog? Pain? Weakness?

The nervous system is made up of the brain, spinal cord, and connected nerves that go everywhere in the body. Most people don’t realize that our nervous system controls every function in the body, from how fast your heart beats to the perception of pain to digestion, just to name a few. If your nerves aren’t working right, then you aren’t working right.

The speed of transmission of nerve signals is different for different things. For instance, pain travels slower than touch. Touch travels about 350 feet per second; pain travels two feet per second. When you stub your toe you feel the pressure first, then the pain. Thinking is in the mid-range of speed at about 100 feet per second. Maybe even slower for some people you know!

Exercise and movement will keep your nerves firing. This is described in a great book called “Spark” by John Ratey, MD. Dr. Ratey reviewed studies of children and academics as related to exercise and brain function. An excellent book if you like that amount of detail and are a biology nerd like me.

People come to my office with spinal dysfunction. One type of dysfunction is subluxation, an abnormal movement of a vertebra causing nervous system interference. An adjustment is fantastic at restoring the speed of the nerves in the area and allowing the nervous system to do its job.

Chiropractic care helps your spine and nervous system by maximizing nerve transmission. If your nerves are working slow then your body will not be working like it should. Without good nervous system function you are not going to function at 100%.

So don’t let your bones get on your nerves. Get checked for subluxations and if found, get treatment. You will not only feel better but your nerves will be able to function better, making you a healthier person from the inside out.


Dr. Craig Anderson