With 2.5 million injuries, 280,000 hospitalizations, and 50,000 deaths due to traumatic brain injuries (TBI) each year, the condition is rampant in today’s world. A lack of research, advocacy, and standardized care—despite the staggering numbers—has led some people to call brain injuries a “silent epidemic” (Rising Chiropractic). For those who survive a brain injury, any number of diverse and debilitating symptoms taint daily life. Timely and effective care is of the essence in these scenarios, but finding appropriate brain injury treatment is a task easier said than done. Many survivors face tremendous uncertainty in their recovery journey and, with little in the way of guidance, are unsure of where to turn next. For this reason, today’s topic is upper cervical chiropractic care—an uncommon but invaluable brain injury solution.
Chiropractic care: what it is and what it is not
Oftentimes when we hear the term “chiropractic care” we think of jolting twists, satisfying cracks, and relaxing readjustments of the body. With a plethora of youtube videos dedicated to these elements of chiropractic care, many people perceive the practice to be more of a novelty than a rehabilitative science. In reality, chiropractic care—and upper cervical chiropractic care in particular—are anything but casual novelties. Upper Cervical Chiropractic Care is a specialized discipline performed by trained and licensed healthcare professionals—who spend four years obtaining a doctor of chiropractic degree. While the experience may still be satisfying, it can also be life-changing for brain injury survivors.
Upper cervical chiropractic care focuses specifically on two vertebrae—the bone discs that make up our spine—in the upper neck beneath the head. While it may seem surprising that an entire therapy focuses only on two vertebrae, the importance of this area balances out the narrow scope of the practice. Our brain stems, which control many of the body’s automatic but crucial functions, rest snuggly in the underside of the brain. A complex network of nerves pass through the vertebrae to carry information and signals to and from every corner of the body. Because these two, specific vertebrae lack the natural cushioning of other vertebrae in the spine, the region is particularly prone to misalignments. When misalignments occur, there is the potential for the body’s information highway to be disrupted—creating noticeable symptoms and health implications. This occurrence is called upper cervical subluxation (Rising Chiropractic).
Benefits for brain injury survivors
Upper cervical chiropractic care helps brain injury survivors recover by relieving misalignments in the neck and restoring the brain’s ability to communicate with the body. Virginia Hill Chiropractic—operated by Dr. Kris Peterson—focuses intensively on upper cervical care. The efficacy of this therapy was recently showcased in one of Dr. Peterson’s patients. When asked to stick out her tongue, this patient’s tongue veered notably to the side despite her perception that it was out straight. Dr. Kris, suspecting this phenomenon was due to disrupted brain-body communication, performed upper cervical chiropractic care on the patient. The result: a straight tongue (Virginia Hill Chiropractic PC)! While the angle of our tongue may not be crucial to a healthy and happy life, this example showcases the real changes that can arise from the practice—from how we feel, to how we move, to how we think! In fact, a small study suggests that
lingering symptoms from TBIs are due more to misalignments in these two, upper cervical vertebrae than damage to the brain tissue itself (Brain Injury Alliance of New Jersey).”
Even people who suffer aphasia, stroke, or other acquired brain conditions can benefit from the improved brain-body communication upper cervical chiropractic care offers.
An even more powerful attestment to upper cervical chiropractic care comes from a 55-year-old TBI patient. After surviving two automobile accidents, this woman was living with reduced range of motion, serious pain, paresthesia in her extremities, loss of balance, depression, and suicidal ideations. After only one month of intensive chiropractic care, a marked increase was noted in the woman’s quality of life—improvements which grew over time with continued treatment (Brain Injury Alliance of New Jersey).
What to expect from upper cervical chiropractic care
For anyone interested in trying upper cervical chiropractic care, the experience is straightforward and uninvasive. Patients can expect to visit a licensed provider for an evaluation. If an upper cervical chiropractor decides a realignment is necessary, sophisticated x-ray imaging will be used to observe the spine and its movement. With a clear understanding of the patient’s needs, the chiropractor will adjust the patient’s neck to relieve the upper cervical subluxation. Precise imaging will often be used again to ensure the patient’s needs have been successfully met. As portrayed in an earlier example, brain injury patients can gain even better outcomes over time with continued, upper cervical chiropractic interventions (Rising Chiropractic).
Upper Cervical Chiropractic Care is straightforward, uninvasive, and effective.”
It offers a tantalizing solution to brain injury survivors in desperate need of real results—or to those who feel like they’ve tried everything else. If you’re ready to see results, start tracking your symptoms on the Power of Patient’s Dashboard today and use the digital resources to find a local, licensed chiropractor.
To learn more, visit www.powerofpatients.com