Michael Thomas, DC
Folks come into the office for some particular reason. They have neck pain or low back pain, sciatica or dizziness. If they are new to the office, they have heard that chiropractors can help these problems, or that I helped someone they know with a similar problem. . Once adjusted, these acute symptoms frequently resolve pretty quickly. A few weeks into care, I often begin to hear that other issues, that weren’t boiling over and might not have even been mentioned before, have resolved or are beginning to resolve, too. Sometimes its musculo-skeletal issues like hip, knee, ankle, or foot pains that have dwindled or gone.
Other times it is very different. “I am digesting my food much better,” people often say.”I am sleeping better.”, “I am not depressed anymore.”, “I can think more clearly.”, “I can take a deep breath now.” Secondary complaints have dissolved slowly over a period of time as the adjustment and the effects of the adjustment settle more deeply into their balance of health. People often remark that they just simply feel better all the time.
Through decades of clinical experience and research, we are beginning to understand that misalignment of the bones in the upper neck, and conversely, the upper cervical adjustment, both cause profound changes in internal homeostasis (balance) as well as the way we stand and move. Recent studies are now revealing that not only are the affected tissues twisted and pulled, but metabolism is significantly changed too. Blood flow is altered, as is cerebral spinal fluid (CSF) flow. It is now our hypothesis that tractionization of tissues (particularly the dentate ligaments), alteration of venous drainage out of the head ,and interference with CSF flow change the balance of the nuclei (brain centers) in the brainstem just above the neck in the bottom of the head. This area of the brain acts to maintain a basic balance of health. This balance is ever changing as we receive information from around us (our environment) through our senses, and then use this information to drive our actions, our responses to the world around us.
Through decades of clinical experience and research, we are beginning to understand that misalignment of the bones in the upper neck, and conversely, the upper cervical adjustment, both cause profound changes in internal homeostasis as well as the way we stand and move.
We now understand health to be an on-going process. It is not something that is finally achieved but rather, something that is forever unfolding. Adapting to new information is very much a part of being healthy. Poor adaptation to new environmental input IS dis-ease. Mal-adaption leads to pathology, the point when internal changes cannot match the changes being sensed and they fall behind. The tissues are disturbed. It is the beginning of sickness. Internal balance becomes disordered. As within, so without. Our posture, the very way we greet this world begins to diminish in vitality, stability and strength. The natural flexibility and ease of give-and-take in health is increasingly replaced by compression and resistance. The healthy give and take, push and pull of life begins to polarize and we find ourselves resisting the natural flow, hardening our tissues in the process. This response/reaction diminishes our potential while salvaging as much of it as possible. With observation, we see our bodies change from optimally dealing with the effects of gravity in a unified way -standing tall and at ease, fully aligned and essentially symmetrical, to a segmented, cantilevered state of uneven, and generally twisting resistance.
Something happens, perhaps a physical trauma, (bump head, lift a refrigerator, push a car, trip and fall, etc.), perhaps a mental or emotional trauma (anger, disappointment, frustration, fear, getting fired, divorced, losing a loved one, etc.). Something happens that you cannot fully abide within yourself. We can handle a lot of things, but sometimes the force of life that comes at us is more than we can dissipate. Our defenses cannot fully shield us and we absorb more than we can accommodate. We begin to fall back, to break down. Life isn’t gone, it’s still present, just impeded, and it makes a valiant effort to stabilize albeit in a less unified way. We settle and list and twist -our mass now more cumbersome and ungainly. The forces don’t cancel each other out like they do when we are optimally aligned with gravity. Ease becomes burden. This configuration leaves discrete areas of too much and too little force within us. After a while we begin to feel these areas as hot or cold, muscle spasms, areas of pain and numbness and tingling. Joints feel locked up and we may not feel as steady on our feet.
At the same time that our posture and movement is affected, so is our internal balance of life. We learned in the 2007 study that we can directly affect the brainstem centers that maintain blood pressure through corrective upper cervical adjustment. Obviously, we don’t consciously control all the parameters of our internal environment. Most of us don’t give it much thought. The controls for our ˜inner balance” are located in the brainstem and are significantly affected by the torsion, blood flow and CSF flow changes that occur when the structures of the upper neck become misaligned. We found that 60% of the people in the study (folks who were on two antihypertensive (blood pressure) medications and were, up to that point, unable to get their blood pressure into a normal range, went on and maintained normal blood pressures “off their meds!- for two months after being properly adjusted upper cervically. We have many decades of clinical information that has shown us that the brainstem centers which control posture are also significantly affected. Together, these finding indicate that we have real ability to modulate (regulate) these brainstem centers. Not turn them up or down necessarily, but rather to help them all work together in a balanced way for optimal health.
Removing substantial interference to the nervous system and freeing the expression of life within each of us is a healthcare measure that the vast majority of humankind has not even glimpsed as a possibility.
The ability to ˜neuro-modulate the autonomic nuclei” (what I was just writing about!) constitutes a remarkable primary health care measure that would fundamentally improve the health of humankind if they could be made aware of this possibility and, could gain access to corrective upper cervical adjustments. Removing substantial interference to the nervous system and freeing the expression of life within each of us is a healthcare measure that the vast majority of humankind has not even glimpsed as a possibility. No one looks for something that they are unaware of; and so we remain, for the moment, possibly the great secret in healthcare in the world. After studying many kinds of health care over the last few decades, I have never found anything else with the overriding potential of the upper cervical adjustment to fundamentally improve the health of people. I am proud to offer this work to all of you and I continue to write and conduct studies for publication which, if there is any justice in the world, may help to open the eyes of the world to this precious jewel in their midst.