By: Carlos Garcia, M.D.
The neck, specifically C1-C2 (cervical vertebrae 1 and 2), is typically misunderstood by mainstream medicine, in just about all issues except for trauma. Mainstream medicine often looks down on chiropractic and massage modalities as tools for realignment and thus treatment of pathology. The following are examples where addressing and correcting C-spine misalignments have resulted in the reversal of these conditions: Reflex sympathetic dystrophy, atrial fibrillation, acid reflux, constipation and irritable bowel just to mention a few. Now many practitioners who read the hereinabove may claim quackery or worse, however, tell that to my patients. I would venture to say that any patient who develops new digestive issues post-operatively most likely has C1 and/or C2 misaligned. Mainstream medicine will seek drugs to treat symptoms, whereas I seek the root cause: The C-spine.
Now I am not stating that chiropractic treatment or massage is a cure-all. However, they are great tools, which are gravely misunderstood thus under used by mainstream medicine and touted as not “real” by many practitioners. When it comes to diet, and its benefits or detriments, and prevention, mainstream medicine remains, regrettably, in the Stone Age. The concept that simple sugar feeds cancerous cells is still ignored or refuted by many mainstream institutions who recommend the consumption of high glucose content fluids or foods as beneficial and non-harmful. These are the same practitioners who get upset when patients, seeking assistance, question the reasoning behind using a glucose molecule as the PET scan dye preferred carrier molecule. The PET scan works only because cancer cells prefer and consume glucose or fructose with impunity. Thus consuming processed foods with corn syrup, which is readily absorbed by the gut, preferentially feeds your cancer.
C-spine issues and the ramifications are more common than most people and practitioners are aware of. If you had: a car accident, participated in contact sports, had sports related accidents, general anesthesia, dental work, slip and falls or other traumas, you may develop C-spine injuries and its consequences. The nervous system that regulates our internal organs, stomach, heart, lungs, liver, kidneys, bladder, spleen, gallbladder, gastrointestinal tract and other functions are intertwined with the top two vertebrae within our cervical spine, namely C1 and C2.
Let’s examine C1 and C2 more closely. they are the top two vertebrae, which connect our skull to our spine. The average adult skull, brain and standard equipment such as brain, eyes, tongue, teeth etc. weighs about 10-12 pounds. That’s a pretty large bowling ball balanced by relatively small bones.
C1 or the “atlas”, since it supports the head, has no body. It is further unique compared to the other vertebrae in that its bone morphology is arched, thus allowing for connection and articulation with C2 known as the “axis”. C2, our “axis” allows for the flexion and rotation our head. The brainstem empties into the C1-C2 complex, which is quite narrow. Thus with such tight tolerances, an anatomical displacement can result in “pinching” of vital communication relays between the brain and other organs or structures. Thus dysfunction can result. Again a practitioner who does not understands or does not give credence to this relationship will focus on and treat the symptoms, while missing the source of the complaints.
Common complaints, especially after a car accident, general anesthesia or a dental procedure, involving acid reflux, atrial fibrillation, constipation, diarrhea, palpitations and others are an indication that the cervical spine is mal-aligned. Before you go running off to your nearest chiropractor, make sure to search for an orthogonally trained one. In short, some excel in certain aspects which is true of all practitioners.
Additionally, the American culture is driven by the once and done concept. However, even when properly corrected, the adjustment of the C-spine can be undone. Thus when it comes to good gastrointestinal function, then skeletal alignment is paramount. If the cervical spine is misaligned, then the feedback that looks between your gut and brain will need rerouting.
Factors that undermine continued alignment include, but is not limited to, our bed, pillows, daily movements, being startled, how we pick objects up, just to mention a few. If your symptoms are intermittent, then you are most likely aligning and misaligning your vertebrae.
A competent holistic practitioner recognizes the relationships between, emotions, anatomy, electrical imbalances, and that hard to describe, “I just don’t feel right“, which just lingers as all tests return as “normal”. This may eventually result in your practitioner telling you, “It’s all in your head”. It’s not all in your head, it’s in your vertebrae!