and migraines can be more than just a minor annoyance. They can affect every aspect of our
lives. If you suffer from migraines and
chronic headaches, how often has it interrupted your plans or your work? Conventional treatments address migraines and
headaches as the problem. When the
reality is that headaches and migraines are a symptom of a larger problem. The human body is very adept at letting us
know there is a problem. Sometimes the
problem or indication is small at first.
For example, research has shown that a loss of the sense of smell can
indicate Alzheimer’s as early as 10 years in advance. Chronic headache and migraines are a symptom
of an underlying problem, and the pain is a warning signal.
suffer from headaches, there is a very high probability that your headaches or
migraines are coming from chronic irritation of the nerves, muscles or blood
vessels between the head and neck known as the Craniocervical Junction. A
3-year post doctorate specialty diplomate program called the Diplomate in
Craniocervical Junction Procedures (DCCJP) was created in 2013 by the ICA to train
upper cervical doctors to more competently deal with injuries, dysfunction and
malalignments in this area. As a CCJ diplomate, I have observed that this area
is often overlooked by conventional medical treatments or mishandled by
chiropractic physicians and physical therapists who manipulate this area
without image guidance. The fact that this area is more susceptible to injury than
any other part of the spine explains why sports injuries and whiplash from car
crashes can lie at the root of many migraines and headaches months or even
years after the injury.
Clinic has an over 85% success rate in resolving migraines and headaches
through our proprietary method of treatment. The key to resolving a symptom,
such as migraines, is in knowing precisely what is at the root of the problem
in the first place. Otherwise, we are
just trying to make the symptom manageable or bearable and not trying to fix
the problem that would make the symptom go away entirely. For the problem and
solution, we must look at this region known as the craniocervical junction, or
the CCJ. This important region is held in place by ligaments that can be torn,
stretched or otherwise damaged as a result of trauma. As a result, ideal alignment
of these structures is lost, and that’s when the symptoms can start to set in,
immediately, or months later. When
symptoms set in, it is important to rely on someone who specializes in this
area and who uses the appropriate equipment and diagnostic techniques to
understand how to fix this area. The Lift Clinic specializes in just that, and that’s
why we have the success that we have. Through our non-surgical, noninvasive
technique, we eliminate the cause of the pain, and the result is: the pain goes
away—often times, while the patient is still in our office… what’s better, it
tends to stay gone!
Cranial Cervical Junction
are staggering. Research shows that migraines and headaches affect the lives of
50 million Americans—in fact, according to the World Health Organization, 1 in
20 suffer from a common tension type headache, and migraine headaches are the
second most common form of primary headache. In my practice, headaches make up
more than ½ of my patient population, and women are affected by migraines or
headaches 3 to 1 as compared to men.
been asked how many migraines per year is considered “normal”, and the answer to that question is “one”. The
fact is head pain is present only when something isn’t right with the head,
neck, jaw or face.
Pain, or it’s
technical name, “nociception”, is the body’s normal warning indicator that
something abnormal or harmful is
happening in its’ structures and tissues. In the case of migraines or
headaches, those tissue are the head, neck, face or jaw. Too often, headaches
or migraines are treated by medications that block the pain—or as is the case
more often, “attempt to block the pain” but fail to do so. In these situations,
where drugs are used to mask, mimic or alter brain function, quality of life is
often adversely affected by the drugs themselves. It is common for drugs to stop
working, or harmful side-affects are developed, and new drugs or other treatments
are implemented to deal with the side-affects. I’ve seen lives ruined by this
clinical course of action. Why are people willing to go down this path, if
drugs can be so risky and disruptive? The answer is simple: Headaches suck!!
They are simply just horrible—and in severe cases, almost anything (even a
quiet dark room with no light or sound, out of sight and sound of friends,
family or work colleagues) is preferable to the pain of an intense headache. As
a clinician, it is important to understand that there are numerous “types” of
headaches, and many systems involved in the possible generation of the pain
signals which manifest themselves as head, neck or face pain, but for the sake
of this post, I want to talk about headaches and migraines that can be remedied
by our out-patient procedure without drugs or surgery.
to begin to understand complexity of headaches and migraines, it’s important to
know that nerves from the head (cranial nerves) and nerves from the neck (the
top six spinal nerves) blend together in a phenomenon known as “convergence”. That
means that many headaches, in all their varieties come from stressed, inflamed
or damaged upper cervical spinal structures that are not commonly “well-visualized”
(seen) in MRI brain and cervical spine studies. These structures include parts
of your head and neck anatomy that you likely have not heard of, and some that
you have. These are the main pain generators in the head and neck.
View Drawing of the Static Stabilizer Ligaments of the CCJ 2. Special MRI view.
mater of the posterior cranial fossa
surface of the tentorium cerebelli
and posterior upper cervical and cervical-occiput muscles
C1-C2, and C2-C3 joints
of the occiput
- Tectorial, Atlanto-Axial Membranes
- Transverse ligaments
- Trapezius muscle
- Sternocleidomastoid muscle
or several of these structures are torn, stretched, irritated, inflamed, or
otherwise bothered by trauma or malalignment, a pain signal is generated and
sent to the “pain central” region known as the trigeminocervical
these complex nerve pathways from the upper neck, and cranium “splice” in on
one another, and land in the same place in the upper spinal cord, (the
trigeminocervical nucleus) the brain has some difficulty sorting out exactly where
the pain is coming from! However, that doesn’t keep it from sounding an alarm
in the form of a pain signal. What this means to the sufferer of headaches or
migraines is that an unhappy structure in the neck can cause a “headache-like”
pain above or behind the eye, or in the forehead.
a torn ligament in the neck, (not seen on an MRI) can cause pain in the top of
the head, scalp, temples, teeth or jaw joint.
that an imbalanced bite caused by a slightly high tooth after routine dental
work can feel like a migraine or TMJ pain.
a crimped or stretched vertebral or carotid artery can cause pain which mimic
sinus pain. You get my point—I could go on and on!
practice, it is common to find that headaches and migraines are coming from a
twisted atlas-axis-skull base relationship which causes not just one of the above
conditions, but several!
Counter rotated atlas-axis-skull
base as seen from the top.
instance, when the atlas (C1) and axis (C2) vertebrae are counter rotated under
the skull base (CO), this can 1.) directly cause irritation to the vertebral
arties, 2.) stretch and irritate the cervical occiput muscles, 3.) pull on
frayed or damaged alar ligaments, 4.) irritate upper cervical joint capsules,
and 5.) twist the dura matter and cord through the dentate ligaments, and 6.)
strain the trapezius and other neck muscles.
This simple (and fixable) condition can cause an “over-loading” of the
circuits in sensory “pain central” in the upper spinal cord. This overloading
equals a headache or migraine. But when
the atlas axis and skull base segments are realigned, the pain can resolve
may lead a patient to my clinic, but I usually find a host of other conditions
and symptoms not usually put together by the patient, such as:
memory problems, loss of balance, buzzing or ringing in ears, balance problems,
foggy thinking, anxiety and/or depression, vertigo or
dizziness, difficulty sleeping, sleep apnea, clenching or grinding teeth and
fatigue—just to name a few! The
human body is a closed system and everything is interconnected. The idea that one system or problem does not
affect others is antiquated. The trick
to solving all of the issues, is finding the root elements of the problem.
news is: this is usually fixable if you are in the right place—that place is
The Lift Clinic. So if you have sore neck muscles, especially at the base of
your skull, around the top of your neck or under your ear, this is a big clue and may
signal that your headaches or migraines are directly related to your upper
cervical spine being out of alignment. If so, a simple and focused examination in
my office could be helpful for you.
Visit www.theliftclinic.com and schedule a free consultation
if you are or someone you know are interested in resolving your migraine or
headache without drugs or surgery.