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NUCCA Chiropractic Headaches

NUCCA Chiropractic and Headaches

There are approximately 45 million Americans complaining of headaches each year. That works out to about one in every six people or 16.54% of the population. Over eight million Americans visit their doctor for complaints of headache each year. Usually patients who have cervicogenic headaches experience a headache accompanied by neck pain and stiffness. Certain neck movements can provoke cervicogenic headaches. Some other symptoms of a cervicogenic headache include: reduced range of motion in the neck, pain on one side of the face or head, pain and stiffness of the neck, pain around the eyes, pain in the neck, shoulder, or arm on one side, head pain that is triggered by certain neck movements or positions, light and noise sensitivity, nausea, or blurred vision. This type of headache responds well to upper cervical chiropractic adjustments, also known as atlas adjustments. The atlas is the top vertebra of the spine and the skull sits on top of the atlas.

Common causes of cervicogenic headaches can be accidents and injuries that affect the head and neck; whiplash injuries from motor vehicle accidents are a major cause. Jobs that cause repetitive stress on the neck because of static positions like hairdressers, dentists and drivers. Sports like boxing, wrestling, mixed martial arts, jujitsu, gymnastics, or any sport were the head and neck can get hit or pulled on. Previous accidents and injuries can cause spinal misalignments, disc bulges, disc herniations and arthritis, all of which may cause cervicogenic headaches.

Unfortunately, there are medical conditions like tumors, infections and fractures than can also cause cervicogenic headaches, which are obviously beyond the scope of chiropractic and require professional medical care.

There are other types of headaches with a cause for each: tension headache, cluster headache, migraine headache, sinus headache, allergy headache, caffeine headache, hormone headache, menstrual headache exertion headache, dehydration headache, hypertension headache, etc. Upper cervical chiropractic adjustments have also helped reduce severity and frequency of some types of headaches.

My clinical experience as a NUCCA Chiropractor shows many people are suffering from cervicogenic headaches that respond very well to chiropractic adjustments to the upper cervical spine. This has been established in medical literature.

Cervicogenic headache means that the origin of the headache is in the neck. “Cervicogenic headache is a pain perceived in the head but referred from a primary source in the cervical spine. The neuroanatomical basis for cervicogenic headache is convergence in the trigeminocervical nucleus between nociceptive afferents from the field of the trigeminal nerve and the receptive fields of the first three cervical nerves. Only structures innervated by C1-C3 appear capable of causing headaches. These are the muscles, joints and ligaments of the upper three cervical segments, but also include the dura mater of the spinal cord and posterior cranial fossa and the vertebral artery.” N. Bogduk – The Anatomical Basis for Cervicogenic Headache.

More recently there has been interest in craniocervical syndrome and cerebellar ectopia interfering with the proper flow of cerebral spinal fluid (CSF) and the amount of blood that can leave the calvarium (skull) at the same level that they are entering, this will cause a back flow or buildup of pressure within the skull and cause a litany of symptoms to include headaches.

Dr. Raymond Damadian (inventor of the stand-up MRI) has worked with an upper cervical chiropractor and showed improvements of the flow CSF post video MRI after an atlas adjustment in a study that discusses previous head and neck injury as a possible cause of multiple sclerosis.

The NUCCA organization (National Upper Cervical Chiropractic Association) has had a study with the University of Calgary showing improvement of blood flow out of the skull post atlas adjustment and phase contrast MRI and improved migraine symptoms.

These are exciting studies because we now not only have the nerve theory of subluxations (spinal misalignments) affecting the well-being of people, but now there is advanced imaging demonstrating that an impediment to the proper flow of blood through the veins of the upper cervical spinal cord was improved after the NUCCA adjustment. One researcher had hypothesized this situation in the 1980s and felt this would cause hypoxia (decreased oxygen) to the cord and cause adverse excitation to the spinal cord and lower brainstem (in case you are wondering, this is bad).

What is NUCCA Chiropractic?

NUCCA is an acronym for the chiropractic procedure named after its fraternal organization-National Upper Cervical Chiropractic Association.

The NUCCA Chiropractic Procedure is called a procedure, rather than a technique, because it is a method for analyzing and correcting the upper cervical region of the spine. The procedure starts with high-quality x-ray equipment that is laser aligned to ensure accuracy and decrease distortion of images. The patient is placed accurately for each image and then a NUCCA doctor analyzes the films accurately. The analysis informs the NUCCA doctor how the misalignment occurred and provide a customized vector (individualized for each patient) to correct the misalignment. The adjustment, performed by hand, is very light. There is no thrust and no twisting, cracking or popping of the neck.  The NUCCA doctor will also take two post x-rays (again with accurate placement and analysis) to verify that a correction or suitable reduction to the misalignment has been made.

Dr. Michael D’Avanzo is Committed to Helping You

The NUCCA Chiropractic Procedure is safe, gentle and effective. Many conditions are helped with NUCCA: neck pain, low back pain, radiating pain from the neck to the arm, radiating pain from the low back to the leg (sciatica), headaches, migraines, tinnitus, trigeminal neuralgia, multiple sclerosis, fibromyalgia, high blood pressure, symptoms of concussion and mild Traumatic Brain Injury, Meniere’s disease and many others.

For a free consultation to learn more about how Dr. Michael D’Avanzo and the NUCCA Chiropractic Procedure can help you call (212) 379-6535.

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