Thursday, May 8, 2014

Why is There Not More Research on Upper Cervical Care?

Many patients have previously asked - and many others have likely thought about it – “Why isn’t there more research out there about Upper Cervical Care?”

The answer to that question was, perhaps, best exemplified in a recent email that updated me about the progress of a study, which I donated money to about three months ago.
A little bit of background information before I continue: for the last several years, there has been a lot of research conducted in tandem between Upper Cervical Practitioners and Medical Doctors in Italy where Upper Cervical Care was given the wings of several Italian hospitals.  This is not unprecedented, as these types of joint tasks have occurred here in the United States, but suffice to say that a lot more research has been going on over in Italy where the system is better built to help patients find the root causes of their respective health problems.  Here in the States, there is a lot more bias toward the term “chiropractic,” creating a barrier between the paradigms which can often be difficult to overcome.  In Italy, this is less of a problem, in part because the Italian version of the AMA, as I understand it, does not view Upper Cervical Care and Chiropractic as the same entity.  Though groundbreaking discoveries are achieved in the USA when the two professions are able to collaborate -- such as in the University of Chicago Medical Center study that determined Upper Cervical Care is more effective than two blood pressure lowering medications! -- it has proven easier for more research to occur, with less hassle, overseas than in the US.

So, over in Italy about five years ago, the UC DCs and MDs combined to study whether the brainstem subluxation (misalignment of one of the top two vertebrae in the spine, to the point that the brainstem which rests within those bones is compromised) is one of the causes of Multiple Sclerosis, by using functional MRI to better assess the area.  Other forms of imaging have long-since established the neurological consequences of a foundational shift where the head and the neck meet, but the scientific community prefers the functional MRI.  That being stated, the brainstem subluxation was found to be a common link amongst M.S. patients in the Italian study.  Furthermore, it was found that not only was there a correlation, but that there a causative relationship; in fact, the brainstem subluxation was determined to be one of the four primary causes of M.S.  Powerful information, and game-changing for the scientific community.  For an Upper Cervical Practitioner, this study merely confirmed what we already knew, but as this information becomes scientifically solidified, it will begin to reach the public; and when it reaches the public, the manner in which M.S. and related conditions are handled is going to change… a much needed change.
The problem is that research – and this goes back to the question asked in the beginning – requires a lot of money.  The M.S. study in Italy ran out of it.  I happened upon this unfortunate fact on Facebook, of all places.  One of my colleagues posted a link asking for help in raising the remaining funds necessary to complete the study.  I made a donation.  Several months and tens of thousands of dollars later (from mostly UC docs and patient advocates), there still is not enough money to finish it.  Medical schools in the United States receive research grants provided by huge corporations with a vested interest in the results.  At least one pain medication earned well over a billion dollars in 2013.  As compared to the research described above, there is an endless funnel of money pouring into the studies on how to “treat” disease and infirmity, but a study that seeks the cause of such disease and infirmity gets stonewalled by too few dollars and cents.
Research in the Upper Cervical world does get done, but because we, the practitioners, essentially have to fund it on our own, it takes a lot longer.  Greater resources would lead to faster speed of completion, which would mean faster publication of results, which would make it faster and easier for the public to acquire access to that knowledge which the research concludes.  I once had a patient who asked me to verify the comments that I had made about another autoimmune disease.  I said, “I believe that if we can find out why your immune system is attacking your body, then we can do more than treat your diagnosis – we can put you in position to truly overcome.”  This patient abruptly quit receiving Upper Cervical care, because we could not provide him with the double blind, randomly controlled trials to back up such a statement.  No amount of philosophical discussion about the Law of Life that governs what we do as Upper Cervical Practitioners could knock down the mental barricade constructed by years of medical theories validated by research (but then, often, disproved by further research).  It took me 5 months to find the research for him; it now sits on my office’s educational wall.  Unfortunately, that patient left one month prior.
Upper Cervical has grown leaps and bounds in the last decade.  The relationship established with the Italian MDs has been a great one.  They literally said, “Upper Cervical Care makes all the sense in the world.  It is logical and reasonable.  We want to help you prove it scientifically.”  Good things are in the works, ladies and gentlemen.  For now, though, we, as doctors and patients, as well as the research community, simply have to be patient.  Money grows on trees if you want to spend hours in a lab trying to “cure” cancer, but it’s hard to find the location of those trees if your aim is to prove what causes it.
Thinking good things for you,

-Dr. Chad

PS - If, in reading this article, you find yourself inclined to learn more about Upper Cervical research and/or how you can contribute to it, visit

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