Monday, September 20, 2021

How Upper Cervical Care Improves Mental Health


A person’s mental health is a complex dynamic influenced by upbringing, genetics, emotional habits, and biochemistry.  From therapy to nutritional choices to spiritual practices and more, there are several options to improve the psychology of the mind, but it is important to remember that the psychological and the physiological are not mutually exclusive.  It is well-established that the mental affects the physical; remember, also, that the physical affects the mental.  Accordingly, the intricacy of the upper neck’s relationship with the skull is an important area of consideration when it comes to mental health.  


Upper Cervical Care, the specialty purposed with correcting and monitoring imbalance between the head and neck, has been helping people with mental health problems for a hundred years.  Dr. B.J. Palmer, the developer of the chiropractic profession, operated a psychiatric hospital for 35 years dating back to the 1920s.  Chiropractic was the only treatment rendered for patients diagnosed with schizophrenia, mania, depression, and other neurologically-based psychological disorders.  The incredible results astounded conventional thinkers of the era and have unfortunately been lost to history.  


Dr. Palmer’s successes and those of the doctors who have followed in his footsteps are traced primarily back to the brainstem, located in the water bottle opening-sized space where the skull’s base meets the top two vertebrae in the spinal column.  The brainstem is the body’s regulatory organ, constantly routing the data between the other organs.  Most of the discussion about it being compromised by a head/neck misalignment centers on the body below that area, the disruption of normal communication it causes and the consequent cascade of physiological problems that then develop, immediately or gradually.  The brain above is similarly affected.


Problems in the brain lead to mental health issues.  Everything in the body is connected, though, so the underlying cause of the problem in the brain can be located elsewhere.  The brain depends on a number of things to work properly, including its cell tower-like interplay with the brainstem, receiving necessary blood supply from feeder arteries that travel up each side of the spine, and the constant flow of fluid that protects the brain from touching the skull and that acts as the highway for nutrients and the cells of the immune system.  Head/neck misalignment, often referred to as a (brainstem) subluxation, adversely influences each one.  It interrupts blood flow to the brain, acts like a dam in a river to brain-protecting fluid flow and disrupts optimal brainstem function like a dimmer switch on the main fuse in a home; the limbic system, which is the part of the brain that controls emotions, interprets the effects of head/neck misalignment as acute stress and activates the fight or flight response, causing a wide variety of reactions including but not limited to altered focus, quicker emotional triggers, fatigue, overproduction of stress hormones, and increased blood pressure.


Nicknamed the atlas, the top bone in the neck intersects with the skull’s base and the second spinal vertebra to form the human body’s most delicate protective relationship, and is incredibly dynamic in its movement on account of being held in place only by muscle.  Since it lacks the interlocking joints of its skeletal peers, the top bone is more vulnerable to the effects of head trauma, which everyone suffers to varying degrees of severity, particularly during childhood.  


Concussions have gained tremendous awareness in recent years, much of the talk centered on the emotional implications; and rightfully so.  For context, a concussion (mild traumatic brain injury) is caused by a trauma delivering 95 Gs of force.  It takes just 5 Gs of force to cause a head/neck misalignment, which reinforces the long-held standard in the chiropractic profession that 95% of the population will have suffered a head/neck misalignment by their 40th birthdays (85% by age 18, 75% from birth or other early childhood trauma).  Upper Cervical Care has earned its reputation as one of the best kept secrets in healthcare, but the awareness of something so common as the upper neck misalignment must grow exponentially to match the significance of the problems it can cause.     


American healthcare has a well-developed tendency to promote allowing the dam to break and then cleaning up the aftermath, often ignoring the gradual cause and effect relationship that defines most problems, mental or physical.  Given the complexity of the mind, it is time to broaden the fact finding focus so that the whole picture can be seen, including the physical dynamics such as the head/neck relationship that can heavily influence brain function and alter mental health.  Parents often tell their kids to get their heads on straight, a point made to instigate better emotional patterns.  The purpose of Upper Cervical Care is to literally get the head on straight, and it can be quite an effective tool to support better mental health.  


Thinking good things for you,


Dr. Chad