By: Dr. Clayton Sullwold D.C.
The Major Premise of Upper Cervical Care is that there is a subluxation in the upper cervical spine interfering with the expression of life in the body. Throughout the body, nerve fibers travel from the brain down the spinal cord to every tissue, organ and cell of the body. It is these nerve fibers that carry mental impulse from the brain which nourish the body and allow for proper communication from the brain to the body and back to the brain again. Misalignments throughout the spine can interfere with these messages causing decreased signaling throughout the body depending on which nerve root is compressed and which part of it is interfered with as it exits the spine. A nerve, although impinged, will still fire to the extent it can into the body and the end organ it innervates.
The aforementioned is true of everywhere in the spine except for the upper cervical area. The first two bones in the cervical spine just below the skull house the brainstem as it exits the foramen magnum. The nerve fibers that flow through the brainstem do not fire partially like the rest of the nerve roots in the spine. They follow what is called, “the all or none principle,” meaning that fibers in the brainstem either give you everything or they give you nothing. If there is pressure on the brainstem shutting down the fibers to the body then whatever those fibers innervate; that part of the body loses life. For example, if the fibers to the heart are compressed long enough over time a heart palpation can develop or high blood pressure ensues as tissues start breaking down faster than they can repair. This is in essence, a “loss of life” or a “paralysis” as energy is no longer flowing at 100% to the body structure.
Since there are no pain receptors in the brain, brainstem, or spinal cord there is usually no direct symptomatic response to spinal subluxations (vertebral misalignment with nerve interference). Disease and breakdown occur overtime as life giving energy is slowly drained. Often degenerative diseases which take years to develop are often the result in this breakdown of communication; the top three conditions being, osteoarthritis, cancer, and heart disease. All are due to a body building itself unhealthy instead of healthy.
Damage to the brain does occur with trauma and many cases can still function somewhat normally. This is evident in President Ronald Regan’s secretary who was shot through the brain and lived. The same holds true of the spinal cord. However, this does not hold true of the brainstem which is the old animal brain and is responsible for all bodily functions such as heart, digestive, lung, hormone, eye, ear, and sinus function as well as balance and equilibrium. If the brainstem is so much as bruised death results. The brainstem acts as a huge processing center which controls and coordinates all the functions of the body given that it has no interference.
The body heals not because of upper cervical care but in response to it. Once interference is removed from the brainstem by correcting the upper cervical subluxation the body will resume to function at its highest capacity possible. Increased neurological supply of life to the body generates and restores the healing response innate to the individual.
Below the level of subluxation is paralysis as previously discussed in this paper. Above the level of subluxation we see a congestion in the brain occur. This congestion can be likened to a dam constructed where the water below is restricted and the water behind is slowed and pooled. This phenomenon has been noted in multiple sclerosis patients with cerebral spinal fluid and venous drainage stagnation seen with 3D cat scan imaging. Congestion in the brain leads to conditions such as: mental fogginess, improper decision making, increased emotional turmoil and tension, emotional outburst, lack of mental clarity as well as anxiety and depression. The reason for these phenomena is due to the fact that part of the brain stem is the amygdala which is the center of emotions and is part of the old animal brain located in the center of the cerebral hemispheres.
Decisions are usually thought to be made in the prefrontal cortex however, if this area of the brain is destroyed, (such as the case of Phineas Gage), decisions are then rendered based on emotions alone with no rational thought intervening. Rational thinking often goes by the wayside when a person has a neurological deficit such as subluxation. The overwhelmed brainstem becomes the center of decision making as higher rational thought is turned off. Fight or flight responses require innate survival which is quick. Rational thought is too slow and historically the person would be eaten by the attacking predator if they were still pondering what they should do.
Compounding this issue is the subject of trauma. As with most traumatic experiences whether emotional, mental, or physical, the sympathetic nervous system is the predominate overriding force attributed to dysfunction. When added to the already compromised function of the brainstem, a sympathetic dominate state is like driving a car with a stuck accelerator. No matter what you try to do, you will keep running the same course until you can unstick the accelerator. Until you restore the state of the nervous system to a parasympathetic state you are stuck in sympathetic overdrive which is long term fight or flight and almost always results in adrenal burnout, physical exhaustion, and emotional fatigue.
When looking at how upper cervical misalignments can occur and impact the nervous system and particularly the brainstem it is assuring to know that there is a solution. When the source of the problem is corrected the body can then begin to heal emotionally, mentally, and physically. As we remove the block to life flow from the brain to the body the likened damn is released allowing water to flow smoothly and effortlessly. This is the innate intelligence that we are. If we could live a life free from subluxation we could live a life with the ability to adapt to our stresses, overcome our traumas, and move through our trapped emotions much more effectively and efficiently.
Upper Cervical Care utilizes state of the art technology such Specific Upper Cervical X-rays and Computed Infrared Thermography to determine when to make a correction and if brain stem pressure is present.
Dr. Clayton Sullwold D.C. is a certified upper cervical chiropractor having completed post-doctoral work in upper cervical care. He is a certified animal chiropractor through the International Veterinary Chiropractic Association and he lives and practices in Durango, Colorado with his beautiful wife Petra.