How a Neck Injury Can Impact the Entire Body

If you suffer from chronic low back pain or chronic body pain could it be coming from your neck! Have you had trauma to your upper neck and noticed that your whole body hurts or you are just more tired and stiff all over? Well why is that?! That’s what we are going to answer today! The paper that we are studying today is called “Dentate Ligament Cord Distortion Hypothesis” by John D Grostic, 1988 in the Chiropractic Research Journal.

The Upper Cervical spine, specifically the Atlas and Axis, give rise to 50% of the flexion/extension and Rotation right and left in your neck. The upper cervical spine is the most complex joint in the spine as it houses all of the nerves that go down from your brain out to your body. When the upper neck goes out of alignment, as it doesn’t have any boney locks like the rest of the spine, it shifts enough that it can compromise the SpinoCerebellar tract and Spinothalamic tract in your spinal cord. These nerve tracts are the largest nerve tracts in the spinal cord and they lay right next to the attachment sites of the Dentate ligaments to the spinal cord. An upper neck misalignment is a big problem because until someone carefully measures and corrects that misalignment, it can be causing direct spinal cord irritation. So if you know of someone that is struggling with chronic body pain or low back pain, getting their upper cervical spine checked may be an integral piece to getting their health back. Call today to find out more about what an initial evaluation in an upper cervical office may entail 603.380.9184.

You might wonder how the tiny little ligaments in the neck can cause such a big problem. They can cause such a big problem because those ligaments do a big job. The spinal cord is known to stretch up to 30mm in flexion and extension of the cervical spine. If the spinal cord isn’t attached safely and securely to keep it riding in the center of the spinal canal, that’s where the big problems can arise. If it were slightly off center, it would start to cause spinal irritation with movement. We actually see this exact problem in our office. We often hear some of our patients say things like: “As long as I’m flat on my back or standing straight I don’t have a problem, but then when bend over I feel more pain.” That’s because that cord is being tugged around and pulled out of place.  So if you know of someone that suffers from unexplainable body pain like that, let them know upper cervical chiropractic care might be able to help.

Since the spinal cord is comprised by this Dentate ligament traction, it can also cause a restriction in blood flow to the spinal cord. This is a huge problem because the blood flow brings energy and oxygen and takes away metabolic waste. So if the upper neck is out of alignment it can be slowly causing two problems: a direct spinal cord tract distortion, and a loss of blood to and from the spinal cord. If you know of someone that has had an injury to their cervical spine, it may be affecting the entire body, not just their neck. Call an upper cervical chiropractor today to find out how they can help.