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Instep Dance Magazine Articles

Reprints of monthly column as first appearing in Instep Dance Magazine (no longer in print).

November 2000

Direct Trauma to the Head

By Rick Allen, DC

"Better health leads to better dancing."

The next cause of back and joint pain that we will review is direct trauma to the head. Obviously, it is a medical emergency if there is bleeding under the skull next to the brain. Usually this requires surgery to relieve the pressure and stop the bleeding. This type of care is beyond the scope of practice for a chiropractic doctor. But let's consider what happens to the patient after the surgery. Can chiropractic care help?

Yes, chiropractic care is essential, because when there is a blow to the head there will usually be trauma to the neck as well. As many changes in the body may take place later, it is necessary to look down the road. What will happen in 1 year? 5 years? 10 years? a lifetime?

In his book Taking Your Back to the Future, Dr. Michael Gazdar describes a compelling case for chiropractic care: "Recently I was told about a patient of a chiropractor who had been hit by a car while she was a pedestrian. She had hit her head on the ground, been rendered unconscious, taken to the hospital and operated on for bleeding in the head. Subsequent to her injuries, she started having seizures and, although she had never had a history of epilepsy, she was then diagnosed as an epileptic. Since medication did not control the seizures, the parents eventually took her to see a chiropractor.

"After a careful analysis, the chiropractor made a determination that her atlas (the top bone of her neck, known as C1) had been rotated out of its normal position and was putting pressure on the brain stem. This was due to the force of the impact and the resulting blow to the head. He began adjusting her atlas, very gently at first, and the seizures began to diminish. After a few months, they stopped altogether."

As Dr. Gazdar noted, "This case demonstrates the need for chiropractic and medicine to work together in many instances. The chiropractor could not have performed the operation that saved the girl's life, and the surgeon could never have moved the atlas back into its proper position to stop the seizures."

There are many other symptoms that may be the result of a blow to the head. These include dizziness, nausea, blindness, deafness, an inability to smell or taste, a loss of memory, narcolepsy (excessive sleep), and a decrease in the overall immune system that can cause frequent colds, flues, and allergies.

Many times these symptoms can be traced to the area of the brain that has been damaged or misalignment of the bones of the upper neck, according to Dr. Gazdar. Often the problems with the neck may go undetected because chiropractors are usually the only ones who detect cervical or neck misalignment.

Left uncorrected, the abnormal forces on the connective tissue and bones of the neck and back will cause degeneration. In plain language, your spine will decay, developing bone spurs and scar tissue. Over time, it may progress to stage 1, 2, or 3 degeneration as shown in the photos of x-rays of the neck below.

Normal neck X-ray Stage 1 neck  X-ray Stage 2 neck  X-ray Stage 3 neck  X-ray

If you or someone you know has received direct trauma to the head, perhaps in an automobile collision, from a fall or in a fight, it is imperative to be checked by your chiropractor. If you or someone you know has been told by the medical doctor that they can't find anything wrong and the only thing they are able to do is give drugs to decrease the symptoms, it is all the more important to seek chiropractic care.

Reference:

Taking Your Back to the Future by Michael Gazdar, D.C., C.C.S.P.

Next article: It is time to check up on a couple of local dancers as they improve their spinal health.

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