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I am a health practitioner who has been practicing in Australia since 1986. The question of spinal subluxations and their role in health complaints beyond localised pain problems still excites a good deal of controversy and hostility in the medical profession, at least within Australia and the US. For this reason I prefer to preserve my anonymity.
I have started this blog as a response to my own experiences as a patient and in response to my many unanswered questions as to what was going on, and why it was working, or not working when I hit a snag.
The blog is still a work in progress as the neurological and biomechanical implications of malalignment in the upper cervical spine are very complex and it is not easy to find a comprehensive information on the subject. Equally the spinal malalignments in question are described under different names by different professions.
My history is that for many years I suffered from back and neck pain, and sought conventional treatment through doctors and physiotherapists, but never really achieved anything better than temporary symptom control. Despite the treatment I received I was progressively deteriorating, and developing a wider range of symptoms that did not seem connected to my back or neck problems. By late 2009 I was so compromised by so many diverse symptoms that I seriously wondering if I would be able to continue working. Given that I was less than 50 years old at the time, this presented quite a problem.
In December 2009 I encountered an advertisement for a new mobilisation technique for the upper cervical spine called Atlas Profilax. I had the treatment shortly thereafter and was greatly impressed not only by the immediate improvement in my neck and back pain, but also by a range of wider health benefits- in particular improved alertness and concentration.
However, despite the claims of Atlas Profilax to be a one off treatment, my experience has been that considerable body work has been required to get full benefit of the correction of the subluxation. There have been significant issues with chronic dysfunctional movement patterns that need to be overcome as well as problems with arthritic change caused by years of poor posture.
As time has progressed it has also become clear to me that upper cervical malalignments may be primary or secondary to malalignment elsewhere in the spine or sometimes even to metabolic issues. However one issue that has become more and more clear is that upper cervical malalignments directly impact the information that reaches the brain stem and can cause serious down stream problems in brain function as our system struggles to cope with distorted information that does not match on the left and right side. There are also issues related to direct mechanical distortion of the brainstem and compromise of drainage of both cerebrospinal fluid and venous blood from the skull.
While this blog initially emphasized issues at C0-1 (the joint between the skull and the atlas) is is clear that C0-1-2 should be regarded as a functional unit and that issues of distorted information can arise from the positioning of any of these joints and the resting tension of any of the suboccipital muscles. This will be dealt with at greater length later.
It is clear to me now that in my case the initial problem was direct birth injury to the upper cervical spine, complicated by a whiplash injury when 25 years old. It is also clear to me that the ill effects of this injury would have been greatly reduced by timely chiropractic intervention.
Unfortunately the conventional medical profession has been very efficient at suppressing information about chiropractic treatment and calling it pseudoscience. My experience as I have researched the area is that far from being a pseudoscience, chiropractic is supported by a very considerable body of research. That body of evidence is not exclusive to chiropractic, but underpins virtually all manual therapy traditions including conventional physiotherapy. There has been extensive evidence collected by conventional medical practitioners, especially in Central and Eastern Europe.
Clearly the time has come to accept evidence that is more targetted and small scale than large scale drug trials, to work out ways to increase cross profession interactions and to increase our awareness of research from non English speaking nations as well as cross disciplinary research.