A migraine headache is characterized by an intense, throbbing pain, most often on one side of the head and sometimes involving the neck. Extreme sensitivity to light and sound, nausea and vomiting, and coldness in the hands or feet may accompany the migraine headache. An “aura,” a visual disturbance that appears as flashing lights, jagged lines, or a temporary vision loss sometimes occurs before the headache. Migraines typically occur 1 to 4 times per month and last, on average, from 4 to 72 hours. Migraines triggers are numerous and include lack of food or sleep, bright lights, hormonal changes (in women), anxiety, stress, weather changes, and certain drugs. Often an inherited condition, migraine headaches occur slightly more in boys under the age of 10 than girls but appears 3 times more frequently in adult woman than men.
HOW NUCCA TREATMENT CAN HELP PAINFUL MIGRAINES
Although the exact cause of migraine is still unknown, there is evidence to suggest that migraine headaches may be triggered by trauma to the head and neck area. The pain may not develop until years later. The standard approach to managing migraines have been drug therapy; drugs, however, do not treat the root cause of the disorder and often have unpleasant side effects.
BLAIR UPPER CERVICAL TREATMENT can help provide migraine pain relief by alleviating any misalignments in the vertebrae of the upper cervical spine (upper neck) caused by trauma such as auto accidents or sports injuries, as well as poor posture. These misalignments cause irritation to the nerves traveling between the brain and spinal cord and to the blood vessels traveling to the head. Nerve irritation and altered blood flow has been directly associated with migraines. By correcting the vertebrae in the upper neck, normal nerve and blood flow is returned and many patients suffering from migraine headache pain are able to get long term relief from their symptoms.
Specific imaging studies of the cervical region are taken to locate a vertebral misalignment. Tytron-5000 technology is used to scan and measure the nervous system for possible irritation. If a misalignment has been found to affect the function of the nervous system, very specific gentle adjustments are made, by hand, to correct the misaligned vertebrae in the neck.
Rappaport A, Sheftall F. Headache Relief. New York , NY : Simon and Schuster, 1991.
American Council for Headache Education Web site. Available at: http://www.achenet.org. Accessed February 9, 2005.
National Headache Foundation Web site. Available at: http://www.headaches.org. Accessed February 10, 2005.
National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke Web site. Available at: http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/headache/headache.htm. Accessed February 10, 2005
USEFUL MIGRAINE HEADACHE LINKS
- American Council for Headache Education
- Nonprofit patient-health professional partnership dedicated to advancing the treatment and management of headache and to raising the public awareness of headache as a valid, biologically based illness.
- Migraine Awareness Group
- Helps bring public awareness to migraine as a biologic neurological disease; assists patients, their families, and coworkers.
- National Headache Foundation
- Nonprofit organization dedicated to educating headache sufferers and healthcare professionals about headache causes and treatments.
- National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke
- As part of the National Institutes of Health, supports biomedical research; good source of patient information on migraine.
Many migraine sufferers are now pain-free and living a more productive and enjoyable life thanks to Upper Cervical care.
If you are currently living with migraine headaches, you know the classic symptoms of pain, sensitivity to light or sound, nausea, and vomiting. Some migraine sufferers also experience visual disturbances, numbness, tingling, clumsiness, or have difficulty communicating.
Typical medical treatments include both over-the-counter and prescription drugs. However, if you’ve seen the drug ads on TV or read the Physician’s Desk Reference, you know that all of the common migraine drugs are potentially dangerous and can cause serious side effects.
Migraines can be triggered by a number of factors including stress, excessive light or sound, fatigue, hunger, diet, hormonal changes, weather changes, caffeine, cigarette smoke, head trauma, neck movements, and even the use of a low pillow. However, it is important to understand that these “trigger factors” do not cause migraine headaches.
Dr. Seymour Diamond, Executive Director of the National Headache Foundation, has announced that new imaging techniques now allow scientists to identify what they believe to be a cause of migraines: a malfunctioning brain stem. When the brain stem, located near the top of the neck malfunctions, it increases the swelling of blood vessels surrounding the brain, setting up a chain reaction that results in a migraine headache.
Migraines & Upper Cervical Care
A misalignment in the Upper Cervical spine (neck) can affect the function of the brain stem. This, in turn, can cause migraine headaches. Car accidents, sports injuries, work-related injuries, physical or emotional stress, falls, or even birth trauma can cause upper cervical misalignments.
Headache categories include:
- Tension Headache – pain or discomfort in the head, scalp, or neck, usually associated with muscle tightness in these areas;
- Migraine Headache – moderate to severe pain that is often described as throbbing or pounding and is associated with sensitivity to light, noise, or odors; nausea or vomiting; loss of appetite; stomach upset or abdominal pain; and upper neck pain;
- Cluster Headache – severe pain in or around the eye that comes in attacks – known as cluster periods – and is also associated with drooping eye lid, tearing, and stuffy nose;
- Chronic Headache or Chronic Daily Headache (CDH) – classified as experiencing fifteen or more days with a headache per month;
- Cervicogenic Headache – headache with associated neck pain and muscle spasms.
How Upper Cervical Care Relates to Headaches: Migraine, Cluster & Tension
While medical science has not determined the exact cause of headaches, recent research is pointing towards a trauma-induced origin for many types of headaches.1-20 Evidence supports that trauma (in particular mild concussive injury to the head, neck or upper back) increases the risk of headache onset.1-20 Researchers have labeled some headaches as being “cervicogenic” in origin (they are triggered by neck dysfunction).21-32 Following the trauma, headaches can be triggered immediately or they can take months or years to develop.
The purpose of upper cervical care is to reverse the trauma-induced upper neck injury; thereby reducing irritation to the nerves and blood vessels that trigger headaches. While many headache sufferers recall specific traumas such as head injuries, auto accidents or falls, some do not. An evaluation is necessary in each individual’s case to assess whether an upper cervical injury is present and whether benefit from upper cervical care can be achieved.
Case Studies – Headaches: Migraine, Cluster & Tension
Female, Age 13 years, Chronic Cough, Allergies, Ear Infections, Headaches
This 13-year-old female was chronically sick since birth. Her mother described her as getting a sinus/upper respiratory infection 5-6 times per year, each time also having an ear infection. By age 5, she had her tonsils and adenoids removed and had also had several sets of tubes for ear infections. By age 12, she began suffering from a chronic cough, daily headaches, and pain at the base of her skull/upper neck region.
During her initial evaluation, it was discovered that she had sustained an injury to her upper neck. Her mother described several possible traumas including using suction at her birth, a skate boarding accident, and a concussion after falling off the monkey bars. During the first week of care, her cough, headaches, and neck pain were markedly reduced. She also described having a lot of drainage out of her nose. Within a month, her nasal congestion, cough, headaches, and pain were all absent. Six months later, she had no experienced any infections during that time.
Female, Age 5 years, Asthma, Neck Pain, Headaches, Sinus Congestion
This 5-year-old female frequently complained of neck pain and headaches. She also suffered with severe asthma attacks for 3 years and frequently required emergency room visits. In addition, she explained that her nose was constantly plugged and that she had difficulty smelling. This child’s neck injury most likely stemmed from the birth process, as her mother reported that her daughter’s birth was difficult and premature.
One week after this child’s first upper cervical adjustment, her mother stated that she began to sleep through the night without wheezing or coughing. The 5-year-old said she had not noticed any trouble with her neck or headaches and she demonstrated that she could now breathe through her nose. She was also able to discontinue asthma medications.
Male, Age 27 years, Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Headaches, Chronic Sinus Trouble
This 27-year-old male suffered from chronic sinus trouble since childhood. He continuously felt congested; he couldn’t breathe through his nose; he felt chronic pressure in his sinuses; and also suffered frequent infections that usually spread to his ears as well. He claimed salt water washes seemed to help somewhat but that the problem always returned. He also complained about his neck since grade school. He claimed he felt a continuous need to “crack” it and suffered from occasional torticollis episodes where his neck seized up and could not turn. In addition, he complained of poor digestive health for approximately the past 10 years. He thought the problem started while traveling overseas but no one could ever isolate a parasite or infection. He suffered from frequently diarrhea episodes, usually at least once per day. Certain foods definitely exacerbated the problem but diarrhea would continue no matter how bland of foods he ate. Finally, he suffered from approximately one headache per week for the past year prior to upper cervical care.
During his initial upper cervical chiropractic examination, an upper neck injury was discovered. When questioned about past traumas that could have caused his neck injury, he recalled a bad car accident as a child and another during high school in which he was flung against the dash board.
During the first month of upper cervical care, all symptoms gradually lessened. By month two, all symptoms were absent.
Female, Age 16 years, Chronic Sinus Congestion, Sinus Headaches
This 16-year-old female suffered with chronic sinus trouble since approximately third grade. She always had a stuffy nose and clogged sinuses and had frequent colds, causing her to feel sinus pressure and headaches. One year ago she had surgery for a deviated septum in an attempt to improve the problem but it had little effect. She frequently felt sinus headaches and vertigo during altitude, pressure, or weather changes.
During her initial chiropractic examination, an upper cervical injury was found. After upper cervical care, her sinuses drained, her nose cleared, she breathed freely through her nose, and she no longer had headaches, pressure, or vertigo.
Male, Age 11 years, Fibromyalgia, Fatigue, ADHD, Headaches, Sleep Disorder
This 11-year-old male suffered with Fibromyalgia, Chronic Fatigue, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, and Headaches for many years. He experienced constant muscular pain throughout his body and had trouble participating in sports or exercise due to pain and muscle spasms. He couldn’t even wear a watch due to pain around his wrists. He frequently took hot baths or used a heating pad to relax his muscles. In addition, he was home-schooled due to frustration and difficulty in school. Headaches occurred twice per week, sometimes severe. His sleep was extremely irregular– he usually awakened every few hours. Frequently he would be in bed for 13 hours and still wake up fatigued.
During this 11-year-old’s upper cervical chiropractic exam, an upper neck injury was found. When questioning his mother about the boy’s medical history, she recalled that he fell out of a grocery cart at age 3 months. After only 1 month of upper cervical care, all symptoms were greatly improved. He was able to participate in sports without pain; he no longer had muscle spasms; all headaches were gone; school work improved in that he had less frustration and better attention span; he slept through the night and had energy upon awakening; and all fatigue was gone.
Female, Age 8 years, Sensory Integration Disorder, Fatigue, Trouble Sleeping, Headaches
This 8-year-old female was diagnosed with sensory integration disorder at age 7. Her mother described her sensitivity to noises (especially outside noise) and lights since birth. Her mother also remarked her slowness to develop normal muscle tone as an infant. She had been undergoing occupational therapy for the past year prior to seeking help from upper cervical care. This child also suffered from headaches and severe fatigue. The fatigue was attributed to her inability to sleep. Almost every night, she awakened in the middle of the night and went to her parents’ room (which was also exhausting for her parents). This child’s health history also included chronic ear infections (8 per year for her first 3 years of life, which were eventually lessened through homeopathic treatment). Because of the sensory integration issues and fatigue, this child had difficulty making friends or participating in social situations and preferred to be home alone in her room. Her mother described her as “being unhappy” most of the time.
During this child’s initial upper cervical evaluation, an upper neck injury was found. When questioned as to past traumatic events, her mother described the birth itself as seemingly normal, except it occurred 5 weeks premature. She also remember that her daughter fell off of a counter at 6 month’s old and had several falls while learning to walk.
Within the first month of upper cervical care, this child began to sleep through the night without awakening. Her mother reported a gradual improvement in her energy level and mood. By the second month, all headaches were absent and her mother stated that her daughter’s behavior was improving, along with her energy and mood. Six months later, her mother reported that her daughter was consistently happy and energetic, which was the first time in 8 years. One year later, during a reexamination by her occupational therapist, her therapist no longer found evidence of sensory integration issues and released her from occupational therapy.
Male, Age 9 years, Tourette Syndrome, ADHD, Depression, Insomnia, Headaches, Asthma
This 9-year-old boy began having health problems soon after his birth (a forceps birth). He also fell down the stairs at age 1. He had many infections including ear infections and pneumonia every year for the first several years of his life. He was diagnosed with asthma at age 2 and prescribed inhalers. The asthma attacks occurred during weather changes, humidity, and physical activity. By age 7, he was diagnosed with ADHD and Tourette Syndrome. The Tourette’s tics occurred head to toe and involved his eyes, neck, voice, rolling of his toes, flinching of his side, and lifting of his arms overhead. He was not prescribed Ritalin for ADHD due to an increased risk of tics. In addition, he was diagnosed with insomnia and depression at age 8 and was prescribed 2 different anti-depressant medications. He also experienced neck pain and headaches 3 times per week since age 8.
During this boy’s upper cervical exam, a neck injury was found, which possibly stemmed from either his birth or fall down the stairs.
After his first upper cervical adjustment, his mother reported only 2 days later: 1) his attitude and personality were happier, 2) no headaches, 3) no neck pain, 4) no wheezing, 5) tics were cut in half, 6) slept through the night. One month later, no headaches or neck pain occurred over the month; no asthma or wheezing occurred over the month and no asthma medications were used; all motor tics were completely gone and only an occasional verbal tic occurred; sleeping had been consistently improved; personality and behavior had been consistently improved and anti-depressants had been cut in half; attention in school to school work and interaction with other kids in school was also greatly improved.
Six weeks after the first adjustment, all symptoms were absent. All family members remarked that by having his neck injury corrected, the boy had become a completely different, happy, and healthy child.
Female, Age 8 years, Attention Deficit Disorder, Bedwetting, Headaches, Neck Pain
This 8-year-old female sustained a head injury by falling off of her bike. After the fall, she began suffering from neck pain, headaches, and bedwetting. Her behavior also became irritable and hyper (she had difficulty concentrating in school and sitting still) and was diagnosed with Attention Deficit Disorder.
After upper cervical care, her headaches and neck pain went absent; her behavior returned to an agreeable and relaxed state; and the bedwetting decreased in frequency.
Female, Age 36 years, Neck Pain, Headaches, Knee Pain, Panic Attacks
This 36-year-old female suffered from neck pain and headaches since an auto accident 15 years prior. Her neck frequently “pinched” and caused headaches. After the accident, she was given muscles relaxants and physical therapy for four months with no results. Finally, she was prescribed cortisone shots in her neck and back, which also provided little relief. She eventually discovered activities that aggravated her neck, including carrying her sons, holding the phone at her ear, lifting overhead, or certain exercises, and tried to avoid those activities as often as possible. Unfortunately, the pain continued year after year. In addition, she suffered from chronic unexplained knee pain in her left knee. She enjoyed running on a daily basis and was forced to stop running due to excruciating pain.
At the time she sought help from upper cervical care, she hadn’t be able to run for two years. Also, she suffered from anxiety / panic attacks for 6 months that were triggered during stress, being in crowded rooms, and flying on airplanes. During the attacks, her pulse would quicken and she would feel claustrophobic, requiring her to leave the crowded or stressful location. During her initial evaluation, an upper cervical injury was discovered that most likely stemmed from her auto accident 15 years prior.
After only two upper cervical adjustments, all neck pain, headaches, knee pain, and anxiety attacks were gone.
Female, Age 28 years, Headaches, Essential/Familial Tremor, Anxiety
This 28-year-old experienced nervousness, tremors and anxiety attacks since childhood. She took medication to calm her nerves and control the tremors. In addition, since taking up snowboarding 4 years ago and falling numerous times on her head, she experienced headaches, many of them escalating into migraines. During certain headaches, her left hand went numb. She took approximately 4 ibuprofen per week for headache pain. After one month of care, the headaches, tremors, nervousness, and anxiety stopped and she discontinued all medications.
Female, Age 21 years, Migraine Headaches, Dizzy spells, Depression
This 21-year-old female had been suffering from 3-6 migraines per week and approximately 3 dizzy spells per week for the previous few years. She also had been suffering from depression. She had fallen and suffered a concussion 5 years prior and felt as though her health had deteriorated since that fall.
During her initial evaluation, an upper neck injury was discovered, which perhaps could have been caused by the fall that also caused the concussion. After the first upper cervical adjustment, she reported noticing her symptoms improve. Within a few months, all symptoms were absent and she was able to discontinue all medications.
Male, Age 22 years, Bipolar Disorder, Migraine Headaches
This 22-year-old male had been suffering with bipolar disorder and migraines headaches since grade school. His parents recalled the following health history. At one year old, he fell out of his high chair and landed on his head. At age 3, he fell backwards on the basketball court and his his head hard on the ground. In second grade, his concentration problems started. In fourth grade, he participated in judo and was repeatedly thrown on his head. In fifth grade, he started having migraine headaches and mild depression. In ninth grade, he fell off of a stage at school, hit his head, and was knocked unconscious for 15 minutes. In tenth grade, he was involved in an auto accident in which he was rear-ended at 25 mph. In eleventh grade, mania started. As a result, he had more trouble in school, and was assaulted by a school administrator. At the time of his initial upper cervical chiropractic evaluation, he was living at home and undergoing drug therapy with several anti-depressant medications.
During his evaluation, an upper neck injury was discovered that could have been caused by any number of his previous head/neck traumas. After the first upper cervical adjustment, he reported “feeling better,” with less headaches and a better mood. His parents agreed. Within several months, all headaches were absent and he reported having a stable mood, without any manic or depressive episodes.
Male, Age 23 years, Bipolar Disorder, Epilepsy, Sleep Disorder, Headaches, Back Pain
This 23-year-old male suffered a closed head injury at age 17 in which he landed on his head due to a pole-vaulting accident at a high school track meet. Since the fall, he suffered from bipolar disorder (rapid-cycling mood swings), seizures (2-3 per day), daily headaches, daily neck and back pain, and sleep disorder (he would often be awake for 24-36 straight hours before finally going to sleep and then often would sleep for 24 or more hours). He was taking tegretol for bipolar disorder and pain medication for headaches.
During this patient’s upper cervical exam, an upper neck injury was found, most likely stemming from the pole-vaulting accident. The injury was compromising this patient’s brain and spinal cord function. After five months of upper cervical care, all mood swings, headaches, seizures, pain, and sleep trouble were corrected, and all medications were discontinued. All family members remarked at the enormous change in the patient’s mental outlook, personality, and health.
Female, Age 58 years, Neck Pain, Tingling from elbow to fingers, Headaches, Hip Pain
This 58-year-old female experienced neck pain, headaches, tingling from her left elbow down through her fingers and right hip pain for 2 months before seeking help from upper cervical care. When discussing her medical history, she recalled two falls where she tripped while trail running several months before her symptoms started.
During her upper cervical chiropractic exam, an upper neck injury was found– most likely stemming from one or both of her falls while running. After only 1 month of upper cervical care, all symptoms healed and have never returned.
Female, Age 12 years, Chronic Fatigue, Migraine Headaches, Dizzy Spells, Stomach Aches, Allergies, Frequent Colds and Infections
This 12-year-old female was brought in by her mother for an upper cervical evaluation. Her mother reported that her daughter had been chronically ill for the previous two years. Her illness started with pneumonia for which she was hospitalized two years prior. She reported that her daughter never regained her health – that she seemed to catch every infection and cold; that she was constantly tired; and even that she had stopped growing. Her mother also reported that her daughter would have ‘spells’ in which she got a headaches, dizziness, and stomach aches all at once and that the color would drain from her face. These spells had been increasing in frequency and her mother was very concerned about her daughter’s future and whether she would ever regain her health.
During the girl’s upper cervical chiropractic evaluation, an upper neck injury was discovered. When questioned, her mother recalled three different traumas that could have caused her daughter’s neck injury – a fall from the monkey bars in which she landed on her back and head; an auto accident; and another fall in which she took a hard blow to the head. After one week of treatment for her neck injury, the mother reported that her daughter’s health was improved – that the spells of headache, dizziness, and stomach ache had greatly decreased and that her daughter appeared to have more energy. One month later, all symptoms were greatly reduced. Six months later, all symptoms had been absent for several months and the girl had not succumbed to any colds or infections for the past three months. One year later, all symptoms continued to be absent; no infections had occurred; and the girl had resumed growing like any other normal teenager.
Male, Age 6 years, Chronic Sinus / Ear Infections, Bedwetting, Headaches, Growing Pains
This 6-year-old male was described by his mother as “always sick.” Due to chronic ear infections, he had already undergone three sets of tubes, the first at age 3. He was continuously medicated with allergy medications, sinus medications, and antibiotics for infections and had surgery to remove his adenoids. His mother described him as requiring antibiotics almost every month during the winter. She reported that his lymph nodes throughout his body were always swollen. In addition to his chronic infections, he also suffered from neck pain, headaches, and “growing pains” in his knees and ankles. He also wet his bed every night.
During his initial evaluation, an upper neck injury was discovered. When questioned, his mother recalled two falls her son had suffered that preceded all of his health problems and could have caused his neck injury. At ten months, he fell down the stairs and at twelve months, he fell headfirst on hard tile. Within the first weeks of care, the boy did not report any headaches, growing pains, or neck pain and his nose, ears, and sinuses began clearing up. Several weeks later, his mother was amazed that he was not suffering from any infections and was not requiring any medications. Months later, he still had not had any infections and the bedwetting cleared up. All symptoms remained absent.
Female, Age 8 years, Chronic Runny Nose, Ear Infections, Headaches, Neck Pain
This 8-year-old was chronically affected with daily headaches, daily neck pain, daily runny nose, and frequent ear infections. Her allergy / sinus symptoms had been present since birth. She also suffered with colic as a baby. During her initial exam, her neck and spine was extremely sore to the touch. Her mother described her since birth as “irritable.”
After the first adjustment, her headaches and neck pain were absent. After the second adjustment, the sinus and ear infections also disappeared. She did not require any adjustments since and had no return of symptoms. Her mother reported her being “the healthiest she has ever been.”
Male, Age 9 years, Chronic Ear Infections, Headaches, Muscle Aches
This 9-year-old male suffered with health problems since he was born (he had a difficult forceps birth.) He had 3 sets of tubes in his ears and a tonsillectomy by age 5. At age 9, his ears were again filled with fluid and his hearing was greatly diminished. In addition, he suffered with daily headaches and nightly muscle aches. During his chiropractic examination, an upper cervical injury was discovered.
After upper cervical care, the fluid drained from his ears and his hearing was restored. Also, the muscle and headaches disappeared. Years later, his problems had not returned.
Female, Age 19 years, Headaches, Insomnia, Fatigue, Fainting Spells
At age 15, this 19-year-old female was struck by several large waves while on vacation with her family. After the waves hit her and knocked her face-down against the ocean floor, she ran out of the water with severe pain in her neck and back. While she appeared to recover, when she returned home at the end of the vacation, she began having fainting spells, where she would wake up in strange locations, not knowing what had happened. One fainting spell occurred while she was driving her car, causing her to run a red light and get hit by a bus traveling the opposite direction. After this incident, she was no longer allowed to drive. In addition to the fainting spells, she also began suffering from headaches, which escalated into a constant, daily occurrence, as well as frequent insomnia, which lead to extreme fatigue.
After consulting with several local doctors and undergoing numerous tests, including an MRI, her physicians could not find anything wrong with her and could only conclude that she had migraines and possibly psychological problems. Not accepting this, this patient and her parents searched the internet for additional help and decided to undergo an upper cervical chiropractic evaluation.
During her evaluation, an upper neck injury was discovered, which was likely caused by the trauma from the waves. Because this patient had traveled from a distance to undergo the evaluation, her family decided to have her stay in the area for 7 weeks to be treated. After her first upper cervical adjustment, the fainting stopped. By the second week of care, her headaches began to diminish. In addition, she began to sleep better and felt more energetic. At the end of seven weeks, all fainting, headaches, and insomnia were absent. She felt healthy, happy, and energetic.
Female, Age 56 years, Neck Pain, Headaches, Chronic Fatigue
This 56-year-old female suffered from chronic neck pain, headaches, and fatigue for years. She thought the problems may have started sometime after an auto accident she experienced 14 years before. During the accident, she was hit head-on and totaled her car. The pain bothered her on and off for years– sometimes on a daily basis and other times a month would go by without pain. She tried many practitioners such as massage therapists and chiropractors and received some relief but still the problem continued year after year. Finally, after struggling over a decade, she sought help from upper cervical chiropractic care.
During her upper cervical chiropractic exam, an upper neck injury was found, most likely stemming from her auto accident. Unfortunately the injury had never been addressed by any of her previous practitioners. After only 3 upper cervical adjustments, her neck injury was corrected. All neck pain, headaches, and fatigue healed and never returned.
Female, Age 46 years, Migraine Headaches, Neck Pain, Herniated Disc
This 46-year-old female suffered from migraine headaches for the past 5 years. She thought they started after she performed a headstand in yoga class because she felt compression in her neck and stiffness. The headaches began occurring every 2 weeks with nausea and vomiting. Often, she was bedridden for 2 days due to the nausea and pain. Three years after the headstand, an MRI indicated that she had herniated a disc in her lower neck (C7). She tried steroids, physical therapy, traction, and ultrasound, but the headaches and pain continued. She complained of constant neck pain, right arm weakness, and pain in her right shoulder.
During her upper cervical chiropractic examination, an upper neck injury was discovered. In addition to the headstand, this patient also recalled an auto accident at age 20 that could have caused her neck injury. During the accident, her car flipped and rolled down an embankment. After only one upper cervical adjustment, she never experienced neck pain, arm pain, or migraines again.
Male, Age 33 years, Headaches, Vertigo, Blurred Vision, Neck Pain
This 33-year-old male was rear-ended in an auto accident 5 years prior to seeking help from upper cervical care. After the accident, he felt his neck stiffen up and he suddenly required glasses to read due to blurred vision. Prior to the accident, no visual problems were reported. Three years later, he reinjured his neck when his neck suddenly spasmed to the point that he could not turn his head. He began suffering from a number of new symptoms including headaches, dizziness, worsening of his visual acuity and increased blurring, pain shooting down his right arm, loss of balance and coordination, “cracking” sounds in his neck, muscle twitches in his left leg, pressure at the base of his skull, and pain between his shoulder blades.
During his upper cervical chiropractic evaluation, an upper neck injury was discovered, which most likely stemmed from his auto accident. After the first upper cervical adjustment, he reported a substantial improvement in all of his symptoms. Within one month, all of his symptoms were greatly improved. By two months, all symptoms were absent, including the blurred vision and the need for glasses. After his neck stabilized, he reported feeling the best he had felt in 2 years!
Male, Age 34 years, Severe Neck Pain, Headaches, Dizziness
This 34-year-old male was hit hard on the head by his garage door. One month later, he woke up with severe pain in his neck and base of his skull, headaches, and dizziness. He went to the emergency room and multiple tests were performed including MRI’s, Xrays, and a spinal tap. He was told that his tests were normal and he was prescribed heavy doses of pain killers including vicadin, which did not alleviate his pain. After seeing a neurosurgeon, who told him there was nothing that could be done, he saw another neurologist, who prescribed more pain medications and steroid anti-inflammatories. His pain was rated as a 5 or 6 on the 1-10 scale daily and the pain medications weren’t working. Finally, he took Imitrex, which lessened the pain somewhat, so he took one every morning and one every night. He eventually sought help from a naturopath who referred him for an upper cervical chiropractic evaluation.
At the time of his initial upper cervical chiropractic evaluation, he had suffered from daily neck pain, headaches, and dizziness for six straight weeks. During his evaluation, an injury in his upper neck was discovered, which had likely stemmed from the blow to the head by the garage door. Within a month of care, all of his pain, headaches, and dizziness were absent. Months later, his condition remained stable and no symptoms were reported.
Female, Age 23 years, Migraine Headaches, Dizzy Spells
Three years prior to upper cervical chiropractic care, this 23-year-old female fell down a flight of stairs. One month after the fall, she started suffering from migraines and began having them regularly for three years. She also suffered from neck pain that was most severe upon extension. In addition, she experienced frequent dizzy spells that lasted for several seconds and caused her to bump into walls. She tried many drugs such as Prozac and pain medications and therapies such as biofeedback but nothing helped.
During her initial chiropractic exam, an upper cervical injury was found, perhaps stemming from her fall down the stairs. After two months of upper cervical care, she was free of migraines, dizziness, and neck pain.
Female, Age 17 years, Migraine Headaches
his 17-year-old female had been suffering from chronic, severe migraine headaches for the previous 4 years. The headaches started during her freshman year and caused her to miss 80 school days. By her junior year, she missed closed to two-thirds of the school year (120 days) due to headaches. During her senior year, the headaches were daily in that she awakened everyday with one and tried a dozen different medications. During her senior year, she sought help from upper cervical chiropractic care.
During her initial upper cervical chiropractic evaluation, an upper neck injury was discovered. She recalled experiencing a fall during her freshman year prior to the onset of her headaches. She described the fall as occuring on her icy porch where her feet slipped out from under her causing her to land on her head and tail bone.
After one month of upper cervical care, the severity and frequency of migraines began to decrease. By 6 months, all migraines were absent and all medications were discontinued.
Female, Age 27 years, Seizures, Headaches, Neck Pain
This 27-year-old female was involved in a motor vehicle accident, after which she was diagnosed with whiplash, concussion, and brain injury. Shortly after the accident, she developed headaches, seizures, and pain in her neck and was medicated for those symptoms for several years before seeking help from upper cervical care.
During her initial examination, an upper neck injury was discovered, probably stemming from the auto accident. Within three months of upper cervical care, all headaches, seizures, and pain were absent and all medications were discontinued.
Male, Age 41 years, Headaches
This 41-year-old male suffered from headaches since childhood. The headaches became more frequent over the last five years since he started his own business. They occur everyday and he typically awakens with them. He has been using over the counter pain medications on a daily basis for the past two years.
During his initial upper cervical chiropractic evaluation, an upper neck injury was discovered. After initiating treatment, the headaches began to taper off. Within five months, he was headache-free.
Female, Age 14 years, Headaches, Weight Loss, Fevers, Backaches
This 14-year-old female was involved in two different accidents seven years prior and had suffered with numerous health problems since. At age 7, during the spring skiing season, she ran into a tree (without wearing a helmet) and sustained a concussion. During the fall of that same year, she fell off of the monkey bars and sustained another concussion. Following the second concussion, she began experiencing frequent headches. Eventually they worsened until they occurred constantly on a daily basis. Shortly thereafter, she experienced sudden unexplained weight loss where she lost 15 pounds. She also suffered from a constant fever for 40 straight days, which eventually lessened into occassional, unexplained fevers. In addition, she began having frequent back and hip pain, which prevented her from participating in sports she enjoyed. She also noticed her school work began to suffer where she previously had been an “A” student.
During her initial evaluation, an upper neck injury was discovered, which was likely caused by one or both of the accidents that had also caused concussions. After the first upper cervical adjustment, she reported noticing her head and neck pain and her fever easing. After several weeks of care, she reported that her back and hip pain and her cognitive abilities were also improving. Within a few months, all symptoms were absent and she was able to participate fully in sports and school.
Male, Age 13 years, Migraine Headaches
This 13-year-old male suffered from severe migraine headaches for the past two years. His first migraine lasted seven straight weeks. Many of his migraines lasted days or weeks at a time without reprieve. Each time, he was taken to the emergency room but he didn’t respond well to pain medications and was forced to suffer through the pain. At each migraine, he typically experienced visual changes, pain at the base of his skull causing him to be unable to turn his head, plus the migraine pain, and he would never know how many days or weeks the migraine might last.
During his initial examination, an upper neck injury was discovered. It was revealed that this boy was very active with a variety of sports including BMX biking, rollerblading, and skateboarding, and that he had suffered numerous falls on his head and neck, too many to count. After receiving upper cervical care, he never had another migraine.
Female, Age 11 years, Headaches
This 11-year-old female complained of chronic, daily headaches and neck pain for the past six months. She described her headaches as occurring mostly in the afternoon, although sometimes they occurred throughout the day. She took advil or tylenol daily.
When examined, an upper neck injury was discovered. She reported experiencing multiple falls on her head due to her practice of gymnastics for the previous 18 months, any one of which could have caused her upper neck injury. Within one month of upper cervical care, all headaches and neck pain were absent.
Female, Age 37 years, Migraine Headaches
This 37-year-old female, who had never suffered from headaches previously, woke up one day with a migraine that continued non-stop for months. At the time of her initial evaluation, she had suffered continuously with a daily migraine for four straight months. She had tried numerous pain medications and other recommendations from her physicians to no avail. The pain was so severe and debilitating that she was forced to take disability leave from work.
After undergoing her initial upper cervical chiropractic evaluation, an upper neck injury was discovered that was causing her headaches. She surmised that perhaps a new yoga pose had injured her neck because the headaches started shortly after a yoga class she had taken. Ten days after her first adjustment, she woke up for the first time in four months without a headache. Several weeks later, the headaches were completely absent and never returned. After her initial upper neck adjustment, she maintained her normal neck alignment and no further adjustments were needed.
Male, Age 34 years, Head Injury, Whiplash, Headaches, Sleep Disorder, Fatigue
This 34-year-old male suffered a head injury during an auto accident in which he was rear-ended at 50mph. He described severe pain in his neck and back and headaches that originated at the base of his skull and spread to his left eye. His pain was so severe that it prevented him from sleeping, so he suffered from severe fatigue. To maintain some level of function during the day, he relied on multiple caffeinated beverages such as jolt or bull colas and/or coffee. At the time of his initial upper cervical chiropractic evaluation (14 months after the accident), he had been suffering with all of the above symptoms for over a year. He had sought help from numerous practitioners including physicians, neurologists, and therapists, to no avail. He reported receiving some temporary relief from Pilates.
During his evaluation, an upper cervical injury was discovered, which had likely been caused by his auto accident. After the first month of care, be began to notice less pain and a slightly better ability to sleep. By the third month of care, he was reporting a larger reduction in pain levels, which was enabling him to resume exercising. After six months, all pain was absent, normal sleep was resumed, and he was able to partcipate in all previous activities and sports, including working full-time.
Male, Age 32 years, Cluster Headaches
“I’d been suffering with cluster headaches for 13 years before I found Dr. Elster. Between the ages of 19 and 32, I went from having episodic to chronic cluster headaches. I saw and spoke with at least 50 different neurologists. They had me try all types of medication from oxygen to ergotamine to verapamil. None of it worked. Finally I was reduced to taking imitrex everyday. My headaches were debilitating. My quality of life was diminished to the point that I couldn’t leave my house. After over a decade of such suffering, I was so depressed that I began to contemplate suicide. I could no longer live with the pain and torment my headaches gave me. And then, like a miracle, I found Dr. Elster on the internet. She performed upper cervical treatment on my upper cervical spine and I’ve been cluster headache free ever since!” Jeremy, June ’03
Female, Age 57 years, Migraine Headaches
This 57-year-old female reported suffering with migraines for more than 4 decades at the time of her initial upper cervical evaluation. She described having her first migraine at age 13, with the migraines worsening after she had four children. She reported having a hysterectomy in order to help the migraines but no change in the headaches occurred after having the surgery. She had also tried numerous pain medications, alternative diets, food and allergy testing, massage, acupuncture, chiropractic, osteopathy, and cranial sacral therapy. While some of the therapies helped temporarily, none ever rid of her migraines. At the time of her initial upper cervical evaluation, she described the migraines as occurring once every 10 to 14 days, and that she was currently using imitrix tablets and/or shots to help decrease the migraine pain once a migraine started.
During her initial upper cervical evaluation, an upper neck injury was discovered. She surmised the injury must have occurred sometime during her childhood (preceding the migraine onset) but could not recall any accidents. During the first few weeks of upper cervical care, she began to experience fewer headaches. At the end of the first month, she enjoyed 15 days without a single migraine– the first time in many years. During the following several months, the headaches continued to lessen until absent at approximately six months.
Male, Age 55 years, Cluster Headaches
This 55-year-old male reported suffering with cluster headaches for the past five years. He experienced the typical symptoms including pain, watery eye, droopy face, and tooth pain, all on his left side. The cluster headaches occurred year-round, one intense cluster per night, with several other lesser clusters every night. He had tried several therapies including general chiropractic care, which had helped to lessen the cluster headaches somewhat. However, at the time of his initial upper cervical evaluation, he was still experiencing multiple cluster headaches per month. He described being able to push on his upper neck and make the headache worse.
During his initial upper cervical evaluation, an upper neck injury was discovered. After a single month of upper cervical care, all cluster headaches were absent.
Female, Age 22 years, Ovarian Cyst, Pelvic Pain, Migraine Headaches
This 22-year-old female suffered with migraine headaches since childhood, which worsened once she began menstruating. The migraines came most often at her period every month. She tried taking the birth control pill, which worsened the headaches and her moods, so she discontinued it. More recently, during the previous year, her doctors discovered an ovarian cyst, which was causing her tremendous pelvic pain, especially at each period.
During her initial upper cervical chiropractic evaluation, an upper neck injury was discovered. She recalled two different traumas, which could have caused the neck injury, both which preceded the migraine onset: a fall in which she landed on her face and an auto accident.
After initiating care, she began to noticing a lessening of her migraine headaches and her pelvic pain, especially around her period, which was usually the worst time. By the second month, she went through a menstrual cycle without migraines or pelvic pain. Six months later, all pain and migraines were completely absent.
Male, Age 56 years, Headaches
This 56-year-old male was rearended on the freeway at 60 mph. The impact rendered him unconscious and he awakened in the ambulance on the way to the hospital. At the hospital, some broken ribs and bruises were found but no other injuries were reported. Some mild headaches occurred several days after the accident and then temporarily went away. A couple of months later, the headaches returned and occurred daily. After visiting his family physician and neurologist who did not have any suggestions, he was referred for an upper cervical chiropractic evaluation.
At his initial evaluation, an upper neck injury was discovered that likely stemmed from the auto accident. During the first month of upper cervical care, the headaches diminished considerably. By the third month of care, all headaches were absent.
Male, Age 44 years, Cluster Headaches
This 44-year-old male suffered from cluster headaches every May-June for the past 20 years. The headache clusters occurred everyday and 5 headaches or more occurred during a single afternoon or evening. When the headache struck, he felt pain in his right forehead; his eyes watered; and his right nostril plugged. He had taken many medications over the years and some helped temporarily but the headaches continued.
During his initial chiropractic examination, an upper cervical injury was discovered. When questioned about past traumas to his head or neck, he relayed his history as a motorcross racer from age 18 to his early 20’s. During his racing years, he sustained many falls and blows to his head. These traumas preceded the onset of his cluster headaches. He also remembered experiencing an auto accident 12 years prior and a concussion 5 years ago, each trauma causing the headaches to worsen.
At his initial treatment visit, he was in the middle of a cluster headache. Once the first adjustment was administered, the headache quickly subsided. After several more weeks of care to stabilize his neck injury, no further headaches occurred.
Female, Age 52 years, Migraine Headaches, Neck Pain, Whiplash, Head Injury
This 52-year-old female was involved in two auto accidents three years apart. The first accident (she was rearended) caused migraines, neck pain, and head injury symptoms, including insomnia, depression, memory loss, and inability to multi-task. These symptoms were worsened after her second auto accident in which she was also rearended. She tried multiple therapies including physical therapy, chiropractic care, cranial sacral therapy, as well as medications from her neurologist but she could hardly function due to severity of her cognitive symptoms and pain.
During her initial upper cervical chiropractic evaluation, an upper neck injury was discovered that had not been addressed by her previous practitioners. After the first upper cervical correction, she noticed that her migraines lessened. After two weeks of care, she reported noticing she was “in a better mood, had more patience, and was less grumpy”. By the second month of care, migraines were greatly reduced and many of her cognitive symptoms were noticeably better. She reported sleeping better, having better energy, having a clear head to go about her daily tasks, experiencing an improved mood, and noticing excellent concentration. By the end of four months of care, she routinely reported feeling “excellently” and had few migraines and few cognitive symptoms.
Female, Age 30 years, Head and Neck Pain
This 30-year-old female suffered a body surfing accident in which she landed hard in the sand on the right side of her face. The impact caused a black eye and immediately triggered headaches and pain at the base of her skull / upper neck region. The pain at the base of her skull awakened her at night. She also felt a decrease in her energy and claimed she just didn’t feel very well.
During her initial upper cervical chiropractic evaluation, an injury was discovered at her upper neck that likely stemmed from the body surfing impact. Once her head and neck alignment was properly corrected, all headaches, base of skull pain, and neck pain were absent.
Male, Age 12 years, Headaches
This 12-year-old male experienced his first headache at age 6. At that time, headaches occurred approximately twice per month. His mother took him to many doctors and tried different pain medications and therapies but nothing worked. By age 10, a severe episode of chronic headaches ensued– he had a constant headache for three straight months causing him to withdraw from attending school. Instead he was home-schooled for 1 1/2 years due to headache pain. While the opinions of numerous headache specialists were sought, none had any answers for this patient. Eventually he was referred by a family friend for an upper cervical chiropractic evaluation.
At this boy’s evaluation, it was reported that he had experienced headaches every other day for the past eighteen months. During his evaluation, an upper cervical injury was discovered. While his mother was questioned about any spinal traumas her son may have experienced in his past, she could not recall any, although he participated in numerous sports. The boy had recently been sent back to his regular school although he frequently stayed home due to headache pain.
During the first two weeks of care, the boy still missed 3 to 4 days of school each week because of headaches. By the third week of care, he was able to go to school everyday due to lessening of his headache pain. By the second month of care, headaches occurred only occassionally causing him to miss just a couple of days of school. By the third month of care, headaches rarely occurred so he was able to attend school regularly.
Female, Age 42 years, Cluster Headaches
This 42-year-old female suffered from cluster headaches since age 17. While the headaches were worse December through March, they occurred year-round. She tried pain medications, decongestants, and herbal remedies over the years, and some helped, but the headaches never went away. She typically experienced one cluster per day between 2 and 5 a.m. in which the right side of her face was affected; the right side of her nose drained; and the right eye teared. She also complained of a sore neck for 30 years since she was a teenager.
During her upper cervical chiropractic evaluation, an upper neck injury was discovered. While she had undergone plenty of chiropractic care in her past, the headaches persisted. When questioned about traumas in her past that could have caused the upper neck injury during her teenage years, she recalled multiple gymnastics falls.
Within six weeks of upper cervical care, all cluster headaches and neck pain were absent.
Female, Age 21 years, Headaches, Irritable Bowel Syndrome
This 21-year-old female suffered from daily headaches since highschool. She took so much excedrin over the past several years that she was concerned it was affecting her bowels. Her colon had begun bleeding and she also complained of cramping and constipation. In addition, she had lost 10 pounds without trying (she was already very thin to begin with but had lost her appetite) and had frequent unexplained bruises that appeared throughout her body. Her doctor diagnosed her with irritable bowel syndrome and recommended different headache medications that would be easier on her stomach. However, she had trouble with the medications (and the headaches) because they interfered with her ability to concentrate in her college classes.
Upon advice from a friend, she sought help from upper cervical chiropractic care. While an upper neck injury was discovered, she could not recall any accidents or traumas that could have caused the neck injury. After less than one month of upper cervical care, all bruises were absent; all bowel bleeding/cramping/constipation had stopped; and all headaches were absent. She stopped taking pain medications and regained her appetite.
Female, Age 35 years, Migraine Headaches
This 35-year-old female suffered from migraines for 10 years. She was a professional figure skater and started experiencing headaches after wearing heavy costume headdresses during shows. After discussing her medical history, it was discovered that she had experienced multiple falls on the ice– one severe one in which she suffered a concussion. Shortly after the concussion, the headaches started. Headaches began to occur on a daily basis with migraines occurring approximately twice per month. The migraines seemed to occur around her menstrual cycle. In addition she suffered frequent neck and back pain.
After suffering with headaches for 10 years, she sought help from upper cervical care. During her initial upper cervical exam, an upper neck injury was found– most likely stemming from her fall on the ice in which she suffered the concussion. After only one month of upper cervical care, all headaches, migraines, neck and back pain were completely gone and have never returned.
Female, Age 48 years, Migraine Headaches
This 48-year-old female suffered from migraines since her 20’s. They started with 1 or 2 a year and increased over the decades. By the time she sought help from upper cervical care, she was afflicted with migraines 3 weeks out of every 4. Only one week per month did she NOT have to worry about migraine headaches. Her neurologists had given her every pain medication possible with little or no success. In addition to migraine pain, she also suffered with numbness in her left arm and pain in her left hip for many years.
During the first six months of upper cervical care, the migraines gradually reduced from 15 or more per month down to five or less. By eight months, she experienced 1 or fewer migraines per month, and arm and hip pains were completely gone.
Female, Age 40 years, Headaches, Neck Pain, Clavicle Pain, Numbness in Fingers
This 40-year-old female suffered with neck and clavicle pain and numbness in her 3rd and 4th fingers of her right hand for the past 6 months. Her right grip strength was weak and she complained of pain in her right elbow. She also suffered from headaches approximately once per week. The neck injury possibly stemmed from two different auto accidents she experienced eight years prior.
This patient was adjusted only three times and had complete correction of her neck pain, clavicle pain, headaches, finger numbness, and grip weakness within two weeks of upper cervical care.
Female, Age 28 years, Headaches
This 28-year-old female had headaches since fifth grade. They occurred 3-5 times per week, causing her to take an average of 10 Advil per week. On a 1-10 pain scale, the headaches ranged between 3-8 with one “8” headache per week. Sometimes, she took as many as 5 pain pills in one day to try to decrease the pain.
Over several months of care, her headaches gradually decreased until they occurred only occasionally.
Female, Age 11 years, Headaches
This 11-year-old female experienced neck pain and headaches for approximately one year. The headaches occurred almost everyday and she took Advil 3-5 times per week for the past year. She saw many specialists who prescribed pain and sinus medications but the headaches continued.
During the first month of care, the headaches immediately dropped to only once per week, so she discontinued prescribed medications. Several months later, she was headache-free and no longer used Advil or other pain medications. She is currently being checked once per month to maintain good health.
Male, Age 50 years, Dizziness, Ear Congestion, Sinus Headaches
This 50-year-old male was involved in an auto accident in 1986. One year later, he experienced a stiff neck, fatigue, dizziness, ear congestion, and ringing in his ears. The symptoms came and went for the first three months. Finally they became constant, and were aggravated during flying. He tried many types of decongestants but the problems persisted. Medical doctors had no answers for him.
During the first two months of upper cervical care, the symptoms decreased dramatically. Several months later, he was symptom free, the first time in two years.
Female, Age 24 years, Chronic Headaches, Neck Pain, Difficulty Sleeping
This 24-year-old suffered from daily headaches, neck pain, and difficulty sleeping for the past year. The headaches started at the base of her skull and shot up behind her eyes and down her upper back. The pain was severe enough that she often was kept awake at night, and as a result, she experienced fatigue. After upper cervical care, she was head and neck pain free. Also she slept through the night and reported a large increase in energy level.
Female, Age 42 years, Migraine Headaches
This 42-year-old female suffered with migraines since high school. She remembered having about 2 migraines per year, until the late 80’s after her 2 daughters were born when the migraines increased. During Fall ’97, she had more migraines, about 1 per month, and started taking imitrix. In February ’98, the migraines increased again to 3 in one week. The migraines typically involved a visual aura for 30 minutes before the pain started, and then pain, nausea, and vomiting, which caused her to be bedridden for a day.
She began upper cervical care in Feb. ’98 and has not had a single migraine or headache of any kind since!
Male, Age 25 years, Post Auto-accident Neck Pain, Headaches, Numbness in Hands, Fatigue
After an auto-accident last spring, this 25-year-old male experienced spinal pain, fatigue, restlessness, headaches, and numbness in his hands for the last 6 months. After the first adjustment, his symptoms improved substantially. One month later, he did not need to be adjusted again and all of his symptoms were completely gone. Eighteen months later, he had no return of symptoms.
Female, Age 44 years, Migraine Headaches
This 44-year-old female presented with migraine headaches. She suffered 2 migraines per month for the past 8 years- one at ovulation and one at menstruation. The migraines began at her daughter’s birth and continued ever since. They usually lasted several days with such severe pain that she was bedridden and suffered nausea and vomiting. She tried many painkillers including oral medications and injections with no results. Most recently, she was out of work for a month due to repeated migraines and fatigue.
After 2 months of care, she was migraine-free and has been so for two years.
Female, Age 16 years, Post Auto-Accident Spinal Pain, Headaches
This 16-year-old female was a high school track star until an auto accident last spring. Following the accident, she experienced neck pain, low back pain, and headaches. The pain hindered her performance in track. In addition, her performance in school was affected– her grades dropped and she had trouble concentrating in school.
Within a week of care, her pain disappeared and she began running track better, winning races, and eventually won her team’s most improved award. Her ability to concentrate in school also came back up and so did her grades.
Female, Age 37 years, Insomnia, Headaches
This 37-year-old female presented with insomnia and headaches since an auto accident 2 years ago. When she tried to sleep at night, it usually took her 4-5 hours to fall asleep even though she was exhausted all day. When she tried to take naps, she could never fall asleep. She also had been plagued with headaches since the accident that involved pain near her ears and cheeks and occasionally caused nausea.
After 1 month of care, she fell asleep within a half-hour when she went to bed at night and slept through the night. She also took naps but eventually did not find them necessary because she was no longer exhausted and fatigued during the day. In addition, the headaches were gone.
Male, Age 48 years, Migraine Headaches
This 48-year-old male suffered from migraine headaches for the past 10 years but regularily for the past 4 years. They occurred one time per month; for one day; rating a 6 on a 1-10 pain scale; accompanied by sensitivity to light. He reported they occurred more often on the left side of his head and were associated with tight shoulders and shooting pain up his neck. He tried many medications including imitrex and excedrin; had eliminated caffeine and chocolate; and had made some lifestyle changes. While some of his efforts helped, the headaches still occurred every month like clockwork.
During his initial upper cervical chiropractic examination, an upper neck injury was discovered. He recalled two major accidents which could have caused his neck injury: a fall out of a truck in which he landed on his face and broke his nose and a motor cycle accident in which he flew over his handlebars and landed on his head.
After his initial upper cervical adjustment, his first month went by without a migraine. Only a dull headache occurred at the typical time. The second month, no headaches occurred. Many months later, the migraines never returned.
Female, Age 36 years, Head Pains
This 36-year-old female suffered from intermittent, sharp pains in her head for the past 5-6 years. The “head pains” started in the back of her head, shot to the front, lasted for 5 seconds each time, and occurred 6-7 times per day. When the pain struck, she had to stop whatever she was doing (whether she was talking to people, working, or exercising) in order to put her head down until the pain subsided. She also reported experiencing trouble with her neck in which it frequently “locked up” and wouldn’t turn to the left for the past 6-8 years.
During her initial examination, an upper neck injury was discovered. She recalled an a rollover auto accident many years ago that could have caused her neck injury. After her first upper cervical adjustment, the head pains reduced to only 2 per day. One month later, head pains rarely occurred. Several months later, all head pains were absent.
Female, Age 35 years, Migraine Headaches, Concussion
This 35-year-old female suffered from migraines for 10 years. She was a professional figure skater and started experiencing headaches after wearing heavy costume headdresses during shows. After discussing her medical history, it was discovered that she had experienced multiple falls on the ice– one severe one in which she suffered a concussion. Shortly after the concussion, the headaches started. Headaches began to occur on a daily basis with migraines occurring approximately twice per month. The migraines seemed to occur around her menstrual cycle. In addition she suffered frequent neck and back pain. After suffering with headaches for 10 years, she sought help from upper cervical care. During her initial upper cervical exam, an upper neck injury was found– most likely stemming from her fall on the ice in which she suffered the concussion. After only one month of upper cervical care, all headaches, migraines, neck and back pain were completely gone and never returned.
Female, Age 37 years, Neck Pain, Arm Pain, Headaches, Thumb Pain, Low Back Pain
This 37-year-old female suffered from pain since a fall backwards on a slip & slide 15 years prior, in which she fell flat on her back and suffered a whiplash/concussion. She had constant pain in her neck, back, right arm, right thumb, right sacro-iliac joint, and daily dull headaches ever since. She had been told her pain was due to arthritis so she was prescribed arthritis medication that provided no relief.
During her initial upper cervical chiropractic exam, an upper neck injury was found which most likely stemmed from her fall on the slip & slide. After 3 months of upper cervical care, all pains and headaches were absent.
Female, Age 21 years, Hypothyroid, TMJ, Headaches
This 21-year-old female suffered from a variety of health problems since her birth, which required forceps. Her mother, a massage therapist, massaged her frequently for back and neck pain due to scoliosis since birth. Her mother noted that her muscles along the right side of her spine were always more contracted in comparison to the left during massage. Scoliosis was diagnosed by her pediatrician and elementary school nurse. In addition, she suffered from daily headaches that radiated from the right side of her neck up to her right eye. She also suffered from daily jaw pain on the right, where the right side of her jaw clicked and popped. Prior to seeking help from upper cervical care, a blood test revealed an under-active thyroid and she was diagnosed with hypothyroidism.
During her chiropractic examination, scoliosis was noted and an injury was discovered in this patient’s upper neck region. The upper cervical injury could have resulted from her forceps birth.
After only one month of upper cervical care, all neck pain, back pain, headaches, and jaw pain were absent. In addition, a follow-up blood test revealed normal thyroid levels, so her endocrinologist did not prescribe thyroid medications.
Female, Age 23 years, TMJ, Headaches, Neck Pain, Back Pain
This 23-year-old female suffered from several health problems since an ice skating accident 6 years ago. During the accident, her friend fell on top of her head, smashing her head sideways into the ice. Since the ice skating incident, she struggled with pain throughout her neck and back; headaches as often as once per day; and constant jaw problems. The left side of her jaw was the worst and hurt even during smiling. Daily, her left jaw clicked and popped and caused pain. She complained that her jaw constantly came to her attention because it always felt unstable.
During her chiropractic examination, an upper cervical injury was discovered, most likely stemming from the ice skating accident. Once her neck injury was stabilized, all headaches, spinal pain and jaw pain were absent. Some residual clicking in the jaw remained, most likely due to scar tissue from the chronicity of the injury. However, she was able to chew, smile, etc. without pain and without thinking about her jaw.
Female, Age 50 years, TMJ, Headaches, Neck Pain
This 50-year-old female was involved in an auto accident in which she was rear-ended at 40mph. After the accident, she suffered from constant headaches and pain in her neck and jaw. The neck pain was focused at the right upper region underneath her skull. The pain radiated around to the right side of her jaw and up to her eyes and face. She sought treatment from massage therapists, chiropractors, and dentists to no avail. At the time she sought treatment from upper cervical care, she had suffered for 5 years with constant symptoms.
During her upper cervical chiropractic examination, an upper neck injury was discovered that was radiating pain throughout her neck, jaw, and face. The upper cervical injury most likely stemmed from her auto accident. After two months of upper cervical care, all neck pain, jaw pain, and headaches were absent.
Female, Age 49 years, Headaches, Neck Pain, Loss of Sense of Taste
This 49-year-old female was involved in 6 different auto accidents during a 5-year period. After each accident, she suffered increased pain in her neck and head. Her third accident was most severe in that she suffered a head injury. After that accident, in addition to experiencing an increase in pain, she lost her sense of taste. Her neurologist told her the damage to the nerves controlling taste was most likely permanent and due to the head injury. She tried many forms of treatment over the years including pain pills, chiropractic care, and physical therapy. Sometime she received benefit, sometimes not, but the results were never consistent or long lasting. After struggling for 8 years with headaches and neck pain and 6 years with loss of her sense of taste, she sought help from upper cervical chiropractic care.
During her initial examination, an upper neck injury was discovered, which unfortunately had not been addressed by any of her previous practitioners. Within the first month of upper cervical care, she experienced tremendous improvement in the amount of neck pain and headaches. By the second and third months of care, she noticed brief sensations of taste when eating certain foods and continued to show lessening in neck pain and headaches. By the fourth month of care, she experienced taste consistently, the first time in 6 years. After five months, all headaches and neck pain were absent.
Male, Age 59 years, Meniere’s disease, Vertigo, Migraine Headache
This 59-year-old male had suffered for years with Meniere’s disease and migraine headaches. The Meniere’s disease started 6 years prior and included ringing, hearing loss, and pressure in his left ear. His vision was also involved and fluctuated between blurred and clear vision. While his symptoms were present constantly, he also suffered from Meniere’s attacks where he would be so dizzy that he was unable to walk. These attacks usually lasted several hours and he often vomited. He complained of long-standing neck pain in which he had reduced ranges of motion. The migraines had been occurring since childhood. He tried many treatments and medications but the symptoms persisted and even worsened. He was elated when a friend mentioned upper cervical care as a possibility for treatment.
During his upper cervical evaluation, an upper neck injury was discovered that was causing both his Meniere’s disease and his migraine headaches. He recalled a very severe auto accident that had occurred as a teenager in which he suffered a concussion and whiplash; this accident could have caused his neck injury, he surmised. He began upper cervical care to correct his neck and noticed improvement – less dizziness and clearer vision – in the first week. Within 2 months, all of the dizziness and headaches were substantially reduced. Within 6 months, all symptoms were absent and his hearing was restored.
Female, Age 33 years, TMJ Dysfunction, Headaches, Whiplash
This 33-year-old female suffered from a TMJ disorder for 15 years following a severe car accident. During the accident, her car was hit from the side at approximately 45mph. She broke several ribs, dislocated her shoulders, and suffered whiplash. Following the accident, she immediately began to have problems with her jaw, especially on the right side. The problem caused her to grind her teeth badly at night so she was given a splint to wear. In addition to the pain in her jaw, she also began suffering with headaches and pain in her right ear. The pain was so severe that she had trouble sleeping. She sought help from many practitioners over the 15 years but the problems continued. Her most recent recommendation from her dentist was to undergo jaw surgery that would cost thousands of dollars. Instead, she took the advice of her biofeedback practitioner and decided to undergo and upper cervical chiropractic evaluation.
During her evaluation, an upper neck injury was discovered that was most likely caused by her auto accident 15 years prior. The neck injury was causing the TMJ, headaches, and the ear pain. After the first upper cervical adjustment, she reported feeling immediate relief and was certain that she was finally on the path toward recovery. Within a month, she was able to decrease the use of her splint and reported significantly less teeth grinding, jaw pain, ear pain, and headaches. Within two months, her symptoms were absent and she was able to discontinue use of the splint.
Female, Age 25 years, Migraine Headaches
This 25-year-old female was involved in an auto accident at age 24. While she was driving her car, she was hit from the side at approximately 20 mph. That day, she began experiencing back pain. The migraines started right away; at first, they occured once per week. A couple of months later, the headaches started coming more frequently. Ultimately, they worsened to 3-4 times per week. The migraines were debilitating; yet, she was unable to miss work. So, she frequently ran to the bathroom to vomit and then tried to continue working while being in excruciating pain. At her wits end, a friend told her about upper cervical care so she made an appointment for an evaluation.
During her upper cervical chiropractic evaluation, an upper neck injury was discovered, which was undoubtedly caused by the auto accident. After initiating treatment, her headaches began to diminish. At first the severity decreased, then the frequency. After approximately 6 months of treatment, her neck was stabilized and all headaches were absent.
Female, Age 48 years, Migraine Headaches
This 48-year-old female had been experiencing migraine headaches for the previous 14 years. For many years, the headaches occurred twice per month and coincided with her menstrual cycle. Gradually, the headaches worsened in severity and frequency. The last three years, the headaches worsened and were no longer responding to medications. They occurred 2-5 times per week and seemed triggered by various foods, fragrances, lights, and stress. Even though she had gone through menopause, the headaches continued. Bio-identical hormones and a low dose birth control pill didn’t help. At her wits end, she decided to seek help from upper cervical chiropractic care.
During her upper cervical chiropractic evaluation, an upper neck injury was discovered. While she could not recall any specific traumas that could have caused the injury, she was an athletic person and had participated in many sports over the years. It was possible that she sustained the neck injury during one of her many sporting activities. After her first upper cervical adjustment, she went an entire week without a headache, which was the first headache-free week in years. Two months later, her neck injury was completely stabilized and all migraine headaches were absent.
Female, Age 27 years, Meniere’s Disease, Neck Pain, Headaches
This 27-year-old female suffered from frequent vertigo attacks for over a year before seeking help from upper cervical care. Prior to her upper cervical evaluation, she sought help from many physicians who prescribed anti-depressants and anti-anxiety medications; however, the medications didn’t help her and the vertigo attacks persisted. Besides dizziness, she also suffered from neck pain, ringing in her ears, blurred vision, and headaches when the vertigo attacks occurred and was diagnosed with Meniere’s Disease. The vertigo attacks prevent her from doing her job as a writer because the strain on her neck from working on a computer would provoke an attack.
During her evaluation, an injury stemming from her upper cervical spine was discovered. When questioned about her history of head / neck trauma, she recalled an incident in which she fell on the stairs and hit her head prior to the onset of the first vertigo attack. She underwent upper cervical care and within a few weeks all symptoms of vertigo, neck pain, and headaches were absent and she was able to get back to work full time.
Female, Age 39 years, TMJ Dysfunction, Headaches, Neck Pain
This 39-year-old female had been suffering from severe pain in her jaw, head, and neck for a number of years. She reported that due to frequent grinding, a number of her teeth had been worn down to “nubs.” Sadly, she had seen a number of dentists and chiropractors over the years but the problems persisted. Finally, she sought help from a specialized field of dentistry known as neuromuscular dentisty. Through computerized testing, this dentist diagnosed a large discrepancy in her bite and also suspected cervical involvement. Besides fitting her with an appliance to stabilize her bite and to protect her remaining teeth, he referred her for an upper cervical chiropractic evaluation.
At her chiropractic evaluation, an upper cervical injury was discovered. She reported several different cervical traumas including an auto accident that could have caused her neck injury. Within the first 2 weeks of cervical treatment, she reported substantial improvement in her jaw, neck, and head pain. Over the subsequent 2 months, her cervical spine continued to stabilize through treatment, which allowed her jaw to recover as well. Concurrently, her dentist made small adjustment to her appliance to help with the recovery of her bite. Ultimately, when her cervical spine was stabilized and her ideal bite was determined, she was fitted for implants to replace her worn teeth. All of her symptoms of grinding and pain were resolved.
Female, Age 60 years, Chronic Vertigo and Headaches
This 60-year-old female had been suffering with chronic vertigo and headaches for 20 years. The attacks varied in frequency and severity over the twenty years and despite being married to a physician and having access to many top physicians and their treatments and advice, she was unable to find any medical treatments that helped her so she simply had to wait out the attacks – days, weeks, or months until the symptoms subsided. Finally, after 20 years, she and her husband were searching the internet for other treatment possibilities and found Dr. Elster’s website discussing the relationship between cervical injuries, vertigo, and headaches. She recalled several different neck traumas earlier in her life prior to the onset of the vertigo attacks and wondered if there was a relationship so she decided to undergo an upper cervical chiropractic evaluation.
During her evaluation, an upper cervical injury was discovered. When questioned about her history of cervical trauma, she recalled several different incidents including falls and blows to the head that could have caused the cervical injury. Many of these incidents of trauma occurred over 20 years prior. Because her neck injury had been present so many years, she was concerned that she might have trouble stabilizing; however, her case was resolved within 6 months and all attacks of vertigo and headaches were absent.