Whew...do you ever have one of those weeks that seems to throw off your biological clock?  When you can't the hamster off the wheel long enough to close your eyes for the night, wake up feeling like you got two hours of sleep, and feel like you are playing catch-up for days?  Well...that was me 2 weeks ago.  Considering my purpose/profession, I thought to myself, "I might not have my head on straight - I need to go get checked."  So, I went to see my upper cervical doc, who found the interference at the brainstem and removed it.  That night, I slept like a baby - felt like I caught right up and have been good to go ever since.  FYI - your brainstem plays a vital role in sleep regulation.  Thus, since the brainstem rests in the ring of the top bone in the neck - a misalignment of that bone can irritate the brainstem and, subsequently, your sleep cycle. 

So, I promised to talk a little more about Upper Cervical and less about what is wrong with the other systems this week.  We unintentionally started that discussion with the above, but let's continue to march...

Rib Pain

Let's say that one morning you wake up and your body just feels off.  You stretch out a little bit and have a nice big yawn.  In the process, you feel some pain/discomfort as you breath in.  You come out of it holding the area around your rib cage.  Your thinking, "Wait a second, did I fall?  Why do my ribs hurt?  Is it my ribs?  I must have slept wrong." 

Well, allow us to take a step back before we move forward.  We've often talked about how the vertebra (the neck/back bones) were designed to protect the spine.  Similarly, the rib cage was designed to protect some of your vital organs - in particular, the heart and the lungs.  There are twelve ribs that coincide with the twelve thoracic (mid/upper back) vertebrae.  The ribs and vertebrae attach.

Moving forward - the upper cervical spine is a delicate area, more susceptible to injury/misalignment than any other in the spine because it is held in place only by muscle - there's no interlocking joint to hold it securely in place.  When a misalignment up there does occur, your head tilts to one side.  To get your head level, the body shifts.  The muscles all the way down to your feet pull you into a compensated position.  The rib cage may shift during that process, with muscles pulling along the way.  Pain in the ribs may result. 

Correct the upper cervical misalignment - get your head on straight, so to speak - and allow the rest of the body to re-shift back to normal and be amazed as the rib pain drifts away...it's that simple.

Digestive Problems

Some 70-80 million people are affected by various digestive issues.  Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Crohn's disease, ulcers, and constipation are just a few of the laundry list worth of "disorders" out there that can affect the digestive tract.  Rather than pick one, let's slowly break it down by starting off with a broad view - and in future weeks we'll come back go condition by condition.  Without further ado...

Your digestive system - how does it work?  Well, let's start with what we are consciously responsible for...we chew and we swallow.  Our part is done.  Digesting actually starts with the saliva in your mouth, believe it or not.  Then, the food goes into the esophagus and then on to the stomach, where enzymes break it down and send it to the small intestine.  The small intestine continues the process.  At the small intestine's wall, the nutrients from the food are taken into circulation throughout the body.  The rest is pushed into the colon, where it more or less sits there until your excretory system decides it's time for the old numero dos.  To help with this process, these organs are lined with muscle that constantly contracts and relaxes to push the food through the system.  The liver and pancreas play a role, as well, providing the tract with juices that break down the food even further.  These juices are pretty important.  Those of you who are (but shouldn't be) coffee drinkers - imagine a day when you don't have your morning coffee and that's how the digestive system feels without those juices.  Even the gallbladder has a job - it stores digestive juice.  And since there's so much junk (hormones, chemicals, etc.) in the foods that we eat these days, your immune system has to be in fighting shape to knock out anything that shouldn't be there.

So, yeah - there's a lot that goes on in there.  Well, in control of the digestive system is the brainstem.  It takes each signal from the brain that carries the information of what to do, when to do it, and how to do it and routes them to those organs.  Subsequently, interfering with the brainstem's ability to perform its essential role in the digestive process causes all sorts of digestive problems.  Maybe the signal to the liver gets distorted and the juices don't flow properly.  Perhaps the stomach's acidic level rises above normal.  Potentially, the immune system isn't firing on all cylinders, so bacteria builds up in the stomach.  Conceivably, the muscles that line the tract aren't moving fast enough - so our system gets back up; or maybe they are working too fast - so our system is cracked up.  All sorts of issues may arise...

Read again next week, "As the Digestive System Churns"  (I know - not funny)

Until then, I'm thinking good things for you all...

Dr. Chad