One of the primary reasons I got into the profession of upper cervical care is
because of my chronic shoulder issues. I was in two car accidents, one at 9 and
another at 17. A few years after my second accident, I developed really bad
upper back and shoulder issues. It got to the point where I could expect to be
in pain from the middle of the day to the time I went to bed. The year before I
had my first upper cervical correction, I pretty much was either in pain or
really uncomfortable for about 85-90% of the time I was awake. Luckily, I had a
high tolerance for pain, so I just figured I'd be living with it. I was getting
general chiropractic adjustments up to three times a day...what we at Logan
College referred to as a "crack" junkie. I had ribs manipulated, my shoulder
joints cracked and popped, frequent massages, physical therapy modalities, ice
and heat...the whole nine yards short of popping pain meds.
Apparently, I'm not the only one to have gone through this, as shoulder pain is
one of the most common ailments in the world. Well, I tried it all and it all
Then, I met an upper cervical doctor who moved a bone in my neck and changed my
I tell my story now because I rarely tell that story. I know a lot of people
who have been helped through upper cervical care with much better stories than
mine. Irritable Bowel, Crohn's, and other digestive problems...Chronic
headaches and fatigue...High blood pressure...Fibromyalgia...Autism...Multiple
Sclerosis...all gone or helped significantly through moving a bone in the upper
neck and relieving the brainstem of the stress that was choking the life out of
its ability to keep you alive and well...
But you know what, fellow shoulder pain sufferers? It's time for our 15-minutes
It's actually really simple.
Have you ever hung a picture on the wall? When that picture is level on the
wall, it looks nice, it adds character to the room, and you rarely have to mess
with it. If you bang into the wall, though, it may tilt a little bit. Just a
little bit of tilt doesn't make too much of a difference to most folks. Hey,
you may not even notice. Over time, though, a little thing called gravity kicks
in, pulling the weight of the low side down even further. Suddenly, what once
was a barely noticeable tilt is quite an eye sore, it subtracts character from
the room, and you definitely have to mess with it.
Well, our heads are supposed to level on our necks. When the head is level on
the neck, it looks and feels nice, it adds stability to your posture, and you
rarely have to mess with it. If you fall, get in an accident, or bump your
head, though, the head may tilt on the neck a little bit. (Doctor's note-
recall that the head has to be level for the fluid in our ears to be balanced so
that we can maintain our equilibrium and not be dizzy all the time, and also
because the brain has to be level to work properly). Just a little bit of head
tilt doesn't make too much of a difference to most folks, but as the body
compensates to bring the head level, guess what else tilts? That's right...the
shoulders. The head is level, but the shoulders are definitely NOT level. But,
hey, you still may not even notice. Over time, though, a little thing called
gravity kicks in, pulling the weight of the low shoulder down even further.
Suddenly, what once was a barely noticeable tilt creates for quite the painful
days and nights, it subtracts stability from your posture, and you definitely
have to mess with it.
The lesson to be learned is that when the top bone in the spine slides off to
one side, it takes the head from a level to an un-level position, causing the
body to compensate. Part of that compensation is that it takes the shoulders
from a level to an un-level position. You'll end up with one shoulder higher
than the other. Now, at first glance that doesn't seem like a big deal.
Gravity, though, can feel like holding a 10 pound weight in one hand all day.
At first, you can easily deal with it, but give it a while and it becomes more
and more difficult to deal with. All it takes is a precise correction to the
top bone in the spine to relieve that compensation and bring the shoulders level
again. Over time, as the body holds that level position, the chronic shoulder
pain goes away.
I had chronic shoulder pain for 4 years. After my first upper cervical
adjustment, my shoulder pain went away and stayed away for 7 weeks. Now, I
still get shoulder pain from time to time. Going back to the beginning this
week's newsletter, though, I recognize it as a warning signal that my body is
starting to compensate again and that I probably need to be adjusted.