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Monday, June 2, 2014

NUCCA

Here are some updates from my last post a few weeks ago, starting with a more detailed summary of my treatments with Gail Wetzler, PT. This is the note that she sent to my PT here in AZ, Veronika Campbell.

While she was here, I took the time to look at her Lateral Flexion moving x-rays. If you have not seen the dysfunction in the movement pattern, please take a moment to do this. I showed Craig the total skip in movement patterns. Loss of inhibition? Ligamentous instability?

She has quit a bit of pain that has been locked into her spinal/peripheral system and gives me the impression of some biochemical changes happening now. It took a couple of sessions to get through the Lines of Tension that the right side of her body was suggesting as primary. The (R) fascial system has been pulling at the cervical region and cranium in an inferior direction all this time. The right arm and pleura was involved. The (L) cervical and cranial system had been pulled superior.

Her body could not differentiate movement in the cranium from that in her sacrum. She could not initiate a movement from either end of the spine easily and T3 T4 T5 displayed pericardial protection during this movements.

We could finally find the (R) kidney fascia > liver, when elevated, inhibits the inferior pull on the (R) Cerv. fascia. When this started to "wake up" the dysfunctional pattern, I could really get into the anterior neck musculature and the Dura. I found C1 Rot (R) and translated (L) on C2. C2 on C3 same. (L) Mandible was pulled superior promoting trigeminal/dural restrictions.

On her last day here, I felt the anterior neck muscle/fascia/joint/vascular component to be extremely important. I am suspicious of inadequate venous drainage at times causing pressure changes, as well as fascial restrictions along the dural membrane and cranial nerves. Also in this anatomy is her superior, middle and inferior cervical plexus - connecting to cranium as well.

After listening to Katie and listening to her body, I agree with Katie that the headaches seem to be steeming from the upper cervical region. But this includes nerve buds, plexuses, sinus, vascular and a pressure system that is not finding homeostasis and a loss of viscoelasticity within the cranium.

Recommendations:
-Cranial Osteopath to get their opinion
-Dr. Jane Xenos or another person in Arizona that can do cervical injections (homeopathic) and immediately have a follow up visit with you Veronika. Anterior neck (L) > (R) for injections and to keep within the musculature at this time.

Keep up the good work Veronika. Suggestions:
-Test 4 parts of the cranium with compression/decompression listening. Is the primary dysfunction in the cranial vault, the base of the cranium, the facial structures/teeth or in the masticatory system.
-Do suboccipital traction listening
-You may have to treat the container more before the contents
-Work with dural dominance - inhalation brings on pressure more in ant dura or post dura
-Regain neural viscoelasticity
-Regain brain viscoelasticity


I'm still in the process of getting scheduled with a cranial osteopath here, but here are a few additional updates from my end...

1. After 3.5 weeks of taking Topamax and Cymbalta post-visit with Dr. Paicius in Newport Beach, I discontinued the meds. My pain has remain unchanged and the initial plan was to only try it for a few weeks. I have to say, I'm looking forward to not dealing with the drowsiness that came along with it. I've never been a huge napper, but in the past few weeks have been absolutely wiped out during the day and been taking naps that sometimes last for up to 3 hours at a time.

2. We tried out a new modality at EXOS, a portable ultrasound called SAM. The goal is to help fight inflammation and relieve pain by increasing circulation and flexibility by pushing/pulling nutrients through cellular structures, facilitating cellular waste removal, increasing vascularization, stimulate gene expression of fibroblasts, promote cell proliferation and migration and matrix formation, and decrease pain by inducing non-specific and cell-mediated release of secretory proteins. We figured that since the visceral work I had done in CA, it was worth a shot. I started by wearing the device for an hour per day, on the right side of my neck where Gail felt the compression was, and worked my way up to four hours per day. We THOUGHT we were on to something after one or two days of slightly less pain, but couldn't seem to recreate it.

3. A while back, a PT who I was working with had told Craig and I about a specific type of upper cervical chiropractic treatment, referred to as NUCCA (National Upper Cervical Chiropractic Association).

"This gentle, non-invasive technique was developed more than forty years ago to create a radical new way of healing that can help restore body balance and perfect health. The focus of the NUCCA work is the relationship between the upper cervical spine (neck) and its influence on the central nervous system and brain stem function. It is this relationship that affects every aspect of human function from the feeling sensations in your fingers to regulating hormones, controlling movement, and providing the ability to hear, see, think, and breathe."

We found a practitioner here in Phoenix, Dr. Gerald Martin (who was also recommended to us by Dr. Keith Denton in Michigan - the "birthplace" of NUCCA). On Friday morning, I had my first appointment with Dr. Martin. He explained that after an initial x-ray, he would be able to tell us whether or not he could help me. So we did the x-ray, and sure enough, the displacement of my atlas vertebra (atlas = C1) was clear. He whipped out his trusty compass and spent a chunk of time calculating the exact measurements on the imaging before beginning the adjustment.

I'll give a little more info about the atlas itself, since it's really the entire focus of this treatment...

The atlas vertebra is the top most bone in the spinal column, and is located where all the nerves ascend and descend to and from the brain. So when it's displaced, the nerves at the atlas level are stretched, which cause a shortened leg (which I had), a distorted pelvis (which I had), a spinal imbalance (which I had). Basically, when your body isn't aligned in the true vertical and horizontal planes, it will naturally try to compensate for the imbalance (result being pain/discomfort).


The imbalance and distortion are the result of stretched nerves which overload the nerve pathways, causing large anti-gravity muscles (extensors) to contract (i.e. spasticity). The spine and pelvis twist and tilt from normal position and one leg shortens.

The solution is obviously to correct the position of the atlas, which is adjusted according to the formula that's computed from the analysis of the x-rays. The adjustment itself it's a traditional chiropractic adjustment but instead consists of the doc applying slight but controlled pressure through the atlas with their hand. Afterwards, we re x-rayed and the correction was pretty clear. I'll go back this afternoon for him to check my pelvic/leg alignment again and he'll be able to tell from that whether or not the correction held from Friday. If it did, I'll leave and we'll try again in a few days and if it didn't stick, we'll do another adjustment.

So that's the story! I know there are still plenty more things to try and that we won't stop until we find what works, but it can still feel incredibly overwhelming to think that just next month will be the 3 year mark of my bike wreck that set it all off. It's dangerously easy for me to wonder if three years will turn into four, or six, or more and wonder how I'll be able to re-establish a career, have a family, or accomplish all of the things that I want to in life (see? slippery thought process). So my greatest challenge right now is keeping a positive mindset and believing that there is a much, much brighter future ahead of me.

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