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Vertigo, back pain, and a life turned upside down

I wish I would have discovered upper cervical chiropractic care far earlier than I did. I also wish the radiologists who examined my MRIs and the Neuro-Ortho Surgeon who examined the MRIs and the spinal X-rays would have been educated in the detection of an Atlas Subluxation.

1. Was there a specific problem that led you to Upper Cervical Chiropractic?

I had been struggling with structural vertigo (the type where it feels like you are on a ship every time you stand up) and back pain for just over a year. The vertigo had started to turn on in December of 2008, then went into an uncontrollable state on Presidents’ Day of 2009 (February 16th). I had fallen asleep on the couch, and when I stood up that morning, the whole world was in motion. It scared me to death—at that point in time I wasn’t aware that such a condition wasn’t life threatening. Though it was a holiday, I arranged to see a local doctor that morning and had a friend drive me down, as I wasn’t sure about driving. I truly wish I would have had that friend drive me to the upper cervical chiropractic clinic that day, rather than to a medical doctor, as it would have saved me a whole lot of time, money, emotion, pain and suffering. Unfortunately it would be another 10 months before I happened to hear the end of an upper cervical chiropractic presentation on the radio, where I heard the story of someone who started a journey into upper cervical chiropractic as a means to handle, of all things, vertigo.

But back to Presidents’ Day 2009, instead of going to see Dr. Rumsey, I entered the world of modern medicine, a place I was already becoming all too familiar with due to my hormones simultaneously dropping too low to measure (a second item that started in December, and was undoubtedly amplified and exacerbated by the Atlas Subluxation (it is amazing what can happened when the brainstem is being pressed upon, causing the body-to-mind, mind-to-body communications to be skewed).

2. How did this problem affect the quality of your life?

My life turned into a living hell. And as it says on the wikiHow web site under the topic, “How to Survive a Living Hell”, first rule, Never quit! Getting through each day took all the strength I could muster. I so needed sleep, but was lucky to get four hours in an eight hour period of time. My arms and legs would go numb when sleep was actually possible, waking me up in a panic, adding to the anxiety already in place. The anxiety was induced by my lack of hormones, and was amplified further by structural vertigo, which on some days would literally toss me into things. And then there was the pain in my back. The good news was that laying down made it go away (the pain and the vertigo). The bad news was that by 1:00 in the afternoon I was in a great deal of pain most every day. Bluntly speaking, I was a mess, but I refused to give up.

3. What had you done previously to try to resolve this problem?

In the period from Presidents’ Day to arriving at the upper cervical chiropractor, many things were done. Initially the hardest part was getting doctors to actually listen and to understand that my hormone situation needed to be a priority along with determining the underlying cause of the vertigo—all eyes had turned to “what is causing the vertigo?”—so my daily battle was all but forgotten. In fact, I had to go outside my healthcare insurance to get hormone tests run, and even with results in hand showing all my hormones had gone out the bottom, I basically had to shake the reports in my primary care physician’s face to get her to start basic treatment.

I went through several months on tests and saw a number of “specialists.” First up was the EENT (Eye, Ears, Nose and Throat) who ordered two MRIs—one of my head, the other of my head and upper spine. These showed nothing wrong with my brain or neck according to the specialists who interpreted the results. However there was some deterioration in a couple vertebrae. The EENT then sent me to another specialist who found nothing wrong with my eyes or my ears, but through a series of vertigo tests, was able to determine that the source was structural (skeletal related in some fashion). For the sleep issues I was sent to see a Sleep specialist—I decided to hold off on the sleep tests he wanted to run, choosing instead to see if the hormone treatments would continue to improve the area of sleep.

My primary care physician then sent me for a full set of X-rays of my spine so that the Neuro-Ortho surgeon, the next specialist I was to see, would have more data in hand when I met with him. His prognosis, that even though the MRI showed some deterioration in a couple vertebrae in my upper spine, the issues seemed to be neurological instead, so he wanted me to see a neurologist, one who worked upstairs in the same clinic. It took over a month for the Neuro-Ortho surgeon’s report to arrive, and even though he had verbally told me his recommendation, going to the neurologist could not occur, as the recommendation had to be in place first.

During the month of May while awaiting the recommendation letter, I switched to a new primary care physician (one who was willing to use all the data in the hormone reports gathered back in early February) and I evaluated what neurological testing entailed (shudder and shake—the data I discovered, along with a recounting from a girlfriend who had undergone such tests—let’s just say it didn’t sound inviting to me).

I wanted a less invasive approach as well as time to allow the hormone therapy to relieve some of the anxiety and strain, so I declined the neurological path (just as earlier I had declined an aggressive Physical Therapy path the EENT had recommended). Instead I continued with the traditional chiropractic treatments I had been receiving since January and added in Cranial Sacral treatments as recommended by my new primary care physician. From June through December of 2009, my vertigo and the back pain responded to this combination of treatments, but only for short durations. Though both would temporarily lessen, neither would disappear.

So in December my Cranial Sacral doctor recommended upper cervical chiropractic treatments in place of the Cranial Sacral treatments.

4. Describe the improvements in your condition as a result of the care you received.

Within a few weeks of starting care my vertigo began to decrease. The whole process has been amazing as my body went back through mild versions of the problems I had been plagued with for months on end, but doing it in one or two week cycles. For examples, I went through a patch where my limbs would go numb during sleep, but as I said, that only lasted a week or two, and then my body would adjust to the correction that had been applied and would hold the correction.

About half way through, we hit a point where I would get pain in my shoulder blades, which was a symptom I have experienced periodically for 10 or 15 years. We had reached the point where we were adjusting long-term conditions, not just the ones I personally had come to have addressed—the vertigo and the periodic back pain.

Next we hit a point where I would get pain in my hips when I slept, but that too quickly regressed, and now only happens if my neck goes out of adjustment (that and a mild version of the vertigo are my “tells” so to speak, letting me know that it is time to get adjusted again).

The treatments are so gentle, one might assume nothing has occurred, but I know first-hand the extreme effectiveness of those powerful adjustments.

5. How has your life improved while under Upper Cervical Chiropractic care? Are there things you weren’t able to enjoy fully that you can now participate in again?

I basically have peace and control back in my life. My body and I are no longer at war, with me forcing it to do everything I usually did, and it just wanting to stay in bed or rest in a chair. Everything is more enjoyable when my body and I are in harmony. Previously every day was similar to getting a three-year-old in the middle of a tantrum to watch the moving and stop causing a fuss. My body was that three-year-old!

6. Do you have anything to share that might encourage others to consider restoring their health through Upper Cervical Chiropractic?

I have found through the years that more often than not, if I give my body exactly what it needs, it will heal itself.

If the tests and X-rays show that you have an Atlas Subluxation, I strongly recommend you allow the experts to correct the problem.

As I said earlier, I wish I would have discovered upper cervical chiropractic care far earlier than I did. I also wish the radiologists who examined my MRIs and the Neuro-Ortho Surgeon who examined the MRIs and the spinal X-rays would have been educated in the detection of an Atlas Subluxation. I know the Neuro-Ortho Surgeon said his clinic prefers to pursue all possible alternatives to surgery—perhaps one of the upper cervical doctors should pay him a visit!

Linda Wedin – Seattle, WA