An overview of upper cervical instability and symptoms treatment with Ross Hauser, MD
In this video and explanatory notes, Ross Hauser, MD explains the various unresolved symptoms that you may be suffering from that can be traced to upper cervical spine instability. This is a good overview of our treatment program. Use this contact form with questions.
Treatment of Upper Cervical Instability with Prolotherapy
Ross Hauser, MD at Caring Medical Florida. Notes of this video are below with time marks.
- For about 30 years I have been successfully treating upper cervical instability with Prolotherapy. (This is an injection treatment that helps stabilize and normalize the natural curve of the cervical spine. This treatment is explained and demonstrated below.)
- Over the years we have developed a chart of the many symptoms and health challenges caused by upper cervical instability. We have had success in treating these problems.
This is the chart in the video. It shows these many and various disorders; from neck and facial pain, headaches, dizziness, drop attacks, swallowing and digestive problems, hearing problems, vision problems, nerve compression and pain, etc. These disorders will be discussed below.
Symptoms and conditions
- We have seen cases where autoimmune diseases can be traced to the impairment of the vagus nerve. When vagus nerve function is inhibited and the correct nerve impulses are not getting through because of the impairments caused by upper cervical instability, a person can get:
- Mast Cell Activation Syndrome, (immunological condition of repeated episodes of the symptoms of anaphylaxis (allergic reactions).
- Eustachian Tube Dysfunction, this subject is covered in Dr. Hauser’s video and article: When cervical spine instability causes ear pain, ear fullness, sound sensitivity and hearing problems. This problem can also be traced to cervical vertigo and cervicogenic dizziness, tinnitus,and Meniere’s disease.
- Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome (POTS) We have help alleviate the problems of POTS by cervical spine stabilization with Prolotherapy.
Please see Strenuous Dynamic Vagus Nerve Testing at Caring Medical Florida. Caring Medical Florida initiated a strenuous dynamic vagus nerve testing protocol to help patients assess the current status of their vagus tone and optimize recovery of it.
(1:19 of the video) Upper cervical instability can also affect the cervical sympathetic ganglion which sits at C2. The sympathetic nervous system is part of the autonomic nervous system. It helps make adaptations to your current situation. For instance, if you are witness to a crime or an accident or something bad, your body shifts into “fight-or-flight mode.” Your heart rate, blood pressure, and breathing rate dramatically increase. The blood vessels shift blood away from the intestines into the muscles, enabling you to run or fight depending on the situation. This also happens automatically.
Tension on the spinal cord
(1:26 of video)
When a person has cervical instability, specifically upper cervical instability, there is a greater tension on the spinal cord. The spinal cord can pull on the brain stem. This pull or traction can cause all kinds of problems within the relay centers that are in the brainstem.
- For instance, the nausea center is in the brain stem, cervical instability may cause you to feel nauseated all the time.
- The brain stem is where blood pressure control and heart rate center is. Someone who has arrhythmias and nobody knows the cause it can be from cervical instability. Please see our article – Heart Rate Variability.
Loss of blood flow to the brain
(At 2:22 of the video)
- Vertebrobasilar insufficiency – Drop Attacks, Bow Hunter Syndrome: The vertebral artery runs in the transverse foramen of the cervical vertebrae. If the cervical vertebrae are moving too much you can get compression of the artery that supplies about 1/3 of the blood to the brain.
- The vertebral artery supplies the brainstem and the cerebellum so Vertebrobasilar insufficiency can cause drop attacks, dizziness, impairments of the cranial nerves, balance problems.
- Please see our article Using Transcranial Doppler & Extracranial Doppler Ultrasound Testing at the Hauser Neck Center. Transcranial doppler (TCD) ultrasound provides real-time measurements of the blood flow in the arteries that go to the brain.
Intracranial pressure (At 3:05 of the video)
- Upper cervical instability can also obstruct cerebral spinal fluid flow, increasing Intracranial pressure. There are a lot of people who constantly feel pressure in their head, if you’re one of those people you may have upper cervical instability.
- When Intracranial pressure is increased you can get changes in your vision, you can get double vision or you can get graying of the vision. You can even see an image and you look away and you still see that image. There are all kinds of vision problems that are from upper cervical instability.
- If you have vision issues and nobody can help identify the problem I suggest an examination for upper cervical instability.
You can’t clear your head (3:50 of the video)
When cerebral spinal fluid flow is disrupted, it’s almost it’s as if the brain becomes a toxic toilet. You need normal cerebral spinal fluid flow to be normal to flush all the toxins and all the waste products from all the activity of the brain out. If these is impeded flow you will suffer the problems of not being able to focus or remember. You feel like a brain fog has surrounded you. This can be caused by upper cervical instability.
When I treat people with upper cervical instability, one of the main things these patients report is that they just feel so much better. Their thinking is clearer, their energy goes up.
Trigeminal nerve and trigeminal neuralgia (4:45 of the video)
It is well known in neurology, that trigeminal neuralgia and even migraine headaches are because of irritation of the trigeminal nerve. It turns out that the cervical trigeminal nucleus in the spinal cord goes all the way down to C3 so upper cervical instability can affect this nucleus which can give you facial pain can give you trigeminal neuralgia can give you Cervical dystonia and spasmodic torticollis all kinds of cranial nerve symptoms.
If you have had any of these disorders, any of these symptoms, dizziness, vertigo, migraine headaches, balance problems, brain fog, autoimmune disease, allergy symptoms, you should consider upper cervical instability as the cause of your conditions. If so this can be easily documented by a digital motion x-ray (DMX) and treatment with Prolotherapy.
Treating and repairing cervical instability with Prolotherapy
The cervical ligaments are strong bands of tissues that attach one cervical vertebra to another. In this role, the cervical ligaments become the primary stabilizers of the neck. When they are damaged or weakened or simply loose they also became the primary DE-stabilizers of the neck and a primary cause of upper cervical instability. Your head begins to move in a destructive, degenerative manner on top of your neck. When this occurs you can develop the many symptoms discussed above.
Actual Prolotherapy treatment
Caring Medical has published dozens of papers on Prolotherapy injections as a treatment in difficult to treat musculoskeletal disorders. We are going to refer our 2014 study where we published a comprehensive review of the problems related to weakened damaged cervical neck ligaments.
Prolotherapy is referred to as a regenerative injection technique (RIT) because it is based on the premise that the regenerative/reparative healing process can rebuild and repair damaged soft tissue structures. It is a simple injection treatment that addresses very complex issues.
This video jumps to 1:05 where the actual treatment begins.
This patient is having C1-C2 areas treated. Ross Hauser, MD, is giving the injections.
- The patient was experiencing vertigo, tinnitus, severe neck pain, migraines, and other problems based around C1-C2 instability.
In 2015 our research team published our finding in our paper “The biology of prolotherapy and its application in clinical cervical spine instability and chronic neck pain: a retrospective study.” This peer-review research was published in the European Journal of Preventive Medicine.(1)
Here we wrote: “In an effort to facilitate the diagnosis and treatment of clinical cervical spine instability and chronic neck pain, we investigated the role of proliferative injection Prolotherapy in the reduction of pain and recovery of constitutional and neurological symptoms associated with increased intervertebral motion, structural deformity and irritation of nerve roots. . . 95 percent of patients reported that Prolotherapy met their expectations in regards to pain relief and functionality.”
Caring Cervical Realignment Therapy (CCRT)
Caring Cervical Realignment Therapy (CCRT) was developed by Ross Hauser, M.D. after decades of treating patients with neck disorders, including cervical instability and degenerative disc disease.
Through extensive research and patient data analysis, it became clear that in order for patients to obtain long-term cures (approximately 90% relief of symptoms) the re-establishment of some lordosis, (the natural cervical spinal curve) in their cervical spine is necessary. Once spinal stabilization was achieved with Prolotherapy and the normalization of cervical forces by restoring some lordosis, lasting relief of symptoms was highly probable.
In this video Ross Hauser, MD explains Caring Cervical Realignment Therapy
- Caring Cervical Realignment Therapy is one of the therapies we use to correct abnormal cervical spine
- The cervical spine should have lordotic curvature, it should be shaped like a C. The C shape keeps stress forces on the cervical spine at a minimum.
- When you have cervical spine ligament injury, the ligaments cannot hold the C shape. The neck can progress to a Military curve, it is straight up and down. Eventually, the natural curve of the neck distorts and twists into a letter S. (See illustrations below).
- At 1:07 of the video: How do we reverse this?
- We treat the injured ligaments with Prolotherapy injections, which will cause the ligaments to strengthen and tighten and provide cervical spine stability.
- At 1:24: Once the cervical spine is stabilized, then the neck can handle the weight forces of the Caring Cervical Realignment Therapy. Dr. Hauser explains.
- 1:46 images of post-treatment correcting cervical spine curvature.
Both our Chicagoland and Florida locations treat neck patients. There are some of the more complex cases that need additional dynamic testing that is unique to the Caring Medical Florida facility, thus, our patients travel here from all over the world. Dr. Hauser is widely regarded as the most experienced Prolotherapist for complex upper cervical cases, and our Chicagoland providers do practice the same techniques. However, please note that, in general, the upper cervical spine is an area that most Prolotherapists are not able to treat. If you have been looking for better answers to your medical questions, been dismissed by other facilities, and feel that your symptoms haven’t been taken seriously or properly diagnosed, we would love to discuss your case and see if we can help! Dr. Hauser and his team review neck cases ahead of time to ensure they are coming to the ideal Caring Medical location for their case, as well as give you an idea of what to expect at your first visit. Please reach out to us and we will direct you to which provider will be the optimal fit for your case.
1 Ross Hauser, MD, Steilen-Matias D, Gordin K. The biology of prolotherapy and its application in clinical cervical spine instability and chronic neck pain: a retrospective study. European Journal of Preventive Medicine. 2015;3(4):85-102. [Google Scholar]