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Upper Cervical Chiropractic Cases from Dr. Zachary Ward

When your body gets locked into stress, pain, and chronic conditions, we help unlock it

Big and small accidents cause your body to shift and lock down into a stressed position. You can see it for yourself in the mirror, if you know what to look for. Some talk about shifting posture. And many others just ignore it. But at Life In Alignment, we see consistent changes in your chronic pain and other conditions using a specific protocol to unlock the spine and bring it to better balance.

We don’t just talk about improved spinal balance. We measure it as it changes.

Can you see the change?

The following “before and after cases” show how your spine can shift from unhealthy to healthy, and from abnormal to normal. And how quickly these positive changes often happen when the right approach is used.

In the words of a recent patient: “This is not what I expected from a chiropractor.”

Upper cervical chiropractic and torticollis (congenital)?

Upper cervical chiropractic and torticollis (congenital)?

Does neck alignment matter in torticollis? Below is a story of Baby M who is currently undergoing care to improve her neck and body alignment to see if it will help her torticollis.

What is congenital torticollis

Not long after birth some babies develop a tilt of the head toward the right or left shoulder, and a rotation of the head away from that same shoulder. (See the historic image).

Many are diagnosed with congenital torticollis (fibromatosis colli), and it’s determined that the position of the head is locked due to a sudden and permanent spasm and scarring of a neck muscle called the SCM (sternocleidomastoid).

The reason for this happening isn’t known…

Baby M after her first upper cervical adjustment (right). Historic drawing of torticollis in a child (left).

Baby M arrived at Life In Alignment with a torticollis diagnosis, confirmed with testing that her right SCM had a lump of scar tissue that was forcing the muscle to contract.

I could feel it. Mom could feel it. The pediatrician could feel it. You could pick it up with your fingers and roll it around.

Her head was tilted to the right and rotated to the left. She had difficulty rotating her head to the right or looking straight ahead.

(The pics show Baby M after her first adjustment, where she is less likely to hold her head tilted or rotated.)

As a result of sleeping with her head rotated to the left, and head tipped right, she started showing signs of distortion in the skull.

In many cases, these babies are recommended for PT and that is a good idea. (Baby M is also being seen by a PT who works with her proprioceptive input system to remind her brain of where her head should be.)

Some are told to wait it out to see if the spasm and scar tissue spontaneously lets go…And some do let go.

But others end up in surgery.

Chiropractic assessment of an infant with congenital torticollis

Prior infant patient showing C-Shape of mild birth trauma.

When I examined Baby M, she was very tight below her right jaw and behind her right ear. That tension traveled down to her right upper chest, and right upper back.

There was a lot of resistance when trying to rotate her head to the right.

She showed the posture of many babies with mild birth trauma: she would not lay relaxed and straight with her knees slightly apart. Rather, she would hike up her right hip and pull down her right shoulder and lay in C-shape toward her right, head rotated left.

Whenever she was straightened out of this position, she immediately returned to it.

Light pressure with guided movements of my hand released Baby M below her right ear at her upper neck. Very, very gently.

She was then turned over to the other side, and a light release was accomplished on her left skull.

Immediately she relaxed out of the C-shape, and she even rotated her head to the right for a moment. The test would be to see if the muscle bundle in her SCM began to relax over the coming weeks.

The following day Mom texted to let me know that Baby M slept all day. Not usual for her! A good sign of healing.

Baby M has shrinking/relaxing of scar tissue in her SCM

Releasing the restricted shoulder after the neck relaxed.

Baby M came back a few days later and caught me by surprise on how quickly the muscle responded.

The obvious muscle bundle you could feel and even pick up and roll around in your fingers had begun to let go. The SCM was relaxing. It was still present, but it was remarkably less.

The only thing different Baby M had experienced in the prior day was to have her upper cervical spine balanced.

Baby M was no longer laying in the C-shape to the right, but was willing to relax on her back, legs balanced, knees slightly apart.

With the constant contraction of her right SCM and head tilt, I found her upper shoulder was locked on the front and back. She had plenty of mobility in her left shoulder, but clearly showed resistance in her right.

Baby M was laid on her belly and her right upper thoracic spine was gently released with a sustained hold and then a tap of an instrument. Now her thoracic spine was moving again.

Baby M will continue to receive some PT to help her brain reconnect with her right shoulder since the muscle was contracted for so long.

Mom just let me know that the pediatrician confirmed that the scar tissue is getting softer and is already half its size. This is good.

It appears that Baby M is on the road toward a “spontaneous” resolution of her torticollis with a little bit of help from some friends.

Three millimeters to headache freedom?

Three millimeters to headache freedom?

Many cases of chronic and recurring head pain (like tension head ache, migraine, etc.) are treated by focusing on the head…Where the pain appears to be. But many cases of chronic headache may actually be stemming from biomechanical problems in the neck and deserve to have an evaluation from a chiropractic provider, especially one with… Continue Reading

Vertigo can be caused by neck alignment (video)

Where vertigo comes from is a huge question that a lot of people have. Especially because vertigo symptoms are so confusing, and can include and be confused for dizziness, nausea, lightheadedness, and even  migraine, anxiety, and motion sickness. As an upper cervical chiropractor, I am very aware of the primary causes of vertigo symptoms, which… Continue Reading

Correcting the S-shaped neck curve (video)

Hello Dr. Zachary Ward back with another “Ten Patients in Ten Minutes” In this episode we’re talking about a female in her mid-30s with migraines, head sensitivities, left ear plugged, sense of brain fog, anxiety, chest pain…whole gamut of symptoms and of course a reverse curve.   And this is her x-ray of her neck… Continue Reading

Solving neck pain after whiplash (video)

Hi, this is Dr. Zachary Ward at Life In Alignment Chiropractic here in Auburn Hills, Michigan. Facebook.com/LIAChiropractic We’re going over ten cases in about ten minutes. (Don’t hold me to it.) Whiplash after car crash- the acceleration-deceleration injury of the neck We’re on number eight, looking at whiplash after a car accident…The cervical acceleration-deceleration injury.… Continue Reading

Improving upright posture and pelvis alignment in a long distance runner

Improving upright posture and pelvis alignment in a long distance runner

Can long distance runners improve their overall body posture by focusing on the head-to-neck alignment? Yes and no. It depends on if they are self-correcting or receiving a correction. This case study from our practice and a little bit of research sheds light on this important topic. Focusing on the hips, knees, and ankles When… Continue Reading

Scoliosis in middle age: common questions and one woman’s story

I have scoliosis and I’m middle aged. Is it too late for me to get help from a chiropractor? Plus… One woman’s story after four weeks of spinal care with scoliosis And answering your common questions about scoliosis in adulthood by a doctor who works with adults with scoliosis Most scoliosis information focuses on children… Continue Reading

Can your pain pill do this? 3 impossible before and after pictures

Can your pain pill do this? 3 impossible before and after pictures

Are you trained to go the medicine cabinet any time you have a headache? Or neck pain? Or some other sort of ache or pain? Here’s a secret: very few chronic aches and pains happen because of a shortage of Advil, Tyelenol, or Bayer in your blood stream. In other words – there is a… Continue Reading

Upper Cervical Success Stories

Post-concussion syndrome, brain fog, and neck alignment? Really?

Post-concussion syndrome, brain fog, and neck alignment? Really?

It’s important to know that if the body has experienced enough trauma to have a mild brain injury, it has experienced enough trauma to have a neck injury. This video on alignment and post-concussion syndrome show why: The following is from a feedback form taken from a high school student, about 8 weeks after his… Continue Reading

I was most impressed with this new form of treatment

I was most impressed with this new form of treatment

Here is an unsolicited review on Facebook: Thank you to Nancy for sharing her experience and getting the word out about specific cervical care and its impact on the whole spine and health on Facebook. Nancy loved chiropractic, but wanted a new experience to see if she could could feel less pain and greater balance… Continue Reading

Sleeping patterns have improved with upper cervical chiropractic

Sleeping patterns have improved with upper cervical chiropractic

How would you describe your health before you began receiving your spinal corrections? I was generally in good health other than having headaches, neck pain, and lower back pain. Went to my physician and former chiropractor without much relief. What is it that you heard or read that made you decide to choose my office… Continue Reading

Baby’s severe gastric reflux ends after watching episode of Ricki Lake?

Baby’s severe gastric reflux ends after watching episode of Ricki Lake?

When Sylvia Herrera’s infant daughter Alexa kept spitting up her bottle, baby Alexa ended up with a diagnosis of acid reflux (severe colic), and a diet of Zantac, Prevacid, and Prilosec. This article was written by Dr. Zachary Ward, and was originally presented in the summer edition of the 2013 NUCCA News. “When Alexa was… Continue Reading

Excruciating facial pain not responding to medication?

Excruciating facial pain not responding to medication?

What would you do if you faced Ryan’s painful situation? When does a pain in the face start as a pain in the neck? Thanks to Ryan for posting this on to Facebook, and sharing his story. He experienced dramatic Jaw and TMJ nerve pain, and was going to be evaluated for trigeminal neuralgia. One… Continue Reading

I experienced vertigo symptoms

I experienced vertigo symptoms

How would you describe your health before you began receiving your upper cervical chiropractic adjustments? It varied. I experienced vertigo symptoms that were incapacitating. What is it that you heard or read that made you decide to choose my office for chiropractic care? I was referred to the office by a co-worker. Before coming, I… Continue Reading

It is so different…

It is so different…

How would you describe your health before you began receiving your adjustments? Soreness all of the time. What is it that you heard or read that made you decide to choose my office for chiropractic care? More referral than anything else. Were you skeptical about chiropractic care? No. What are the three benefits that you’ve… Continue Reading

Major increase in neck mobility

Major increase in neck mobility

How would you describe your health before you began receiving your adjustments? Low energy, tense, sluggish, tender, and tight. What is it that you heard or read that made you decide to choose my office for chiropractic care? My father’s experience. Were you skeptical about chiropractic care? No. What are the three benefits that you’ve… Continue Reading

Runner’s Knee and Upper Cervical Chiropractic

Runner’s Knee and Upper Cervical Chiropractic

Runner’s knee and upper cervical chiropractic care? This original story appeared in the Fall 2o13 NUCCA News, the quarterly newsletter of the the National Upper Cervical Chiropractic Association. It was part of one of three very different stories about healing through upper cervical care. This true-life story comes from Dr. Nathan Wheat in central Iowa, and was written by Dr. Zachary Ward. Continue Reading

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