chronic pain

Regaining Clarity from Fibromyalgia-Related Brain Fog

Chronic pain is often the first thing associated with fibromyalgia, but there are many other facets to this condition that affect people.  Fibromyalgia sufferers also experience cognitive changes, such as difficulty concentrating, forgetfulness, trouble finding words, and poor short-term memory.  These cognitive difficulties are sometimes referred to as "brain fog" or "fibro fog" and can be extremely frustrating to cope with.

Fighting the fog can start with some simple lifestyle changes:

  • Establish routines for day-to-day tasks.  Doing things like putting your keys in the same spot each time you get home or setting reminders for phone calls or meetings can help with clarity.
  • Declutter your space.  It's difficult for anyone to focus when you're surrounded by too much stuff.  Try to remove distractions around your home and/or office.
  • Get regular exercise.  Low-impact exercises such as walking, swimming, or cycling can improve blood flow and reduce some of the cognitive effects of fibromyalgia.
  • Clean up your sleep habits.  Going to bed and waking up at the same time each day (even on days off) can improve sleep quality.

Getting to the Cause of the Brain Fog

Although much still remains to be understood about the condition of fibromyalgia, one thing researchers tend to agree upon is that there are changes that occur in the way the brain processes signals relating to pain.  These signals can be distorted due to a misalignment of the C1 (atlas) or C2 (axis) vertebra.  This area of the spine is known as the upper cervical area and plays an integral role in ensuring the normal transmission of brain-body signals.
Upper cervical chiropractic is a branch of chiropractic care that focuses specifically on this area of the spine since it is known to cause dramatic health problems when compromised.  In the case of fibromyalgia, the ability to restore normal signals between the brain and body can mean not only a decrease in pain sensitivity but also a reduction in the cognitive deficits known as "fibro fog."

5 Facts About Migraines in Agoura Hills, CA

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For those who have not experienced the terrible pain of a migraine episode, you may think that it just feels like a really bad headache.  There is definitely more than meets the eye when it comes to migraines, and there are many myths circulating out there.  The truth is that migraines are an extremely common neurological condition – over 1 billion people worldwide are affected.

  1. 1 out of 4 migraine sufferers experience aura – visual disturbances that will accompany an attack.  An aura can cause a person to see spots, wavy lines, or flashes of light.
  2. Migraines tend to run in families – about 90% of those affected have a family history of migraine.
  3. Children are impacted by migraines too – half of all migraine sufferers experienced their first attack before the age of 12.
  4. $36 billion a year is spent on healthcare costs associated with migraines across the United States.
  5. Migraines disproportionately affect women – 3 times more women than men deal with migraines at some point in life.

Dealing with Migraines the Natural Way

In order to address migraines on any ongoing basis, the root cause must be identified and addressed.  Otherwise, you get stuck in a symptom-chasing game that leaves you scrambling for solutions when you're feeling bad.  Migraines can often be linked to a small misalignment of the vertebra that sits at the very top of the neck just beneath the skull.  When the atlas is not aligned properly, it can contribute to migraines in at least three ways – pressure on the brainstem hindering normal brain-body signals, disruption of normal blood flow to and from the head, and an interruption of normal cerebrospinal fluid flow.


As an upper cervical chiropractor, I am specifically trained to analyze for and correct misalignments of the atlas.  The atlas can move in more complex ways than any other vertebra in the spine, and this requires a different level of expertise to address thoroughly.  Our atlas corrections are gentle, specific, and designed to hold.  This restores your body's ability to heal and function normally, which can ultimately give you the lasting migraine relief you've been looking for.

How the Upper Cervical Spine is Related to Lower Back Pain

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A large number of people have experienced lower back pain at one time or another. Gravity plays a role in this as it causes the lower back to carry the majority of a person’s weight. Therefore, it makes sense that one would experience some pain or discomfort after lifting a heavy object or sitting still for an extended period of time. However, when this pain becomes chronic, it is time to do something about it. 

In some cases, the pain continues from the lower back down the sciatic nerve into the buttocks and then on into one of the legs. This pain can become extreme, limiting a person’s ability to perform simple daily tasks such as dressing and taking a shower.

Where to Find Help for Lower Back Pain

Chiropractic care has been known for many years to be able to help with lower back pain. In our office, we take an alternative approach to this type of care. It may sound strange at first, but we focus on the top bone of the spine that lies in the upper neck. However, the link between the lower back and neck is very strong.

Due to the mobility of the upper neck and the shape of the atlas or C1 vertebra, this bone is susceptible to misalignment. This can be due to an injury or even daily repetitive actions. In turn, muscle spasms, posture changes, and pain can occur. If the muscles on one side of the body tighten up, this often leads to one hip becoming elevated causing the leg on that side to be shorter than the other side. This creates an imbalance in the spine that stresses the sciatic nerve and the lower back in general.

I consider the atlas bone to be the key to the health of the entire back. By readjusting this bone using a gentle, specific technique that is tailored to each individual person, I am able to help those suffering from pain to find lasting relief that really works.

Reflections on Health

I've been really excited while doing re-exams lately. I'm nerdy if you hadn't noticed and I get so giddy seeing how much posture can change over such a short amount of time.

What I found out is that many people don't usually know what the excitement is all about.

I wanted to take a quick moment to show you with some pictures what it means when you look at your posture in the mirror and its greater effect on your health.

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Normal Posture

The best place to start would be to see what NORMAL looks like. 

When you look in the mirror, NORMAL posture is seeing your ears, shoulders, and hips level.

This means that the body is in good posture and there is limited interference in normal body function.

 

 
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Poor Posture

So what happens when you look in the mirror and that's not what you see?

If you see that your glasses or sunglasses are a little crooked on your face or that your shoulders aren't level, or even notice that your pants sit unevenly on your hips, you could be experiencing UNRESOLVED ADAPTION..

What is UNRESOLVED ADAPTATION and why is it important?

If you're experiencing UNRESOLVED ADAPTATION, also known as poor postur, then at some point in your life you've probably experienced a slip, fall, or injury OR chronic poor posture from school or work.

This then caused the atlas, the tiny little bone at the top of your neck, to move slightly out of place. When this happens your head will also tilt a little out of place. 

Here is the cool part... your brain is so smart it's not going to let you walking around looking at the world all crooked! It then tips your head back just enough so that your eyes come back to level. Because of the small misalignment of the atlas, your body will then try to shift all the way down and adapt to the little bone being out of place.

Why does this matter to your health? In the short term, everything shifting in your body will cause the muscles to get sore and spasm causing neck, back, and shoulder pain that will potentially make it all the way down into the hips, knees, and ankles.

In the long term, when the atlas is out of place, even just a tiny bit, the messaging from your brain to your organs starts to become interrupted. This means bad messaging to your heart, pancreas, lungs, all your organs. 

Over a long period of time, this chronic bad messaging may show up as chronic health problems: high blood pressure, diabetes, asthma... all because your body stopped adapting and getting the correct messages from your brain!

Next time you look in the mirror, what is YOUR posture telling you?

You may not be experiencing any physiological symptoms yet, but having poor posture is an early indicator of problems in your health to come.

If you feel it's time for a change, let's work together to change the man in the mirror for lasting results in 2017. Not only will it be good for your health, but you'll find yourself with more energy and focus to do the things you love!