How the Upper Neck Can Contribute to Autoimmune Diseases in the Brain

Autoimmune natural treatment

The upper cervical spine influences nerve and immune health. Your neck can contribute toward autoimmune disease in the brain and body. Clear Chiropractic is an upper cervical specialist practice in Spokane, Washington that is a natural choice in healthcare without twisting, stretching or cracking.

Autoimmune diseases can be debilitating, affecting various parts of the body, including the brain. One area that has garnered attention in the study of these diseases is the upper neck, or craniocervical junction (CCJ). The CCJ is a critical area where the base of the skull meets the top of the spine. It includes the atlas (C1) and axis (C2) vertebrae, muscles, and connective tissues that link the skull to the cervical spine. This junction also contains the dura mater and dentate ligaments that attach the brain and spinal cord to the foramen magnum and the upper cervical spine. This area is vital for several reasons:

  1. Craniospinal Hydrodynamics: The CCJ plays a crucial role in the movement of blood and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) between the brain and the spinal canal.
  2. Structural Integrity: The alignment and condition of the CCJ can affect the entire nervous system, influencing neurological function and health.
  3. Brain Function: Several studies have found that proper motion and function of the neck impact the health of your brain. Additionally, other studies have found direct impacts on the function of the immune system itself.

How Misalignments and Malformations Affect Autoimmune Health

Misalignments or malformations in the CCJ can obstruct the flow of blood and CSF, thereby leading to various health issues. These disruptions can create a cascade of effects that contribute to autoimmune diseases and other neurological conditions.

  1. Hydrodynamic Disruption: Proper craniospinal hydrodynamics (blood and CSF flow) are essential for maintaining healthy brain function. Any blockage or misalignment in the CCJ can disrupt the flow of CSF, which is crucial for clearing waste products from the brain. Thus if these waste products accumulate, they can contribute to inflammation and autoimmune reactions.
  2. Increased Intracranial Pressure: Obstructions at the CCJ can lead to increased intracranial pressure. This pressure can damage brain tissue, leading to neurodegenerative changes that may trigger or exacerbate autoimmune conditions.
  3. Immune System Activation: Chronic disruption of CSF flow and increased intracranial pressure can activate the immune system. This activation can result in an autoimmune response, where the body’s immune system mistakenly attacks its own brain cells.

Note: The vagus nerve, which exits the skull at the level of the C1 and C2 vertebra in your neck controls immune activity in your brain. Moreover, it is the nerve that is associated with migraines and digestive health. If the function of the vagus nerve is impaired due to a mechanical injury, it promotes inflammation of the digestive system, which can lead to leaky gut. Leaky gut syndrome is linked with every autoimmune condition known in healthcare.


Conditions Linked to CCJ Issues

Several neurological and neurodegenerative conditions are linked to problems in the CCJ:

  1. Multiple Sclerosis (MS): MS is characterized by the immune system attacking the myelin sheath, a protective covering of nerves. Research suggests that improper CSF flow due to CCJ misalignments may contribute to the development and progression of MS.
  2. Fibromyalgia: Inflammation of the brain as a whole is linked with chronic pain disorders and can contribute toward a variety of symptoms including dizziness, vertigo, brain fog, and post-concussion syndrome.
  3. Alzheimer’s Disease: There is evidence that Alzheimer’s disease may be associated with impaired CSF flow and increased intracranial pressure. These issues can lead to the buildup of amyloid plaques, a hallmark of Alzheimer’s.
  4. Parkinson’s Disease: Similar to Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s disease may also be linked to hydrodynamic issues in the CCJ. Disruptions in CSF flow can affect the removal of metabolic waste, potentially contributing to the disease.

Note: A simple screening test for Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s is a diminished sense of smell through the left nostril. With your eyes closed, hold a container of peanut butter, coffee or peppermint below your nose. First, block your left nostril. Slowly raise the container toward your right nostril until you smell the aroma. Next, repeat on the opposite side. Presuming that you don’t have sinus blockages, if you cannot smell the aroma until it is much closer toward your left nostril (and especially if you have other symptoms including memory troubles, chronic constipation or rigidity in your joints), this could be an early sign of Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s dementia.

Chiropractic Care and the CCJ

Chiropractic care focuses on the alignment and health of the spine, including the CCJ. Here’s how chiropractic interventions can potentially help with autoimmune conditions related to the brain:

  1. Restoring Alignment: Chiropractic adjustments aim to correct misalignments in the CCJ, potentially restoring proper hydrodynamic function and reducing intracranial pressure.
  2. Improving CSF Flow: By ensuring that the CCJ is correctly aligned, chiropractors can help improve the flow of CSF. This aids in the removal of waste products from the brain and reducing the risk of inflammation and autoimmune responses.
  3. Holistic Health Benefits: Chiropractic care often includes lifestyle and dietary advice, which can further support overall health and potentially reduce the burden of autoimmune diseases.

The upper neck, or craniocervical junction, plays a critical role in the health of the brain and the nervous system. Misalignments and malformations in this area can disrupt craniospinal hydrodynamics, potentially leading to increased intracranial pressure and the activation of autoimmune responses. Therefore,  focusing on the alignment and health of the spine offers a promising approach to managing and possibly preventing autoimmune conditions in the brain.

Understanding the connection between the upper neck and autoimmune diseases in the brain opens new avenues for treatment and prevention. The Blair technique is a specialized chiropractic approach focusing on the alignment, motion, and stability of the atlas vertebra. This gentle and precise method can help restore normal function at the junction between your head and neck, which promotes overall health.

If you are looking for help with a chiropractor in Spokane, visit our home page more information. To schedule a new patient appointment with our Mead (north Spokane) or South Hill offices, complete a new patient request form here, or call us direct at 509-315-8166.