How the NFL concussion lawsuit is going to legitimize upper cervical chiropractic care

Peyton Manning Neck Surgery

If you don’t follow sports, you might be missing one of the most important stories to develop in the intersection between sports and health.

Over the past several years, multiple lawsuits have been filed against the National Football League on behalf of over 2,000 players who report experiencing symptoms of concussion, or mild traumatic brain injury (TBI). The players say that repeat head trauma from playing professional football has lead to them to experience a body of symptoms similar to severe brain injury.

What are some of these symptoms? Headache, brain fog, confusion, ringing in the ears, fatigue, poor sleep quality, and depression.

What’s interesting about these symptoms is how similar they are to the symptoms patients often present with in upper cervical chiropractic offices. Upper cervical chiropractors often see the same pattern of symptoms, right down to the poor sleep quality, brain fog, and depression.

And not because their patients have played professional football.

The symptom connection between the NFL and upper cervical chiropractic patients

Rather, upper cervical chiropractic patients often have a history of playing high school sports. Of falling out of trees. Of being in motor vehicle accidents. Of falling down the stairs. Of being launched from a snow-mobile. Of having their head struck or their neck whip-lashed on one or more occasions.

These are also the same histories and symptoms of people who experience vertigo, migraines, multiple sclerosis (MS), and even other degenerative brain diseases, like Parkinsons.

These are also the same histories and symptoms of people that are being investigated by upright MRI. People who, with this new and different diagnostic tool, are being found to have significant changes in the function and position of their brain and neck. These same kind of symptoms are presenting in people with reduced flow of their cerebral spinal fluid. Or of partially closed vertebral arteries. Or even a partially descended lower brain being pulled into the spinal canal, called tonsillar ectopia.

(You can watch actual videos of CSF studies on MS patients using upright MRI here.)

So—what’s going here? What exactly does this mean? Well, it’s hard to predict what’s going to happen, but this is what I think will happen—broken down into three points.

Three predictions coming from the NFL concussion lawsuit

  1. Medicine will starting looking at the brain, spinal cord, and spine together. The emphasis is on the together part. You see, except in extreme cases, medicine sees a brain injury as something that only exists in the brain. And a neck injury as only something that exists in the neck. But the blood, tissue, and cerebral spinal fluid are all continuous between these two parts of the body. Symptoms of brain trauma can actually be symptoms of neck trauma, and vice versa.
  2. The extremely large prevalence of persons suffering with mild TBI and neck trauma will begin to be recognized as standard imaging for these studies (hospital x-rays, and normal MRI) are going to be found less and less helpful. There is an epidemic of brain fog, depression, concentration problems, and other similar symptoms in the general population that require more than just medication or watching and waiting. Case series in upright MRI and even microangiography (looking at small blood vessels in the neck and lower brain) will lead to complete recognition that physical trauma, especially upper neck injury, leads to a change in blood flow and CSF in the brain.
  3. Because private enterprise, professional athletes, and billions of dollars in damages are involved, the NFL is going to be forced to lead the way in uncovering some of these connections in order to protect itself from further liability and protect its largest assets: its players. (To put things in perspective, these lawsuits may lead to settlement larger than the one wrangled from Big Tobacco.) The concussion that a quarterback took ten years ago may play a role in helping a future MS patient get the help they need. (I touched on this possibility  over at Health Central: Professional Football and Brain Injury Changing the Way We Think of MS)

Which brings us to the final point, captured in the title of this article. This developing information, coming from several independent studies and sources is going to legitimize what upper cervical chiropractors have known for years:

Neck trauma changes brain function. Reversing that trauma through specific adjustments can help restore that brain function.

You heard it here first—the NFL is going to legitimize upper cervical chiropractic care. And you’ll know its happening when upper cervical doctors using x-rays and and precise adjusting techniques join the the other chiropractors, physical therapists, and team trainers, who are already on the sidelines.

Oh, and if your name is William Clay Ford, and you’re reading this, please know I’m available as soon as the Lions will have me.

Like this post?  Ready for more? Get your copy of: The Downside of Upright Posture – The Anatomical Causes of Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and Multiple Sclerosis

Written by Dr. Ward

Father. Foodie. And dedicated upper cervical chiropractor. Find me practicing gentle upper cervical care in Oakland County, Michigan. Have a question or comment? I'm at your service. Reach me at my Auburn Hills chiropractic practice: (248) 598-4002. Or on Google +, Facebook, or Twitter.

6 Responses to How the NFL concussion lawsuit is going to legitimize upper cervical chiropractic care
  1. […] NFL concussion lawsuits Share this:TwitterFacebookLike this:LikeBe the first to like this. […]

  2. […] Zach Ward has a great article on his site, How the NFL concussion lawsuit is going to legitimize upper cervical chiropractic care about how the NFL is going to be forced to look for answers towards a solution for the their […]

  3. […] Tough guys also still take on most of the dangerous jobs: […]

  4. Teckie Logan
    October 7, 2013 | 3:08 pm

    Hi, my name is Teckie and I need to find an Upper Cervical Chiropractor for my son who suffers from diverticulitis. He lives in Wilmington Delaware can you help ? He is desperate because the M.D. just want to give him pain medication and he doesn’t want that he wants to feel better period ! I appreciate all the help you can give me. Thank-You , Teckie

    • Dr Ray Drury
      October 20, 2014 | 1:46 pm

      Hi Teckie, Please visit my website and click “locate a Dr”. There are currently no Upper Cervical Dr in Wilmington but you may be able to find one that is relatively close. Please do not hesitate to contact me if I can help.

  5. […] of the major reasons we are becoming aware of post-concussion induced disease is due to a class-action lawsuit by former NFL players against the […]