Neck Pain

Neck Problems

• The Amazing Incredible Neck
Your amazing neck balances your heavy head as it turns, tilts and twists without damaging its vital occupants. Your neck is packed with all kinds of things: bones (vertebrae), blood vessels, nerves, glands, voice box (larynx), esophagus (food pipe), trachea (windpipe), connective tissue, discs, muscles, ligaments, tendons and other structures.

• Your Cervical Spine
Cervix, the Latin word for neck, means “a constricted area.” The uterus and urinary bladders also have a neck or cervix as does that part of your body that connects your head to your torso.

You have seven neck bones (also called cervical vertebrae) and they are numbered C-1 to C-7 from top to bottom. Your top cervical vertebra, C-1, has a special name—the atlas—because, like Atlas in Greek mythology, it balances a globe, your skull. The next one is C-2 and it also has a special name—the axis—because it permits your neck to move in many different directions.

All your vertebrae work together to balance your head and protect your spinal cord, an extension of your brain that lies in your neck. This protection is extremely important because a spinal cord injury can result in paralysis or death.

• Disc Damage & Osteoarthritis
If your spine is unhealthy, you may lose your normal neck curve and suffer from pain, nerve irritation and disc degeneration. Although many doctors tell their patients that this is due to age, disc degeneration can be found in young children while some older adults are relatively free of it. One of the most common causes of disc degeneration is years of uncorrected subluxations.

Over time uncorrected subluxation degeneration causes arthritic changes in the vertebrae such as lipping or spurring (bony growths), disc thinning and deterioration.

• Nerve Problems
Your cervical spinal nerves lie in small openings between your vertebrae. These nerves can become irritated, inflamed, compressed or “pinched” if your structural system is even slightly distorted or out of its proper position. That can cause head, neck, face, shoulder, elbow, arm, wrist, hand and finger pain; numbness; pins and needles; increased sensitivity or other symptoms. The most common cause of nerve, blood vessel and spinal cord pressure is a condition chiropractors call a subluxation, where your vertebrae are slightly out of position and your nerves are irritated.1

• Is Your Head On Straight?
Imagine you are carrying a bowling ball. But instead of carrying it closely at your side you hold it just a few inches from your body. You’d get tired very quickly! It’s the same with your head. If it’s just a tiny bit off-center you will start to suffer from fatigue as well as stress and pain involving your neck, shoulders, lower back, discs, hips, arms, knees and feet.

• Causes Of Subluxations
There are many ways we can get a subluxation: a difficult birth, a fall (even as far back as childhood), an accident, working in one position for a long period and emotional tension.

The most serious neck injuries—fracture, dislocation or severe tissue damage—can be fatal if not given emergency medical care. Most other neck problems, although not life-threatening, can impair your health if not corrected.

Whiplash injury is a common cause of neck subluxations. Whiplash and neck injury sufferers may complain of headaches; vision problems;2 dizziness; ringing in the ears; decreased attention span; learning and memory impairments; emotional changes; nasal, tongue and throat problems.3-5 Chiropractic care realigns the vertebrae and removes stress from nerves. Many people suffering from neck problems, including whiplash, have found chiropractic to be a blessing.6 As one major medical journal reports: “Whiplash injuries are common. Chiropractic is the only proven effective treatment in chronic cases.”7

• The Medical Approach
The standard medical approach to neck pain is often painkillers, muscle relaxers and/or tranquilizers. If the pain doesn’t subside, cortisone or other injections may be administered. In some cases physical therapy, neck pillows, collars or traction may be prescribed. Interestingly enough, these constitute a tacit endorsement of the chiropractic approach of releasing pressure on the nerves, joints and openings through which the nerves travel.

Sometimes surgery is needed especially in serious trauma or severe disc herniation. In many cases, chiropractic techniques have saved people from neck or disc surgery.8-9
Surgery should only be considered “as a last resort.” Severe torticollis (wry neck); Erb’s Palsy; vision problems; hearing problems; and ear, nose and throat infections have all responded to neck adjustments (even in infancy).11-13
There is even evidence that chiropractic care can reverse osteoarthritis— something previously considered impossible.10

• The Role Of The Chiropractor
When corrected, your entire body begins to rebalance. That is why, for example, people with lower back problems, after receiving a neck adjustment from their chiropractor, find, to their surprise, that their low back pain not only starts feeling better (as well as many other problems) but they have more energy as well!

Chiropractic care corrects a severe form of stress known as the subluxation. This restores proper movement to your structural system, permitting greater energy, information and nutrients to flow over your nerves and tissues and throughout your body.

Just as a periodic dental checkup is necessary to keep your teeth healthy, a chiropractic checkup is necessary to ensure a nervous system that is free from nerve stress permitting you to experience greater healing and well-being. No matter what disease or condition you have, you can benefit from a healthy spine and structural system.


1. Tepper SJ. Pathophysiology, basic science, and clinical studies. Headache: The Journal of Head and Face Pain. 2004;44(10):1063-1065.
2. Leboeuf-Yde C et al. Self-reported non-musculoskeletal response to chiropractic intervention: a multination study. JMPT. 2005;28:294-302.
3. Di Stefano G, Radanov BP. Course of attention and memory after common whiplash. Acta Neurol Scand. 1995;91:346-352.
4. Elster EL. Eighty-one patients with multiple sclerosis and Parkinson’s disease undergoing upper cervical chiropractic care to correct vertebral subluxation: a retrospective analysis. JVSR. August 2, 2004;1-9.
5. Otte A, Mueller J. Brain SPECT findings in late whiplash syndrome. Lancet. 1995;345:1512-1513.
6. Giles LG, Muller R. Chronic spinal pain syndromes: a clinical pilot trial comparing acupuncture, a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID), and spinal manipulation. JMPT. 1999:22(6):376-381.
7. Khan S, Cook J, Gargan M, Bannister G. A symptomatic classification of whiplash injury and the implications for treatment. J Orthopedic Medicine. 1999;21(1).
8. Eriksen K. Management of cervical disc herniation with upper cervical chiropractic care. JMPT. 1998;21(1).
9. Robinson GK. Reabsorption of a herniated cervical disc following chiropractic treatment utilizing the atlas orthogonal technique: a case report. Chiro. Research Journal. 1998:5(1).
10. Ressel OJ. Disc regeneration: reversibility is possible in spinal osteoarthritis. ICA Review. March/April 1989:39-61.
11. Colin N. Congenital muscular torticollis: a review, case study, and proposed protocol for chiropractic management. Topics in Clinical Chiropractic. 1998;5(3):27-33.
12. Biedermann HJ. Kinematic imbalances due to suboccipital strain in newborns. Manual Medicine. 1992;6:151-156.
13. Koren T. Chiropractic. Science and Medicine. 1999;6(5):42-45.

© 2014 Tedd Koren, D.C. & Koren Publications Inc. All rights reserved. • 1-800-537-3001 • • KGN

TMJ Syndrome

• Your Temporomandibular Joint
Where your skull’s temporal bone attaches to your mandible (jaw) is the temporomandibular joint (TMJ). You can find it by placing your fingers in front of each ear and open your jaw, you’ll feel lots of wiggling..that is your TMJ. Lots of cartilage, ligaments, fascia, discs, nerves, muscles and blood vessels run in, around and through it.

• TMJ Syndrome
When the TMJ joint is misaligned it is called TMJ Syndrome. Common symptoms include the inability to open the mouth wide and a clicking or popping sound when the mouth opens or closes. The jaw can even temporarily lock up in some cases.

Other TMJ symptoms can include headache; hearing loss; tinnitus (ringing in the ears); throat fullness; facial swelling; shoulder, cheek or jaw pain; neck ache; facial nerve pain; ear or eye pain; dental pain; nausea; blurred vision and dizziness.1

TMJ Syndrome has also been linked to vertigo, throat infections, sinus congestion, ear infections, asthma and even heart, stomach, intestinal, respiratory and emotional disorders.2

• The Causes of TMJ
According to one researcher, “[Up to] 78% of the general public have some amount of TMJ dysfunction. This condition can begin during the birth process…. One of the primary causes can be poor nutrition.”3 Indeed, TMJ symptoms are found in young children.4

Other causes of TMJ Syndrome are poor posture, spinal or skull subluxations, accidents and trauma (even from childhood).5-6 For example, a child may fall on his/her sacrum and in time, through the adaptive body mechanisms, the pelvic imbalance can affect the TMJ, head and neck.7

Gerald Smith, DDS, a specialist in this field, says dental work is the cause of many TMJ problems:

Orthodontic treatment affects the cranium in 100% of cases…. The structural imbalances cause chronic fatigue, headaches, scalp tenderness, pains behind the eyes, muffled ear sounds, ringing, hissing or other ear distortions, balance problems, nausea, facial tightness and cervical or lower back pain.8

Dr. Daryl Curl, who holds degrees in both dentistry and chiropractic, confirms that orthotics (braces, crowns, etc.) may contribute to or worsen a patient’s head-pain complaint.9

The pain of ill-fitting dental work can be quite intense. There are even reports of individuals forcing dentists to remove their braces at gun point!10

Let us not overlook that the very act of sitting open-mouthed in a dental chair and getting worked on puts great stress on the TMJ.

• The Standard Medical/Dental Approach
Standard approaches to TMJ Syndrome include muscle relaxant drugs; painkillers; oral appliances, such as a night guard to control bruxism (grinding of the teeth); massage and a soft diet to ease the pain of chewing. Other treatments are orthodontics, restorative dentistry to build up the bite, bite plates and physical therapy. In severe cases jaw surgery has been performed. This drastic step should be taken only after more conservative approaches have failed.

• The Chiropractic Approach
Because structure and TMJ problems are often found together, many TMJ sufferers benefit from chiropractic care.11 Chiropractic, by relieving pressure on the spine and cranial bones, may correct or relieve a TMJ problem.12

Conversely, an unhealthy skull/jaw alignment can put great stress upon the spinal column. There are documented cases of dental problems that, once corrected, have enabled chiropractic patients to better hold their adjustments.13-14

• Studies
In one study, thirty chronic TMJ sufferers were randomized into three groups (two had chiropractic and one was a control). The groups receiving chiropractic care had the most significant relief from pain.15

Eleven patients with chronic TMJ revealed a shift from high-intensity to low-intensity pain between the beginning and end of care (63.6% to 18.2%). A significant change of mouth opening range was also observed.17

In another study, sixty patients with chronic cervical pain were divided into chiropractic and control groups. There was a dramatic improvement in TMJ pain in the chiropractic group compared to the control group.16

An individual case involved a 41-year-old woman with bilateral TMJ pain, ear pain, tinnitus, vertigo, decreased hearing and a sensation of pressure or fullness in both ears. She also had a 22-year history of migraine headaches. Prescribed antibiotics caused gastric upset and vomiting. MDs told her to apply local heat, reduce talking and eat soft foods. Her symptoms worsened.

Chiropractic care to the atlas vertebra resulted in complete relief of TMJ symptoms after nine visits. At a one-year follow-up she reported no TMJ symptoms and no headaches for the prior nine months.18

• In Conclusion
All TMJ sufferers need a chiropractic checkup. Anyone who has been to the dentist should follow up that visit with a quick stop at their chiropractor.

Certain chiropractic and body alignment techniques have been developed that analyze skull/jaw/spinal structural relationships. These techniques have benefited patients suffering from the hidden distortions that sometimes arise within us.


1. Boniver R. Temporomandibular joint dysfunction in whiplash injuries: association with tinnitus and vertigo. Int Tinnitus J. 2002;8(2):129-131.
2. Gillespie B, Barnes J. Diagnosis and treatment of TMJ, head, neck and asthmatic symptoms in children. J of Craniomandibular Practice. October 1990;342-350.
3. Conversation with John D. Laughlin III, DDS, then President of the Holistic Dental Association. Jan. 16, 1991.
4. Tuerlings V, Limme M. The prevalence of temporomandibular joint dysfunction
in the mixed dentition. Eur J Orthod. 2004;26(3):311-320.
5. Eriksson O, Zafar H et al. Deranged jaw-neck motor control in whiplash-associated disorders. European J. of Oral Sciences. 2004;112:25-32.
6. Knutson GA, Jacob M. Possible manifestation of temporomandibular joint
dysfunction on chiropractic cervical X-ray studies. JMPT. 1999;22(1):32-37.
7. Gillespie BR, Barnes JF. Diagnosis and treatment of TMJ, head, neck and asthmatic symptoms in children. Cranio. 1990;8(4):342-349.
8. Smith GH. Headaches Aren’t Forever. Newtown, PA: International Center for Nutritional Research. 1986;9.
9. Curl D. Chiropractic, dentistry, and cervical adjustments. MPI’s Dynamic
Chiropractic. August 29, 1990;21.
10. Conversation with G. H. Smith, DDS, Jan 21, 1991.
11. Raphael KG et al. Complementary and alternative therapy use by patients with myofascial temporomandibular disorders. J Orofac Pain. 2003;17(1):36-41.
12. Alcantara J, Plaugher G, Klemp DD, Salem C. Chiropractic care of a patient with temporomandibular disorder and atlas subluxation. JMPT. 2002;25(1):63-70.
13. Chinappi AS Jr, Getzoff H. The dental-chiropractic cotreatment of structural disorders of the jaw and temporomandibular joint dysfunction. JMPT. 1995;18(7):
14. Curl D. Chiropractic, dentistry, and cervical adjustments. MPI’s Dynamic
Chiropractic. August 29, 1990;21.
15. Kalamir A. A randomised controlled pilot study of chiropractic craniomandibular treatment for chronic TMD. Int. Conf. on Chiropractic Research. Vilamoura, Portugal. May 17-19, 2007.
16. Bablis P, Pollard H, Bonello R. Neuro Emotional Technique for the treatment of trigger point sensitivity in chronic neck pain sufferers: a controlled clinical trial. Chiropractic & Osteopathy. 2008;16:4.
17. Appiano P et al. Chiropractic treatment of temporomandibular joint pain: a case series. Int. Conf. on Chiropractic Research. Vilamoura, Portugal. May 17-19, 2007.
18. Alcantara J, Plaugher G, Klemp, DD, Salem C. Chiropractic care of a patient
with temporomandibular disorder and atlas subluxation. JMPT. 2002;25(1):63-70.
For more information:
Biological or holistic dentists use no mercury, perform mercury removal according
to exacting standards, perform no root canals and are sensitive to the body’s reactions to metals, toxins, chemicals and diet. They tend to be open and accepting of alternative approaches. Information on holistic/biological dentistry can be found at To locate a holistic or biological dentist in your area, go to or

© 2014 Tedd Koren, D.C. & Koren Publications Inc. All rights reserved. • 1-800-537-3001 • • KGN

Whiplash & Neck Injuries

• What Is Whiplash?
What exactly is a whiplash injury and how does chiropractic help relieve the discomfort caused by it? Chiropractic has been a blessing to millions of people who have suffered whiplash injuries.

Whiplash is not a disease but a description of how an injury occurred. The head was “whipped around” on the neck usually front to back, but it can also happen from a side-to-side motion of the neck as well.1 The spine, usually the head and neck, was unexpectedly thrown very quickly in one direction and then rebounded in the opposite direction.

• Where Is The Damage Located When Whiplash Occurs?
Most of whiplash sufferers have misaligned spinal bones (cervical vertebrae) and nerve, joint, ligament, tendon, muscle and disc stress, irritation or damage. Chiropractors have a special name to describe this type of condition—a subluxation, the most common source of pain and discomfort from whiplash injuries.2

• What Is A Subluxation?
A whiplash injury is just one dramatic example of one type of subluxation (nerve interference)—the kind produced by accident or trauma. Subluxations may also be caused by emotional stress and tension that slowly build up day-to-day—micro-trauma. Other causes of subluxations are bad sleeping positions, poor posture, weak muscles, poor diet and even dental work.3 A chiropractic examination often includes a discussion of your personal habits and any injuries, accidents, falls or other situations which may contribute to subluxations.

Chiropractors are the only professionals specially trained to locate and correct your subluxations.

• Whiplash Symptoms—Body & Mind
Right after the accident you may feel some neck soreness or stiffness, perhaps accompanied by a headache. Later, pain and/or numbness, tingling or a pins-and-needles feeling may develop between the shoulder blades, in the arm, hand and/or fingers.

Depending on the nerves affected, you may have ear ringing, dizziness, hearing loss, eye pain, blurred vision, sensitivity to light, nasal problems, low back pain and even internal organ problems.4-6

• Concussion
A concussion may accompany a whiplash. In a concussion the brain is thrown around inside the skull—similar to scrambling an egg without damaging the shell. Concussion symptoms may include headache, restlessness, irritability, insomnia, moodiness, depression and emotional ‘jitters’ that may last for hours, days or months after the accident.9

• Psychological Changes
Those who suffer from whiplash sometimes have memory, thinking, vision and psychological problems7 even if there is no head or brain injury. How could that be? Research has revealed that a neck subluxation can cause decreased blood flow to the brain!8

• Immediately After The Accident
An individual who has been in an accident should first make sure that there is no life-threatening emergency—broken bones, bleeding or hemorrhage, serious contusions or abrasions, internal organ damage, shock or other damage. This is the specialty of emergency medicine yet too many patients are released from medical care after an injury even though they are still not well. Although the X-rays, MRI or CT scans and other tests may have found “nothing,” the patient’s structural system has not been analyzed for subluxations. They may develop arthritis and disc problems years after the accident (and after the legal settlements) because a chiropractor was not consulted right away.

After the patient’s condition has stabilized, it is essential that the accident victim’s spine be checked
by a doctor of chiropractic for subluxations.10

No amount of drugs or therapies will give the patient what the doctor of chiropractic can give: the adjustment which realigns the spinal column and structural system safely and easily, without drugs or surgery.

• Chronic Whiplash Problems
Some whiplash victims heal rapidly and yet others may suffer long-term chronic pain and impairment. From 50% to as much as 88% of sufferers may continue to experience pain and some amount of disability for many years after the accident.11

• Chiropractic Care For Whiplash Victims
Chiropractic effectiveness with whiplash sufferers has long been observed and reported in professional journals.12

Chiropractic’s superiority was noted in a study published in a major medical journal when, after the authors interviewed 93 patients, they concluded: “Whiplash injuries are common. Chiropractic is the only proven effective treatment in chronic cases.”14

In one study, 41 male and female patients (ages 17-67) with whiplash injuries were placed under chiropractic care. Their pain levels were significantly lower after 20 office visits.13
• In Conclusion
Any accident may cause subluxations—structural misalignments and irritated or damaged nerves. If you’ve ever been involved in an accident, whiplash or otherwise, no matter how long ago, please see your doctor of chiropractic to ensure that you have really healed as completely as possible. Trauma or injury from many years ago may be responsible for seemingly unrelated health problems suffered today.


1. Cailliet R. Neck and Arm Pain. Philadelphia, PA: F.A. Davis Co. 1979:64.
2. Lord WM, Barnsley L, Wallis BJ, Bogduk N. Chronic cervical zygopophysial joint pain after whiplash: a placebo-controlled prevalence study. Spine. 1996;21:1737-1745.
3. Smith GH. Headaches Aren’t Forever: How Incurable Headaches Can
Be Cured. Newtown, PA: Int’l Ctr for Nutritional Research. 1986:96.
4. Brown S. Effect of whiplash injury on accommodation. Clinical & Experimental Ophthalmology. 2003;31(5):424-429.
5. Stewart DY. Current concepts of the ‘Barre Syndrome’ or the ‘Posterior Cervical Sympathetic Syndrome’. Clin. Orthop. 1962;24:40-48.
6. Burcon M. Cervical protocol to reduce vertebral subluxation in ten subjects with Meniere’s: a case series. JVSR. June 2, 2008;1-8.
7. Di Stefano G, Radanov BP. Course of attention and memory after common whiplash. Acta Neurol Scand. 1995;91:346-352.
8. Otte A, Ettlin TM, Nitzsche, EU et al. PET and SPECT in whiplash syndrome: a new approach to a forgotten brain? J Neurol Neurosurg Psychiatry. 1997;63:368-372.
9. Bohnen N et al. Late outcome of mild head injury: results from
a controlled postal survey. Brain Injury. 1994;8(8):701-708.
10. Seletz E. Whiplash injuries: neurophysiological basis for pain and methods used for rehabilitation. JAMA. 1958;168:1750-1755.
11. Squires B, Gargan MF, Bannister GC. Soft tissue injuries of the cervical spine: a 15-year follow-up. J of Bone and Joint Surgery (British Edition). 1996;(70B):955-957.
12. McCoy HG, McCoy M. A multiple parameter assessment of whiplash injury patients undergoing subluxation based chiropractic care:
a retrospective study. JVSR. 1997;1(3):51-61.
13. Davis C. Chiropractic treatment in acute whiplash injuries: grades
I & II. JVSR. May 19, 2008;1-3.
14. Khan S, Cook J, Gargan M, Bannister G. A symptomatic classification of whiplash injury and the implications for treatment. The Journal of Orthopaedic Medicine. 1999;21(1).

© 2014 Tedd Koren, D.C. & Koren Publications Inc. All rights reserved. • 1-800-537-3001 • • KGN