Whiplash Injuries and CCSVI

Upper Cervical Spine

In engineering terms, stress from any type of force always strains the structures and materials they act on. Any structure or material can be strained technically speaking. All strains by definition result in deformation of their respective structures and materials. The difference is that elastic strains return back to normal while plastic strains do not. In engineering the crossover point between elastic and plastic strains is the yield point. Strains are categorized as large and small strains, which can be further broken down into infintissimal and micro type strains. Regardless of size, even small strains can can have a large impact on sturctures like cracks in a foundation fortelling of catastrophic failure.

Jumping from a steel bridge while attached to a bungee cord causes large elastic strains and deformation in the bungee cord. At the same time it causes infintissimally small elastic strains in the bridge and small but larger, hopefully elastic strains in the jumper’s body. On the other hand, whiplash and other suddden jerky or even slow sustained types of injuries to the spine can cause chronic micro plastic types of strains.

Chiropractors collectively catergorize all mechanical strains of the spine as subluxations. Technically speaking, subluxations are micro mechanical plastic strains of the spine that cause dis-ease in physiology, which is function. Some chiropractors argue that subluxations must include interference to communication in the nervous system, and that the only place where interference can occur is in the upper cervical spine. It is an age old arguement in chiropractic.

All strains of the spine, however, alter physiology. Furthermore, the spine is a structure, not a bunch of isolated segments so that one faulty segment can impact the function of the whole structure. Strains of the upper spine can affect the lower spine just as strains of the lower spine can affect upper areas. A spine that lists due to scoliosis from leg length discrepancy affecting its base can affect the upper cervical spine. Likewise a ten pound head that lists to one side can affect segments much further below, including the low back and legs. Furthermore, abnormal curvatures of the spine have been shown to affect the contents of the spinal canal, especially the vertebal veins, as they get compressed up against the inside curve of the canal, which can result in venous congestion and sluggish blood flow in the area. Lastly, deformation of the cartilage of the spine, called discs, can compress nerve roots directly, while other types of spinal strains deform soft tissues tunnels such as thoracic outlets in the shoulder girdle and the femoral and sciatic foramen in the pelvis.

The upper cervical spine, however, is without question one of the most critical areas of the spine, subject to a great deal of wear and tear stress that starts with birth and sometimes results in chronic strains called subluxations. The differece between upper cervcial strains and those that occur further down in the spine is that upper cervical subluxations, that is strains, affect the health of the brain and cord.

Among other things, upper cervical subluxations are associated with deformation, albeit small, of hard and soft tissue tunnels that contain critical circulatory routes for blood and cerebrospinal fluid flow, including venous drainage routes used to drain the basement of the brain during upright posture. Thus, UC subluxations can result in CCSVI. But they also do much more. The fact of the matter is, UC subluxations don’t simply pinch nerves, as chiropractors like to say, nor do they simply interfere with communication between the brain and the body. In contrast to a fracture of the UC spine that can kill a person instantly, upper cervical subluxations slowly strangle the life out of the brain and cord.

19 Responses to Whiplash Injuries and CCSVI

  1. Jean says:

    I had my first MS attack in July, 1992. It was not formally diagnosed RRMS until September, 1993 by a neurologist. My second attack was in October, 2004. By 2001, my MS had graduated to SPMS, but I had reached a plateau until October, 2006 when I was rear-ended at 50 mph making a left hand turn by an uninsured driver. Since then, my MS symptoms went downhill. I’ve read that whiplash can cause soft tissue injuries, but I developed new pains including neck & shoulder pain, knee pain (both), low back and abdominal pain. My auto insurance co. denied medical claims due to a “pre-existing condition” -MS. Since the accident, I’ve also developed scoliosis per x-rays. MRI’s showed some degeneration of the spine. Any recourse or treatment? I’ve tried chiropractic, physical & occupational therapy, Osteopathic Manipulative Therapy, even acupuncture, but I’m still in daily pain. My attorney wants to settle through mediation to avoid a less educated jury. I just want the pain to stop. I have considered being tested for the CCSVI which is how I found your site. Any thoughts?

    • Drs Flanagan says:

      Hello Jean, It’s medicolegal injustice backed up by bogus epidemiological studies the AMA uses to discredit a connection between MS and trauma. The poorly designed studies provide defense attorneys false evidence to protect their clients and deprive victims of just compensation. The AMA continues to maintain it’s position, not to protect patients, but to prevent a possible connection to trauma that might compete with precious pharmaceutical products and corporate profits. The attorney’s typically hire hack neurologists with little or knowledge about the subject. I would love see them explain in court to a jury with a little common sense why overstretching the brain and cord and massive venous and CSF backflows in the brain and cord can’t be a cause MS.

      There is a limit to what any professional can do to repair badly damaged tissues. CCSVI testing and treatment is definitely a consideration if corrective care of the spine fails. That said, what type of chiropractic care did you get? Aside from musculoskeletal complaints do you have any neurological signs and symptoms?

  2. I found these items most interesting, I had a motoring accident in 2006, since that time I have been sent to see the so called Medico-legal experts. One informed me that I had had two replacement hips. “News to me”. another one of these highly mobile specialist
    medical records scrappers who travel the country trying to find a pre-existing condition to use in order to get your insurers out of paying compensation ; his examination lasted only 7 minuets, he told me on entering the room that he had almost completed the report
    without seeing me.

    I would like to find others who have had problems with Law firm and these low grade
    Medico-legal experts. Can you put me in contact?. supply my email address if you wish.

  3. I am a 41 year old female that has been disabled for more than 3 years. There has been difficulty is diagnosing and my symptoms continue to get worse with activity. I had bad whiplash in 1988, ‘recovered’ from that then started having issues with lifting, arm numbing, headaches, etc. Saw a chiropractor for a few years for my neck and mid-back which seemed to help at the time. Since then I have had whiplash two more times; in Aug. 2006 (mild) and Aug. 2007 (medium). In 2007 I had a water tubing accident where I fell from the tube at high speed and hit the water with my right side so hard that I felt a numb feeling from my waist down for about 1 minute. I seemed to recover from that but starting in summer 2008 I started having great difficulty with expanding my ribcage without severe pain, headaches and the list is long. It progressed over time and now I am left disabled without an answer. Most of my pain seems to be triggered by the use of my right hand. Grasping objects is the worst. Writing will set off muscle spasms all down my right side and I can barely walk after. Not much is showing up on various tests that I have had and I am very frustrated. Has anyone else had this effect from multipe whiplash? I have a lot of joint pain, headaches (back and left side of head), pins and needles in my arms if I sit in one place for 5 minutes of more or when sleeping on my side, various pressure points all over my ribcage and neck, weakness in my right hand and arm, difficulty breathing from rib pain, muscle spasms on right side of body, loss of temp sensitivity in hands, etc.
    I have been tested for MS and it came back negative but when they did the MRI for that I had been having a ‘better’ day than normal because I did not do activities before. I am desperate for some answers and would like to get my life back to normal. This has been devestating to not have answers.

    • Hello Teresa,
      Your symptoms are due to pressure on the brainstem and cord most likely caused by upper cervical misalignment. It is impossible to imagine how you could not have injured your cervical spine, especially after the water tubing injury where you felt a “numb” feeling from the waist down for a minute. I don’t know what particular tests were ordered but I suspect that the tests were negative mostly because you don’t have any lesions on brain scans. That doesn’t mean you don’t have serious symptoms similar to MS and you are progressing. A recent study by Dr. Damadian the inventor of MRI showed that there is a connection between MS and trauma. More and more evidence is pointing that way. I would strongly recommned you consult with a highly qualified upper cervical chiropractor to take specific x-rays of your upper cervical spine and get it corrected.

    • Nanette says:

      Hello. I really thought that I was out of my mind, because I do not think people understand what pain can do to you. I had a rear end accident beginning of this year. Did not think anything about it, accept for being without my car for about 3 weeks. I had neck pain the evening, but nothing after that. Only about 3 to 4 weeks I started having servere head aches, neck pains – as soon as I sit for to long this will start. I have been to 4 different docters, neuroligst / surgeons, chiros, physio, you name it. I have lost my job because I can not sit for longer than 20 / 30 minutes before the pain get so servere that I cannot focus and my bp gets sky high. This is now going for the 7th month and I still have the same symptoms. Headaches, neck pains, shoulder. Left side goes numb. my face (only left) has got this tingling feelling, my toes go numb if I walk a long distance. I feel so frustrated because I cannot do normal house hold chores as well. I have to stand most of the time and this is leading to extreme lower back pain. I am starting to have memory loss, difficulty spelling and concentration is 0. I also started having problems with my bladder and my bowel pains. It is just getting worse. So I fully do understand how you feel. The worst is NOT getting any answers. All my test came back as normal = but believe me I am far from NORMAL!!

      • Hello Nanette,
        The rear end collision is the cause of your problems. You clearly had a whiplash injury that resulted in neck and shoulder pain with headaches. The problem started seven month ago and progressed to a chronic strain causing worsening of signs and symptoms. The strain on the muscles and connective tissues of the cervical spine are affecting the blood vessels and nerves in the base of the skull which is being transmitted to tissues inside the cranial vault. I don’t know what type of chiropractor you saw but you need a better evaluation of your spine, which you won’t get from a neurologist, orthopedic surgeon or a mediocre chiropractor. Something is clearly wrong and the doctors are obviously incapable of finding it due to incomplete or poor examinations. I highly doubt that you have no abnormal findings. Among other things, I have no doubt that you have inflammed sensitive soft tissues and probably faulty range of motion in your cervical spine. You may also have torn ligaments and connective tissues. Someone is not looking. So keep looking until you find someone who does. Now is the time to get it fixed before more damage is done.

  4. Mario says:

    Dr. Flanagan thanks for creating this site and for providing feedback. This is all very interesting to me as was diagnosed with RRMS in 2004 after sensory activity in face and primarily the left side. History: Head injury as child fell off a step and landed on hydro meter split chin open some stitches….11 yrs old car accident 27 stitches right top side of head…me on pedal bike…drunk in truck….knocked unconscious. 19 yrs old tunnel board (boogie board) behind ski boat hit water hard and major whiplash….chiropractor same day. Since then have had lots of neck fatigue, stiff necks and pain off and on over the years. Xray shows some compression and surgeon said not a candidate for surgery as was not bad enough then MS was diagnosed so the neck is no longer even looked at. 2 lesions on c-spine and they think one in brain but not 100% certain.

    Seems to me you are onto something…the issue for me as now that I have been diagnosed chances of getting anyone to open this up again is nil. What would be your approach and suggested treatment?

    Having an informed intelligent suggestion when asking seems to get more action so any suggestions on how to broach it would be appreciated.

    • Hi Mario,
      Your welcome. Basic cervical x-rays would be helpful to check for spondylosis and curvature problems. Specific upper cervical x-rays would also be helpful. In addition to x-rays, upright cervical and craniocervical junction MRI scans along with flexion and extension cervical views would be helpful. Once again, the scans should be done to check for spondylosis, abnormal curvatures and damaged connective tissues, espeically in the craniocervical junction. Phase contreast cine MRI would be further helpful to check blood and CSF flow. My suggested treatment would be based on what the x-rays and cervical scans show.

  5. Ragen says:

    Dr. Flanagan:
    Have you seen situations where trauma (in my case, being thrown from a horse) that resulted in concussion lead into orthostatic headache? It was suspected that I had a csf leak, but no enhancement has shown on MRI imaging and I had no relief from epidural blood patch.

    • Hello Ragen,
      The head is connected to the upper cervical spine. Except in rare cases, trauma to one typically affects the other. Since you showed no CSF leaks and no relief from an epidural blood patch, your orthostatic headache is obviously not due to CSF leaks causing intracranial orthostatic hypotension. Your headache is most likely due to muscle, joint and connective tissue injuries to the spine caused by the fall.

  6. L.E. says:

    I can feel a bone out of alignment in my upper neck right at the base of my skull. I had a severe whiplash injury about 20 years ago and another whiplash injury just 2 years ago. I have migraines, numbness/tingling down left arm and weak grip, limited range of motion in neck, tight muscles in neck and shoulders which feel like “steel” according to the Physical Therapists I have been to. I also suffer from a constant internal buzzing/vibration, dizziness/fuzzy-headed (and always left side), sinus issues, plus ongoing trouble with stomach which one dr suggested was triggered by vagus nerve, but didn’t offer any real solution to it. The xrays I had after most recent car accident didn’t show anything. I have been to a chiropractor who said he can feel the misalignment–but no lasting relief from treatment. Had an MRI that didn’t show anything significant. I have been told from a CT done for another problem that I do show degenerative changes in my spine. I have scoliosis and a supposed short left leg (diagnosed when 14). I am due for another MRI and to meet with a neurosurgeon. I just want the misalignment found that I am feeling with my fingers. What do I need to ask for/insist on? This has been going on long enough and I feel sure it is effecting my health greatly and if I could only get it fixed so much of what I suffer with would settle itself down.

    • Hello L.E.,
      In light of the fact that you have a short leg and scoliosis that was diagnosed at the age of fourteeen, as well as the more recently found degenerative changes in your cervical spine, I would say that the radiologist reading your x-rays needs glasses and should go back to school for some basic physics courses in structural strains and deformation. It’s impossbile to have degnerative changes in your cervical spine, a short leg and scoliosis without structural strains, deformation and misalignments of the segments of the spine. I don’t know what method of correction the chiropractor used but I would get another opinion. The short leg and scoliosis needs to be taken into account when considering different treatment approaches to managae the migraine headache, numbness and tingling in the left arm, weak grip, tight neck and shoulder muscles, internal buzzing/vibration, dizziness, fuzzy headedness, sinus issues and dysautonomia causing stomach trouble due to vagus nerve irritation.

  7. maria sette says:

    Hi, my name is Maria and I am currently 46 years old. Back in April 2006 I was involved in a high speed car accident where I hit a stationary car on the freeway. The last second I turned the car to the left and most of the impact was on the front right of the car. The airbag did not deploy and I walked away from the car accident with no apparent injuries. Police and ambulance arrived and once looking at damage to cars insisted on a hospital visit. X-rays were taken and I believe all was fine so after 8 hours released myself. The next day everything was locked up and I could not move, neck feeling especially sore. Got to see my local Dr the next day who prescribed anti-inflam’s and valium. A few days after the accident I had what I can only describe as a seizure where I had a cup of coffee in my right hand and it started shaking violently then I slipped off the couch and according to my partner passed out for a few seconds spilling coffee everywhere. I have never suffered seizure’s in the past nor ever had one since. Mentioned it to my Dr again who put it down to stress from the accident.
    Six months after the accident it became obvious my right hand was not working properly. Had great difficulty pitching poker cards in my profession as a croupier. While trying hard to keep my right hand steady I found my right leg would shake uncontrollably under the table. Back to the Dr who said I was too young for Parkinsons disease but sent me to a neurologist. After several neurological opinions they all came back with Parkinsons disease and said the accident had nothing to do with it. My MRI of the brain came back all clear but they were all confident. Six years past and I refused all medications wanting to wait and see how far the symptoms progressed. All tremors remained on my right side only and I still remain employed as a croupier dealing only left hand roulette and baccarat. My right hand is used sparingly and sometimes I walk and feel as though I am dragging my right leg. To my understanding PD spread through the body a lot quicker than that and I would have expected progression on my left side. Went back to Dr insisting on more test especially my neck. Finally an MRI showed impingement at C-5 C-6 C-7. One neurosurgeon believed the tremors in my arm were from my neck and could be resolved via a verterbral discectomy. Two other neurosurgeons were in disagreement and agree that I have whiplash injury from the car accident but believe I also have PD and they are two separate injuries and do not believe they are linked. Call me a sceptic but I do not believe in coincidence. Can anyone help.

    • Hello Maria,
      Head trauma in professional boxers has long been associated with Parkinsonism. It was once referred to as pugilistic PD. More recently head trauma from hockey and football have been associated with PD. Moreover, head and neck trauma often occur together. It is my opinion that neck trauma and subsequent degeneration of the spine can affect blood and CSF flow in the brain and cord, which can lead to PD. I agree with the surgeon. The tremors are most likely due to the neck injury and degeneration of the spine. Doctors sometimes prescribe L-dopa to see if tremors improve. If they do, then the patient has primary PD. If not, then the patient most likely has Parkinsonism, not primary PD. It would be wise to have your cervical spine checked and treated by a competent chiropractor.

  8. Tabitha says:

    This is the first time I have read an article specifically on what I have been experiencing the last two years since a rear end auto accident. I was stopped, he was going 55 in a much larger utility van. I have been going to a chiropractor for the last few months who seems to be able to realign the c1/c2 to where I feel 70% better, but only for a day or two before it goes back out of alignment and I am right back to fuzzy headed and miserable. I’m looking for more permanence in my repair as I know this is a very dangerous way to live just tolerating this feeling between visits as I know it’s much worse than anyone seems to realize but I honestly don’t know where to even start. I have been through 17 different doctors since my wreck and no one has been able to make it stick.

    • Hello Tabitha,
      I don’t know what the seventeen different doctors did but I hope they all did something different. As Einstein put it, insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result. You need to find a better type of treatment. Getting hit in the rear while stopped by a van going 55 mile per hour can injure muscles, connective tissues and cartilage. serious. To start with, you need a good physical examination to determine the cause of your signs and symptoms. The problem may not be limited to the upper cervical spine or bones for that matter. You may have a strain in your lower spine that is affecting your upper cervical spine. You may also have soft tissue injuries that need to be addressed as well. While relieving structural strains of the segments of the spine using counter-strain type procedures applied to misaligned segments, such as the upper cervical correction, can be very effective, they don’t directly treat injuries to muscles, connective tissues and cartilage. There are many and much more effective methods of treating pain, injuries, inflammation and loss of motion in muscles, connective tissues and cartilage etc., including ultrasound, electrical stimulation, traction and deep tissue massage to name a few. You need to find a doctor who does a thorough exam and has a variety of therapies to deal with different types of injuries, not just bones.

  9. maria says:

    don’t know where you live but do a google search on ATLASPROFILAX. New treatment out of Switzerland and I received one couple weeks ago after years of chiropractic. To say I was impressed with results is an understatement. Good luck

  10. Pingback: Un modelo integrativo en la esclerosis múltiple. | Los secretos de la Esclerosis Multiple

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