“It’s just a normal headache”

“It’s not that bad, it will go away eventually”

“I just need to stretch it more.”

“I’ll just take some of my good pain pills”

The above are a just a small sampling of some of the things we’ve heard from people in West Des Moines and the surrounding communities over the years.  Thinking an issue will just go away on its own, because it has in the past is a normal thought.  However, pain or symptoms are a warning sign from your body, much like the check engine light on your car.   We’ve seen it over and over again, people waiting as the pain gets worse and worse causing more and more damage the longer they wait.

“I feel fine.”

Perhaps you’re reading this and you don’t have any issues. That’s great! Perhaps your teeth feel good, your oil light is off in your car, and your computer hasn’t gone blue screen…yet. Benjamin Franklin once said, “An ounce of prevention, is worth a pound of cure.”

To prevent your body from breaking down OR the likelihood of an existing issue getting worse, it’s always best to act sooner rather than later. If you or someone you know has one or more of the following signs, it is likely an indication that’s it’s time to consider seeking help from a qualified professional:

1.) Chronic Headaches

Headaches are a huge indicator that someone has a problem in their upper spine. There are many different types of headaches and a few stand out in relation to spinal structure.

  • Migraine headaches
  • Occipital headaches (start in the back of the skull)
  • Tension Headaches – with pain centers around the side of the head and jaw

Just because headaches are common does NOT mean they are normal. Many people suffering for months or years have a structural problem in their upper spine. Abnormalities in this area can disrupt proper blood flow to the head and face and disrupt proper nervous system function throughout the whole body.

2.) Anterior Head Syndrome (AHS)

AHS occurs when the center of the ear has shifted in front of the center of the shoulder. This causes a loss of the healthy C-curve in the upper spine and can also lead to spinal decay.

AHS is often associated with the dreaded Dowager’s (Granny) Hump appearance common in women.

Anterior Head Syndrome

Other secondary conditions associated with AHS include:

  • Spinal Decay
  • Migraine headaches
  • TMJ Disorder
  • Carpal Tunnel
  • Thoracic Outlet Syndrome
  • Muscle Spasms
  • Neck pain
  • and more…

3.) Numbness and Tingling

Numbness or tingling down the arms or the legs is also a big warning sign. There may be a spinal problem that has progressed to the point where the nerves branching from the spinal cord are being affected. Nerves are very important and fragile. It only takes a small amount of pressure on them to create secondary issues in the body.

Traveling pain, numbness or tingling is a sign of inflammation, disc problems, degenerative changes, nerve compression, or other severe processes that normally will not resolve on its own.

4.) Uneven Head or Shoulders

If you look in the mirror and see your head tilted slightly to one side or the other, and one of your shoulders more elevated than the other, this is a very strong indicator that there is likely a problem with the Upper Spine.

When you look in the mirror with your head relaxed, you should be able to draw a straight horizontal line through the following points:

  • Bottom of the ears
  • Corners of the eyes
  • Corners of the mouth
  • Tops of the shoulders

The Upper Spine is where the skull attaches to the neck and is a critically important area of the spine. A problem here can affect the entire body.

head tilt

5.) You’ve Tried Medication and/or Other Health Professionals Without Resolution 

If you find yourself taking pain pills on a regular basis, then this should be your wake up call. It is not normal, NSAID’s can be great sometimes, but taken regularly can create their own problems.  Pain is a warning sign and should be taken seriously.

Perhaps you’ve tried your primary care physician, physical therapy, traditional chiropractic, had an MRI or CT scan,  steroid injections, and your next option is surgery.

Many people in Des Moines end up in our office as a last resort. If there is a structural issue creating neurological obstruction, this may have been missed by traditional approaches to healthcare.

If you, a friend, or family member has one or more of the above warning signs do not wait until the problem is beyond repair!

These are signs that indicate a structural abnormality. Problems with structure can lead to problems with neurological function of your body. The sooner these problems are detected and then corrected, the better the outcome will be.