Upper Cervical Therapy
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Side Effects of Upper Cervical Therapy

In children, adolescents and young adults, the therapeutic process is being regarded as a pleasant game and the adaptation period passes unnoticed. A teenager once said that the treatment was a thousand times preferable than the visit at the dentist. In adults, especially those with normal muscular strength and lesser symptomatology, the adaptation to the symmetric digastric muscle conduction happens almost unnoticed. By contrast, the adaptation process in the case of weaker muscles and heavier symptoms - usually they are women - are being readily observed and accompanied by side effects. Given the often severe symptoms encountered in the previous state, one encounters understanding regarding special temporary adaptation reactions:

  • Primarily and most often, especially in muscularly better equipped people, stretching pains are to be endured in areas not previously noticed after digastric muscle rearrangement, because the body posture symmetrizes in relation to front and back, right and left. Muscle groups that weren't strained much before therapy, get much more strain after therapy; previously heavily strained muscle groups much less. This is especially the case in dancers and athletes.
  • In the second place, and much less common than muscular adaptation processes, are such that relate to the vertebral artery blood flow, because the until now greatly weakened upper cervical muscles temporarily can not fully maintain the blood flow through the vertebral arteries. Familiar symptoms might occur  temporarily in an increased manner (eg, migraines, dizziness, ringing in the ears) and as soon as the upper cervical muscles become strong enough, these phenomena reside.

In some cases, with respect to old problems of the spine, upper cervical therapy can have an aggravating effect in the first period. But after the symmetrical digastric muscle conduction has been maintained for a longer time - a few months -, the symmetry impulse becomes gradually more effective in the deeper regions of the spine and provides long-term relief. It is important that one does not lose confidence and is sure that the inconspicuous-tolerable state will come in the end.

In addition, the above-mentioned circulation-related adaptation processes can occur, which can be temporarily associated with pronounced symptoms :

  • In chronic whiplash injuries, the left upper cervical muscles become considerably atrophied. Shortly after muscle rearrangement, the patient has the impression as though the head was very much loosened. For some days, these patients may therefore feel malaise and have transient symptoms such as headaches and dizziness as before therapy.
  • In the case of tinnitus or vertigo, the patient has to be calmed down, if he briefly got increased tinnitus or vertigo after therapy, by telling him that, in the first run, his or her upper cervical muscles are a little too weak to maintain sufficient blood flow through the vertebral arteries, but that with increasing strengthening of those muscles - after a few days - the auditory symptoms or dizziness will decrease perceptibly, which are only be expected during the first couple of days.
  • The same situation prevails in long-term migraine, that, initially, due to muscular insufficiently supported vertebral artery flow, relapses can occur, whereupon soon - usually from the first migraine attack after therapy onwards - a marked reduction in migraine frequency and severity will establish.

The digastric muscle rearrangement is the essential therapeutic step regarding symptoms related to distortion of vertebral column and blood circulation. Possibly exacerbated symptoms appearing after treatment are usually not alarming insofar as these are to be considered as physiological adaptation to the new situation of the upper cervicals, that is, without the digastric pressure. In addition to special measures, it is important to remind that this is a transition period, after which a general decline in initial symptoms can be expected with great certainty.

Psychologically, one should put a stop to anticipatory anxiety: The patient expects a known, bad symptom, and the anxious expectation of the symptom leads straight to the dreaded symptom. In this case, a distanced and humorous attitude towards the symptom helps, for example, one is happy with the next attack of vertigo, because one wants to win the 'vertigo-medal'. Then, surprisingly, fear of vertigo disappears (paradoxical intention by Viktor Frankl). A non-observance of symptoms, such that there are indeed more important things to do than to wait for symptom development, is also helpful. With this attitude the excessive noticing or rather hyperfocussing of pathologies is avoided (Dereflexion by Viktor Frankl). Especially in patients who were severely affected by upper cervical asymmetry, anticipatory anxiety cycles can resume after upper cervial therapy, which should be addressed and brought to consciousness. Due to the optimized supply of the elder areas of the brain (hindbrain) by the henceforth no more expanded vertebral arteries, anxiety might also go back on its own and give way to an increased confidence in life.