Last week I had a really unique situation that I wanted to share. It really helps to clarify what my approach to patient care is when a case is not going the way that I expect.
A year ago, a woman came into the office to see me for daily headaches. The headaches had been a problem for over 40 years. They had been using over the counter medications and meditation techniques to keep the headaches under control. The worst times for the patient were the days that it rained. On rainy days, their dull headache would start to become more of a pounding type pain. In West Palm Beach where it rains most days in the summer, it’s a pretty miserable way to live.
After 2 weeks of gentle Atlas Corrections, the patient’s headache frequency dropped to 1x/week and the rain no longer had an impact on their headaches.
Within 2 months, almost all headache symptoms had resolved completely.
Enter the Concussion
The case above is a pretty standard and regular occurance in the office. Headache cases are probably the fastest responding and most successful Secondary Conditions that resolve when the Atlas is corrected. What made this case interesting is what happened about a year after she first saw me.
The patient ended up having a concussion, and as a result started showing new symptoms. There was neck pain that was never present, a new headache pattern, and a persistent abnormal tingling that wouldn’t go away.
The patient came in about a week after the concussion happened. After evaluating the patient to make sure it was safe to take care of them, I attempted to use a similar adjustment that had worked on her in the past.
While some of the post-concussion symptoms got better, the headache and the abnormal sensations didn’t budge. The patient was concerned that they might have to seek out more aggressive medical options to address the new symptoms.
Many times, an Atlas Correction is like a key to a unique lock. It rarely changes over time, but a head trauma can force that lock to break, which means you need a new key. A new and different correction becomes necessary.
I decided that I needed to re-evaluate the situation based on the NUCCA protocol for Structural Correction.
Some people think it’s uncalled for, and others think it’s excessive, but I decided to take a new set of X-rays on the patient. The radiation dosage on craniocervical X-rays are about the same as a cross-country flight, and the patient thought it was worth it.
I never want to irradiate a patient more than they need and I look to avoid X-rays if I don’t need them. I decided that the chance to help this patient recover from their post-concussion symptoms warrented a new series.
Concussion Created a New Lock, NUCCA Provides a New Key
As it turns out, the new imaging revealed a completely different angle that I needed to use for the correction. The head injury disrupted the structure of the neck so much, that it rendered the previous correction useless.
Within minutes of using the information from the new X-ray, the patient’s headache and abnormal head sensations vanished.
It’s one of the reasons I embrace the NUCCA procedure because it provides a very elegant way of troubleshooting a difficult case, especially one that had achieved such success in the past.
Some people go through and have an extremely successful run with chiropractic care, but out of nowhere it stops working.
In these moments, I encourage people not to dismiss chiropractic as a whole, but to reevaluate the APPLICATION of chiropractic to find what went wrong.