Ask the Doc: Can upper cervical chiropractic help traumatic brain injury?

Editor’s note: Dr. Philip Schalow’s featured article, “Ask the Doc,” appears monthly. This is the 13th column in the series. Send questions for Dr. Schalow to and he will answer each one individually and choose a sampling for this article.

By Dr. Philip Schalow

With traumatic brain injury (TBI), there are several layers of damage that occur. One identifiable event is seen clearly on upright MRI imaging of the connection between the head and neck. It can show how the structural elements of the region get misaligned.

One of the side effects of that is seen when the cerebellar tonsils sink down into the foramen magnum, which is the hole in your head through which the spinal cord passes.

The low-lying tonsils are not severe enough to be called Chiari malformation, but become a “plug in the bottle,” preventing the normal flow of fluids in and out of the head. Can you imagine the headaches that would cause?

In other cases, a subtle misalignment of the head and neck junction is associated with loss of overall healing potential. We are seeing that the upper cervical correction opens up the communication between the head and body, and initiates the healing process of brain tissue. This is associated with improved gait, diminished pain and improved thinking over time.

Although there is no upright MRI facility yet in Rockford, our patients go to Chicago for correct imaging. The notable fact about the upper cervical procedure we practice for people with trauma is that the adjustment is not felt (NUCCA). The advanced physics render it very soft-touch.

Dr. Philip Schalow is a NUCCA practitioner in Rockford. He owns 1st Step Chiropractic, S.C., 4519 Highcrest Road, Rockford. Call (815) 398-4500 for details or visit

From the Feb. 5-11, 2014, issue

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