April 30, 2010

The Saga of the Pain in My Neck

Posted in Water Droplets, Watermarks in Progress tagged at 10:13 pm by Tamara

So a brief update on my neck: something cracked yesterday and I can move it again (although it’s still stiff and sore).  Praise the Lord that the pain is less, though!!  I think it’s still out of place, but decided to wait until Monday to see the doctor, just in case  the pain is just inflammation and knots.  Now, only read the rest of this this if you’re really interested in my neck & back issues and/or interested in anatomy….

…  … … …

You’re still reading??  Weird!  (Just kidding–smile.)  A little background on my neck problems, as far as I understand them.  (Not being a doctor, I can only explain this as far as I understand it, so I may have some of the scientific details wrong, but this is the gist of it!)  The top two vertebrae of your neck are called C1 and C2 (etc, etc down your spine.)  Most of the vertebrae have little knobs on them that keep them from moving too far, but C1 and C2 don’t.  This is what enables you to move your head/neck in all directions, but it also means that those two vertebrae aren’t as stable as the rest of your spine.  If either C1 or C2 slides in any direction, the rest of the vertebrae will gradually start to be pulled in the same direction.  This causes your spine to curve as your muscles try to compensate for the imbalance, and it also causes your head to tilt slightly.  Once your spine is curved wrongly, the muscles contract on one side and your pelvis also shifts, causing one hip to raise.  This makes your hips imbalanced, which causes one leg to seem shorter than the other.  Isn’t it amazing how intricately connected every part of our bodies is??  To demonstrate this, the doctor has me stand and places a special U-shaped level on my waist just above the hip bones.  Before he adjusts my neck, my hips will usually be imbalanced, causing one leg to be 1/2 inch-1 inch shorter than the other (because one side of my pelvis is higher than the other, “shortening” that leg).

You can imagine that being out of balance this way causes all sorts of muscle pain, as your muscles are pulled in strange directions trying to compensate for the imbalance.  The tilt of the head (caused by the vertebra being staggered out of place instead of stacked neatly) causes the weight of the head to be imbalanced, which compresses the nerves in the upper neck.  This is called a subluxation (nerve interference).  All the messages our brain sends through our nervous system have to pass through this upper cervical area, but when the head is off-center and held in a miss-aligned position by the muscles, this compression can interfere with the neural messages.   Interestingly enough, however, there are no (or fewer?  I’m not positive) pain nerves around the C1 and C2, so we usually don’t realize that the problem is coming from there.

Most chiropractors will adjust (twist or crack) the neck or the back where the pain is, but they don’t usually adjust the C1 or C2.  IF, however, you push the C1 or C2 back into place, the muscles themselves will gradually pull the rest of your spine back into place.  It is a CRAZY feeling.  He doesn’t twist or crack, and I don’t feel anything as he adjusts my C2 (although he says it takes 25lbs of force), but as I rest on my back immediately afterwards, I will feel the muscles along my spine gradually loosen, and as they do, I’ll have to adjust my hips because my pelvis suddenly pulls back to level!  Then the doctor puts the level back on my hips, and without fail, it balances.  Amazing how pushing one little vertebra back into place causes a difference in my legs!  The most incredible thing, though, is how my head feels like it’s floating afterwards.  Everything has been compressed and pulled out of place, and suddenly the vertebrae are stacked properly and I feel like my head is ten pounds lighter.  If you want a much better scientific explanation of the technique, you can look up “Upper Cervical Chiropractic” or go to http://www.nucca.org/patients.php.

Lately my C2 has been slipping a lot, and taking my C3 with it.  It’s slipping to the side and twisting, which makes me unable to turn my head without substantial pain.  I’m not sure exactly what caused these problems in the first place, but I think it was a combination of horseback riding and being rear-ended twice (and no, I wasn’t driving either time!)  When my C2 is out, though, it doesn’t just cause neck pain, but pain in my back, hips, and knees, too.  The worst is definitely my neck, though.  Anything messing with your spine is pretty scary, not to mention painful!  I would really, really love to see this healed, especially before we’re living overseas where I may or may not be able to get care for it.  I shouldn’t be a wuss because I know people who deal with MUCH more pain on a daily basis, but if it can be solved, I would certainly love it!!

Thank you for praying for me–I’m sure the decrease in pain is a result of that!  My doctor is a Christian, which is a neat blessing.  I’m very thankful there’s a specialist “nearby,” because two hours away is better than no one in the state (like was the case in Wisconsin).  I wouldn’t mind continued prayers, as there’s still something causing it to go out of place in the first place.  Thank you so much!!!

Wow, you finished it?  I’m impressed!!  :)



  1. Mary Hamill said,


    Dad and I just read this together. Thank you for the thorough and clear explanation! Continuing to pray!!

    Love, Mom H.

  2. Mom said,

    That was a fascinating explanation of Dr. Hug’s Agape Chiropractic! I’m glad you also have a doctor there, and I’m praying this will be miraculously healed and cleared up soon! I don’t like you to be in pain! Love you!

  3. Tamara said,

    Only a mother(s)’ love would compel someone to read all that. :) Love you both! (And Dad!)

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