I just found these videos, and was curious as to how many of our members experienced some form of whiplash or head trauma before having symptoms and getting a Chiari diagnosis.
Most doctors believe you are born with Chiari, but since most of us didn't have MRIs as babies, there is no way to know for sure.
These doctors did a large study of 1200 participants who had neck pain. They split this group in half:
Patients with NO trauma or accidents prior to neck pain
Patients who had whiplash or trauma before their neck pain started
Then, they did two different kinds of MRIs. They ended up with four groups which were:
Non trauma upright MRI
Non trauma laying down MRI
Trauma upright MRI
Trauma laying down MRI
They checked all of these patients for cerebellar tonsil ectopia (CTE), also known as Chiari. What they found was incredibly interesting.
For the patients who had NOT had trauma, there was no difference between upright or laying down MRI, and about 5% of the group had Chiari. There are no current numbers as to what percentage of the general population has Chiari, but it is likely higher than the "1 in 1000" quoted in 2006. 1 in 1000 would be .01%.
For the patients who had trauma, there was a huge difference between upright and laying down MRIs. Almost 10% of the laying down trauma group had Chiari. This is twice the amount of the group which had NOT had trauma.
23.3% of the upright group had Chiari. Almost 1 in 4 of the neck pain patients who had recently been involved in an accident or had whiplash had Chiari when upright.
Can you imagine? How many people do you know who've had whiplash, had a concussion, hit their head really hard, or fallen and their necks hurt afterwards? If you think about all of those people, then imagine one out of every four of them has Chiari when standing up. Which is when everyone complains of pain right?? I feel pretty good when I lay down, but when I stand up my neck and head hurt.
These doctors did more imaging (MRIs, X-rays, CT scans), and believe the problem is the small ligaments at the top of the spine. Which makes sense to me, because ligaments are weak with Chiari patients in general, because most of us have an underlying connective tissue disorder. We also have problems with instability, wobbly heads, and weak necks.
They believe when trauma happens, it weakens or damages those small ligaments. That then allows the bones at the top of the spine to move. Which is bad when you stand up, because they are now subject to gravity, and are no longer supported by whatever you're laying on. And when those bones move, they change CSF flow and pressure, they can compress or irritate the spinal cord, and both of these things can have devastating effects.
I've included links to the videos, and a link to the research paper.
So, as you may know, traditional chiropractic is a no-no with Chiari patients. The high speed neck adjustments can be really dangerous for us.
Atlas Orthogonal (AO) is chiropractic, but is very different from traditional chiropractic. They focus on the top bone of the spine, known as the Atlas, or C1. They do thorough imagining to figure out what position the bone is in. Then they use sound waves to gently move the bone into the right position. There is no popping, crunching, jerking, etc. They are VERY gentle with the head and neck.
I've been using AO adjustments for the last year, with excellent results. This is the first time I've seen these videos or research paper, but they mesh with what I've grown to understand about Chiari.
Most of us have connective tissue problems. Upright MRIs are way better at seeing herniation and instability than laying down MRIs. Traditional Chiari surgery is not effective for patients who have instability. And those loose bones (C1-C2) are probably from ligament problems.
I asked my chiropractor last night if AO would fix my loose ligaments. He doesn't know if it'll fix the ligaments, but he does know we can keep my atlas in the correct position with regular adjustments. It's very noticeable now when my atlas is out, because I get a headache.
As a side note, I've had multiple traumas to my neck and head. My migraines started after falling off a horse at 12 years old, but I don't recall hitting my head. My herniation is the same laying down or sitting up, but I do show cranial settling while sitting up.
If you've made it this far, please let us know if you've had trauma and/or have seen an Atlas Orthogonal chiropractor.
Jim McMahon, a retired quarterback for the Chicago Bears, credits Dr. Rosa with fixing his horrible migraines: http://www.deseretnews.com/article/865587776/The-fighter-Former-BYU-NFL-quarterback-Jim-McMahon-aims-to-win-the-toughest-challenge-of-his-life.html?pg=all
This is a video from the inventor of the MRI: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7ENXw4ECwPg
And here's Dr. Rosa discussing whiplash, audio only: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wY5rMzludqs