Recently, New York Jets legend Mark Gastineau, 60, revealed he was diagnosed with dementia, Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease. Gastineau said he received the diagnoses a year ago and traced the brain diseases back to football. The former defensive lineman played for ten years for the Jets and revealed he "led with his head," suffering multiple blows to the head and concussions during his football career.
Sadly, stories like Gastineau's are increasing in frequency. In fact, a recent study presented at the American Academy of Neurology last year showed a definitive link between football, concussion and degenerative brain diseases. According to the study, more than 40 percent of retired National Football League players showed signs of trauma-induced brain degeneration on sensitive MRI scans - a condition known as chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE.)
Unfortunately, one does not have to be a professional athlete to suffer the consequences of head injury. Whiplash and/or blows to the head during motor vehicle accidents and falls are a common culprit. Additionally, repetitive head traumas during athletics such as surfing, snowboarding, gymnastics, hockey, soccer, skiing and horseback riding, to name a few, leave many of us susceptible to brain diseases later in life.
Fortunately, there is a specialized chiropractic treatment that shows promise for individuals after head injury. This specialty, known as upper cervical (neck) chiropractic care, focuses upon the proper alignment of the head upon the neck in order to improve brain function after trauma. Upper cervical chiropractic care utilizes two diagnostic tools - thermal imaging and digital X-rays - to accurately assess a trauma-induced head/neck injury. After determining a diagnosis of head/neck injury, each patient's injured spine is corrected by administering a precise adjustment by hand on a specially designed knee chest table. Many patients notice improvement in head injury symptoms with just a few treatments.
With over 20 years of experience as a specialist in the upper cervical spine, Upper Cervical Chiropractor Dr. Erin Elster, D.C., has been working with individuals with head/neck injuries for the past four years on Maui. For more information on upper cervical care and trauma-induced injuries, contact Dr. Elster in Kahului at (808) 866-6551 or www.erinelster.com.