Get Your Head Examined (headaches, migraines, concussions, TMJ) – November 2016

CATS, cranial adjusting, headaches, concussions, TMJ

At Back to Health Wellness Centre we encourage patients to “Get Their Heads Examined” by one of our practitioners if they experience headaches, migraines, TMJ, or have had a concussion.

Headaches and Migraines

Chiropractic and Headaches

Did you know that 80% of headaches are neck related and that 9 out of 10 Canadian Suffer from headaches?

What do you do when you suffer from a pounding headache or migraine? Do you grit your teeth and carry on? Lie down? Pop a pill and hope the pain goes away? There is a better alternative.

headaches chiro

Headaches and migraines are common pain events for many people, and they are often recurring. A variety of prescription and over-the-counter medications may control headache and migraine pain, but they only mask the pain without addressing the cause. These medications may also have side effects, especially with long-term use. Hoping to find a more natural and holistic solution to chronic headaches, many people turn to chiropractic. Did you know that 8 out of 10 headaches/migraines are neck, TMJ (jaw joint) and skull are related.

Chiropractic can play an important role in treating migraines and headaches. Clinical studies suggest that chiropractic may have a measurable role in the prevention of migraines and headaches. Through adjustments of the spine, neck, jaw and skull: migraines and headaches can often be reduced or prevented. Nerves control vascular system tension, and chiropractic adjustments reduce irritation of the nervous system beginning with its roots in the spine, also improving vascular flow.

chiropractic headache

A recent study found that the INDIRECT annual cost for headaches in the USA ($19.6 billion) was only slightly less that for back pain ($19.8 billion).

Research shows that spinal adjustments– the primary form of care provided by doctors of chiropractic – may be an effective treatment option for tension headaches and headaches that originate in the neck. If you are concerned about the ‘Cracking’ noise there are different ways to adjust the neck that do not produce that sound, ask a Doctor of Chiropractic about alternatives ways. A report by researchers at the Duke University Evidence-Based Practice Center in Durham, NC, found that spinal adjustments resulted in almost immediate improvement for those headaches that originate in the neck, and had significantly fewer side effects and longer-lasting relief of tension-type headache than a commonly prescribed medication.

Also, a study in the Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics found that spinal adjustments are an effective treatment for tension headaches and that those who stopped chiropractic treatment after four weeks experienced an improvement in their headaches in contrast with those patients who received a commonly prescribed medication.

CATS (cranial adjusting) technique for headaches/migraines


The cranium or bones of the skull can go out of alignment when we undergo a vigorous shake, bang your head on a trunk or shelf, whiplash, and fall and hit our heads. Dr. Barbara Rodwin can evaluate the motion and condition of these skull bones. If there is a bump, or other changes to these skull bones Dr. Rodwin can adjust them to aid in resolving the headaches and migraines.

Ask for your skull or head to be examined!

Book your chiropractic appointment with Dr. Barbara Rodwin today! It is advised to have a biomechanical exam to determine the cause of your headaches or migraines. After this exam, Dr. Barbara Rodwin will often adjust these regions. Recommendations such as massage, food testing, supplements, changes to sleeping positions, proper pillows, ergonomic changes, mouth guards, x-rays, neurological consult, stretching and strengthening the involved areas, may also be suggested. Headaches or migraines are often caused by many factors combined and these all need to be addressed to help resolve the issues.


Nutritional Supplements for Headaches and Migraines

Dr. Barbara Rodwin (Doctor of Chiropractic) or Dr. Kathy Van Zeyl (Doctor of Naturopathic) will determine from nutritional analysis if nutritional supplements are required to aid a patient in alleviating their headaches &/or migraines.

Some of the nutritional supplements that Dr. Rodwin may suggest are: magnesium, fish oil, coenzyme Q10, melatonin, Vitamins B, C, D, and E. A Daily Food Analysis is completed to determine the deficiencies.

Food Sensitivities:
Also, foods can trigger headaches and migraines. Dr. Rodwin may suggest you consult Dr. Van Zeyl for further testing for this.

Acupuncture for Headaches and Migraines

Acupuncture has been studied as a treatment for migraine headaches for more than 20 years.
Study 1: Acupuncture helps reduce days with migraines according to a new study published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal. After completing the study, all of the participants reported fewer days with migraines than before the study began. All of the participants also reported improvements in the frequency and intensity of migraines. In this study, the primary outcome measure chosen to evaluate the effectiveness of acupuncture for migraines was 50% reduction in migraine attack frequency.

Study 2: It was found that headache and migraine sufferers experienced significantly more relief from acupuncture than patients who were administered “sham” acupuncture.

Study 3: Doctors found that acupuncture resulted in the resolution or reduction in the frequency and severity of headaches/migraines, and a decrease or discontinuation of medications. It was concluded that Acupuncture can be used to provide sustained relief from headaches/migraines and to stimulate adrenal cortisol to aid in discontinuing corticosteroids.

Book your acupuncture appointment today with Dr. Barbara Rodwin or Dr. Kathy Van Zeyl!

Massage Therapy for Headaches and Migraines

Similar very positive findings can be said about the effectiveness of massage therapy in treating headaches and migraines as well. In one study, the massage therapy group had statistically significant improvement in pain (71% reduction) compared to the control group (no treatment).

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Another study from New Zealand found a decrease in migraine frequency was reduced in the massage group after treatment (by 34%) and at follow-up (by 30%) compared to the control group (kept a headache diary – values were 7% and 2% respectively). Sleep quality was improved in the massage group. Massage participants exhibited greater improvements in migraine frequency and sleep quality during the intervention weeks. During sessions, massage induced decreases in anxiety, heart rate, and cortisol. If you experience headaches and migraines, book with one of our Registered Massage Therapists today!

Trigger points in the neck and shoulder muscles contribute to headaches:
Massage therapy is very effective in reducing the trigger points (knots) in the muscles that are involved with headaches and migraines. Tension builds in our bodies every day due to stress; positions we put ourselves into when we work, sleep and perform everyday activities; from old injuries/accidents and falls. This tension causes the muscles to shorten and build up these knots. Massage on these areas can aid in resolving the knots. Also the Active Release Technique is effective to reduce these adhesions. After a massage the joints of the spine often need to be addressed as well to restore the alignment to the vertebrae that are pinching the nerves which cause the headaches/migraines. Ask your massage therapist about this.

Naturopathic Perspectives in Treating Headaches and Migraines

Naturopathic Doctors recognize that headaches and migraines are the result of other disturbances within the body; hence treatments with pain-relief medications often just act to suppress a much deeper, underlying trigger. Naturopathic care aims to treat this underlying trigger. Changes in circulation and the micro-vessels of the cranium can lead to swelling or vasodilation of these blood vessels and an increase in pressure. This can be triggered through tension (psychological or muscular), histamine release (through allergenic triggers including food or environmental sensitivities) and increases in inflammation or platelet clumping.

For more information and to take a deeper look at what’s triggering your headaches or migraines, talk to Dr. Kathy Van Zeyl, our Naturopathic Doctor. You can book a complimentary 15 minute appointment with Dr. Kathy to discuss your headache/migraine and other health issues to see if she can aid you!


Chiropractic and Concussions


Concussions are now taken more seriously than ever in both professional and amateur sports as well amongst the general public. Improved awareness of concussion symptoms and emphasis on their significance has led to improved treatment outcomes for patients. It is important to understand that a concussion is when the brain violently strikes the inside of the skull resulting in very simplistic terms, a bruise.

This can happen from either a direct blow to the head, or it can happen from a small to large movement of the head & neck with minimal or no contact as would be the case in a whiplash injury.

The swelling of the brain tissue, which happens when any type of tissue is bruised, is what causes all the unfavorable symptoms associated with a concussion. However, symptoms may be severe and linger for extended periods. Symptoms are widely varied and may include headache, memory loss, vomiting, nausea, dizziness, ringing of the ears, blurred vision and other symptoms. Emotional and mood changes are common as well as an inability to concentrate. Loss of memory or consciousness is not necessarily a component of even serious concussions. Early diagnosis is important because removal from activity is critical in reducing symptom duration and reoccurrence.

If you or your child has suffered one or more concussions, regular chiropractic adjustments can be a huge benefit to you & will complement any medical treatments you may be having. Chiropractors receive extensive training in the recognition of concussion due to the high incidence of this injury amongst chiropractic patients. An often overlooked component of concussion treatment is the neck injuries that frequently accompany the concussion. The most important thing to remember about concussions is that early diagnosis is critical.

Please book an appointment for an assessment with Dr. Barbara Rodwin if you have suffered a concussion. Dr. Barbara Rodwin also practices a technique that works exceptionally well for concussions, the CATS (cranial) technique.

Petadolex is very important as a supplement for concussion problems. When taken with a combination of other supplements Petadolex allows for a quicker recovery process! Ask your chiropractor or naturopath about this.

Cranial Adjusting Turner Style (C.A.T.S) and Concussions

Cranial adjusting speeds recovery from concussions! C.A.T.S. is a breakthrough technique for correcting the misalignments in the skull caused from the trauma involved in concussions. Cranial Adjusting Turner Style (C.A.T.S.) can realign the bones and restore the proper circulation of cerebral spinal fluid and blood to the nerves and tissues damaged by misaligned bones. This treatment has enabled many concussion sufferers get back their lives and do it more quickly than the traditional treatment protocols. C.A.T.S practitioners are able to detect and correct any cranial misalignments. They function under the basic principle that if a cranial bone is out of place; put it back into place and restore its function.
Cranial adjusting provides faster and better recovery for concussions!
Post-concussion symptoms can remain long after the original trauma. Headaches persist, brain fog does not lift and disorientation can completely take over every aspect of a person’s life. Modern advances in brain research and imaging have proven that the sutures to the bones in the skull contain blood vessels, nerves and connective tissue, all within a space 1/100th of an inch across. They help nourish the cranium and facilitate movement of the bones that form the skull. The impact of a concussion can knock bones out of alignment and cut off the circulation within these sutures. Because the skull bones are still misaligned from the trauma, it’s difficult for normal brain function to be restored.


Dr. Barbara Rodwin is certified in the C.A.T.S. technique. Please feel free to ask her questions regarding this technique.

Registered Massage Therapy and Concussions

As previously mentioned, a concussion is a bruise. As with all bruises they take time to heal and repair. The nutrients required to help heal a bruise are delivered via the circulatory system. It is essential to increase flow to these afflicted areas without increasing blood pressure. Massages are a great solution. They de-stress your body, lowering your blood pressure while increasing circulation.

The relaxing effect of massage helps the body produce endorphins, which causes the body to naturally have the sense of relaxation. This stops the swelling and thereby decreasing the intracranial pressure. Patients with concussion and Post -Concussion Syndrome need to be treated to assist healing of the neurological, vascular and autonomic components of these injuries.

Cranio-sacral therapy (CST) is one approach that may be applied by experienced therapists to facilitate this process. CST is a gentle, hands-on method of evaluating and enhancing the functioning of a physiological body system called the craniosacral system – comprised of the membranes and cerebrospinal fluid that surround and protect the brain and spinal cord.

Please speak to one of our registered massage therapists for more information on and/or treatment of a concussion.

TMJ Problems – The Temporomandibular Joint

The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) is the hinge joint that connects the lower jaw (mandible) to the temporal bone of the skull. Temporomandibular disorders (TMD) occur as a result of problems with the neck, jaw joint, and surrounding facial muscles that control chewing and moving the jaw.
This jaw joint is immediately in front of the ear on each side of your head. The joints are flexible, allowing the jaw to move smoothly up and down and side to side, enabling you to talk, chew, and yawn. Muscles attached to and surrounding the jaw joint controls its position and movement. When you talk and chew the jaw moves and also causes the upper neck vertebrae to move as well!


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Injury to the jaw, temporomandibular joint, or joint and muscles of the head and neck such as from a heavy blow or whiplash can cause this disorder. Other possible causes include: grinding or clenching the teeth, which puts a lot of pressure on the TMJ, dislocation of the soft cushion or disc between the ball and socket, presence of osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis in the TMJ and stress, which can cause a person to tighten facial and jaw muscles or clench the teeth.

Common Symptoms from Jaw problems:

• Headaches, neck aches, dizziness, ringing in the ears, earaches and hearing issues
• Pain or tenderness in the face, jaw joint area, neck and shoulders, and in or around the ear when you chew, speak or open your mouth wide
• Limited ability to open the mouth very wide
• Jaws that get “stuck” or “lock” in the open- or closed-mouth position
• Clicking, popping, or grating sounds in the jaw joint when opening or closing the mouth (which may or may not be accompanied by pain)
• A tired feeling in the face, swelling on the side of the face
• Difficulty chewing or a sudden uncomfortable bite as if the upper and lower teeth are not fitting together properly

Jaw problems are complex and often require multiple treatment type to aid in resolving them! Treatments such as: a night guard, acupuncture, chiropractic, massage, active release, exercises and diet changes help.

Chiropractic treatment for the Jaw (TMJ)

Chiropractic care for the temporomandibular joint (TMJ) can ease pain by correcting the misalignment between the spine and nervous system. Chiropractic can be effective at reducing the pain associated with TMJ, either when used alone or as a complement to other treatments. Initial treatment for a temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD) can include applying heat or cold to the jaw area, eating mostly soft foods, taking anti-inflammatory drugs, or wearing a bite guard in the mouth at night. If these methods are unsuccessful, many patients resort to dental treatments to modify the bite or even surgery of the jaw. For those with TMJ symptoms, chiropractic is available as an alternative to those more invasive treatments.


An adjustment to the joint(s) can also be done by hand, using a technique that causes a tiny stretch inside the joint to release any fibrous attachments made by the body due to previous trauma. Dr. Barbara Rodwin may also give the patient home exercises to help strengthen the joint and loosen the tight muscles.

In some cases, misalignment of the jaw that results from improper posture or a back problem can cause temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder. An approach to treating TMJ caused by misalignment in the neck and upper back is to perform chiropractic adjustments on the spinal joint in these areas.

Chiropractic treatment of the temporomandibular joint (TMJ) focuses on relieving tension in the muscles around the joints themselves—working both outside and inside the mouth, using active release and trigger point therapy.

Do you have full movement in your jaw?

The jaw is a hinge joint connecting the mandible (jaw) to the skull and is surrounded by 68 pairs of muscles immediately in front of the ear on each side of the head. They allow you to chew, yawn, speak, and swallow and are in constant use. This joint is one of the most frequently used in the body. You can locate it by placing a finger in your ear and push forward while opening and closing your mouth. The articular disk separates the condyle head of the mandible and the skull. When this disk is misplaced it will cause Temporal Mandibular Joint Dysfunction (TMJ). Studies show about 35% of the North American population has TMJ disorders.

A common symptom could be having a limited range of motion within the joint. If you have TMJ, every time you open and close your mouth you put wear on the tissues of the joint. This can cause severe problems if not treated properly. . You can test the range of mobility in your jaw by holding your palm vertically with your thumb facing the ceiling. Flex your index finger so it is out of the way. Open your mouth as wide as you can without strain or pain and place the three remaining fingers (middle, ring, and pinky) between your upper and lower teeth. If you cannot fit all three fingers and you experience pain, it is possible you have TMJ. Don’t be worried if only 2 or maybe 4 fingers fit. If there is no pain and it doesn’t affect how or what you eat then, the diagnosis is probably negative.

Massage therapy for the Jaw

A registered massage therapist takes training as well in treating the muscles of the jaw, neck and skull. The massage therapist will treat muscles in your jaw, neck, shoulders and face which can relieve the pain caused by jaw problems.

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All the registered massage therapists at Back to Health Wellness Centre are trained in treating jaw-related problems. Ask one of our registered massage therapists for details!

November 2016 Promotions:

For Cold and Flu Season:

  • Cold Pro
  • Anti-oxidant network

Concussion Supplements:

  • CoQ10
  • L-carnitine
  • Fish oil (Super EFA Liquid, Quell DHA)



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