Revolution Health & Wellness

Episode 54 – Upper Cervical Chiropractic

Episode 54 - Upper Cervical Chiropractic

Upper cervical chiropractic


Edwards: This is Dr. Chad Edwards and you’re listening to Podcast number 54 of Against the Grain.
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Welcome to against the grain podcast with Dr. Chad Edwards where he challenges the status quo when it comes to medicine, we get into hot topics in the medical field with real stories from real patients to help you on your way to a healthy lifestyle. Get ready because we’re about to go against the grain.
Marshall: Hello, hello, this is the super tall Marshall Morris and today I am joined by Dr. Chad Edwards who believes that 80% of medical recommendations are crap.
Edwards: Pure crap.
Marshall: Pure crap, technically speaking. He is a veteran of the US Army; he founded Revolution Health, and he’s the author of Revolutionize your health with customized supplements. Dr. Edwards, welcome.
Edwards: How are you today? We missed last Friday; I missed it. Hated that, here we are.
Marshall: Hey, no worries. We are back at it, and we’re getting into some pretty awesome topics today, and we have a special guest on the show today.
Edwards: We do, and I am so excited to have her. We’ve been working together for a while, and I’ll tell you my story here in just a minute. But we have Dr. Crystal Lewis.
Crystal: Hi, how are you guys?
Edwards: And I don’t know if you know this, but there’s a Christian singer named Crystal Lewis.
Crystal: Yes, I-.
Edwards: And that was very confusing to me when I-
Crystal: They confuse us a lot, but not because I can sing well.
Edwards: I was going to say, “Can you belt some for us first?”
Crystal: No.
Edwards: Welcome.
Marshall: So we’re getting into it today, and you have a story, is it a story about Dr. Lewis or is it something later in the show that we will get into it?
Edwards: I guess it’s a story about me because I like to tell stories mainly about me.
Marshall: Of course.
Edwards: Because that’s how I think. But it involves her. So my story is that I had a low back strain. I just strained my low back, I wasn’t lifting anything, it was just kind of I built this pole barn in the middle of my land and all that stuff, and I was working out there and I strained it just a little bit. I know exactly what I did, and it wasn’t stupid, it was just a strain. So I started having low back pain, and I’ve had that once before, my back’s for the most part pretty healthy. So I started having this low back pain. It’s like this domino effect, right? So you get this back pain, it causes you to walk funny and then I’m walking like somebody off The Walking Dead. When I say, somebody, I mean the zombie off The Walking Dead. And so I’m dragging my leg and all that kind of good stuff and then it just starts getting worse because I’m not walking like I should, I’m not doing all these other things, and it’s just perpetuating itself.
And so I come into work one day, and Dr. Lewis is in there, and Dr. Lewis does not talk like this, but her facial expressions were a stream of obscenities about the way I was walking, and she said, “Get in here.” And so she dragged me, kicking and screaming, I wasn’t really kicking and screaming but so she takes me into her exam room and did kind of a quick exam, and she’s like “Yes, you’re messed up,” and I was like, “Oh, my wife’s been telling me that for a while.”
Marshall: Who else would it be?
Edwards: Anyway, so she did an evaluation and, I believe in upper cervical chiropractic, I believe even in what she does. That’s why we’ve worked together and why she’s in our clinic. But my thought was, “It’s my low back, not my neck”, it was my thought. Sadly, I know better, but at the same time that was just my thought process, I don’t have to do that, I have work to do, I got to go. So she takes a look at my shoulders and alignment, and I’ll tell on that part in just a minute. So she lays me down on the table for my adjustment, and I’ve been around at upper cervical before, I knew it wasn’t a lot of straining and cracking and popping, which I’ve been to chiropractors before that did stuff like that and made me just want to jump off the table, it was like incredibly uncomfortable. Not that all of them do that but, I had that experience. Not really a fun thing.
I knew it wasn’t going to be like that, but I still didn’t know quite what to expect. So she lays me on my side and just, I don’t know how to describe this, a picture’s worth a thousand words and I just have to explain it. It was almost like she massaged the side of my neck and my head. That’s probably the best way to describe it. It’s very gentle, just kind of pushing and poking but extremely gentle. And when she was done I was kind of like, “Okay, when are you going to get started?” that kind of thing. She said, “Let’s check you out” and I was like, “You’re done?” and she said, “Yes, let’s check and see how you do.” Stood up and of course from her assessment it re-aligned everything, so she got my head on straight which nobody else has been able to do.
Then I noticed when I stood up my pain in my back was about 50% reduced, so she didn’t completely remove that, I mean I had a strain, you can’t undo a strain. But the pain that I had, because of that domino effect, was 50% gone when I stood up. Throughout the day it improved probably 80%.
Marshall: This is pain in your lower back?
Edwards: That’s correct. Not my neck. I never had pain in my neck at all. This was in my lower back. And throughout the day it improved probably 80%, still had a little bit but it was so much better. When I went to sleep that night, some of it came back; it probably went back up to about 50%, but I would argue that it set me on a path where I would recover much faster than I believe I would have had I not let her massage my neck.
Crystal: [laughs]
Marshall: And so, as a patient, you weren’t having it- “You touching my neck is not going to make my back better”.
Edwards: There was a little bit of thought like I said I’ve been around this, I know better.
Marshall: Sure.
Edwards: But there’s just kind of that thing in the back of your head that’s like “Aah, seriously?”.
Crystal: We’ve been programmed though that the body is separate parts, and so that’s part of the reason, they say “How can you help a knee, how can you help this whatever? You’re just touching the top of my neck”.
Marshall: Sure. And so, in your experience, it greatly helped you onto your road to recovery?
Edwards: Absolutely. I did not treat myself and treat myself at the same time to see which one of me got better. Although there may be two of me, we don’t know. But I definitely noticed a turn at that point and, again, I understand why I know that is very beneficial, but that was very interesting to me- how much better my low back was because of that. And so, now every time one of our staff comes in, and they’ve got a tweak or a crack or something– I shouldn’t say crack because it implies the wrong thing, so let me clarify. But every time we feel a little bit off, which for some of our staff is quite often, Jenna.
Crystal: [laughs]
Edwards: Now we’ll see if she’s listening. They hunt Dr. Lewis down and like, “Hey, we need help” and she has been invaluable to our staff. So that’s my introduction to Dr. Lewis.
Marshall: Immediate social proof, she knows what she’s doing.
Edwards: Yes.
Marshall: Okay, so if the story didn’t sell all the listeners that she knows what she’s doing what are maybe some of your credentials? What is your background? How long have you been doing it? And what is the relationship between the clinics?
Crystal: Well, I am from Tulsa, and I have been practicing upper cervical chiropractic for a little over 13 years now. So I graduated in the end of 2003, I was a preceptor and an associate with the practice in town and upper cervical practice and then went out on my own at the end of 2006, and so I have been on my own since then. Just had some family challenges at home but ran my practice pretty much by myself and it got to a point that I wanted to join a team and so that’s how I ended up. I’ve heard through some other people about Dr. Edwards and what he did and, even though I do Chiropractic, I’m very passionate about functional medicine as well and so what he did resonated with what I did because there’s not very many practitioners that does what he does.
I think we knew somebody mutual, and they talked about it, set up appointment and then it just went that way, and he was wanting to bring some other people on, and I was wanting to join a team, and so it worked out perfectly that way. But with chiropractic school, I went to Logan College of Chiropractic, before that I’m a graduate of The University of Tulsa and so-
Edwards: Go Canes.
Crystal: [laughs]
Edwards: Can I say that?
Marshall: Yes, you can say that.
Edwards: Okay, go ahead:
Crystal: I don’t even know if I know that reference.
Edwards: Hurricanes?
Crystal: Hurricanes, I thought you said something else
Marshall: So now we’re completely exiling all the Sooners and the Cowboys here that are listening. So we’ve now pledged our allegiance to the Canes.
Edwards: And go pokes and Boomer Sooner.
Marshall: There you go.
Crystal: [laughs]
Edwards: Is that helps?
Marshall: I think that helps. Okay, so you graduated TU?
Crystal: Yes. And then went to Chiropractic School about a year later and I’m in St. Louis and so was there and that’s about a three and a half to four year program all year round and so– And then got back here and started practicing right away.
Marshall: Dr. Edwards, what are we getting into today? What have we brought Dr. Lewis on to really kind of dive into a little bit more?
Edwards: Well. First of all, let me say that so we did bring her on talk about one thing in particular, but I want to say that she is, has a very broad base of experience and we alluded to a couple of things about upper cervical chiropractic. And it’s important to understand that the concept is a little bit different than what I’ve seen with traditional as a regular full spine chiropractic. They are very pro-health, preventive, proactive kind of thing and they’ll tell you that when you have proper alignment of the upper cervical region; the upper proportion of your neck, that everything else kind of falls into place. So maintaining the alignment of that allows full normal neurologic function; I don’t mean to steal any thunders and tell me where I’m wrong.
Crystal: Now you’re saying it very well.
Edwards: Okay. Well, thank you. But when those are properly aligned you have good circulation you have proper neurologic function. You have the autonomics– excuse me– the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems are involved all of these kinds of things. And so that’s one of the things that it has been official and certainly one of the reasons that I wanted to have her in our clinic because it helps to complete a full circle approach to optimizing health.
So it’s not just, “Hey I’ve got low back pain I need to go see Dr. Lewis.” It is much much more than that. And I’ve told stories in the past on the podcast in other episodes about what I’ve seen from some patients and the benefit that they’ve had with upper chiropractic. So I wanted to just kind of lay that out there and then she is actually, I don’t know if she will say this but she has a broad base of experience and is interested in even furthering herself. In Oklahoma, every State is little bit different but in Oklahoma, she can’t prescribe medications and those kinds of things and she has a heart and a passion for optimizing the health of her patients.
And so she– and again correct me if I’m wrong, saw as a limitation that she couldn’t prescribe certain things, she is limited. So she is actually in the process of becoming a nurse practitioner so that she can provide full upper cervical chiropractic as well as functional medicine. She is a tremendous asset to our team, and we’re definitely honored to have her.
Crystal: Thank you
Edwards: So what we wanted to do was just introduce upper cervical chiropractic what it can do for patients, why they should kind of look for that, what conditions that can help in those kinds of things. So–
Crystal: Well upper cervical is different. Doctor Edwards touched on what it is adjusting from the upper cervical spine which is the top two bones in the spine; we call them C1 or C2, the Atlas, and the Axis. And even though we’re just making contact with the upper cervical it’s full spine adjusting because it affects the entire spine. And there is a misconception that it only functionally helps upper cervical and helps the spine but it helps the full body just like full spine adjusting would in that capacity.
The difference too is one of the questions I get asked a lot is sometimes people shy away from chiropractors in general. Even though I don’t believe that they should, I have a lot of it is the popping, the cracking, the twisting that’s what we normally see traditional chiropractic and so the comparison in that way was that this technique is very very gentle. Dr. Edwards described it as massaging the neck. Wasn’t technically massaging the neck but we do we call it pull and but you just feel– that’s what it feels like and so most people going to say that’s not an unpleasant feeling, it’s very very gentle.
Edwards: Not as easy.
Crystal: Yes. And it’s so gentle– and not to say that you can’t do other types of chiropractic to any other of the population but a lot of people are very hesitant sometimes about bringing their children and if they feel like they’re going to be popped, cracked, and twisted. But the youngest patient I’ve had as a couple of days old and so we can adjust from the very very young to the very very old and anything in between. And any of you come in, and you’re hurting, you don’t have to worry about being induced to more pain at that time to get a correction.
Edwards: Yes. It is truly very easy very well tolerated and like you said down to two days old?
Crystal: Yes.
Edwards: It’s amazing.
Crystal: Actually, the patient I saw the other day I think he was two or three days old, yes.
Edwards: Amazing.
Crystal: And I love taking care of those babies.
Edwards: Did they come in for a reason?
Crystal: Yes. Some of my patients have been seeing me for a while and see how well very young children if they had a specific reason to bring him in and we can talk about those as well. Or if they had something that they had to come in for they got help with they trust me now and so they would bring their children in, just wanting to them to get checked. So if there’s anything there before that can be looked at before it becomes a problem is really important with for birth.
Sometimes that could be a traumatic process for the baby depending on how they were birthed within the situation. And this baby in particular as far as I know did not have anything in specific, he was jaundiced; I mean he was induced. And so that and then she noticed he was just really fussy and things like that, and that seems to help some.
I’ve had some that had reflux that has been helped. One of the main things I see with breastfeeding mothers is if the baby won’t turn their head one side and that has helped tremendously with that just getting that correction out. So those little things that we think you just have to live with and what could be wrong with the baby? They get tugged on pretty well when they’re coming on the birth canal. And then if it’s a C-section there is also those implications as well.
Edwards: I used to do– early in my practice when I was still in the military, and there has been a couple times I was like, “Serious I’m going to pull the head off this baby.”
Crystal: Yes.
Edwards: You’d like crank on that thing. And so that’s very interesting you made several points. So also that torticollis, that twisted the back thing so you can help with that as well?
Crystal: Yes absolutely. It is probably one of the best things, what else are you going to do? Probably, the most traumatic that I have was a baby I think I checked this baby when she was three weeks old. Maybe, two weeks old and they had to grab her by her arm, and so she had a brachial plexus injury. So she could not use her arm so the mother brought her into me and they told her pretty much that if she did not start using her arm at four months old, which is four months that’s a long time for a baby not to use their arm, that they will refer her out and probably have to have surgery.
I’ve seen babies that has happened to where at two years old couldn’t crawl, they couldn’t crawl when they’re young they’re into him, still having this at two years old and having to have surgery and it’s not something you want your child have to go through. But after about a couple of weeks, she started using her arm and then at four month she could crawl normally by the time she was thought ready to crawl.
Edwards: That’s amazing.
Crystal: And no issues-.
Edwards: And so none of the potential complications of surgery or those kinds of things?
Crystal: Yes
Edwards: We talk about surgery so often, and if you have appendicitis, and you need your appendix taken out, surgery is the thing. That’s–
Crystal: Save your life Tulsa prolotherapy.
Edwards: Absolutely. And there are multiple other surgeries that are beneficial but we have something like this, and there’s any other option, my gosh. You’ve got to pursue that.
Crystal: And what’s the harm. The worst case scenario it didn’t get better, we’re not going to harm the baby.
Edwards: Right.
Crystal: And then you have to go on that path, but I’m going to say the vast majority of the time we’re getting improvement.
Edwards: That’s amazing. So what all can upper cervical help with what it–
Crystal: The list is very long and so obviously things like musculoskeletal injury so neck pain, back pain injury. It can help those heal faster just like Dr. Louis was talking about. They can help alleviate a lot of those. But I have had like knee pain, so I had a patient that came in with knee pain. She runs marathons, to run three marathons in two months-
Marshall: Oh my gosh
Edwards: Wow
Crystal: -And she thought, she is a friend of mine. She is a little crazy.
Marshall: That’s more than I’ve run in two years.
Crystal: That’s a lot.
Edwards: That’s a lot. That’s a far distance.
Crystal: And the only complications knee pain she’s like, she trusts me because I’m her friend, and she said, “Well I don’t know how you’re going to help me, but I guess I need knee pain, so I’ll just try it, first adjustment no knee pain.” And so she’s been, and she was able to run the rest of her marathons without any issue. And so we have those musculoskeletal type injuries.
But I’ve also had people who have headaches and so headaches have a lot of different reasons why you have headaches but if you’re not clearing that interference. Sometimes even some of those reasons can help and I would say I have a huge reduction in people having coming in with migraines and headaches of any kind.
Edwards: So you said clearing that interference, what does that mean?
Crystal: Yes. And we also in chiropractic talk we have neurological interference and so whenever you have a spinal misalignment, the nerves are not able to freely flow back and forth, and that can be either hyperactive so that it’s flowing too much or they’re getting impinged. So that blocks the nerve conduction the best possible way in its optimal way so when we make spinal correction it clears that, and there is nothing no interference any longer.
Edwards: Talking about that– forget the word you said the flow so to clarify the nerves aren’t flowing themselves the impulse that the nerve transmits is flowing.
Crystal: Correct.
Edwards: So just to be clear just in case somebody doesn’t understand the anatomy and all those kinds of things the nerve stays in place, it’s the conduction that goes down the nerves. It is like a wire in your house and having the electric current flow through it. That is what gets interrupted and with adjustments, we can help make restore normal flow of the electricity, of the impulse.
Crystal: Yes.
Edwards: Okay we shall probably–
Marshall: Take a quick break and then when we come back talk about the implications of how to approach a chiropractor that deals with upper cervical adjustments and what else we can do.
Edwards: Sounds good.
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Marshall: Okay and so we are back joined today with Dr. Chad Edwards and Dr. Crystal Lewis and we are talking about upper cervical chiropractic. And so we’re getting into it– and really I know that there are a bunch of listeners out there that are kind of saying, “Well,” it is kind like they are on the fence like, “Do I have enough of an issue with maybe pain or the way that I am favoring a side of my body or anything, does this apply to me?” And so for all the listeners out there how do they know who should be listening?
Crystal: Well it’s very broad because I’m going say anyone but of course they are not going to listen because you are not talking going to talk to everybody but I will say that anyone who does not feel like they are feeling their best in whatever capacity because just getting that interference reduced or cleared can bring back energy, it can bring back fatigue. So even if you just more tired than usual if you having any aches and pains, if you are not feeling your best, if you can’t get up in the morning, any types of those. They are obvious, if you are having pain and discomfort where you can’t function like you want to every day for sure. But if you feel like you can, you should be able to feel better then absolutely come in and see me.
Marshall: Okay. So there is room for improvement in some area. If you feel like anything less than your optimal self– because we are not trying to get normalcy here. We are not trying to hit the median of the population.
Crystal: No.
Marshall: We are trying to get to the optimal level. Optimize your health. What are some most common areas where you might see somebody whether it is some common cases, whether maybe occupations that come in or particular issues what do you typically see?
Crystal: I do see a lot of muscular scleroses because that is what people think first and so I see that, but even NUCCA which is International for Cervical Chiropractic Association has done a study where there is low blood pressure so that this specific type of upper cervical adjustment can lower blood pressure. So that is even something if you are having a hard time dieting or exercise and doing what your doctor is asking you to do but you can’t keep your blood pressure down that can be something that you could come in for.
Edwards: So if you have high blood pressure you should look into upper cervical chiropractor?
Crystal: Absolutely. If you have anything that is chronic pain or stress– stress is one of the most common things I have seen lately that has caused the spine to go out of the line because we don’t think stress affects we think we can handle our stress but stress, emotional, mental even physical stress all of that can play a toll and so that is something. Depression plays into that neurological interference, and there’s some other things that can play into depression as well obviously, but I have seen people for that and actually because if they have energy the rate is increased, it helps.
If they have any numbness, so like discorniations, bulges, this is a very safe way to treat those and in lot of cases can prevent you from having surgery if that’s something you are thinking you have to have.
Marshall: So what are the alternatives? Surgery most people would just typically just jump straight to surgery or what’s the deal?
Crystal: Long-term alternatives, yes is just pain management surgery.
Edwards: So anti-inflammatory medication, muscle relaxers, of course, we deal with those a lot with Tulsa prolotherapy– you get the patient that comes in they’re having pain or whatever, and they will go to their doctor, put them on anti-inflammatories, they’ll put them on the muscle relaxers they might send them to physical therapy. If they don’t improve with those, they will get an MRI, and they will send them to an orthopedic surgeon who if there is something on the MRI that looks abnormal then they will say then you will need to get surgery.
So, this is the patient at Revolution Health and Wellness Clinic because through a comprehensive approach and certainly, with Dr. Lewis, we can do a Tulsa prolotherapy. We can look at a number of different things and with upper cervical chiropractic it’s a great addition to that overall comprehensive picture and how do we correct this?
Crystal: We have a patient that you referred to me just recently that he had been doing prolo on his knees, knees doing great and now he’s seeing me, and he’s improving significantly. He’s been able to get the benefit of both.
Marshall: Well, and we’ve talked about it before. Something that I know you’re passionate about it. That’s why I am shamelessly bringing it up, but right here it’s something that in a majority of patients it is going to improve their health and their function of their body in the majority, but worst case scenario is not going to do any harm.
Crystal: Correct.
Marshall: And so therefore if you still have to escalate to surgery that’s not taken off the table by going and seeing an upper cervical chiropractor.
Crystal: Correct. Yes, that is the thing. We are not going to make your surgery come faster; we are not going to– there is no harm into coming. I guess the vast majority the worst case you don’t get better. Your symptoms don’t change, and there’s been cases that has happened, but that is not the majority.
Marshall: Very cool. So for all the listeners out there how do they learn more about this where would you suggest that they learn more about it? How do they schedule an appointment? What is the information that they need?
Crystal: Well definitely check our website out at, — can I get the website correct– would be the first place and then there are some links there, and then if you are not in our area, there are some other places that you can go on the web and just check.
You can go to, Not all of the upper cervical chiropractors will be listed on there that is a specific upper cervical technique. There is also one called, and they will have some links to other types of upper cervical chiropractic in the different areas that you are in.
Edwards: The, by the way, it’s a paid thing so Chiropractors will go on there and they will pay to get their name listed.
Crystal: Correct.
Edwards: That is why.
Crystal: So now everybody will be on that.
Edwards: Sure. There is a lot of stuff like that you can pay a lot of money and get your name on a Tulsa prolotherapy list and be listed on there. All you do is pay money. It doesn’t mean that you’re good at what they are promoting it just means you paid your bill.
Marshall: I paid to be listed on the TOS podcastors list. That is what I paid to be on.
Edwards: I would think that you would be an honorary member.
Marshall: Okay, that is fair I respect that. Dr. Edwards, Dr. Lewis, thank you guys so much for joining us today. Anything in closing?
Edwards: Guys just consider the comprehensive picture. Consider upper cervical, find out why you feel the way you feel and do whatever you can to get better.
Crystal: Great
Marshall: Until the next time we’ll talk to you guys later.
Edwards: Thanks
Announcer: Thank you for listening to this week’s podcast with Dr. Chad Edwards. Tune in next week where we will be going Against the Grain.
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