This ride begins with a young girl on a horse (see photos below), but takes unexpected twists and turns. I hope you’ll saddle up with me as I explore the range of structural issues that have left me feeling sub-par for years, so that my experiences can help you in your own ventures toward optimal wellness.
I’m quite sure that having structural issues from a young age (functional scoliosis and limited range of motion in the ankle/lower leg likely linked to genetic issues passed on from Mom having been born with club feet) were further compounded by competitively riding horses during my prime formative years. I wouldn’t change the wonderful experiences in my youth that resulted from working with horses from age 7 – 15, but the nature of the activity is anything but gentle on ones’ body.
Much of my life, however, has been full of pain, fatigue, weakness, and muscle spasms. I’ve seen a number of doctors and massage therapists over the years and have been fortunate to have had chiropractic care for the majority of my life, as my mom became a Doctor of Chiropractic when I was 10 years old. (I am aware of the varied personal opinions that exist regarding the field of chiropractic, and respect that we all have had different experiences in our lives. I do not intend to use this blog as a way to address these opinions, but rather to share my experience with you.)
I’ve continually worked to improve my knowledge of the body and apply what I’ve learned toward bettering my personal situation. I have had reasonable success over the years, but I’ve felt enough limitations and back-sliding in what I’m capable of doing versus what I desire to do in life, that I remain open-minded and in search of healing.
Presently, this search has landed me in the care of The Yardley Institute, a chiropractic practice that specializes in treating the upper cervical spine. I greatly appreciate that we share a primary belief in the ability of the body to heal itself. Using this shared philosophy as a guide, they are able to help remove internal stress on the brain stem, which in turns allows the nervous, muscular and organ systems to heal and function correctly.
I am far from an expert at explaining this process, but I will do my best. The upper cervical vertebrae include the bones of your neck, which connect your head to your shoulders. Dr. Yardley has completed additional education in order to specialize in treating this delicate and vitally important area of the body. He is board certified by the National Upper Cervical Chiropractic Association (NUCCA), whose focus is not only on the upper cervical area, but in particular, the first cervical vertebra, C-1, also known as the atlas.
The atlas is the small bone that your skull rests on and the area which is responsible for housing the brain stem, which is literally the physical manifestation of the brain-body connection. Your brain communicates with your body via the brain stem, which turns into the spinal cord and runs through the length of your spine, with nerves branching off at each vertebra. If C-1 is out of alignment, the brain stem is under continual torsion and strain, and the brain cannot effectively communicate with the body. Thus, every aspect of your well-being is affected to varying degrees by the health of this brain-body connection.
At Yardley, they use X-rays, along with 5 specific assessments at each visit, to determine if C-1 is out of alignment, or not, and the exact nature of your individual situation. It is fascinating to see X-rays of your own skull and spine and see how and where you may have a rotated pelvis, contracted leg, tilted skull, etc.
The actual adjustment of the atlas is difficult to describe, and is unlike any other physical manipulation I’ve experienced. The bone is very delicate and the adjustment technique reflects this. After a precise alignment of the body while lying on a table made for adjusting the cervical vertebrae, the doctor uses what I would describe as a gentle vibration created with the hands positioned just under the ear. (See photos on the Yardley site; the 5th one shows this adjustment.)
I’m less than a month into my treatment at The Yardley Institute and am so far enjoying the process. The doctors and staff are incredibly informative, clear communicators and positive people. Based on the 17,000+ cases they’ve worked with, they estimate my treatment time to be approx. 5 1/2 months, during which time they continually monitor my progress through the 5 tests and periodic X-rays. The atlas is only adjusted if I do not pass the standards set for 3 or more of the tests in a given visit.
My goal is for this treatment to play a valuable role in relieving internal, physical stress, thus allowing healing and optimization of my overall health. When the body is under strain, each of us will exhibit varying symptoms, which is why the focus isn’t on alleviating symptoms, but on getting to the root cause and allowing healing to take place. I can say, however, that one complaint I’ve had for many years is what I describe as a congested and sluggish feeling at the base of my skull. Frankly, it drives me crazy! I was pleasantly surprised to notice relief from this feeling after my first adjustment.
In the waiting room of The Yardley Institute is a map with thumb tacks showing where various patients have traveled from to work with these skilled practitioners. I have been impressed to hear a variety of accents and talk with people from other cities, states and even countries! In fact, one of the doctors moved here from Australia to have the honor of working with Dr. Yardley. I am grateful they are a short drive from my home and work.
I’d love to hear if you’ve received, or considered, similar treatment. In addition, all constructive comments, thoughts and questions are welcome. Simply scroll to the bottom of the page and you’ll find a user-friendly “Share Your Thoughts” section.
To Your Best Health,
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