I’ve been meaning to post a status update for quite a while now. The many inquiries have motivated me to do so!

I have been working with many skilled professionals in support of my own healthcare, and have worked together with them to achieve the care initially started with Dr Zoranovich. Most consistently for the last several years, I had the profound benefit of working with Dr William Haffenreffer – a chiropractor with a background in rolfing who brought his decades of healing experience to the table, and dovetailed it seamlessly with my own guidance about what has worked for me in the past. He also suggested what has turned out to be a perfect term for the time it takes my nervous system to integrate an adjustment: my refractory period. Years ago, it could take 20-30 minutes for my system to calm down after a single adjustment before another level could be adjusted. It would sometimes take a few hours for a single office visit! At this point, my refractory period (nervous system reactivity) is much much less – anywhere from 10 seconds to a minute or two. I also received excellent craniosacral therapy from Dr Emily Miller, a naturopath with pediatric focus in Dover, NH.

Functionally and symptomatically, I have continued to improve dramatically over the last several years. In fact, when I go back and read about all the symptoms I used to have, I realize I’ve forgotten even feeling that terrible! The one thing I still have a bit of is hypersensitivity – especially to loud sounds. That is, when I go to a concert if I wear earplugs then I’m fine but if I forget them then I will get a headache after a few minutes. I used to have a headache 24 hours a day for 5-6 years (before diagnosis) that was about 6-8/10 pain level. In contrast, I now get headaches maybe every few weeks and usually in the range of 1-5/10 level. So much better! When I do have a headache, my nervous system becomes more reactive to all sensory input, and I have a tendency towards nausea.

I’ve lost count now of the many times I’ve “leveled up” – that is, gotten to feeling and functioning MUCH better than before. I even gained 1/2″ in height last year after finally getting release of a very old holding pattern in my lower neck which allowed me to hold my head up straighter than I can remember.

I still get frustrated when I get tired on a hike that my friends perform with ease, or when I can’t stay at a party because I forgot my earplugs. But I continue to remind myself how far I’ve come: there was a time when I couldn’t run more than 5 feet without collapsing with muscle weakness. Last winter, I went cross-country skiing for 2 hours! I’ve taken up barre (the conditioning classes required for ballet – quite challenging for anyone) and in it found a practice where I can exercise and become stronger than ever before.

The key has been knowing and honoring my limits; resting when I need rest, and maintaining regular care with my team. Having just moved to a new city (Portland, Oregon), I’m still piecing together that team. Currently it includes chiropractic, craniosacral therapy, and gentle neurologically-focused rolfing. My daily yoga practice helps tremendously as well.

I look forward to continuing to “level up”. Dr Haffenreffer described healing to me in a way I find quite insightful: as we live, we are spiraling upwards; we will come around and see the same point again, but each time we are a bit higher up. This has been most helpful to me when I get frustrated over feeling an exacerbation of symptoms in response to some stressor; I remember that they are less severe, and I recover more quickly.

This journey has challenged me to grow in so many ways. Because I have experienced and worked through this – quite common yet underdiagnosed – health challenge within the construct of being a doctor myself, I have had the privilege of working with many others with the same condition. Some people have come to me knowing they had CTE, and others I have diagnosed myself. Every one of them has seen incredible improvements in their lives because of the care I was able to provide based on my experiences. I have started teaching seminars to chiropractors so more of us are equipped with the gentle, finessed, specific techniques to care for individuals living with CTE. This approach is the safest, most effective way I know of to improve function and overall quality of life.

If you have any questions, I am always happy to answer them via email at littleadjustments.balancedlife@gmail.com

Yours in health,
Satya Sardonicus, DC, CACCP


I got the strangest phone call today…a father called the office looking to get his kids vaccinated for school, as well as school physicals for an after-school athletic program. My understandably baffled receptionist handed me the phone, not knowing where to begin with this person! I got clarification that he was told his children couldn’t start school on Monday without getting vaccinated, so he was urgently seeking vaccination today. And he somehow called our office…?

I informed him that we do not offer vaccinations, and he asked if I could refer him to an office that does. I explained that I had no particular referral to offer, and that most of the parents in our practice actually do not vaccinate their children. I told him that if he wanted any more information that we could direct him to the National Vaccine Information Center. He then went off on an extended detailing of his experience with being vaccinated as part of his military service, and the negative reactions he experienced, and his strong inclination to never vaccinate his children on philosophical grounds against that chemical approach. He also expressed that he never knew it was even an option to decline vaccination. I assured him that it is within his legal rights to decline vaccines, and his children can still attend public school, and directed him to inquire at the school for details on exemption procedures. He was extremely grateful, and moved on to the subject of school physicals.

I told him I would be happy to conduct a physical exam, and extended the option to actually do a full new patient examination in the possible case that he wanted us to care for his children’s health beyond a simple physical exam. He expressed gratitude for the opportunity to discuss a more holistic, supportive approach to his children’s healthcare and excitedly explained his aversion to pharmaceutical interventions as a first approach. I used fever as an example of something that is frequently over-medicated, when it is in fact part of a normal immune response. He enthusiastically said “Yes, exactly!” and went on to explain that he rarely visits the doctor himself. I explained that I agree that medical interventions are appropriate only after less invasive approaches are exhausted, and that it is still important to have a doctor monitoring one’s health to make sure it is functioning at 100%. I explained that we honor the body’s innate capacity for self-healing and self-regulation…when it has everything is needs and nothing getting in the way. I explained that in our office, we support parents in ensuring that their child’s body is balanced and able to function optimally.

He said “Wow, thank you so much for taking the time to talk to me! You sound like exactly the kind of doctor I want to take care of my children.”

He enthusiastically scheduled new patient exams for his children this afternoon.

From the Journal of Pediatric, Maternal & Family Health comes a case study published on March 12, 2012 documenting the resolution of infertility in a woman previously diagnosed with a case of Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome. Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome is a condition in which there is an imbalance of a woman’s female sex hormones. This imbalance can lead to infertility and affects approximately 6.6% of reproductive-aged women.

The authors of the study start by reporting that infertility is a wide-spread problem that affects one in five couples. Of these it is estimated that 60% are due to a female health problem. As a result 9.3 million women seek infertility treatment at some point during their lives. Most of the care sought is medical care.

In this case a 29 year old woman previously diagnosed with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome and infertility sought chiropractic care. The study reports that she had been unable to become pregnant for six months. She had been to a medical practitioner one week earlier but had heard that chiropractic care could be helpful and therefore sought chiropractic care.

A chiropractic examination was performed including a spinal and nerve system analysis. It was determined that subluxations were present in multiple areas of the woman’s spine resulting in nerve system malfunction. A series of specific spinal adjustments were initiated to correct the subluxations.

The study reports that after two months of care the patient was told by her medical doctor that she was pregnant. It was estimated that the woman became pregnant between the second and fifth chiropractic visit. The study reports that the pregnancy was normal and that the woman delivered a healthy 6 pound 7 ounce baby girl after an all natural labor.

In their discussion and conclusion the authors discussed how subluxations could cause infertility by stating, “A subluxation is characterized by a dysfunction of the nervous system that results in widespread physiological changes and altered health status.” The authors continued to discuss the additional benefits in this case by noting, “Following initiation of chiropractic care, the patient not only became pregnant, but also reported improvement in many facets of her life, including improved sleep, better dietary choices, increased water consumption, and an improvement in her ability to exercise.”

Thanks to NYK for this article!

So I’ve had lots of response to the original article I wrote on my experience with CTE, and it’s about time I gave an update! Since last writing, I underwent several months of intensive care with Dr Samuel Zoranovich developing our protocol (the Sardonicus-Zoranovich Method) of treating CTE. For those of you new to the game, CTE stands for Cerebellar Tonsilar Ectopia, also referred to as a Chiari Malformation – it’s a herniation of the lower brain through the bottom of the skull. In silly terms, my brain won’t stay inside my head. But really, symptoms can be debilitating: intractable headache, nausea, dizziness, weakness, difficulty breathing, heart palpitations and severe neck pain – among others. The Sardonicus-Zoranovich Method (hereinafter referred to as SZM) draws upon a base of infant-style chiropractic adjustments, CranioSacral Technique, SacroOccipital Technique and long-axis neuromobilization.

Under Dr Zoranovich’s care, I experienced a tremendous improvement: fewer and less intense headaches, decrease of all symptoms, and more importantly – I experienced an increase in vitality and life force. I was able to return to my daily running practice. I consistently “leveled up” – that is, every few weeks I found myself saying “wow, I never imagined I could feel this good / functional again!” … and a few weeks later, it would happen again. I continued care with my godfather Dr William Haffenreffer, a chiropractor near my home in New Hampshire (where I now practice, having left Dr Z in California). I taught him the protocol, and he now maintains my care (much less intensively than initially required). I still get checked 2-4 times a month: more frequently than someone without this condition, but I don’t mind as it keeps me going strong! Not only don’t I mind, but I credit this work as having saved my quality of life entirely. I am indebted with gratitude to the healers who have helped me on this journey.

Since I was diagnosed with CTE in 2010, and subsequently developed the SZM, I have diagnosed several cases and treated many more. Individuals with CTE have come to my office from near and far, sometimes for periods of intensive care when travelling from other states, to seek respite from this frustrating and debilitating condition.

With these individuals we have found varying levels of success. It very much depends on the individual situation: the extent and severity of the injury, as well as other factors affecting healing. Sometimes in addition to the SZM, emotional traumas embedded in body memory are processed and help to facilitate healing. I do believe I can say this about every single person who has come to me for help with CTE: we have made significant improvements in their quality of life.

I believe that we are all faced with individual challenges based on what life has for us to learn. Learning that I have CTE has been part of a tremendous journey for me, as has the subsequent development of the SZM with Dr Z. I chose not to follow traditional medical protocol for this condition (brain surgery with moderate to poor outcomes, and/or drugs that do next to nothing in the way of palliation). I am grateful for the opportunity this has provided me to learn and grow, and honored to participate in the healing journey of others who wish to learn from my experiences.

If you or someone you know has been diagnosed with CTE, I am happy to schedule a phone consultation to discuss your options. Visit my office website at www.sardonicusfamilychiropractic.com.

A study in the November 1, 2011 issue of the Journal of Leukocyte Biology reports that a higher body temperature, like that resulting from a fever, has been found to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of the body’s immune system.

Previously, researchers thought that fever helped stop dangerous microbes from multiplying. This new study and several others are also showing that the immune system function is temporarily increased when body temperature rises when a person has a fever.

CD8+ cytotoxic T-cells are able to attack and destroy tumor cells as well as cells infected with viruses. This study found that a higher body temperature raises the number of these cells, indicating a greater immune system response against infection.

In a statement, John Wherry, Ph.D., deputy editor of the Journal of Leukocyte Biology, said, “having a fever might be uncomfortable, … but this research report and several others are showing that having a fever is part of an effective immune response.”

Thanks to In Touch Education Services for this information! 🙂

from the International Chiropractic Pediatrics Association, by Jeanne Ohm DC

After a recent ICPA E-Newsletter went out discussing the Webster technique, I received an e-mail from Ann Sommers, a midwife in Southern California. Her comments were supportive and enthusiastic about her experiences with Doctors of Chiropractic in her 11 years as a midwife and doula. She always has and continues to recommend chiropractic care as part of her clients’ prenatal care.

About the Technique, she had this to say: “I have never known the Webster Technique not to work in supporting a breech baby to turn except for one case where there was placenta previa. I have, however, known of the external version not to work!”

I have been recommending the Webster Technique for close to 11 years. During that time I have encountered many breeches and have only experienced 3 breech deliveries. One woman did not choose to do the Webster Technique and had her baby by c-section. Another was a last minute client whose doctor said her baby was vertex (not) and refused to do an ultrasound to confirm it. She delivered breech in a hospital. Another client of mine had a baby that was vertex until the last week— her baby did a surprise turn.

In following up with a phone conversation, Ann and I were able to discuss the numerous reasons why chiropractic care in pregnancy allows for safer and easier deliveries for both the mother and baby. Her referrals over the years to Doctors of Chiropractic always left her midwifery clients feeling well taken care of and appreciative of her recommendations.

The Doctors of Chiropractic further supported the midwifery philosophy for natural birthing. Those mutual clients approached their births with a greater sense of confidence and trust in their body’s ability to function normally. This on-going support from both practitioners is an incredible asset to the pregnant mother throughout pregnancy and in birth.

Find practitioners who support the natural process of birth. Make regular chiropractic care a part of your prenatal choices as well. Birth is an amazing experience and how you prepare throughout pregnancy along with who you work with will in fact lead to a more fulfilling birth experience.

Anne Sommers, L.M. has been directly involved in midwifery since 1986, when she began her apprenticeship. In 1996 she completed Seattle Midwifery School’s Challenge Process, and the NARM exam (supervised by the California Medical Board) qualifying her for midwifery licensure. She is the mother of two children, born at home, with the attendance of midwives.

Anne’s philosophy is one of non-interference and informed choice with the natural process of birth. She spends time at her prenatal visits addressing questions and educating her clients on all aspects of birth, and believes that the mother is in control. She can be visited at: http://www.dear-midwife.com

Discover the healing power of goat milk.

Doctors of chiropractic have long been advocates of transforming health from the inside out. There is one particular healing food that has been revered for centuries: goat milk and goat-milk-derived products.

Goat milk has extensive healing properties. Research shows that goat milk has better digestibility, buffering capacity and alkalinity than cow milk.1,12 Several properties testify to the superiority of goat milk. First, goat milk biologically resembles human milk. Second, goat milk contains a low level of allergy-producing substances. Third, it digests quickly and absorbs completely. Last, goat milk is an alkaline powerhouse.

Biological Resemblance to Human Milk
Goat milk has a similarity to human milk that is unmatched in bovine (cow) milk, which may be at the root of goat milk’s healing properties. A study by the International Journal of Food Science Nutrition found that “goat milk has a very different profile of the non-protein nitrogen fraction to cow milk, with several constituents such as nucleotides (DNA structure) having concentrations approaching those in human breast milk.”2 So at the very base of the DNA structure of goat milk are similarities to the DNA structure of human milk. Another study concluded, “The oligosaccharide (prebiotic) profile of goat milk is most similar to that of human milk.”3 The same study went on to state, “Goat milk oligosaccharides could be included in infant formulas to improve the nutrition of infants.” 3 These prebiotics are on the cutting edge of digestive health.

Goat milk also resembles human milk in the protein structure. Beta casein, the major casein protein found in both goat and human milk, is different from the casein found in cow milk.4 Also, the peptide mappings of these alpha-lactoalbumins and beta-lactoglobulins in goat and human milk are completely different from those of cow milk.Another publication found that the micelle structures of the casein between human and goat milk had a prevalence of beta casein unmatched in cow milk.13Furthermore, “…milk samples from women and goats were found to contain significantly higher concentrations of selenium than samples from cows.”5

 Low Level of Allergy-Producing Substances 
Perhaps one of goat milk’s most famous attributes, low allergenicity, is vital to keeping each patient in optimum health. Cow milk allergy is the No. 1 allergy of children, affecting roughly 500,000 to 1.5 million children every year.6 Cow milk contains more than 20 allergen proteins,4  which are not recognized by the immune system and are targeted in ways that cause a variety of symptoms. Hives, wheezing, vomiting, abdominal cramping, diarrhea, skin rash (commonly near and around the mouth), runny nose, watery eyes, colic in infants and even anaphylactic shock can all be signs and symptoms of a cow milk allergy.

Evidence points, however, to the lower allergic potential of goat milk when compared with cow milk.4,6,9 One study found that nearly 93 percent of infants suffering from cow milk allergies were able to tolerate and thrive on goat milk.7 Another animal model study concluded that “goat milk, when used as the first source of protein after a breastfeeding period, is less allergenic than cow milk.”8 Alphas1 casein is one of the main allergens in cow milk. Goat milk, like human milk, contains low levels of allergy-causingalphas1 casein and high levels of alphas2 casein, which is non-allergy-causing.

Allergies to foods such as cow milk also affect adults. Often these allergies do not manifest themselves immediately in adults. It is common for adult allergies to cause latent discomfort, pain, damage and overall lack of wellness. Cow milk should always be lined up as one of the usual suspects when investigating food intolerances in patients. While soy milk has been touted as a safe alternative to cow milk, some studies show that those with a cow milk allergy have a 47-percent chance of also being allergic to soy milk.10

Rapid Digestion and Complete Absorption
Digestion is defined as catabolism (break-down) of food into elemental food particles (fats, proteins, carbohydrates) in the stomach, while absorption is the uptake of the food particles in the small intestine. Goat milk has better digestibility and absorption than cow milk for several reasons.1 When the physicochemical make-up of these two milks are compared, a stark difference in the amount of short-chain fatty acids (SCFA) and medium-chain fatty acids (MCFA) arises. Goat milk is muchhigher in SCFA and MCFA than cow milk. This means that those SCFA and MCFA have a larger surface-to-volume ratio and are better digested and absorbed than the long-chain fatty acids (LCFA) prevalent in cow milk.11 In fact, a recent study found that “levels of the metabolically valuable short- and medium-chain fatty acids—caproiccapryliccapric and lauric—aresignificantly higher in…goat (milk) than in cow milk.”12 These higher levels of easy-to-digest SCFA and MCFA are broken down quicker and more completely than the LCFA abundant in cow milk.

Goat milk also contains proteins that digest in a superior manner. A study investigating the effect of pepsin and trypsin (two protein-digesting enzymes found in the stomach) revealed that while these enzymes completely digested over 96 percent of available goat milk protein, less than 73 percent of available cow milk protein was able to be digested completely.13 In addition to highly digestible protein, goat milk contains far more digestion-friendly oligosaccharides (prebiotics).14 Goat milk also has an abundance of the energy substrate adenosine triphosphate(ATP) that far exceeds bovine milk.15 ATP is the energy “currency” that our metabolism is constantly manufacturing, used for every cellular reaction in the body.

Alkaline Powerhouse
Many foods cause the body to become acidic, which can lead to a host of health issues.16 An accurate way to indicate if a food is acid-forming is to examine its buffering capacity, or rather its ability to reduce acid loadA study from the Journal of Dairy Science examined the buffering capacity of goat milk, cow milk, soy milk and antacid drugs. Now, in theory, the antacid drugs should have proven to have the best buffering capacity since their function is to reduce acid. However, the study found that goat milk overwhelmingly exceeded the buffering capabilities of the other three samples tested.1 Another study in theJournal of Nutrition found that oligosaccharides (prebiotics) from goat milk very likely play a major role in intestinal protection and repair.17 This is important because acidic diets often cause damage to the gastrointestinal lining. Practitioners would be wise to use alkalizing goat milk products to help patients with acidic GI tracts.

Isn’t it time you started healing with goat milk?


from ACA Today

Whether you ride on-road or off, pedal casually or competitively, it’s important to pay close attention to how your bicycle fits your body. A properly fitted bike will allow you to ride comfortably and safely, avoid injury, and produce more power, so you can go faster with the same or less effort.

In general, when fitting a bicycle, there are five basic components to consider.
  1. Frame size is not necessarily dependent on your height; rather, it is more a matter of leg length. Simply, the frame should be easily straddled with both feet flat on the ground, and with an inch or two of clearance for a road of hybrid bike and about four inches of clearance for a mountain bike.
  2. Saddle height should be set so that your knee is slighly bent when the pedal is at its lowest position and the ball of your foot is on the pedal. A saddle, or seat, that is too high or too low can cause pain and lead to injuries of the back and knees.
  3. Saddle position can be checked by sitting on your bicycle (hold onto a friend or a stationary object) and rotating the pedals until they are horizontal. Your forward knee should be directly over the respective pedal axle when the ball of your foot is on the pedal.
  4. Saddle tilt can be gauged simply by feel or by using a carpenter’s level. Generally speaking, your seat should be level with the ground. If the saddle tips too much in either direction, pressure will be placed on your arms, shoulders and lower back.
  5. Handlebar position and distance is mostly a matter of personal preference because it affects shoulder, neck and back comfort. Typically, handlebars are positioned higher for comfort (a more upright riding position) and lower for improved aerodynamics.

Always Wear a Helmet!
A bicycle crash can happen at any time; however, according to the National Highway Safety Traffic Administration, a properly fitted bicycle helmet reduces the risk of head injury by as much as 85 percent and the risk of brain injury by as much as 88 percent. The following are tips to help ensure the correct helmet fit.

  • The helmet should be level on the head, and it must cover the forehead.
  • The Y of the straps should meet just below the ear.
  • The chin strap should be snug against the chin so that when you open the mouth very wide, the helmet pulls down a little.
  • Put your palm on the front of the helmet, and push up and back. If it moves more than an inch, more fitting is required.
  • Shake your head around. If the helmet dislodges, work on the strap adjustments.
  • Do not wear a hat under the helmet.
  • All helmets sold in bike shops must be approved by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) and should carry a CPSC sticker.

From the ChiroHealth newsletter, March 2011.

I originally wrote this article for Lifelines, the school paper at Life Chiropractic College West. The original audience was, therefore, my classmates – future chiropractors. I realize that many of you reading this blog are not chiropractors, but I still think the information is valuable for any individual to recognize the possibility of this condition in themselves or a friend. This information is not intended to diagnose or treat anyone, and you should always seek the attention of a licensed healthcare professional – preferably (if this clinical picture sounds relevant to you) a chiropractor who has experience with this condition. Further, I am happy to answer any questions by email at littleadjustments.balancedlife@gmail.com.                        – Satya Sardonicus, DC

As chiropractors, our patients will often come in to the office with neck pain and a history of motor vehicle accident with associated whiplash – recent or past. In most cases, management of these individuals will be fairly simple. But there is an increasingly recognized condition that may occur following whiplash injury of which we should be aware. Cerebellar tonsilar ectopia, also known as a Type I Arnold Chiari malformation (when the ectopia is 5mm or more), is a herniation of the cerebellar tonsils through the foramen magnum. It can be congenital or acquired (commonly post-traumatic). The congenital form may be asymptomatic but become symptomatic following trauma – even minor trauma. Onset of symptoms usually occurs between age 25-454. Cerebellar tonsilar ectopia is found in about 5% of the population with no history of trauma, and almost 25% of people who’ve gotten whiplash1.

The white line drawn in signifies the foramen magnum - the inferior border of the skull; the cerebellar tonsil should sit several milimeters above this line.

I share this information with you all as I have recently been diagnosed with a 6 mm cerebellar tonsilar ectopia. I started having symptoms of muscle weakness and headache about 10 years ago, with increasing frequency and severity (as well as more symptoms) since then. It has been particularly difficult in the past several years, and several other diagnoses have been considered before we recognized the etiology of my clinical presentation. So I want to share with all of you a bit about the condition such that you might recognize and diagnose earlier your own patient who may have the same situation.

Symptoms of cerebellar tonsilar ectopia have to do with cerebellar and brainstem compression, compromise of cerebrospinal fluid flow and increased intracranial pressure. They include persistent headache, neck pain, paresthesia, muscle weakness, ataxia, downbeat nystagmus, short term memory loss, dizziness, breathing difficulty, cardiac irregularities, dysphagia, tinnitus and other inner ear conditions, progressive spasticity including fibrillations and fasciculations. The headache is similar to a tension headache, may be described as circumferential compression and/or suboccipital deep tension. I have also experienced stabbing headaches all around my head (most often periorbitally) which feel like a fork being twisted in my skull, with increasing frequency and severity over time. Photopsia (the presence of perceived flashes of light) may also be present and should not be confused with the prodrome of classic migraine headaches. Absence of the gag reflex is the most common physical indicator of lower cranial nerve involvement. Extreme fatigue may be present and related to sleep apnea associated with this condition4. Cerebellar tonsilar ectopia can present with a wide range of symptoms, and should be included in differential diagnosis with fibromyalgia, migraine headache, lyme disease, multiple sclerosis and other similar conditions.

Treatment published in the literature is largely neurosurgical, where the most common surgeries are 1) remove part of the back of the occiput and laminectomy of C1, C2 and maybe C3, or 2) cut of the part of the brain which is herniated. The purpose is to restore CSF flow and decompress the area, preventing the development of a syrinx in the spinal cord. Non-surgical treatment is largely pharmacological and prescribed to alleviate the neuropathic pain (allodynia and hyperalgesia); drugs may include anticonvulsants and opiates, and there is little evidence for their efficacy with this type of pain4. Fernandez et al report some improvement with cerebellar re-education therapies, speech therapy, physical therapies for musculoskeletal function, and even osteopathic craniosacral therapy. They report craniosacral therapy to improve CSF flow and lower intracranial pressure. Personally I have been getting craniosacral therapy almost daily, as well as very light force upper cervical adjustments (similar to adjustment of an infant). It has been about 4 weeks, and it helps some…in the beginning I felt better for an hour or so and now adjustments are holding about 24 hours. I have been advised to give it 6 months of intensive work to see maximal change. As someone who has never had so much as a Tylenol in her life, I am extremely hesitant to undergo neurosurgery. I urge you to work with anyone with this condition conservatively first, with baby adjustments and craniosacral therapy. And write up case studies! The literature is sparse on any treatment other than surgery for this condition, and as chiropractors we may be able to help. I certainly look forward to the coming months, where I hope to find resolution to this condition through chiropractic care.

I want to urge you all to keep this condition in mind when you have a complicated patient, particularly if they are not improving significantly under your care. I have been under chiropractic care since birth, and so I knew there was something affecting my health other than subluxation. If your patients do not respond as you expect, this may be something to consider.

Freeman et al point out that these chronic symptoms “may not be ascribable to psychosocial factors…but rather to organic neurological injury1.” With incidence rates of 25% in whiplash injury cases, we need to pay attention to the possibility of cerebellar tonsilar ectopia in our patients. Further, these symptoms can look like fibromyalgia, multiple sclerosis, lyme disease and other chronic illnesses. Upright MRI has been shown to be 2.5 times more sensitive for detecting cerebellar tonsilar ectopia, so refer your patients for upright MRI whenever you suspect this condition.

*Author’s note: I have been doing dramatically better since getting the treatment – it’s a new protocol that I and a colleague have been developing (Sam Zoranovich has background in both chiropractic and craniosacral therapy); this is a combination of craniosacral and light force upper cervical adjustments, as well as some therapy for gently releasing adhesions between the spinal cord and it’s protective layer to allow for unencumbered movement of the cord. In the beginning I needed treatment almost daily, but after a month I was down to every other day and after two months, every three days. It has now been 4 months and my headaches are significantly reduced in frequency and intensity, muscle weakness has improved so much that I have taken up running again (which I was unable to do for several months before I was diagnosed and began this treatment 4 months ago), and all of my symptoms in general have improved or disappeared completely. I am much less dizzy, my vision is better, my temperature regulation is much better, I get motion sickness much less often, I have more energy, and it goes on… I am so glad to finally have figured out what was going on and to now be getting better! It is a blessing to see the potential to be completely free of the countless symptoms – seeing the light at the end of the tunnel is a miracle in and of itself. I feel healthier than I have in years! This protocol has literally changed my life.

1 Freeman et al. A case-control study of cerebellar tonsilar ectopia (Chiari) and head/neck trauma (whiplash). Brain Injury July 2010; 24(7-8): 988-994.
2 Reiser MF. Magnetic Resonance Tomography. Springer-Verlag, Berlin Heidelberg. 2008. p 212.
3 Sperling NM et al. Otologic manifestations of Chiari-I malformation. Otology Neurotol 2001; 22:678-681.
4 Fernandez et al. Malformations of the craniocervical junction (chiari type I and syringomyelia: classification, diagnosis and treatment). BMC Musculoskel Dis 17 Dec 2009; 10(Suppl 1): S1.

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