CervicoCranial Syndrome Frequently Asked Questions Answered Here

Posted in Head Pain Disorders Neck Pain Disorders on May 12, 2022

CervicoCranial Syndrome

 When was the last time you woke up feeling great, ready for any challenge? And not just praying for relief, the weekend, or relying on self-medication to get through the days or nights…

What if you could get all the relief that some people get from chiropractic without any of the twisting or cracking that scares most people?

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What causes cervicocranial syndrome (CCS)?

Cervico means neck, cranio means head. So, whether you call it cervicocranial, craniocervical, or upper cervical, all refer to the top of the neck. Or the area and relationship between the the base of the skull and the top few spinal segments of the neck. Cervicocranial Syndrome (CCS) can be caused by a birth defect, like a genetic mutation, or more commonly, an injury to the neck.

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CCS is a disruption of normal joint function, with a combination of joint (fixation) too stiff and (instability) too loose. This upper cervical joint malfunction is known for creating muscle tension, compromising blood and cerebral spinal fluid flow in the brain, and stresses the nerves that go to and from the brain, through the neck.

In studies, CCS is linked to accelerating neck arthritis (cervical spondylosis), disc herniation (degenerative disc disease) and narrowing the canal(spinal stenosis). CCS can create balance problems, elevate blood pressure and stress hormones.

Some studies show chronic conditions like fatigue, indigestion, migraines, neuropathies, sleep disorders, TMJ, trigeminal neuralgia and vertigo all can come from CCS.

How is CCS diagnosed?

The best way to diagnose cervicocranial syndrome is with a quantified functional exam that measures postural Alignment, Balance and Coordination (ABC)

Does CCS show up on MRI?

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Magnetic resonance imaging is a good way to find soft tissue injuries in the neck. But when Computed Tomography (CAT scan) and regular x-rays don't see any broken or misaligned bones, MR can not determine if the neck is stable.

Can an x ray show cervical instability and CCS?

Dynamic flexion and extension radiographs can diagnose or rule out cervical instability. And CAT scans can detect individual joint malfunctions that used to require extensive, highly specialized, custom-tailored x-ray analysis.

Recognizing the early symptoms of CCS

You might feel like you have pressure in your head. You might also feel like you can't hold your head up for very long. You might have pain in the upper part of your neck, near the base of your skull or in your shoulder blade.

Is Cervicogenic headache serious?

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If you do not treat a cervicogenic headache, it can get worse and become very debilitating. People can experience chronic, or recurrent, headaches that do not respond to medication.

Can chiropractor help with occipital neuralgia?

Chiropractic adjustments may help relieve pain from severe pain in the back of the head (occipital neuralgia). Some experts say that chiropractic treatment can help prevent occipital neuralgia from recurring.

What is levator scapulae syndrome?

Levator Scapulae are muscles that connect the upper cervical spine to the shoulder blade. Levator Scapulae Syndrome is an old name for pain over the upper part of the shoulder blade(s). Pain in between the shoulder blades is one of the most common types of pain. And is usually caused by CCS. It can be helpful to understand the levator scapula upper cervical spine connection to prevent and treat shoulder pain.

How is CCS treated?

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Conservative management of CCS includes pain medication, upper cervical chiropractic, and neuromuscular rehabilitation. Severe cases may need surgery.

Does CCS affect the brain?

Patients with CCS and cervical spondylosis may experience structural and functional brain adaptations. White matter damage, gray matter volume loss, and functional adaptive changes in the sensorimotor cortex can occur as a result of this.

Can vertigo come from the neck?

Cervical vertigo is when you feel like you're spinning or the world around you is spinning. This happens because of your neck posture, neck disorders, or trauma to your cervical spine, CCS.

Will cervical vertigo go away on its own?

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Episodes of cervical vertigo can last for hours, and the condition itself might last for years. Sometimes your range of motion can be affected, and this might also cause you a headache or migraine. Upper cervical Chiropractic care is very effective at treating cervical vertigo.

What are symptoms of nerve damage in the neck?

  • A sharp pain in the head, shoulder, or arm.
  • Numbness, or pins and needles in the arm or hands.
  • Weakness of the arm or hand.
  • Worsening symptoms when you turn or tilt your head.

Can arthritis in the neck (cervical spondylosis) cause vision problems?

Patients with neck arthritis commonly complain of seemingly unrelated blurred vision, headaches, memory issues, tinnitus and vertigo. And are often pleasantly surprised when specific upper cervical chiropractic care reduces their symptoms.

Can CCS cause AFib?

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Cervical instability, a component of CCS, can create autonomic myopathy or autonomic neuropathy. A type of nerve damage that interferes with the messages sent between the brain and the heart. Various symptoms include palpitations, racing or skipping beats (atrial fibrillation – AFib)

What causes narrowing of C5 and C6?

Spondylosis is a condition where the bones in the neck start to wear down. This often happens in the C5-C6 vertebrae, between these bones and the discs (degenerative disc disease). Normally the natural curve protects those joints but straightening of the curve and forward head posture from CCS multiplies stress on this area. This can lead to bone spurs, which then narrows the space around the spinal cord (spinal stenosis).

Can a slipped disc cause chest pain?

Most neck arthritis and disc herniation occurs in the middle of the neck (C5) Patients often have pain in the shoulder blade and or chest. When the pain radiates to the chest that is known as cervical angina.

Can cervical stenosis cause bowel problems?

Cervical spinal stenosis, another component of CCS, occurs when the spinal canal and/or the passages for the spinal nerves become narrower. This can cause compression of the spinal cord and/or nerves, which may lead to symptoms including problems with bowel or bladder control (incontinence).

Can CCS cause digestive problems?

When the connective tissue of the neck joints become unstable, they can cause excessive movement of the vertebrae. This can lead to problems with the joints, muscles, tendons, and nerves in that area. If the Vagus nerve is affected, that can cause symptoms like digestive problems.

Can CCS cause fatigue?

Common symptoms of CCS include a painful, heavy head, headache, rapid heart rate, brain fog, neck pain, visual problems, dizziness, and chronic fatigue.

How can I sleep with CCS?

Sleeping on your back is the optimal sleeping position as it is the easiest to properly align your head and neck.

Is a hard or soft mattress better for CCS?

According to recent studies, medium-firm mattresses provide a great balance of sleep comfort, quality, and spinal support.

Is it better for your neck to sleep without a pillow?

Despite limited research, anecdotal evidence and the laws of physics suggests that sleeping without a pillow can help reduce neck strain and pain for some sleepers.

Will cervical radiculopathy go away?

Cervical radiculopathy means neck nerve pressure and results in pain, weakness and/or numbness that radiates from head to shoulder and or down the arm. Most cases of cervical radiculopathy get better with nonsurgical treatment.

What home exercises help reduce CCS?

Active Stretch
  • Keep your body straight.
  • Pull your head straight back with the chin level to the ground (retraction)
  • Softly tighten the neck muscles and hold for 5 seconds (isometric)
  • Be aware of any joint pain in this position. It is most likely the real cause of forward head posture.
  • Send loving energy to that joint pain as you take a deep belly breath in.
  • Relax, breath out and return your head to its center position.
  • Repeat for 5 repetitions.

Try to isolate the diaphragm for breathing. Using the diaphragm ensures the lungs fills with air as you breathe in, and your belly should bulge out. But your chest should not rise. When you exhale, your stomach will come back in, and your lower rib cage will shrink. Emergency breathing, on the other hand pulls the ribcage up, straining neck muscles and amplifying the stress reaction in the brain.

Belly breathing is useful for a variety of activities, not just meditation. It’s critical during injury prevention and recovery. For daily stress management like when driving in Los Angeles rush hour or climbing up a flight or multiple flights of stairs. Or when coworkers, pets, children, or spouse behave badly, while hearing some terrible news... Those are excellent times to practice belly breathing!

Is chiropractic care safe for pinched nerves and degenerative disc disease?

Specific upper cervical chiropractic care is an excellent therapy for degenerative disc disease since it is painless and non-invasive. This implies that unwanted side effects are less probable. In comparison to prescription medicines and surgery, upper cervical chiropractic care has few to no negative effects.

Are chiropractors even doctors?

The phrase "doctor" is a term used to describe anybody who has obtained their doctorate in any field of study. Chiropractors actually have more accredited health science education than medical doctors. While medical doctors focus on treating symptoms with drugs and surgery, chiropractors focus on restoring normal function by reducing physical stress on the spine.

What makes upper cervical chiropractic different?

Upper cervical chiropractic care focuses on correcting alignment, balance, and coordination in the spine to help reduce stress. Upper cervical chiropractors concentrate mainly on the upper spine and never twist or crack the neck.

What causes CCS upper cervical misalignment?

Prolonged poor posture, staring at screens and devices too frequently, sleeping in unusual postures, car accidents, falls, sports injuries, even the birth process can cause an upper cervical misalignment.

Why does my back feel like it needs to pop?

The cracking sound that people believe is an adjustment is actually the joints of the spine over-stressing. This happens when someone twists their lower back or neck too far, or cracks their knuckles. The joints can make an audible crack or pop whenever they move like this, but it doesn't mean a bone is breaking or moving in or out of place.

When joints don't move correctly, tiny gas bubbles might form. These bubbles pop and make a cracking noise when they collapse under strain, much like bubble wrap. When your neck bends or twists, you may hear a popping sound, which indicates that the joints are not positioned properly enough to naturally flush out the gas as it forms.

Cracking your neck or back can help relieve tension for a short period of time. However, it is not an effective long-term treatment option for pain. Also, it does not measurably change alignment, balance and coordination. Frequent cranking or twisting of the spine may result in new spinal issues.

Why does my neck crackle and crunch when I roll my head?

Feeling or hearing a crackling sound when turning the head are signs that joints are not aligned, balanced, or coordinated. And that stresses the cartilage protecting the joints, leading to early arthritis in those joints. And that is why “old age” arthritis often appears in one joint and not one next to it. In the neck, arthritis often shows up at C5-C6 first and spreads from there.

Age is just a compounding factor of abnormal stress. And only restoring alignment, balance and coordination to those joints can halt and, in some cases, reverse the premature aging joint damage.

Why shouldn’t you crack your neck?

It's not a good idea to crack your neck or back since it loosens many joints, (instability)rather than just those that are restricted. There are self-treatment techniques that may help relieve painful neck and back tension without always needing to crack your neck.

The muscles around your joints and the joints themselves may be strained by cracking your neck too hard. Maybe even pinching a nerve which can be excruciating, sending pain and spasms into the head, shoulders, or down the arms.

Upper cervical chiropractors use precise pressure on one joint at a time to fix problems. They measure the results to make sure it is working.

What is over manipulation syndrome?

Chronic pain in the joints or vertebrae can lead to a condition called over-manipulation syndrome. This happens when the spine is not stable because of ligament laxity, which can be caused by too much self-manipulation or over manipulation by a practitioner.

What is the gun thing that some chiropractors use?

An activator is a small, handheld tool that chiropractors use to apply a quick, low-force impulse to certain points on the body.

Why do some chiropractors use an activator?

An activator is designed to help chiropractors adjust the spine. It can be more precise than twisting and cracking, making it less likely for muscles to tense up during treatment. And eliminating the risk of over manipulation.

Can upper cervical chiropractic help with fibromyalgia?

Chiropractic care that adjusts the upper spine can be very helpful in treating fibromyalgia. Fibromyalgia is thought to be caused by overactive nerves. The goal of chiropractic care that adjusts the upper spine is to reduce irritation to overactive nerves. This type of care is often well tolerated by people who don't even like massage.

Which vitamin is good for neck pain?

If you have neck pain, Vitamin D deficiency can make it worse. Magnesium is a pain reliever that helps reduce inflammation. When the body's magnesium levels decrease, inflammation often gets worse. That is why Vitamin D and magnesium supplements can help reduce neck pain.

Upper Cervical Chiropractic Care

Upper cervical chiropractic is a type of chiropractic care that helps keep the head and neck in alignment. Upper cervical chiropractors believe that this is important for overall health and well-being. Upper cervical chiropractors may be able to help improve overall health and relieve many seemingly unrelated pain and other symptoms.

Upper Cervical Chiropractic is a safe and effective therapy for a wide range of ailments. It is non-invasive and never (manipulates) twists or cracks the neck. Upper cervical chiropractors utilize a variety of methods to realign the spine and restore balance, coordination, and alignment. Patients frequently experience long-term relief without medicine or surgery, even when they already tried “everything”.

Upper Cervical Chiropractors

All chiropractors have more formal education than conventional medical doctors, but Certified Upper Cervical Chiropractors go through several more years of post-graduate training. This specialized training enables Upper Cervical Chiropractors to deliver amazing results without ever using medication, performing a surgery, inserting a needle, or cracking a neck.

Upper Cervical Chiropractic Experience

I was testing for the most prestigious medical school on the planet in tenth grade. Not too much stress there. But that stress was compounded by several chronic health issues. Then I woke up one morning and could not turn my head.

Like so many of my current patients, I couldn’t remember any recent injury that could cause this neck locking spasm. Even though I did take a few trips to the ER in the past, that was years before and after a few weeks of pain pills, muscle relaxers and physical therapy, my neck felt fine.


While grateful at the time, for the relief, no doctor that treated any of my countless childhood injuries, ever measured anything more than height, weight, blood pressure, temperature with an occasional blood test. Just more and more meds that literally made me sick, and some token physical therapy. On a couple of ER visits I got x-rays, but unless something was broken or dislocated, they said it was just a muscle spasm.

But each new sprain and strain became another weakened link, just waiting to flare up when stressed. Because when any joint sprains, the ligaments that give feedback to the muscles stabilizing that joint, get damaged. So even with mild sprains and strains, if the joint does not receive proper alignment, balance, and coordination rehabilitation, that joint becomes permanently unstable and begins to degenerate at an accelerated pace.


Arthritis can be caused by many things but when one joint appears, on x-ray, 20 years older than the joint right next to it, that means the joint was injured and never properly rehabilitated. Even if that area stopped hurting within days or weeks of injury.

One of my early mentors had a formula for determining the age of any spinal injury on x-ray. People would come from around the world and stay for days or weeks to get daily treatments. Because he could get most people better, no matter what didn’t work for them prior to that.

And he did that by finding unresolved spinal sprains, then restoring alignment, balance, and coordination using his hands and precision tools that he invented. But he never twisted or cracked anyone’s spine.

Most of his patients were referred by their chiropractors who cared more about their patients than their egos or incomes. That was far, far away, a long time ago.

Is Upper Cervical Chiropractic Functional Medicine

When I woke up that morning, in tenth grade, and couldn’t turn my head, that was the one thing that my medical family cautiously considered a chiropractic issue. And I got lucky because the chiropractor that advanced training, no twisting or cracking. Most people prefer the more gentle and precise chiropractic much better if they ever get a chance to compare the two. But at the time, all I cared about was getting rid of the spasm in my neck.

I started feeling better and faster than I did in the past with medication. But this doctor predicted I would feel better within a few treatments and that it would take longer to rehabilitate the previous neck injuries. And I trusted him enough to see if that really meant anything to me.

Long story short, within the first year of treatment, for the first time in my life, I was pain and medication free. I became more active and had fewer injuries because my flexibility, balance and coordination improved dramatically. But I also felt more at ease than ever. My temper improved and I wasn't as easily irritated as before.

Unlike any other doctor, the chiropractor examined and measured my postural Alignment, Balance, and Coordination. And by treating that, instead of just managing pain, all my pre-existing sprains and strains started to heal properly. At least for me, taking the physical stress off my head, neck, and shoulders also solved half a dozen other chronic medical conditions.

Chemical Dependency

None of the surgeries or medications, none of the physical or psychological therapy ever gave me the lasting relief that I found with someone my medical family didn’t even consider a real doctor.

But it took me a whole year to detox from years of daily medication. Some of the damage, from those medications, may never completely heal. But now I work and play as hard as I want to every day, mostly pain free and haven’t even taken an aspirin in almost 40 years.

Most Doctors Agree

Recently the American College of Physicians, a distinguished group of over one hundred thousand medical doctors and healthcare providers, published formal recommendations to avoid pain management and surgery whenever possible. Instead, they suggest non-invasive therapies if the patient responds to those treatments.

And the world-famous Cleveland Clinic released an extensive two-year study tracking thousands of patients who got better Quality of Life results with functional medicine than just conventional medical care alone.

Most doctors know that appropriate diet and exercise is the best long-term medicine for any condition. But they’re expected to write a prescription in a few minutes. Even though any search engine could do that, and much more in less than a second. But neither of those options are good medicine.

How I Got Rid of My Chronic Migraine Headaches

After I was properly examined and treated for Alignment, Balance, and Coordination. With specific, no twist or crack, chiropractic to reduce the physical stress, throwing my posture out of balance and coordination... My neck started moving and improving better than previous injuries treated by bracing, PT, and medication. My lifelong headaches, shoulder, and back tension went away too. And once I saw how out of balance I was, I could understand how that postural misalignment was a constant strain on everything else. So now, if I stick to my daily stretches and anti-inflammatory diet, I have little if any pain or tension anywhere.

Not Intended As Medical Advice

Even with several new injuries that forced me to find more amazing drug free, non-invasive therapies... I now choose to save time and money by proactively staying healthy, so I don’t miss out on irreplaceable experiences with friends and family. Like I used to when I relied on emergency medical care and constant medications to manage my symptoms.

Results vary, and we never share patient information. But you can search Dr. Thomas Polucki and read the reviews on Google, Healthgrades, and WebMD to see what some of our patients say about their experience working with us.


Talk to the doctor one-on-one about your challenges. Set realistic goals with time frames and agreed upon outcome assessments.

And if, in agreement, we move forward to the functional exam and then coauthor a step-by-step plan to achieve your recovery with expert guidance.

If we cannot find agreement, we refund the reservation fee and proceed no further. Who else does that?

The outstanding success rate of our patients depends on working exclusively with people who trust and commit to their recommendations.

Nobody ever said to a heart surgeon “I’ll let you cut me open, split my ribcage and then decide if I want you to do anything more.”

Quantified Functional Exam

Our quantified functional exam costs thousands of dollars in specialists’ practices. More than just a few vitals and asking where it hurts, I touch my patients. Not just where it hurts but also feel the tension in the head, neck, and shoulder joints that blocks the healing response from the brain. I also measure three-dimensional body posture, dynamic balance, and system coordination. To help refine treatment recommendations.


Treatment Sampler

Our streamlined approach towards assisted stretch, medical massage, and no twist or crack chiropractic adjustment might take hours, in three different offices, and cost hundreds of dollars anywhere else. But now you can get all the relieving, relaxing and restoring benefits from all three all in one stop, and in less than 10 minutes.

Anti-inflammatory Diet Program

Quick, Easy and Delicious... These online recipes reduce the most common source of inflammation. Helping to avoid indigestion, joint, muscle and nerve pain, fatigue, brain fog, and mood swings without medication. Giving your sprains and strains a chance to heal. Feel lighter, move easier, think clearer in just days of following these simple, delicious, and satisfying anti-inflammatory recipes.

Stretch and Move

In just a few minutes a day, you can reduce headaches and shoulder tension, improve flexibility and stability. Regardless of your work or play, these online stretching tips help you reduce tension and stress every day. We demonstrate, step by step through each movement, so in just a few minutes a day, anywhere, anytime you can stretch your healthcare dollar further.

What You Get

Normally, these services would bill at $671 and that’s a value because comparable services would cost several times that anywhere else. Still be worth every penny to wake up feeling great, thinking clearly, full of energy, moving through your day free of pain and drug side effects that get in the way of your life. And maybe even reduce the risk of surgery from ongoing degeneration that is never addressed even with the best pain management.

Instead, you’ll have a simple plan to get better and stay better. And if you read this far, you know that you want and need something different than what you have been doing, to get what you really want. And for a limited time, you get it all for the regular checkup fee of just $79 to save your spot.


No doctor can guarantee results. And I don’t. But if I’m not confident I can help you, during the consultation, we don’t go any further and refund your $79 reservation fee.

You may reschedule an appointment with 24-hour’s notice but due to high demand, cancellations within 24 hours or no-show appointments forfeit the reservation fee. So only request an appointment if you can make it a priority. Fair enough?

Internet, insurance, and government restrictions change with little and no notice. We may be forced to remove this post, its contents and offers without notice. So, if you are ready, NOW is a good time to request your appointment. Haven’t you already suffered enough?


What’s Next

When you enter your contact information (never shared, federally protected) in the secure Request Appointment form and click the submit button, our friendly scheduler will contact you as soon as possible. Confirming your appointment with a $79 reservation fee that holds your appointment and may be applied to the services listed above in this limited time special offer.

So, submit the form, and then receive the HIPAA compliant request, on a secure link, for your relevant information to make your first visit quick and easy. Once that information is uploaded, your appointment is confirmed. And we’ll look forward to seeing you at your scheduled appointment.

Limited Time Offer

To get your guaranteed consult, and if we can accept your case, your functional examination. Plus, if you Request Appointment Now, you also get the assisted stretch, medical massage, no twist or crack chiropractic specific adjustment treatment package. And the online pain-relieving diet and stretch classes. A total value of $671 for just the $79 reservation fee. Plus, if we discover, during the consultation that we can’t accept your case, you get your $79 reservation fee refunded, but keep the online diet and stretch program. A $98 value just for letting us see if we can help you.

But we may be forced to remove this offer at any time. So, Request Appointment Now!

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