Mama Said Knock You Out

A region within the brainstem known as the Reticular Activation System (RAS) is responsible for arousal… (Not that type of arousal). In this case, arousal refers to the physiological state of being awake. A variety of functions are performed by the RAS. Among them, it contributes to the control of sleep, walking, eating, and elimination of waste. The primary function of the RAS, however, is to help maintain consciousness. Therefore, disruption here can cause someone to be “knocked out.”

One of the questions I ask new patients while reviewing their health history is whether or not they’ve ever lost consciousness. This allows people to reflect upon experiences such as schoolyard spats or sporting injuries that left them feeling dazed and confused. It reveals possible trauma to their upper cervical spine.

Not everyone can recall instances of head trauma that occurred decades ago. Interestingly enough, I’ve had patients who denied any sort of injury, but later recalled specific incidents such as being “kicked by a horse” and getting “thrown from a peach truck” that left them seeing stars as children.

Research performed by a Mayo Clinic neurologist reveals an interesting link between head injuries and the development of Parkinson’s Disease (PD). According to the study, people who have experienced a head injury are four times more likely to develop PD than those who have never suffered a head injury. Two of the study’s findings were “unexpected” by the investigators. “I was surprised by the strength of the association,” says lead researcher Dr. James Bower. “I also was surprised that the average head trauma was about 20 years before the start of the disease.”

Now, will everyone who has ever been knocked out or suffered head/neck trauma develop Parkinson’s Disease? Of course not… but the purpose of today’s blog post is to cast light on how one seemingly minor incident can snowball into a more significant health problem later in life.

And just to be clear, PD is not the only condition linked with this trauma… Among others, high blood pressure, migraine headaches, and digestive issues can also be associated with atlas misalignment following head/neck injury.

If you’re suffering from a chronic health problem, I invite you to meet with an Upper Cervical Chiropractor in your area for evaluation.

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