Cerebral Spinal Fluid Dynamics
Your brain is surrounded by a protective fluid called cerebral spinal fluid (CSF). This fluid is very important to brain function and brain protection. The brain is completely surrounded by this CSF, which provides protection from shock such as falls and head injuries. The CSF is also responsible for delivering nutrients to the brain from the bloodstream. Not only does it provide nutrients, but it plays a major role in clearing our waste from between the nerve cells of the brain.
The cerebral spinal fluid (CSF) is produced deep inside the brain in an area called the ventricles. Once the fluid is made, it is transported down the center of the spinal cord and out of the ventricles at the brainstem. As it exits the ventricles, the CSF surrounds the brain and the outside of the spinal cord.
Turbulent Flow Patterns
The CSF has a pumping effect that pumps with each beat of your heart. The fluid will circulate around the brain and down the spinal cord in a particular flow pattern. The flow is not noticeable under normal circumstances, but fluid flow can be disrupted and cause turbulence along the flow pattern, much like rough river beds that cause rapids. The common cause of this turbulent CSF flow is a misalignment at the upper cervical spine. An upper cervical misalignment can twist or torque the covering over the spinal cord (called dura matter) and cause the fluid to pound on the brainstem. This pounding turbulence is linked to pounding headaches and multiple neurodegenerative conditions including multiple sclerosis.
In some instances, the brainstem can also plug the bottom of the brain and cause a blockage of the CSF flow. This blockage is like putting a cork in the bottom of your brain, backing up the fluid. This “corking” occurs commonly with people who have Arnold-Chiari malformations, especially if they also have an upper cervical misalignment. It can also occur in individuals who have had traumatic whiplash-type injuries that have pulled the spinal cord and brainstem down. These injuries will often lead to a misalignment of the upper cervical spine.
When the CSF fluid flow is blocked at the upper cervical spine, the fluid can back up and cause an increase in pressure in the cranium. This backed up fluid can lead to migraines and pain behind the eyes. If the fluid is not draining properly, waste products from the brain can accumulate with slows down cognitive function. If left long enough, it can progress to cause more severe conditions such as hydrocephaly and neurodegeneration.
Correcting the misalignment of the upper cervical spine can restore the normal flow of CSF through the brain and down the spinal cord. By restoring the normal CSF flow, the nerves are able to calm down and heal. In situations where fluid pressure is building because of a backed up flow, correcting the misalignment can begin to restore normal pressure and allow the fluid to drain.
At the Pierce Clinic, we focusing on finding the cause of your health problem. Our doctors use a cutting edge procedure for correcting a misalignment of the upper cervical spine called Advanced Orthogonal. Using percussive sound waves, a gentle and precise correction can be made to the upper cervical spine. Due to the extensive training of our Advanced Orthogonal doctors, we are able to see bigger changes with less intervention, and the results are more long lasting.