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Can Leg Pain be Caused by Your Neck?

Posted in Leg Pain, Sciatica on Dec 28, 2016

Can Leg Pain be Caused by Your Neck?

Leg pain has many different causes.  Sciatica, low back disc bulge, TFL syndrome, and IT band syndrome can all cause leg pain. All of these conditions can have their cause in your upper cervical spine. I know this sounds far-fetched but once you understand that postural muscle tone is controlled in the neck it starts to make sense.

The vestibular nuclei, which is housed in the brain-stem, is responsible for most of the deep postural muscle tone throughout the spine. (1) If this center is irritated or malfunctioning it causes the posture of the body to become imbalanced.

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The Upper Cervical Spine And Its Influence On Musculo-Skeletal Conditions In Other Parts Of The Body

If the top vertebrae in the neck(atlas) is out of position from injury it affects how the nervous system functions (1,2,3).  One result of this irritation is what is termed a "short leg syndrome"(fig 1).  The muscles of the spine become imbalanced. One-shoulder becomes higher than the other, one hip also and the leg becomes functionally short.  This can result in muscle imbalance problems anywhere in the body.

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Once you have unleveling of the hips your body weight is carried unevenly. Over time people can develop conditions such as TFL syndrome, Sciatica, Low Back Disc problems and IT band syndromes. Most of these conditions become exacerbated by exercise. 

Exercise works the imbalanced muscles. The ones that are already tight become painful as they are unable to recover. Over time these problems become chronic because the control center, the neck, is misaligned.

The Upper Cervical procedure’s goal is to restore normal biomechanics of the upper cervical spine so the irritation of the brain stem can be cleared.  Muscle tone imbalances will migrate towards balance. Over time many of these musculoskeletal conditions either improve or disappear altogether.





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  1. Motor Control Centers in the Brainstem: Upper Motor Neurons That Maintain Balance and Posture
  2. Renal function and morphology in Sudanese patients with advanced hepatosplenic schistosomiasis and portal hypertension.
  3. Effect of the Suboccipital Musculature on Symptom Severity and Recovery after Mild Traumatic Brain Injury.