In this blog we argue that Secondary Idiopatic Cervical Dystonia is strictly related to the final phase of a postural colapse driven by a sinking skull that lacks proper bio-mechanical support and comes to produce brain stem compression.
Collapse can be defined as the phenomenon which leads the muscles to give up after years of asymmetry, muscular compensation, and tension generated by the sinking of the skull.
The true and proper collapse takes places all of a sudden, out of sheer exhaustion. The muscles of the neck are tired of trying to keep the skull in its correct position. Thus, they let go, giving way to “postural collapse”.
Let’s analyze the process that leads the body to develop a common scoliosis. Let’s observe, thereby, in detail the five phases that bring the skull to sink, the physiological curvature to change and the spine to undergo torsion.
The first phase to analyze is obviously Phase 0. In this phase we concentrate on the skull, as it is from here that the process originates that leads to scoliosis. In fact, as we have repeated at other points, this is a descending process, which begins with the skull and has repercussions as far down as the soles of the feet.
In Phase 0 we take as an example an ideal human skeleton. Let’s start from a hypothetical position of perfect symmetry.
The line that divides the skeleton in half ends perpendicular to the floor. This line that divides the skeleton into two perfect halves, two mirror images, is called the vertical line. This physical state of perfection is not met with in nature, except in rare cases. All human beings (the professional model, the athlete, the farmer, the office worker, etc.) are imbalanced, mostly to the one side or the other. Some more, some less. Certainly the degree of asymmetry differs from case to case. There are people who because of their asymmetry remain disabled, people who all in all succeed in living a dignified life, and finally there are those who succeed in becoming life-long athletes. It all depends on the extent of the asymmetry.
The first thing that shows up is a loss of symmetry of the dental arches that leads as a result to asymmetrical work on the part of the masseter and temporal muscles (levator muscles of the jaw).
With the removal of dental height on the left dental arch the skull loses its support on the left side. Conversely, the support of the skull remains unchanged on the right side.
Assuming that the images portrayed in the picture is a perfect skeleton, extremely rare in nature, we begin to make it conform to what is usually seen in life by actually reducing the dental height, until preventing the skull from governing itself.
In the picture, a reduction of dental height is carried out on the left dental arch. As a result the masseters shorten themselves, forcing a contact at that point precisely due to the lack of a reaction force (Newton’s Third Law) on the part of the teeth. As we have already said, it should be the teeth which counterbalance the force exerted by the masseter and temporal muscles. We see how the skeleton, no longer perfect, begins to take on the aspect of a common asymmetrical skeleton.
In Phase 1 the skull, forced to sink down, conforms to the asymmetrical condition which, in descending fashion, is destined to provoke chain reactions in the rest of the skeleton, which takes on an asymmetrical appearance.
Let’s look at this in detail. Let’s begin by saying that the skull is run through by a yellow line. This yellow line divides the skull into two equal halves. This line allows us to see the change in inclination of the skull in respect to the jaw (orange line) and to the vertical line (blue line).
Given the lack of dental height on the left side, the skull begins to give way somewhat on the left side as it is being pulled downward by the masseter and temporal muscles. Falling to the left, the skull alters its inclination in respect to the axes of reference. In the picture the axes of reference are the light-blue vertical line and the orange horizontal line (the line of the jaw).
With an inclination to the left the skull begins sinking truly in this direction. As it sinks the musculature on the right extends, pulling the right shoulder towards it, which begins to rise. As a result, the entire right side of the body (left in the picture) raises itself, causing the pelvis to rotate in a clockwise direction.
The rotation of the pelvis draws the leg up and changes the arch support of the right foot.
Symptoms in Phase 1 are very mild. Muscle tension is not excessive, for which reason psychological tension is also limited. With progression of the fall of the skull we pass to Phase 2.
During Phase 2 we start to observe the first changes that take place in other parts of the skeleton. The descending nature of this phenomenon starts to become apparent.
In Phase 2, due to the effect of the masseter and temporal muscles, the skull continues its clockwise rotation, changing its inclination in respect to the blue vertical line and comes closer to the jaw (to the left), there where it lacks support.
Due to the alteration of the inclination of the skull, which moves from right to left, the right shoulder is drawn upward. The skull pulls the right shoulder towards itself because it is kept at that point through the participation of the rhomboid muscles and those of the neck.
The entire right side begins to tense up and as a result increases the clockwise rotation of the pelvis.
The first significant difference in Phase 2 in regard to Phase1 is to be found in the inclination of the jaw, which tends to come nearer to the skull there where it lacks dental height.
The entire jaw lifts itself momentarily only in this phase as it is pulled upward by a skull which is trying to remain straight on its vertical axis.
We can say that Phase 2 is an aggravation of Phase1. The significant difference remains the change in inclination of the jaw, which defers to the skull.
Due to the change in inclination of the jaw, the supra- and infrahyoid muscles take on asymmetrical muscular burdens.
These muscular burdens provoke a series of symptoms precisely in this area due to an unphysiological circulation of the blood. The problems seen here affect various areas: the tonsils, the throat, the oral cavity, the thyroid, speech formation, swallowing, etc.
Phase 3 is the penultimate one in terms of an aggravation of the overall asymmetry of the body. In this phase the body begins to undergo serious changes that alter it dramatically.
In Phase 3 we see right away two notable differences in regard to the previous phase:
1) The skull has continued its rotation towards the left shoulder while the jaw has not returned to the line of the vertical axis.
2) The jaw changes its inclination once again, returning parallel to the ground. With the change in inclination of the jaw, also the skull continues its rotation due to its sinking towards the left side (on the right side of the picture). As well, during this phase, the skull is pulled downwards by the muscles of the back. This brings on the phenomenon of scoliosis.
How is scoliosis brought about, in this phase?
In Phase 2 the muscles of the right side of the body are in spasm, in order to keep the skull from falling to the left.
At this point the central part of the back begins to curve to the left, creating a scoliosis. That happens because the muscles of the left side of the body contract and in this way pull the spine with them.
At this point the center of mass of the skull returns to its axis and reduces the muscular tension on the right side of the body. It is this phenomenon that generates scoliosis.
This process takes place because scoliosis is in fact a compensatory mechanism that serves to bring the center of gravity of the skull back to the vertical line (blue line) with a resulting reduction in muscular strain.
At the same time, due to the shortening of the muscles on the left side the pelvis begins a counterclockwise rotation. In this condition, the three yellow lines of shoulder, pelvis and feet turn out to be almost parallel.
This example demonstrates very well how the center of equilibrium always tends to keep the skull on its vertical axis which passes through the center of gravity.
Due to this involuntary, unaware and unconscious activity, the body is trying, either physically or psychologically, to keep the skull on its vertical axis. As we have said previously, with the addition of scoliosis the center of mass of the skull returns to its axis, and the right shoulder sinks.
The sinking of the right shoulder relaxes the tension in the musculature of the right side.
Due to continuing strain, in this phase we can have serious psychological symptoms (anxiety and panic attacks) and the rise of physical problems (herniated discs and gastrointestinal problems) due to the considerable amount of compressions that have come to be created in the body.
We have arrived at the last phase of our frontal displacement. At this stage there is an aggravation of the previous phase that accentuates the compensations that are created.
As can be seen in thepicture, the skull continues to collapse to the left. It is just for this reason that the body finds a new way to compensate by means of the right shoulder that is pulled downward.
The lowering of the right shoulder depends on two simultaneous and interlocking phenomena:
1) The musculature of the right side tenses up like crazy
2) The skull, in order to return to its axis, increases the curvature of a spine already sharply arched towards the left.
Both of these phenomena contribute to the lowering of the right shoulder. At this point the pelvis also continues its clockwise rotation, pulling the muscles of the left side down. Thus we have a higher left hip, which pulls the left leg with it, making it shorter than the right one.
The rib cage is forced into a spasm, encaged by the muscles. It is affected by the displacement of the spine and of the elevation of the left shoulder.
In this condition the rib cage compresses inexorably everything that there is within it; the heart, the lungs, the liver, the stomach and the diaphragm. Due to these compressions, a number of internal organs can be subject to particular symptoms, such as shortness of breath, panic attacks, and gastrointestinal problems.
The muscles of the neck at this point are tense and painful. They work asymmetrically due to their varying lengths. They too are forced to adapt to the compensatory situation.
In the area of the throat, on the other hand, symptoms and common pathologies are generated such as recurring sore throats, thyroid problems, problems with swallowing, speech problems, etc.
Regarding the pelvis and the legs, in such a condition it becomes very difficult to achieve any notable results in sports. Thus, as a result many people tend to abandon the athletic activities they are very fond of.
In fact, people with a serious asymmetry are victims of frequent accidents, joint problems, constant pain, etc.
In this last phase the organism is definitely suffering. It presents with a multitude of symptoms, either physical or psychological, that often are attributed to stress. It is interesting to see how the human body “curls up” on itself. This “curling up” can be devastating for the health, over time.
Phase 5: Cervical Dystonia
The final stage of postural colapse affects the brain stem.
When the weight of the head (5-7 kg.) is shifted off the center of the neck and held in that position by tense muscle, the reusult is body inbalance that can produce stress,tension and pressure on the brain stem.
The following pictures is a postural analysys that shows the skeletal structure and all the signs of a phase 4 of postural colapse. Moreover, the MR scan shows clearly that weight of the colapsing skull is falling on C5, C6 and C7 and that is the place where it is causing brain stem compression and torsion.
We can call it phase 5 of postural colapse driven by a sinking skull: postural colapse affects, strains, compresses and twists the brain stem and the body reacts with neurological symptoms. They are automatic unconcious reflexes that do not make it past the brain stem to the conscious brain.
They are the same kind of unconcious, automatic nervouse impulses that occur when your fingers get burned and your hand and arm moves away from fire or the closing of the eye lids when an object approaches. Those reflexes activate muscles to ease the pressure and torsion of the brain stem and move the head away.
That is what in medical terms is called Dystonia: involuntary asimmetric muscle contractions.
Navigate Through this Blog
Please be advised that this blog is a “work in progress” that is only a few weeks old and manifestly and evidently needs constant improvement to achieve the accuracy, validity and scientific standards that we wish to maintain.
We are using this blog to report on the progress of the research and experimental treatment that we are carrying out, as we develop it in real time and within the limits of time and resources that bind us.
Your commentaries, peer review, corrections and even financial support are very wellcome.
To further understand our reasearch, approach and method, please read:
The Molar Lever
Our analysis of the bio-machinics of the Molar Lever and how dental occlusion is related to posture and skeletal allignment.
Phases of Lateral Postural Colapse
Our analysis of the descending skeletal and postural effects of a collapsing and twisting skull that does not find adequate support in the dental arches.
A description of the adaptive intra-oral aplliance -dental splint – that we use to treat Cervical Dystonia and the orthopedic forces that it produces by progressively pushing the mandible in retrusion, maxila in extrusion and elevating the skull by stretching and aligning the cervical vertebrae.
Bibliography and links to scientific research on the treatment of Dystonia and other neurological movement disorders with a bio-mechanical approach.
Postural Colapse and Dental Arches
A set of animations that present grafically the type of skeletal and postural effects that we intend to produce over a few months by modifying occlusion and the direction of forces between the skull and the mandible.
Beginning of Treatment
Postural analisys, MR evidence and description of the situation of our patient at the beginning of this experimental treatment.
First Rectifier: Cross-Bite Splint with Lateral Moral Lever Effect
Description of the dental splint that we are using for the first two weeks of treatment and the logic behind the selection of the direction and nature of the orthopedic forces that it produces.
Iatrogenic Damage: When the Dentist is a Butcher
Our review of how modern dental theories on occlusion oversimplify and misunderstand the biomechanics of the stomatognatic system, leading to a high potential of traumatic dental treatments.
What is Dystonia?
A short description of the symptoms and clinical definition of Dystonia for those who are not familiar with this desease.
Curricula of the team of professionals who are participating and contributing to this research project.
Please read this page if you are suffering from Cervical Dystonia and wish to try this experimental biomechanical treatment and be a part of this research project.
Please read this page if you wish to support this research project financially.