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Textbook Altering Link Between Immune System & Brain


Textbook Altering Link Between Immune System & Brain

Prior to 2015 the medical community had zero workable knowledge of lymphatic drainage from the central nervous system. In theory, it was thought to exist and function in some capacity but no physical structure was ever found. In the words of one of the researchers from the University of Virginia who was a part of this amazing discovery, Dr. Jonathan Kipnis stated,

“I really did not believe there are structures in the body that we are not aware of. I thought the body was mapped…and that these discoveries ended somewhere around the middle of the last century. But apparently they have not.”

The structures the researchers had discovered are tiny vessels that reside in the meninges. These structures line the dural sinuses and transport immune cells to and from the central nervous system. The full text for the study can be found following this link.

This discovery should have profound effects on how neurological conditions are treated, particularly those characterized by a neuro-inflammatory response. Whether it is the build-up of proteins in the brain with conditions such as Alzheimer’s Disease (amyloid plaques) or Huntington’s Disease (huntingtin protein), or the waxing and waning response of multiple sclerosis, the mechanistic relationship adjoining the brain and immune system cannot be ignored.

As upper cervical chiropractors, we have a responsibility to our patients to make sure we are optimizing the bony structure that surrounds the brainstem. One study performed by the National Upper Cervical Chiropractic Association found that secondary venous drainage from the skull was reduced in people suffering from migraine headaches and subsequently relieved symptomatically through the NUCCA correction process but also there was a greater percentage of venous blood flow from the skull post adjustment.

Another study that is currently still in the works is finding a plethora of evidence involving a stagnation of the cerebral spinal fluid and its inability to properly circulate around the brain and spinal cord due to a herniation of the cerebellum through the hole in the bottom of the skull that transmits the brainstem. (This often misdiagnosed as most MRI units view the structures in non-weight baring positions.) This has the effect of placing a cork in the opening of a bottle. Pressure can then build up inside the cranium and around the meninges that surround the brain and spinal cord. When restoration of the bony structure occurs through a specific correction to the misalignments between the skull and the top two vertebrae, the fluid can then begin circulating in a more normal pattern. When this occurs long term, neural tissue has displayed a remarkable ability to heal.

If venous drainage and cerebral spinal fluid can be altered to the extent that it causes disease based on the misalignment of spinal bones, it stands to reason that the same can be said of the proteins that build up in the brain with certain conditions. By restoring normal spinal biomechanics along with dietary changes to reduce systemic inflammation, a conservative approach to some of these conditions could drastically alter the outcome for many people suffering from neurological conditions. For those already under long term management for such conditions, co-managing with upper cervical providers could prove to be an essential missing piece of the puzzle in the patient’s journey back to health.

-In Health,

Dr. Andrew R. Burns






Did you know that the vast majority (roughly 80%) of your immune system comes from your guts?

It’s true! And your immune system not only protects you from foreign invaders like viruses and bacteria but also works around the clock to fight off cells that could become cancerous. In fact, there is an up and coming profession focusing solely on cancer immunosurveillance!

Because of this, it is impossible to address the health of an individual without discussion on how well the guts are functioning, yet in today’s quick fix world, where we believe the cover-up of symptoms and the management of risk factors is an acceptable form of health care, few providers take the time to ask patients about digestion and bowel movements.

By the way, if your bowels move once a week, that is an excellent indicator your immune system is not up to snuff.

Gastrointestinal Tract (GI Tract)

Your GI tract starts at your mouth, goes through your esophagus, into the stomach, down to the small intestines, into the large intestines, down to the rectum and out through the anus. Thusly, it is vitally important that the right kind of foods are being passed through here!

The Gut Flora

Your body is a haven for bacteria and you need these little fellas to thrive! Bacteria actually outnumber the amount of cells in your body, and most of them live in your guts. This collectively is known as your gut flora.

These guys have a vital role to play in keeping you healthy. They not only help you break down the food you eat, but they act as the Marine Corp of the immune system. First to fight so to speak when we ingest something we probably shouldn’t have.

Keeping these guys alive and well is a tall task with our modernized diets.

Low level antibiotics

Anti- means against. Bio- means life. Against life…

When we consume dairy products from cows that were treated with antibiotics, we hurt our gut flora. The same is true for any meat that is consumed from animals that were given antibiotics. We can even find antibiotics in our fruits and vegetables due to the manure used to fertilize the growing plants. It is also found in trace amounts in the water we drink. You must make a conscious effort to avoid this! Your purchases have power. The more people demanding raw dairy, grass fed beef, and animal products produced without antibiotics, the more companies will have to change their practices.


Pro- means for. Bio- life. For life…

When we take probiotics we are reinforcing the troops needed to defend our body from invaders. We are pumping up the surveillance needed to patrol cancerous cells. We are boosting our own ability to digest food and create the necessary compounds for production and use of energy!

So there are a few actionable steps you can take to help restore order in your guts and improve energy levels and the overall functioning of your immune system:

  1. Limit the amount of low level antibiotics you consume. As a side note, low levels and/or antibiotics that are not taken properly (ie. not finishing the prescription) is setting yourself up for the creation of super bugs. Hospitals are breeding grounds for these types of infections. MRSA is a big one you may have heard of. What happens is the pathological bacteria build up a resistance to the medication and it takes larger, stronger doses to them kill them. These bacteria are fast adapters!
  2. Consume more foods that contain beneficial bacteria. Good sources of probiotics that you can get in your diet without supplementation are things like sauerkraut, kefir (great in smoothies), raw (or unpasteurized) dairy, probiotic yogurt, and kombucha.
  3. Supplementation of probiotics. There are a ton of companies producing probiotics these days and not all are created equal. tested 30 of the best sellers and the results can be found here. We personally carry the Standard Process Prosynbiotics, which is a mixture of 4 strains of bacteria and two prebiotics. Prebiotics are an indigestible fiber used to help harbor the proper environment for the growth of beneficial bacteria, creating a symbiotic relationship.

Your immune system needs proper support. What you consume on a daily basis either helps or hurts 80% of your ability to fend off pathogens and cancerous cells. Please choose your diet and supplements wisely!

In Health

Dr. Andrew R. Burns





Back Pain


Back Pain

Back Pain

I have been dreading the thought of writing about this topic. Why, I am not sure. I think it could have something to do with the reaction I get from people when they find out I am a chiropractor, which usually goes something like “Oh, you’re a chiropractor huh!” Then they immediately double over and ask me to “crack” their back because it hurts soooo bad. Insert sigh emoji.

The truth is many folks would never know the whole body health benefits of chiropractic if it wasn’t for back pain so I shouldn’t bad mouth it too much.

Not to mention, back pain is a huge issue here in the states. In fact, we pay out to the tune of nearly 86 billion per year on this one issue alone and create a huge number of dependent drug users.

The bad news for someone with back pain is that they have pain.

The good news for someone with back pain is that they have pain.

What I mean by this is that pain only turns on when your body is trying to tell you something. The really bad news would be if you completely ignore it.

So let’s say you’re dealing with back pain, be it low back, mid back, or in the neck. You have some choices on what you can do.

First option: Do nothing at all. Let it fester and hope it goes away. By choosing this option you allow your nervous system to suffer. You potentially remain in pain for a long time and this is how something acute becomes something chronic. No bueno.

Second option: You see a pain doctor. They give you steroidal injections into the site of the pain and hope by the time the injection wears off your body will have righted the ship, or, they put you on some type of pain medications to take daily. If you want a synergistic effect, maybe they’ll even throw in some anti-depressants. Let’s forget about the “side effects” of these for a minute and realize exactly what this does. It covers up the symptoms your body is blessing you with so you can actually make positive changes in order to correct the problem. Again, amelioration of the symptoms is not the correction of the cause and once again, this allows acute to turn into chronic.

Third option: You have surgery. The numbers regarding successful back surgery are literally all over the place. Depends on who’s doing the surgery, what your definition of success is, how long following the surgery you ask the patient etc. A five year study conducted by The United States Agency for Health Care Policy provided extensive research on acute low back pain a few years ago and found that only 1 in 100 acute low back patients would benefit from having surgery. Couple this with long term arthritic changes along with surgical complications and you have a recipe for creating a lifelong dependency on painkillers and more surgery.

Fourth option: You perform some type of physical therapy with muscle strengthening techniques, yoga, Thai Chi, or some other form of physical exercise to help stabilize what could very well be an unstable spine. While the pain may get better initially, building muscles around a subluxated spine is like building a house on a faulty foundation.

Fifth option: You relentlessly watch those late night infomercials where you hang yourself upside down while dangling weights from your feet, wear a special brace, buy a machine that immediately resolves all back issues, hemorrhoids, and gout, then you actually go out and purchase it, only to find out what buyers remorse is truly all about.  

Sixth Option: You see a chiropractor and get your skeleton balanced out so the muscles start getting the right signals from the brain. Now if you want to look into incorporating the fourth option at least you won’t be building muscle mass around a crooked frame allowing osteoarthritis to take root.

Every case of back pain is different and luckily there are all types of chiropractors out there who perform varying techniques. What works for one, may not work for the other. If you have tried chiropractic in the past and it was ineffective, there’s an excellent chance your body was simply unresponsive to the technique being utilized. Try a different office with a different approach, but most of all, do not give up hope and resign yourself to a lifetime of chronic misery, pain and drugs.

In Health,

Dr. Andrew R. Burns