icnr

ICNR Case Study #22
Four previous major neck surgeries failed to resolve pain caused by disc herniation.

face pain

Dental/Herniated Disc Connection

by Dr. Gerald H. Smith

The concept of most people and many health care practitioners, including most dentists, is that the dental complex has little or no direct impact on the rest of the body. Revelations brought to light during the past fifty years have documented just the opposite. Doctors of chiropractic, osteopathy and a handful of innovative dentists and physical therapists have shown there is a direct link between distortions of the mouth and the stability of the entire craniosacral complex (skull, spine, pelvis, sacrum and dural membrane that connects all the components).

D.M. was recently referred to my office for evaluation and treatment of chronic pain radiating from a herniated cervical C5-6 disc. The patient presented a past medical history of five years constant pain despite four major neck surgeries. In 1999 the patient was diagnosed with a chronic degenerative ruptured disc. Between 2000 and 2002, the patient underwent four major surgical procedures to fuse the C5-6 vertebrae.

  1. First surgery: attempted to fuse the C5-6 vertebrae with a metal plate. This procedure failed.
  2. Second surgery: performed to remove the failed hardware.
  3. Third surgery: performed from the front and placed new hardware. C5 vertebrae only fused on the top.
  4. Fourth surgery: entrance made from the back of the neck; two plates and wires were used to fuse C5-6. Mechanical success.

Even though the fourth surgery was successful in fusing C5-6 vertebrae it failed to resolve the chronic pain, which the patient has experienced for five years since the original herniation. The patient's surgical site was healing when an untimely motor vehicle accident occurred in May of 2002. The patient's car was side impacted causing his head to hit the side glass.

During this five-year cycle, the patient was placed on many pain medications, received neurologic treatment, deep tissue therapy on a weekly basis, and chiropractic adjustments for a six-month period, which exacerbated the pain.

Dental/cranial evaluation revealed a torsion pattern in the skull and neck areas that had its origin from a distorted bite. Employing a new diagnostic system, occlusal/cranial analysis developed by this author, it was determined that insufficient support was present on two teeth: upper right second and upper left first molar teeth. Treatment consisted of gentle cranial manipulation followed by placement of two resin overlays on the involved teeth to support cranial balance and remove the tension pattern from the dural membrane. Clinically it has been demonstrated that stimulation by means of tension placed on the dural membrane will elicit pain via the many sensory nerve fibers imbedded in the tissue.

Removing the mechanical tension was only one part of the total treatment program. In addition, soft laser (healing laser) was used to treat the two surgical scars and ear acupuncture points. It has been clinically noted that 60% of surgical scars become dysfunctional. During the healing process, many sympathetic nerve fibers that are present on the skin surface become entrapped in the scar tissue and produce constant impulses that stimulate pain. The stimulation results from several factors: first there is the mechanical tension created by the tough fibrous scar tissue; second, because the scar tissue in fibrous it prevents normal exchange of metabolic waste products from exiting the cells and disrupts the in flow of nutrients and other chemical substances need for normal cell function; thirdly, the scar tissue disrupts the cell membrane potential and acupuncture meridian energy. To combat these factors, soft laser is used to stimulate healing of the inflamed tissue and reset the energy flow and electro-membrane potential.

Another major overlaying factor is the migration of pathogens to the site of injury. Present were herpes simplex 1 and 2 and herpes Zoster or chicken pox virus. These pathogens served to exacerbate the pain in the surgical site. Use of EPA and DHA fish oils are prescribed to neutralize the viruses. As a result of integrating the above treatment modalities to correct the underlying reason for the pain, the patient's pain level was reduced by 80% in just two treatments.


Posterior cervical scar depicting entrance site for fusion of C5-6. cs22-01
Anterior cervical scar depicting entrance site for fusion of C5-6. cs22-02
Upper right second molar: overlaid with resin to correct tension pattern in the skull and neck. cs22-03
Upper left first molar: overlaid with resin to correct tension pattern in the skull and neck. cs22-04
Soft helium neon laser used to treat the scar tissue on the posterior neck. cs22-05
Soft helium neon laser used to treat the ear acupuncture points to help resolve pain. The ear has points that correspond to all the organs and structural areas of the body. cs22-06
Soft helium neon laser used to treat the scar tissue on the anterior neck. cs22-07