Although a chiropractor is not trained to directly treat eye conditions and vision problems, in some cases, vision improves when a patient receives chiropractic treatment for other health conditions. Because the nervous system is responsible for transmitting messages to and from the brain, any disruptions in this nerve communication can lead to other systems in the body not working properly. Spinal subluxations -- misaligned spinal structures -- may impact vision when nerves that regulate eye function are involved.
C1 and C2 Cervical Nerves
The goal of chiropractic treatment is to help improve health by restoring the nervous system to proper function. By making chiropractic adjustments to spinal vertebrae, including the C1 and C2 vertebrae in the neck, a chiropractor removes pressure from the cervical nerves that branch off the spinal cord.
Misalignment of the C1 vertebra can affect blood supply to the head and brain. When the C2 vertebra is out of alignment, it can pinch the C2 cervical nerve that runs below it, affecting sensory input to the eyes and optic nerves. Symptoms of C1 and C2 misalignment may include dizziness, high blood pressure, headaches, and migraine headaches -- all conditions that can affect your vision.
Relationship Between Blood Supply to the Eyes and Vision
Articles published in numerous peer-reviewed journals have reported changes in patients' visual acuity, intraocular pressure, pupillary size, and oculomotor function (eye movements) following chiropractic care for musculoskeletal complaints. One theory is when vertebrae in the neck are out of alignment, the nerves to the arteries that supply blood to the eyes are affected.
When the nerves cause the arteries to constrict, the cells of the retina can become ischemic, which means not enough blood is getting to the eye and surrounding structures. As a result, retinal cells can't function properly. Making adjustments to vertebrae in the neck helps restore normal blood supply, which then gets more oxygen to the cells.
Headaches and Vision Problems
Individuals who suffer headaches sometimes experience visual disturbances as a symptom. Consequently, chiropractic care to treat headache pain may also help reduce related vision problems. Since tension in the muscles of the neck and upper back region can cause headache pain, the use of spinal manipulation often is an effective treatment for tension headaches.
The Role Posture Plays
Often neck problems that aren't caused by trauma are caused by poor posture. Along with making spinal adjustments to vertebrae in the neck, chiropractors offer advice on how to improve posture as a way to relieve pain and decrease the frequency of a patient's headaches. Maintaining proper posture relaxes the shoulder, neck, and eye muscles.
While poor vision can affect your posture (e.g., leaning forward to see things that are farther away more clearly), poor posture can also affect your vision. Improper posture puts more pressure on the spine straining muscles and nerves. Vertebrae that are out of position can pinch nerves, interfering with the nerve impulses traveling down the spinal cord. The eyes, which process sensory information, are part of the nervous system and may be affected by spinal misalignments.
If you think you could benefit from visiting a chiropractor, visit Brook Chiropractic.