What is Craniocervical instability (CCI)?
Craniocervical instability has numerous names including cranio-cervical instability (CCI), cranio-cervical syndrome, the Syndrome of Barre Lieou, upper cervical instability, and others. The head is held onto the neck with strong ligaments. When these ligaments are injured or damaged or just loose due to congenital problems (like Ehler-Danlos Syndrome which can cause stretchy ligaments), the head can become unstable on the upper neck. This is called CCJ instability.
This extra motion can lead to many different issues. These include early onset arthritis in the upper neck joints. This can cause local pain in the upper neck as well as headaches and/or dizziness and other symptoms. In addition, the natural position sense provided by this part of the neck can become abnormal, causing other parts of the body to become misaligned and painful. Finally, there are many muscles that have tendons that can be beat up over time, leading to tendinopathy and pain.
Common symptoms of CCJ instability
We see many different symptoms, but the more common ones are:
- Dizziness or imbalance
- Visual changes
- Neck pain
- Numbness and tingling
- Rapid heart rate
- Feeling spacey or disoriented
CCI Series - Episode 1: "Understanding CCI Measurements vs. Instability"
How craniocervical instability is measured is one of the most confusing things for patients. Dr. Chris Centeno talks about the shortcomings of conventional medical imaging and how it relates to how CCI is and should be measured.
CCI Series - Episode 2: "What Goes into the PICL Procedure for CCI Instability"
Dr. Chris Centeno discusses the PICL procedure and what’s involved in it. Since the procedure isn’t yet covered by insurance, a few have asked why it costs more than their co-pay and deductible if they decide to have a more invasive cervical fusion. They have also asked why we don’t authorize any other Regenexx clinic to perform this procedure.
CCI Series - Episode 3: "C1-C2 Fusion – Complications are Common"
Dr. Chris Centeno discusses C1-C2 fusion surgery and how and why they often lead to life-altering complications. This is a must read if you’re facing this surgery in the near future….
CCI Series - Episode 5: "PICL Rehab"
Dr. Chris Centeno discusses post-op rehabilitation for patients that have undergone the PICL procedure.
Your Alternative to Surgery
At the CCJ Institute, our proprietary, research-driven techniques allow us to concentrate your body’s own cells and place them in the precise area of injury to promote healing and to achieve optimal outcomes for patients suffering from Craniocervical instability.