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The CCJ Instability Institute

craniocervical instability institute

Advanced non-surgical solutions for craniocervical instability


About the CCJ Instability Institute

There are strong ligaments that hold your head on and these can be traumatically injured or otherwise become loose due to connective tissue disorders. At the CCJ Instability Institute, healing these ligaments is what we do. While these patients of craniocervical instability often get very dangerous and invasive surgery, we have developed a non-surgical, injection-based approach that uses your own stem cells, carefully delivered into the alar, transverse, and accessory ligaments using our one of a kind, PICL (Percutaneous Implantation of the CCJ Ligaments).

The CCJ Instability Institute is currently located at the Centeno-Schultz Clinic which serves as the International HQ for the Regenexx network. The Institute will move into its own facility in Summit County Colorado in 2020.

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 CCI

We see many different symptoms, but the more common ones are:

  • Headaches (with the sensation that your head feels too heavy)
  • Dizziness or imbalance
  • Visual changes
  • Neck pain
  • Numbness and tingling
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Feeling spacey or disoriented
  • Fatique
  • Muscle weakness 


Why The CCI Institute for Regenexx is homed in Centeno-Schultz Clinic

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.

Read Episode 1 of the CCI Series >

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.

Read Episode 2 of the CCI Series >

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….

Read Episode 3 of the CCI Series >

CCI Series - Episode 4: "A New Ligament is Rediscovered"

Dr. Chris Centeno reports on the rediscovery of a ligament associated with CCI. 

Read Episode 4 of the CCI Series >

CCI Series - Episode 5: "PICL Rehab"

Dr. Chris Centeno discusses post-op rehabilitation for patients that have undergone the PICL procedure. 

Read Episode 5 of the CCI Series >

CCI Series - Episode 6: "Understanding Common Injections for CCI Patients"

Dr. Centeno goes over 4 different ways people have treated craniocervical instability. He gives the pros and cons for each one. 

Read Episode 6 of the CCI Series >

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.

Candidacy Inquiry Form

If you are suffering from craniocervical instability, you may be a candidate for this treatment. Please complete the Candidate Form below and we will get back to you with more information after your form is received.

Please note: These Procedures are not reimbursable by Healthcare or Medicare.

Insurance may cover office visits, consultations, diagnostic testing, examinations and bracing. However, most insurance does not currently cover Regenexx Procedures at this time.