Tinnitus & New Guides For Neck-Related Headaches

Today we’re going to talk about a couple of papers touching on tinnitus as well as a paper that just came out on practice guides for persistent headaches associated with neck pain. We’ll have some fun learning some new info if you stick around. 

Chiropractic evidence-based products

But first, here’s that ‘better than a back rub’ bumper music

Integrating Chiropractors
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OK, we are back. Welcome to the podcast today, I’m Dr. Jeff Williams and I’m your host for the Chiropractic Forward podcast.  

You have drifted into Episode #65. And I don’t mean drifted like a feather or a piece of wood in the ocean. No, I’m talking about dangerous, careless, speedy drifting in the car around a curve, man. That’s the drifting I’m talking about. I talk like I’ve drifted before. I haven’t. Well, at least not intentionally. We won’t talk about that one time down in Alpine, TX. Lol. Hey, I used to be in a touring band. What do you want from me? I used to be on the on’ry side. That’s all I’m saying. 

I’m still a little ornery but age has settled me quite a bit. Which is a good thing. I look at kids these days. My son is a teenager and really, for the most part, he’s just so good. No drugs, no drinking, loving as he can be. I think back to when I was his age. I was legitimately a menace to society. I mean that literally. It’s a wonder I’m alive but, as with most from my generation, we made it didn’t we? In spite of the lead paint, lack of bicycle helmets, and all that stuff. 

I want to take just a few seconds to thank Dr. David Graber. He gave The Chiropractic Forward Podcast a shout-out to a room of about 1000 chiropractors during his talk at the Parker Seminar in Vegas a week or so ago. While that doesn’t seem like that big of a deal, I’ll just say that, when you feel like a lot of times, you’re on your own and everything depends solely on you and your actions or, in-actions, it is a blessing to have others help share the word. When you guys share or help get the message out in any little way, it’s like I breath a little easier if that makes any sense. It’s like I’m part of a team rather than out here on an island shouting through a megaphone hoping a ship passing by hears me. 

Anyway, I know I thanked you in our private Facebook group but wanted to do so here as well. Very much appreciated, Amigo. 


Let’s get on with it here. We’re here to advocate for chiropractic and to give you some awesome information to make your life easier from day-to-day. We’re going to keep you from wasting time in your week and give you confidence in your recommendations and treatments. And I feel confident in guaranteeing that to you if you listen and stick to it here at the Chiropractic Forward Podcast.  


Part of saving you time and effort is having the right patient education tools in your office. Tools that educate based on solid, researched information. We offer you that. It’s done for you. We are taking pre-orders right now for our brand new, evidence-based office brochures available at chiropracticforward.com. Just click the STORE link at the top right of the home page and you’ll be off and running. Just shoot me an email at dr.williams@chiropracticforward.com if something is out of sorts or isn’t working correctly.


Let’s talk a bit about the DACO program. That’s the Diplomate of the Academy of Chiropractic Orthopedists. Why do the DACO? Because, if you want to integrated, you need to certificate. Or more accurately, you need to specialize and get accredited. That’s what the Diplomate is about. Bells, whistles, letters behind your name….yes. More importantly, you’ll be leaps and bounds beyond where you were prior to do it. 

Recent classes have been Tinnitus which we’ll talk about in a moment, carpal tunnel syndrome as part of a double crush syndrome, and managing hip osteoarthritis. Fascinating stuff. 

I saw a chiropractic student upset on Facebook the other day. He was upset because of some video that popped up on social media. It was an anti-vaccination speech and, honestly, it was pretty vile and hateful in the stance against vaccines. Look, you have whatever opinion you want on vaccines, we’re never going to get into that here. That’s not why I mention it. 

The student clearly did not agree with this speech from CalJam and was wondering what kind of profession he’s spending all of this money to be a part of. He was basically questioning what kind of future he’s going to have when you have a profession that is getting continuing education hours for speeches like that. 

I could confidently tell him, and you by the way, that there has never been a better time to be a chiropractor. At least not in the last 35-40 years anyway. We’ve all heard about the Mercedes 80’s. They sound real nice but they’re a pipe dream at this point. 

Right now, there has never been the research backing up what we do. We have it overflowing. Not only in our effectiveness either. We have research on how we’re more effective than PT and MDs. We have research on how our patients are more satisfied with our outcomes than any other practitioner. We have research on how we do all of that while costing less. 

Never before have we had a national epidemic. This little thing we call the opioid epidemic that is driving every healthcare practitioner to look for non-pharma means of treating their patients. That means you and me. 

And never before have we had the capability or opportunities that we have now to integrate with our medical colleagues and become more and more a part of a team of healthcare practitioners. 

We are moving more to the center rather than staying out on the fringes of healthcare like the red-headed step child. 

No offense to red-heads or step-children. 

Anyway, Diplomate programs are more than letters behind a name. They’re about progressing you and your profession. Building knowledge and respect. 

I get nothing for talking about the DACO. I just think certification and professional standardization are important things. Email me at dr.williams@chiropracticforward.com if you have some questions about getting started.

Personal Happenings

And the hunt for a front desk rock star continues. I want to share with you the fact that indeed.com and Facebook work ads are great at netting you about 1.3 million resumes but not good, well-qualified candidates. Every damn time I post a job listing, I’ll get around 150 recipients. Only a very limited few are worth anything. Most aren’t even qualified for the job. 

For instance I got a resume yesterday from a dude that can run a fork lift. Hey, I like forklift drivers fine but that won’t get it done at the front desk of a healthcare facility, right? It’s an insane waste of time going through all of these but, what the hell else are you going to do? you have to have an employee. And I’m not going to my friends to ask if they know of anyone because I don’t want my friends hitting me up for a job. Lol. If that doesn’t work out, not only have you lost an employee but you’ve also lost a friend. 

No thanks!

Item #1

I have had an increase in tinnitus in my left ear after a plane ride I took back from Austin a couple of weeks ago. Bad enough that I went to a specialist for it. Turns out, she said I have, in some frequencies, moderate loss. I said, “What?” Lol. 

Well, I’ve been a touring musician before so, what’s new? I could have told you that. But, it’s been bad in just the past couple of weeks so something changed in that window of time. I started taking some DACO classes and noticed one on tinnitus so jumped to that drill for obvious reasons. 

I don’t want to go into details of the class but I do want to talk about some of the research cited for the class and we’ll start with this one called, “Does multi-modal cervical physical therapy improve tinnitus in patients with cervicogenic somatic tinnitus?” It was authored by S Michiels, P Van de Heyning, and a bunch of other very difficult names and published in Manual Therapy in 2016(Michiels S 2016). 

Why They Did It

Tinnitus can be related to many different etiologies such as hearing loss or a noise trauma, but it can also be related to the somatosensory system of the cervical spine, called cervicogenic somatic tinnitus (CST). Knowing that case studies have suggested a positive effect of cervical spinal treatment on tinnitus, this study wanted to dive a little deeper on it. 

How They Did It

It was a randomized controlled trial of subjects having a combination of tinnitus and neck pain. Like a combo meal, instead of a burger and fries, it was neck ache and ear ringing. Make that two please, thank you. 

Each subject received cervical physical therapy for 6 weeks which equaled 12 sessions. 

What They Found

Cervical physical therapy can have a positive effect on subjective tinnitus complaints in patients with a combination of tinnitus and neck complaints.

Pretty cool stuff there. 

Item #2

Let’s double down with this one from Oostendorp, et. al. called “Cervicogenic somatosensory tinnitus: An indication for manual therapy? Part 1: Theoretical concept” published in 2016 in Manual Therapy(Oosterndorp RA 2016). 

The Big Idea

Tinnitus can be evoked or modulated by input from the somatosensory and somatomotor systems. This means that the loudness or intensity of tinnitus can be changed by sensory or motor stimuli such as muscle contractions, mechanical pressure on myofascial trigger points, transcutaneous electrical stimulation or joint movements.

Interesting yeah? I think so. 

They go on to say, “The neural connections and integration of the auditory and somatosensory systems of the upper cervical region and head have been confirmed by many studies. These connections can give rise to a form of tinnitus known as somatosensory tinnitus. 

Broadening the current understanding of somatosensory tinnitus would represent a first step towards providing therapeutic approaches relevant to manual therapists. Treatment modalities involving the somatosensory systems, and particularly manual therapy, should now be re-assessed in the subgroup of patients with cervicogenic somatosensory tinnitus”

And that’s just what they’re doing. Fascinating stuff considering that you’ve always heard, “you’ll just have to live with it.” Basically, if you can change the intensity, quality, or frequency of the ringing, by moving your jaw or stressing the cervical spine in different directions, there’s more than a solid chance that you can change it completely through cervical manipulative or manual therapy. 

If I remember correctly the guesstimate was around 65% of the cases may be affected by chiropractors for the positive. 

Hell yeah and pass the potatoes people. 

Item #3

Our last thing today is called “Non‐pharmacological Management of Persistent Headaches Associated with Neck Pain: A Clinical Practice Guideline from the Ontario Protocol for Traffic Injury Management (OPTIMa) Collaboration” written by Pierre Cote, Hainan Yu, Heather Shearer, et. al. and published in European Journal of Pain in February 2019(Cote P 2019). 

Hot off the presses and I know you like it served hot like that. Cold or lukewarm education just isn’t as good as piping hot brain nuggets.

Why They Did It

To develop an evidence‐based guideline for the non‐pharmacological management of persistent headaches associated with neck pain (i.e., tension‐type or cervicogenic).

How They Did It

This guideline is based on systematic reviews of high‐quality studies. A multidisciplinary expert panel considered the evidence of clinical benefits, cost‐effectiveness, societal and ethical values, and patient experiences when formulating recommendations.

What They Found

When managing patients with headaches associated with neck pain, clinicians should: 

  1. rule out major structural or other pathologies, or migraine as the cause of headaches; 
  2. classify headaches associated with neck pain as tension‐type headache or cervicogenic headache once other sources of headache pathology has been ruled out; 
  3. provide care in partnership with the patient and involve the patient in care planning and decision‐making; 
  4. provide care in addition to structured patient education; 
  5. consider low load endurance craniocervical and cervicoscapular exercises for tension‐type headaches (episodic or chronic) or cervicogenic headaches >3 months duration; 
  6. consider general exercise, multimodal care (spinal mobilization, craniocervical exercise, and postural correction), or clinical massage for chronic tension‐type headaches; 
  7. do not offer manipulation of the cervical spine as the sole form of treatment for episodic or chronic tension‐type headaches; 
  8. consider manual therapy (manipulation with or without mobilization) to the cervical and thoracic spine for cervicogenic headaches >3 months duration. However, there is no added benefit in combining spinal manipulation, spinal mobilization, and exercises; and 
  9. reassess the patient at every visit to assess outcomes and determine whether a referral is indicated.

All of this is just a part of making us all better day to day. Those paying attention have the leg up. No doubt. 

Here’s the problem with being patient-centered instead of doctor-centered. We have to be OK with watching the high volume practices running through like cattle….we have to be OK watching them make millions while we have an average case treatment of only 7-10 visits. 

So what? Big deal. I always say that I could have a bigger house and more vacations but I sleep very well at night and, being a Christian as I’ve mentioned before, I’m at peace knowing I’m square with my maker and treat people the way they should be treated. 

Religious or not, patient-centered doctors can always take comfort in the fact that they’re doing what is in the best interest of their patients. 

It’s a lovely thing isn’t it? Honesty, ethics, love, cumbaya, and all that tom foolery….. They’re just little bricks that are the building blocks of an excellent life and career. 

Integrating Chiropractors
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Chiropractic evidence-based products

The Message

I want you to know with absolute certainty that when Chiropractic is at its best, you can’t beat the risk vs reward ratio because spinal pain is primarily a movement-related pain and typically responds better to movement-related treatment instead of chemical treatments like pills and shots.

When compared to the traditional medical model, research and clinical experience show that many patients get good or excellent results through chiropractic for headaches, neck pain, back pain, joint pain, to name just a few.

Chiropractic care is safe and cost-effective. It can decrease instances of surgery & disability. Chiropractors normally do this through conservative, non-surgical means with minimal time requirements or hassle to the patient. 

And, if the patient develops a “preventative” mindset going forward from initial recovery, chiropractors can likely keep it that way while raising the general, overall level of health of the patient!

Key Point:

Patients should have the guarantee of having the best treatment offering the least harm.

That’s Chiropractic!


Send us an email at dr dot williams at chiropracticforward.com and let us know what you think of our show or tell us your suggestions for future episodes. Feedback and constructive criticism is a blessing and so are subscribes and excellent reviews on iTunes and other podcast services. Y’all know how this works by now so help if you don’t mind taking a few seconds to do so.

Help us get to the top of podcasts in our industry. That’s how we get the message out. 


We can’t wait to connect with you again next week. From the Chiropractic Forward Podcast flight deck, this is Dr. Jeff Williams saying upward, onward, and forward. 


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About the Author & Host

Dr. Jeff Williams – Chiropractor in Amarillo, TX, Chiropractic Advocate, Author, Entrepreneur, Educator, Businessman, Marketer, and Healthcare Blogger & Vlogger


Cote P, Y. H., Shearer HM, (2019). “Non‐pharmacological Management of Persistent Headaches Associated with Neck Pain: A Clinical Practice Guideline from the Ontario Protocol for Traffic Injury Management (OPTIMa) Collaboration.” European Journal of Pain.

Michiels S, V. d. H. P. (2016). “Does multi-modal cervical physical therapy improve tinnitus in patients with cervicogenic somatic tinnitus?” Man Ther: 125-135.

Oosterndorp RA, B. I., Mikolajewska E, (2016). “Cervicogenic somatosensory tinnitus: An indication for manual therapy? Part 1: Theoretical concept.” Man Ther: 120-123.