Dr. Brandon J. Van Seters, DC
Your neck and brain health
Updated: Jun 1, 2022
At any moment 20% of your body's blood supply is in your brain. That is equivalent to a 1 liter bottle or bottle of wine. Did you know your posture and how you interact with gravity effects which blood vessels this blood drains from your brain?
An interesting study from Scientific Reports 2020 titled Posture-induced changes in the vessels of the head and neck: evaluation using conventional supine CT and upright CT sheds some light on the topic. In the study the researchers looked at venous drainage from the brain using Computed Tomography (CT) laying down and standing up.
Fig. 4 Sci Rep. 2020; 10: 16623.
Published online 2020 Oct 6. doi: 10.1038/s41598-020-73658-0
The study found that laying down (supine) blood drains from the brain through the Jugular veins. However standing up (upright) blood from the brain primarily drained through the cervical veins.
Due to the fact that the majority of our lives we are in the upright position whether sitting or standing the cervical spine (neck) has a much larger role in brain drain then previously believed. It has been taught that the jugular veins were the primary drainage of blood from the brain however those studies did not take into account the different of upright versus supine postures.
This may help explain the correlation between your neck and conditions like migraines, headaches, vertigo, and post-concussion syndrome. If you neck has been damaged due to accident or injury this has the potential to effect the draining of blood from the brain. Proper drainage of metabolic waste and carbon dioxide from the brain is essential to a healthy brain. The evidence between the link of the role your neck plays in a healthy brain continues to grow stronger.
Kosugi, K., Yamada, Y., Yamada, M., Yokoyama, Y., Fujiwara, H., Yoshida, K., Yoshida, K., Toda, M., & Jinzaki, M. (2020). Posture-induced changes in the vessels of the head and neck: evaluation using conventional supine CT and upright CT. Scientific reports, 10(1), 16623. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-020-73658-0
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