Frequently Asked Questions
- What is Chiropractic?
Chiropractic is a non-drug method to improve health. Beginning in 1895, Chiropractic has grown and changed until today there are over 250 different methods all under the Chiropractic banner. Chiropractic is based in the idea that our structure affects our function.
- What is Upper Cervical Chiropractic?
Upper Cervical Chiropractic removes nervous system interference at the junction between the head and neck and can restore normal function in the whole body. It is not just for neck problems. Problems in this area can affect the entire body.Upper cervical (meaning upper neck) Chiropractic is based in the principle of non-interference.
This means that instead of doing therapies on ‘parts’ that hurt, or manually moving all the bones to where we want them, we remove the nervous system interference that is causing the body posture to be distorted.
- Why does Upper Cervical Chiropractic work?
Our bodies know what to do when the interference is removed. In upper cervical Chiropractic we find that the major interference in the body is at the junction between the head and the neck. For over eighty years, upper cervical chiropractors have been adjusting to remove nervous system interference at this critical area, and in so doing, finding health return to hundreds of thousands of people.
- What is NUCCA?
NUCCA is an acronym that stands for the National Upper Cervical Chiropractic Association. This organization has been doing research in this area and educating Chiropractors to do the work since its inception in 1966. I have been practicing this sophisticated work since 1990.
- What is the adjustment like?
The NUCCA adjustment is very precise and gentle. There is no pushing, shoving or twisting involved in this work. In order to be more accurate and therefore more effective, we have essentially slowed the adjustment down. We find the direction for our adjustment from a set of very precise x-ray films of the upper cervical area. We are measuring to a quarter degree in three planes. The adjustment itself is calculated from the films to deliver the adjustment down a precise line. Many people find the actual delivery of the adjustment itself to be ‘underwhelming’.
- Why do I need x-rays?
We have learned over the past 80 years that accuracy and precision are extremely important. It is not possible to adequately palpate (touch with the fingers) the upper cervical spine and get the answers needed. The joints in the upper neck comprise the most complicated set of joints in the body. X-rays are needed to obtain this accurate examination of the upper neck.
The films I take are specific for the procedure I practice. Without the films I am unable to make an initial corrective adjustment. These films are only necessary at the beginning of care, because at that time I can make specific correlations with body posture that will hold true thereafter. The vast majority of the time (barring new trauma), the spine misaligns in the same pattern in the future.
- What happens after the adjustment?
Initially, I will measure your posture and take two more x-ray films to make sure I have corrected your misalignment. There is a correlation between the misalignment in the neck and the way that the body posture misaligns.
Once I understand your particular pattern, I won’t need to take any more x-rays but I can use measurements of your standing posture to know whether you need an adjustment or not.Some people feel aches and pains for a few days after the adjustment. Your body is getting used to being in a normal position again! Generally after three days, you will begin to feel the helpful effects of the adjustment. I generally see people once a week until the symptoms that brought you in have lessened and you are starting to live life again!
- Do I need to be careful after an adjustment?
Yes, your spine is somewhat unstable in terms of its correction for about 72 hours. During that time it is helpful for you to avoid cervical extension (chin up position). You will not want to hold the phone between your ear and shoulder as you multitask!
One more big issue is not using your head as a pivot when you turn over in the bed at night. These things can cause you to lose your alignment before you have stabilized. In the long run though, I want you to get out there and live life!
- Do you have to take x-rays on every visit?
No. We take films before and after the initial adjustment to verify that we are doing the best possible work to reduce your misalignment. After the two initial office visits, I can check your posture to know what needs to be done. If you were (in the future) to be in an automobile accident or have a serious fall (for example), I may need to take new films so I can understand how to correct this new misalignment.
- Is this adjustment just effective on head and neck problems?
No. This adjustment will affect the entire spine and all of the body structures. I am able to help people with all of the same kinds of problems that other chiropractors treat.
- How do I know if you can help me?
I have always offered an initial consultation at no cost (about 15 minutes) so that you can come into the office, look us over, and allow me tell you about the care. This time also allows me to closely measure your posture to see if I can be of help. We will give you all the information you need to make an informed decision. At that point you can decide whether upper cervical chiropractic is right for you. Please call us and schedule a consultation if you think this work might be able to help you.
- Once I start, do I have to keep coming back forever?
Once an injury to the upper cervical spine has occurred (generally due to trauma of some kind) there is a permanent weakness in the system. Even so, most patients in this office hold for weeks and often months at a time.
The adjustment can potentially last for years and there are people who have held their first adjustment and never needed repeat adjustment. Ligaments hold the spinal structures in place. Once stretched they do not heal well because they don’t have good blood supply. They are very much like over stretched rubber bands. By stabilizing our structures with respect to gravity, Upper Cervical Chiropractic minimizes the need to come in for repeat adjustments.