Common Questions

Common Questions

heading line

We understand that most patients have many questions regarding Upper Cervical Chiropractic in general, as well as our practice specifically. Even though Upper Cervical Care is a specialty within the field of Chiropractic, when most people start care with us, they compare us to their former experience in another Chiropractic office. This is a huge mistake because 98% of Chiropractors are practicing in a therapeutic model, and what we find is that you have never been taught the truth about how your body creates disease AND more importantly how the body heals itself and the role of Upper Cervical Care in that process. Healing takes place when the upper cervical spine holds its alignment and the brain can communicate with the body at 100%.

What is Upper Cervical Chiropractic?

Upper Cervical Chiropractic focuses on the intimate alignment of the upper cervical vertebrae, the Atlas and Axis, and how this alignment affects the ability of the brainstem to orchestrate how the body heals and operates. The brainstem, or “Houston Control,” directs the body to do what it needs to do, when it needs to do it. When an upper cervical vertebra misaligns, or subluxates, interference occurs and communication is lost between the brain and body; thus sickness and disease occur over time. Upper Cervical doctors are extensively trained in detecting these subluxations, correcting them, and maintaining this alignment over a period of time to ensure the body is able to heal, function, and operate at its highest health potential.

What is the difference between Upper Cervical and “regular” chiropractic?

Upper Cervical Chiropractic is a specialty within the field of chiropractic which deals with the unique relationship between the head and the neck alignment. Upper Cervical adjustments are very precise and very gentle without any of the popping, cracking, or twisting of the spine involved with general chiropractic manipulation. Click Here To Read More

Is an Upper Cervical correction painful?

Fortunately, no! The Upper Cervical correction can be described as a slight predetermined direction of pressure applied to the first bone (Atlas) or second bone (Axis) in the neck. Depending on the technique, it can feel like a brisk thrust, a light tap, or a massage on the side of the neck just below the earlobe. That’s where the Atlas is. Sometimes this is accompanied by a loud pop or series of tiny ticks as the bone moves back into place. There is NO twisting of the neck. This correction is engineered to reposition the weight of the head over the center of the body in order to restore body balance and restore brain to body communication. When correction is made, muscles begin to relax, blood and oxygen circulation is increased; the brain is able to communicate with the affected area, and the body’s natural healing process begins. The healing process continues as long as body balance is maintained and the brain can communicate with all parts of the body.

How long does it take until I’m pain free?

For everyone it is different because everyone’s body heals at a different rate. Some patients feel better after their first adjustment and for others it may take months. Our goal is to get patients out of pain as fast as possible but there are many contributing factors. The amount of spinal degeneration, excessive inflammation, ligament instability, and how long you have had your problem, all play a role in determining this time frame.

What is a Neuro-Structural Shift?

The traditional term for a NSS has been called a Upper Cervical Subluxation. What a “Neuro-strucrual shift” is when the head and neck lose its proper position. We call this area the Cranio-cervical Junction. This are is very crucial to your health in that when you have a shift in this area of the spine, two things occur:

First, one of the top bones will misalign from its normal position and take your head with it. Once this event occurs, your brain will quickly begin to malfunction. When this occurs your “righting reflex” will kick in and tell your body to twist, turn or rotate the your body to attempt to level the head back out. Because of this shift, the body will off balance in the shoulders, hips, back, knees and feet. Over time this will cause premature aging of the joints, muscles and discs leading to degenerative spinal decay.

Second, when you have a Neuro-structural shift at the cranio cervical junction, it immediately shuts down the function of the brainstem up to 60%. The most vital part of your brain is the brainstem. This part of the brain extends out of the skull and into the first 2 bones of the neck. Also note, the brainstem literally attaches to the bones of the upper neck. So if you have a structural shift or misalignment in the upper cervcal spine, it will alter the normal function of the brain to the body.

A misalignment or Neuro-strucural shift at the upper neck (Carniocervical Junction) is often referred by the medical profession as “Carnio-cervical Syndrome” This health condition will over time lead to secondary conditions or “symptoms” such as arthritis, pain, headaches, migraines, seizures, poor immune function or poor posture, just to name a few.

We don’t expect everybody who is in pain to have to have a corresponding upper cervical problem. Sometimes you really do have a pulled muscle or even a deeper pathological cause that needs traditional medical treatment. If, when we walk through your initial exam, we find your problem is not structural then we will discuss referrals and other medical options.

What are secondary conditions?

Secondary conditions are surface symptoms or feelings that your body produces to help signal that an upper cervical neuro-structural shift has already taken place. Because these secondary conditions are the result of structural shifts that may have been at work for many months or years, they set the stage for the need for chronic pain relief that always feels a little out of reach. It’s literally the nagging headache that suddenly becomes a throbbing emergency. Years of pain medication, simply because you had an upper cervical problem.

Just like the different lights in your car’s dashboard, secondary conditions are usually your body’s alert system, and your “symptoms,” may really be an indicator of a more serious underlying condition. A few of the secondary conditions that a person can have due to a structural shift include:

• Neck & Back Pain
• Sciatica & Hip Pain
• Numbness & Tingling
• Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
• Rotator Cuff & Shoulder Pain
• Muscular Spasm & Tension
• Headaches (Including Migraine)
• Pinched Nerve (N.I.S.)
• Herniated Disc
• Canal Stenosis
• Degenerative Disc Disease
• Degenerative Joint Disease
• Decreased Range of Motion
• Poor Posture
• Muscular Imbalance
• Dizziness/Vertigo

Its important to understand that medical research shows that most American born children (72%) obtain an upper cervical shift during the birth. So, its strongly recommended to have all children evaluated. Also note, that this means, you do not need a “symptom” to have neuro-structural damage. Only proper testing can determine that.

Do you adjust a child and an infant the same way you adjust an adult?

The technique for determining if a child or infant needs an adjustment is the same as an adult. I use multiple objective indicators and structural analysis to determine if they have any structural abnormalities. Pediatric Chiropractic care is specific, gentle and safe technique. Only light force is needed when adjusting an infant or child’s spine. Imagine the pressure needed to press your pinky finger into a ripe red tomato or put in a contact lens.