Who can benefit from NUCCA?
Anyone who wants their body to function effectively should be
assessed. Treatment will only be given to those who are found
to have a measurable need for care. Although upper cervical
chiropractors often end up seeing patients with fairly significant
challenges, the assessment that occurs allows the practitioner
the ability to visualize and reduce the misalignment long before
symptoms are present. The postural rebalancing created by the
upper cervical adjustment allows for the body to have less
gravitational stress and therefore the person can direct that
now unused energy to self-healing, maintenance and thinking.
Can children benefit from NUCCA procedures?
Yes, I believe all children should have the benefit of a properly
balanced body. Children can be adjusted using the NUCCA procedure
right from birth. Often children do not need the full NUCCA
assessment as their many simple reflexes that can be checked,
allowing for a modified exam. Due to the tendency for a child's
misalignment to have been present for a relatively short period
of time the misalignment is typically less complex. Children
also generally respond more quickly to adjustments and usually
require fewer adjustments to attain spinal stability.
What makes NUCCA chiropractic spinal care unique compared to other care?
There are many forms of spinal health care today. Many focus
on addressing local joint function mobility by administering
a short, quick thrust to a localized area. NUCCA Chiropractors
influence the entire spinal column's postural balance by returning
the heavy head to a more balanced position on top of the narrow
neck. Generally the approach to the care of the spine is in two
different ways. The majority of practitioners attempt to influence
the spine in areas of segmental or local fixations to increase
mobility and hope for improved structural stability. NUCCA, (as
well as a few other chiropractic techniques), approach the spine
with the ability to improve structural and sustained postural
balance that leads to improve spinal stability along with balanced
mobility. The benefit of NUCCA care is
that long-term spinal balance is maintained and that produces
improved overall health and well being. All spinal practitioners
agree that spinal care is important. The approaches vary from
localized segmental care of many providers to the NUCCA practitioners
that offer upper cervical care that affects the whole body balance
and the long term spinal stability.
How can I tell if I need an adjustment?
Have yourself assessed by a NUCCA trained chiropractor so that
it can be determined whether or not an adjustment is needed.
By paying attention to your body, you may become more sensitive
to whether or not you are in alignment. Although some rely on
the return of their symptoms to tell them when they've lost their
alignment, we recommend patients to pay attention to their reflection
in the mirror; paying attention to head tilt or a low shoulder
for example. Other cues may include where they feel their weight
distributed on their feet, or if a change in gait is observed.
More subtle indications may even include having to adjust your
car rearview and side mirrors. Even with all of these clues,
it is still recommended that periodic chiropractic assessments
be performed to verify proper balance.
My neck feels fine but my low back is sore. How can NUCCA help my lower back?
When posture is corrected, the entire body rebalances itself
resulting in less stress to all areas including your low back.
Your postural muscles are constantly working to maintain an upright
posture. Postural distortion results in uneven weight distribution
over all of your joint surfaces. The muscles throughout your
neck, back, arms and legs will compensate for this shift in weight.
Pain will show up in the area of greatest breakdown. The reduction
of postural distortion provided by the NUCCA procedure decreases
the stress on all areas of the body and allows for the possible
relief of pain and proper healing.
What can I expect after my adjustment?
NUCCA has been shown to be very effective in reducing postural
distortion. Whether or not a person's postural distortion is
related to symptoms they are exhibiting can only be determined
by improving the posture and observing changes.
There are three possible effects that are demonstrated after
1. Person feels no significant change.
2. Person feels a change in symptoms with immediate improvement.
3. Person experiences new short-term symptoms associated with
functioning in a new structural position.
Due to these individualized responses, all patients are given
a list of things they may experience so they are familiar with
what responses are normal to expect. Due to the significant postural
rebalancing that occurs with the upper cervical adjustment, some
patients may feel stiff and sore for 2-4 days as the body adapts
to its new position. This discomfort is usually associated only
with the first and/or second adjustment.
How can such a light pressure make such dramatic changes?
For the same reason why one is able to move a pile of heavy bricks
with a light push of a wheelbarrow: leverage through physics.
Although the patient feels only a slight pressure behind their
ear while being adjusted, there is adequate force being put into
the neck. Using the first vertebra and the weight of the head
to gain a biomechanical advantage, the doctor places their own
body on a calculated angle to ensure the adjustment is specific
to the patient's individual misalignment. The force generated
by the doctor is transferred to the patient in such a gentle
and precise fashion that many patients are unaware of any intervention
Do I get adjusted each visit?
You are only adjusted when the objective findings indicate you
are subluxated (i.e. postural distortion, a contractured/shortened
leg). How often you get adjusted is directly related to your
body's ability to maintain your alignment. You will be given
recommendations throughout your period of care in the office,
which is designed to help you achieve and maintain an aligned
state. My goal is to adjust you as few times as possible, however,
once stabilized, quarterly to semi-annual assessments are usually
recommended to assure that any progress isn't lost along the
way. Just like preventative dental care (twice a year) or changing
the oil in your car every 3000 miles, or 3 months, which ever
What can cause me to lose my alignment?
Thoughts, traumas, and toxins are all stressors that can contribute
to a misaligned state. After your first adjustment in our office
you will be given recommendations regarding daily activities
to help maintain alignment. The three T's (thoughts, traumas
and toxins) are all contributors to maintaining or losing alignment.
Thoughts include negativity or stress. Think about the tightness
in your shoulders after a long day at work. Have you ever considered
what those muscles are connected to? Traumas are a more obvious
cause, however doesn't necessarily have to be a car accident
or fall. Daily repetitive postures or movements can be considered
an ongoing traumatic event. Toxins can be dietary or environmental
and can also play a role in maintaining or losing alignment
due to the stress they place on your body's systems.
How long until I am better?
Everybody heals at a different rate. There are many contributing
factors to the healing process. The more personal responsibility
the patient assumes in this process, generally the better the
results. The healing process takes time. If you were to break
an arm, the medical physician would cast it and you would be
instructed to keep it in the cast for approximately six to
eight weeks. That is because this is the typical healing time
for bone. When dealing with spinal misalignment, the integrity
of the musculature and ligaments has been compromised and you
must allow adequate time for these structures to heal in the
aligned position. The longer your spine has been out of alignment,
the more possible damage has occurred and therefore the more
required healing time.
Is it true that if you see a chiropractor
once, you have to go for the rest of your life?
No, however often people who experience chiropractic recognize
the health benefits and choose a lifestyle that includes lifelong
chiropractic care. There is a misconception that once one begins
seeing a chiropractor, they need to see one for the rest of their
life. A possibility for this perception may be due to the fact
that the healing process requires time and multiple visits to
the chiropractor may be indicated to stabilize the spine until
the body knows how to hold the spine in an aligned position on
its own. The longer your spine has been breaking down (which
is usually much earlier than the initial onset of symptoms),
the longer it will typically take to attain a stabilized state.
If I feel relief, why do I need to come back?
You don't. Ongoing assessments are advised if you want to allow
for optimal healing to minimize recurrence and optimize function.
Many feel significant relief in discomfort following the first
few visits. My goal is not just to provide relief but to create
a situation where the spinal stresses that caused the issue are
minimized, stabilized and you no longer need to be adjusted regularly.
This level of care can involve significant work on your part.
Although I can't always achieve this status with a patient, it
is this situation that provides optimal long-term benefit.
Symptoms are the last to show up and the first to leave (think
of how cancer or heart attacks occur). A symptom-free state does
not necessarily mean healing has completed or that you are in
your optimal alignment. Once your body begins showing signs that
it is stabilizing and holding alignment for an extended period
of time, recommended time between visits will be lengthened.
Why should I get checked when I'm feeling
Symptoms can occur after years of altered function. I feel prevention
and optimization is better that reactive, distress care.
Assessment in my office includes objective measures that are
independent from subjective symptoms. It is best to be assessed
periodically to ensure that if you are misaligned but non-symptomatic
you can be adjusted to prevent your body from being accustomed
to a misaligned state once again and avoid the spinal deterioration
that often involves a return to pain.
Why are you looking at my feet if you are
adjusting the top of my neck?
A leg length difference can be an indication of imbalance tone
in your body's musculature and therefore is one of my objective
measures to determine whether or not you are in need of an adjustment.
After an adjustment I will often check leg-length again and find
that legs to be of balanced length. There are many postural muscles
that are constantly contracting and relaxing in response to normal
body movements to prevent us from falling over and allow us to
maintain an upright posture. When our first vertebra is misaligned,
the weight of the head is no longer evenly distributed over the
neck and the rest of the body. The body therefore reflexively
responds to this imbalance by contracting different postural
muscles in its attempt to maintain an upright posture. It is
the reflexive contractions of
the postural muscles that result in the contracted/ shortened
Is it possible for me to go in and out of
alignment on my own?
No, a true subluxation will not realign by itself. Many times
patients may feel that they were "out
of alignment" and they were able to regain alignment on their own. A third party can only
correct a true subluxation. What the individual likely felt was
the adaptation of the body to stress that they were able to manage
without assistance. My goal in this office is to maintain the
body in a state of reduced stress so the body can adapt to the
stresses and strains of everyday life without requiring assistance
to manage a breakdown.
How are so many things positively affected
by one procedure?
The body is self-healing and its healing capabilities are infinite.
With your energy no longer being excessively re-directed to fight
gravity, often the body will manage to deal with other issues
as well. By improving spinal alignment, people experience improved
posture as correction of non-adapting reflexive contracture of
skeletal musculature is attained. This postural balance leads
to better body-weight distribution, which improves the position
of internal organs and helps protect those structures acting
to stabilize the spine. As less energy is required to oppose
gravity, you will have more energy to think, function, heal and
maintain yourself. The nervous system basically controls everything
within your body. When the nervous system is in balance, through
proper spinal alignment, it is given
the opportunity to focus on whatever may be ailing you.