Things upper cervical doctors do differently than other chiropractors
Upper cervical doctors are different than other chiropractors. To help you understand the differences, here are key indicators that differentiate Upper Cervical Chiropractic treatment from full spine chiropractic.
Won’t make an initial adjustment / correction without taking and examining x-rays
Upper Cervical Chiropractors use x-rays to develop a unique formula to make their corrections you based on your body’s unique anatomy.
While there are many areas of the spine where motion ranges can help guide a chiropractic adjustment. The low back and the mid-back, for example, have built in motion pathways created by the shape of their joints. But the spinal at the top of the neck is much more restrictive, and there is room for movement of course, but room to for errors and misalignment. Upper Cervical Chiropractic focuses attention on these areas at the top of the neck, and the junction of the head and the neck cannot be accurately adjusted without measuring and noting your unique anatomy on a carefully and accurately focused x-ray.
Measures body posture and/or nervous system function every time on each visit
Objective measures of your unique body functions guide the clinical decision making process for an Upper Cervical Chiropractor. A UC doctor may indirectly measure nerve function using paraspinal thermography (heat reading) tools, or may visualize your in-alignment versus your out-of-alignment posture with a number of different tools that help measure hip height or rotation, shoulder height, and the lean (or list) of the spine. Those measurements direct their alignment / correction steps and also are a metric of the success of each prior adjustment, and help determine if a the alignment is stable and holding correctly.
Won’t adjust you at every visit
Upper cervical doctors think differently about the purpose of the adjustment than many other chiropractors. In other chiropractic disciplines, multiple adjustments over many visits are expected and are helpful. The Upper Cervical Chiropractor, however, believes that “holding” the alignment / correction is more important than just receiving it. If an alignment is not stable, then healing is impeded. Healing comes from holding your the new correction. A UC doctor will only adjust your upper cervical spine when your body shows objective signs of needing an adjustment.
If your upper cervical doctor is adjusting at every visit for many visits in a row, it is a sign that things are not going as well as they should be.
Measures the effectiveness of the alignment / correction after it is delivered
An Upper Cervical Chiropractor will seek evidence that the correction was effective, with one or more post-adjustment checks every time you get an the unique upper cervical correction ‘formula’ tailored to your anatomy based on x-rays and examination. In some cases this may include one or two post-adjustment x-rays. In other cases, it may be a follow up thermographic scan, a measure of your posture, or some other functional test to validate the results of the correction. Unlike other areas of the spine that snap, twist, and pop when the joint moves, the upper cervical adjustment intends to restore balance to a very delicate area of the body. The upper cervical doctor expects immediate changes in some parts of the body’s functions, and verifies them with a post-adjustment check.
An adjustment is always a gentle correction
The upper neck is a delicate area of the body. It’s natural for the body to lock up when you sense that someone is going to push, pull, poke or prod this area of neck. Because your body resists an adjustment that is too strong, upper cervical doctors use gentle re-alignment procedures to bring the head and neck into better balance. Your upper cervical doctor will always deliver a gentle adjustment. There is nothing painful and aggressive about an Upper Cervical Chiropractic correction.
UC doctors concentrate on head-to-neck balance
Upper cervical doctors started calling themselves Upper Cervical Chiropractors for a reason. The key reason is their focus on specific adjusting protocols designed to re-align the head-to-neck area of the spine. Another reason is because the name fits: upper cervical doctors will spend 99% of their time helping your head-to-neck alignment – because of how important it is to your body’s expression of life, health, and longevity…and because of how vulnerable that single area is to trauma, stress and injury.
Unlike the stronger areas of the spine which have an inter-vertebral disc that acts like a shock absorber and cushion between the bones of the spine, there are no disc among the weaker interlocking joints of the cervical area at the top of the neck. The whole cervical spine area stays mostly stays in balance from strong muscles and ligaments surrounding it. But, like any other muscles and ligaments, these upper cervical muscles and ligaments are subject to accidents and injuries which can threaten the normal balance of the head-to-neck area, and disrupt the body’s normal functions. Here is where the Upper Cervical Chiropractor does his work.