Frequently Asked Questions:
What is the NUCCA, upper cervical technique?
NUCCA is based on the scientific fact that your body is a self-regulating, self-healing organism. A gentle touch and controlled contact on the first vertebrae in the neck, C-1, is designed to restore balance to the spine. Even though the primary focus is the neck, the effect of the correction influences the whole spine and all the body systems. This is because the NUCCA procedure influences one of the highest control centers over body balance, the brain stem and central nervous system. When the spine is subjected to stress it can become misaligned. This phenomenon is known as the Atlas Subluxation Complex Syndrome.
Would a NUCCA doctor be able to help me even though I’ve had minimal results with traditional Medicine and Chiropractic?
AT HealthSmart, 95% of our patients get relief from their primary complaint over the course of the initial treatment. Almost all of them have already seen at least one medical physician (usually multiple), and one or more chiropractors. Often times these physicians were able to provide some relief to the patient, but the problem still existed or re-occurred all too often.
How do I know if I am a candidate for the NUCCA procedure?
Once you have decided to be examined for a spinal misalignment, an extensive evaluation process begins. The doctor will looks at your detailed health history including past traumas, motor vehicle accidents, surgeries, other treatment programs and diagnostic tests including other x-rays. Your chief complaints, including location, onset and duration must all be evaluated an assessed. The doctor will evaluate your postural imbalance, pelvic distortion, leg length disparity (“short leg.”) If the consultation and exam results indicate that you could benefit from NUCCA care you will be accepted as a patient.
How did I get a spinal misalignment (body imbalance)?
Because of the close relationship between the spine and the nervous system, good spinal balance is critical for good health. If the head shifts, for any reason, our body will naturally compensate. With injury or stress, the muscles in the back will tighten and the pelvis will also shift in order to be as closely aligned with the head as possible. The body and spine become distorted and locked into a stressed posture. A spine can misalign through: child birth, childhood falls, roller coaster rides, a blow to the head, automobile accident, athletic injures, skiing, golf, basketball accidents, falls on an icy surface, working at a desk/computer, daily household activities, sitting in school, labor work and sleeping.
How long will it take for me to feel better?
Most subluxations have existed for years, causing harm to the nervous system and its control of the bodily functions. When the subluxation is removed by the adjustment, repair of the damage caused must take place before you can recover. Repair of the tissue takes time. About 90% of people we see notice a change in how their bodies feel following the initial correction. Over the next 3 to 21 days most patients notice considerable relief of their acute symptoms. Over the first 90 days their bodies will go through considerable structural and neurological change. It is this process of change (recovery) that moves our bodies from a state of poor health to a state of being well.
Why are x-rays taken before and after the first correction?
The upper cervical adjustment depends upon precise mathematical calculations, physics, and biomechanics. X-rays are a critical part of ensuring the spinal correction is accurate and successful. The doctor will take pre-adjustment x-rays from different angles focusing on the atlas. These x-rays determine the direction and degree of spinal misalignment and how to properly restore the spine to balance. After the correction, x-rays are necessary to determine the success of the correction. If an adequate correction was made, then future corrections will be made using the same formula.
Why am I adjusted on my neck, when I have low back pain and sciatica?
When there is an accident or injury necessary to produce a spinal misalignment, the body moves into an imbalanced position, placing stress and tension around the brainstem. This stress causes the messages from that area of the brain to be distorted to other parts of the body. These distorted messages tell the muscles on one side of the spine, hips and legs to tighten. This entire process creates the short leg phenomenon, low back pain, and stress on the sciatic nerve causing pain in the buttock region and/or leg(s.) By correcting the entire spine back to a balanced unstressed position, using the atlas vertebrae as the contact point in the correction, your body allows the muscles of the low back to relax, and pressure on the sciatic nerve to alleviate.
Do I get an adjustment at each visit?
No. If the nervous system is improving in its performance steadily, no adjustment should be given because it will create interference with that improvement. The NUCCA doctor will only adjust your spine when his objective test(s) indicate body imbalance to be present. It is possible for patients to be feeling poorly while maintaining their body balance, or the reverse, feeling well and needing a correction. The body is extremely complex and in flux all the time. If the balance of the body is maintained, healing continues.
If I get adjusted more frequently, will it speed up my recovery?
No. Healing does not come from an adjustment. The adjustment restores balance and removes interference, which enables the body to heal. Correcting the subluxation enhances recovery by the care the patient takes of their adjustment, by good living habits, by the length of time the adjustment holds, and maintaining a healthy life-style balance mentally, emotionally and spiritually.
Why is it that after an adjustment, I notice other positive changes in my body that are different than the original concern?
Many benefits accrue to the NUCCA patient other than those for which they originally sought care. This is because the better performance of the nervous system results in improvement in respiration, sleep patterns, circulatory improvement and better functioning of the digestive tract. Other changes include: improved spinal balance through correction of the pelvic alignment, realignment of the bodies center of gravity resulting in better posture, correction of spastic contracture in skeletal muscles, equalization of leg lengths providing better body-weight distribution and protecting spinal discs, improved energy, reduced stress and improved sleep.
What care should I take of my adjustment?
Following an adjustment, precautions should be exercised to maintain the adjustment:
- Use care in moving the head by avoiding sudden movements
- Avoid lifting heavy objects, weight lifting, or rigorous physical exercise immediately after your adjustment and for the next three days
- When lying down do no use the head to lift or turn the body to another position
- Do not permit anyone to apply manipulation to your spine
- Do not sleep on your stomach
- Have a spinal checkup following any fall, jar or any stress on the body
- Gentle stretching 5-10 minuets 2x a day is beneficial in maintaining your adjustment and your flexibility
- Do not “pop” your neck or back
- Do not sleep while sitting in chairs, in automobiles, or on airplanes without proper support
- Sit upright in chairs, do not sit on the lower back (sacrum), do not sit in chairs that place pressure against the back of the head forcing it forward
- Avoid fatigue, get sufficient rest, or at least recognize that this may be contributing to your adjustments not holding
- Check with your NUCCA doctor if you have a cold or a fever
If I become subluxated again after holding my adjustment for a period of time, will the same symptoms return?
Yes, if the same subluxation recurs and to the same degree. The intensity of the symptoms corresponds rather closely with the severity of the subluxation. However, if the patient has held their adjustment for a considerable period of time, it will require time for the symptoms to recur. Just as it takes time to get well, it takes time to get sick. This is the reason you should be checked after any injury or trauma, not wait for symptoms to appear again.
Does it always require an injury to reproduce a subluxation?
No. Any stress on the body, from physical, emotional, chemical or mental stress can cause you to reproduce the subluxation. We are subject to our environment and must continually adjust to it. Within that environment are disease-producing organisms, pollutants, poisons, and other irritants to which the body is subject and must adapt. If the body cannot adapt through the nervous system mechanisms, a subluxation can be produced. Stress from emotional upsets is also a common cause of the subluxation.
After I have held my adjustment for a period of time, and suddenly require another what has happened if I have had no injury or no other reason is apparent?
The healing of the nerves and the remodeling of the spinal balance requires time. There is a tendency for the body to shift back to its old imbalanced position initially until the body stabilizes in its new and balanced posture. Periodic corrections/adjustments are required to maintain perfect balance and continue the healing process. The healing and shifting may take up to two or three years.
Who should be checked for a subluxation?
Everyone! By checking the nervous system’s performance to uncover conduction blocks, and removing them, your NUCCA doctor could help prevent many conditions from developing. NUCCA care is beneficial for people of all ages. In children, we have seen results with the following: ADHD, colic, ear infections, seizures, learning disabilities, autism, difficulty sleeping, neck and back pain, and postural distortion. Many pregnant women find themselves more comfortable during pregnancy and the delivery is much easier with proper alignment.
How often should I get monitored for body balance after recovery from my condition?
Healing is an ongoing process and getting well takes time just as it requires time to get sick. All healing is self healing (i.e. repair of a broken bone.) Self healing is promoted by the adjustment. Such things as the length of time the misalignment-subluxation has existed, the care you take after the correction by avoiding stress factors, any injured tendons or damaged ligaments and your cooperation with any recommendations all contribute to the progress of your individual case. Self-discipline is not nearly as limiting of one’s personal freedom as disease is. Some patients schedule periodic checkups, as they would with their dentist, to ensure that body balance is maintained. How long you maintain the benefits of the NUCCA spinal correction is always up to you. If you wear out your body, where will you live?