NUCCA (National Upper Cervical Chiropractic Association) chiropractic care focuses on the alignment of the topmost vertebra in the spine, located in the neck below the brain stem. The entire head rests upon this vertebra, and it comes out of alignment through injury or accident, the entire body attempts to compensate for the imbalance. Messages sent from the brain through the spinal column become distorted, and the body becomes twisted and distorted. One leg may become longer than the other, or one hip or shoulder higher than the other.
This misalignment can cause unnatural movement, pain, and spinal degeneration. Normal healing processes are suppressed because of the brain's inability to transmit messages to the affected areas.
How does a NUCCA chiropractor diagnose and treat this injury?
Before any chiropractic care can begin, a NUCCA chiropractor will take careful measurements of a the patient's body to determine if there are differences between the two sides of the body. They will use these measurements to construct a three dimensional image that will illustrate the exact degree of cervical misalignment. Only when the chiropractor is certain that a misalignment is present will X-rays be ordered. If the diagnosis is confirmed, then treatment can proceed.
Contrary to popular perceptions of chiropractic practices, this procedure doesn't involve forcefully snapping or popping the neck vertebrae into alignment. The patient lies on their side and a gentle pressure is placed against the top vertebra to ease the head into its proper position in the center of the neck. Several sessions may be necessary, depending on the severity of the dislocation.
What results can a patient expect from this treatment?
When the head is properly aligned with the rest of the body, the brain stem is free to transmit healing impulses to the parts of the body that have become distorted and painful. Movement becomes easier and less painful, as the muscles learn to move in a more natural manner, instead of trying to compensate for imbalance. As stresses on the body diminish, sleep patterns begin to return to normal, the immune system is no longer compromised, and organ function increases.
This gentle, gradual method of realignment allows the correction to remain in place for a longer period of time than a forceful jolt to the spine, so treatments can be effective for longer periods of time. The body will have the time between treatments to continue the healing process.