Thursday, September 24, 2009

Upper Cervical Care the NUCCA way

Below is a brief explanation of NUCCA, one of many approaches within the Upper Cervical work.

The Bottom Line
By Dr. Kimberly Meier

How is NUCCA different than the chiropractic that I have received throughout my life?

The most obvious answer is that NUCCA only deals with the atlas subluxation complex (ASC), defined by NUCCA as being "the misalignment of C1-C2 away from the vertical axis in one or more plains, resulting in neuromuscular stresses, which in turn produce misalignments of the spine, pelvis and contiguous structures." As a patient under NUCCA care you will notice the lack of any thrust or audible crack when the adjustment occurs. You will feel no more than a light touch on your neck with less than 1/8" depth. It is a slow, sustained adjustment that can commonly last one to two minutes.

Why is this adjustment so different?

The answer to this question fills the two-volume textbook "Occipital-Atlantal-Axial Subluxaton Complex" by Dr. Kirk Eriksen. This text, published in 2000, contains all the latest research regarding the upper cervical anatomy and the extensive effects of an upper cervical misalignment. The bottom line of all the research is that it has been clinically apparent for years that upper cervical misalignment produces whole body imbalance and symptoms. NUCCA address the ASC using a low-force, specific adjustment, with the goal of balancing the patient’s entire posture.

What is involved in practicing NUCCA?

The first patient visit will include the routine exam, history and consultation, similar to that of any chiropractic office. The NUCCA protocol, however, closely follows the following scientific method.

Determining the primary cause of the problem. First the doctor will determine the problem through a set of "pre" x-rays and full body posture measurements. A quantitative value is determined for both the patient’s misalignment and overall postural imbalance.

Creating a hypothesis. If NUCCA is the identified as the appropriate treatment, and if so, a precise angle of treatment is determined.

Carrying out the proposed solution, The problem will be addressed. The patient will be adjusted. 4. Objectively evaluating the results. Finally, proof will be gathered that the problem has been fixed. This is done through "post" x-ray analysis, post postural analysis and leg check. Each component of the post analysis gives the doctor direct feedback on the success of the adjustment that he delivered. If the adjustment was not successful, the doctor can then make calculated changes to the adjustment and re-evaluate.

Why would I choose NUCCA over other techniques?

The first statement would be "because it works". But so do other techniques, right? The full answer to this question is because NUCCA makes sense to me. It is indisputable that the anatomy of the upper cervical area is unique and that it is the most powerful and sensitive area of the spine to adjust. It makes sense to me that you should deal with the ASC with the greatest accuracy and least depth possible. Because of the dural attachments to the upper cervical area, it makes sense that the entire spine will be affected. It makes sense to me that, when patients receive a specific adjustment, they will hold their correction for several months and even years. This is when the true healing will occur in that patient. It makes sense to me that NUCCA provides a systematic approach to determining each patient’s adjustment and then evaluates the success of that correction. There is immediate feedback for the doctor and I can be confident that each adjustment I deliver is specifically tailored to that person’s ASC. It makes sense to me that, with each patient, I will be striving to achieve the same goal: postural balance. Through the upper cervical adjustment I will be able to affect head tilt, head rotation, pelvis tilt and pelvis rotation, thus affecting the entire structural framework of the body.

As stated by the president of the NUCCA organization, "you can force the body to change with a manipulation, or you can change the body with a force: NUCCA." Have I come to terms with the fact that NUCCA does not appeal to every patient? Absolutely. The low force adjustment is not the conventional idea of what patients expect from a chiropractor.

Almost every new patient to a NUCCA doctor is a direct referral from a current patient and they know what to expect from care. These patients are well aware of how the NUCCA adjustment is different and are making a dedicated choice based on the results that their family or friend has experienced. Patients are driving up to 12 hours or more to receive NUCCA care and passing hundreds of chiropractors on the way. Why? Because they know and understand what NUCCA has to offer.

Have I come to terms with the fact that NUCCA does not appeal to every doctor? Of course. Because of NUCCA’s specific protocol and immediate objective feedback, this technique attracts certain doctor personalities. Due to my analytical nature, this is one of the strongest appeals of the technique. The post analysis will be both encouraging (when the adjustment is successful) and frustrating (when I don’t move a thing!) but nonetheless make me accountable for each adjustment that I deliver. It is this idea of accountability and specificity in each adjustment that brings me down to the bottom line.

The greatest gift I will be giving my patients everyday is my conviction and confidence in believing that I am giving them the best correction that I know is possible. I hope that you all can say the same.

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