(Editor's Note: This is a little old, two years, but still good material and very relevant. If you are a patient under Upper Cervical care and only getting minimal results look into this type of care and if you are an Upper Cervical Chiropractor research this procedure to learn more about what is available and if interested please learn this work.)
By Dr. Russell Friedman (around 12/2011)
The objective of the Upper Cervical (UC) spinal correction has always been about directing force into the body in an effort to move a bone back to its place of origin. However, any downward force, or any force going into the body is, by its very nature, compressive to the body. Whether the force is P to A, A to P, or S to I, any inward force is restrictive to the human frame. The time is now right to go beyond our established boundaries.
On a full spine x-ray, the low pelvis creates an imbalance. This pelvic tilt takes us off orthogonal, and gravity’s downward pull slowly compresses us from skull to pelvis. This occurs over time and is apparent on the films we work with daily. The compressive effects of a spinal misalignment and gravity are visible as a spinal curvature in the frontal plane (scoliosis) and in the sagittal plane as the reversed curve (kyphosis). Even in the cervical view of the nasium film, the cervical spine is frequently bowing. Go look at it. And our goal to drive this toward center, with the atlas as our lever, only increases this bow. The UC mantra of ‘drive the plane line down’ and the "bone out of place" paradigm is a limiting view that should be re-evaluated.
Do you believe this is in our patients’ best interest? Should force be added to the already existing compression as we attempt to drive the body to a centered orthogonal position? Put aside the idea of "a bone out of place" for a moment and ask yourself if we should EVER put force into the body to further compress it.
ALL Upper Cervical procedures apply some type of inward force into the body in an attempt to create orthogonality. Whether by machine or hand, this is a valid statement. This concept isn't solely reserved for UC either; it is a primary concept in most, if not all, chiropractic. We, as UC Docs, believe that the ‘triceps pull’ delivers minimal depth and therefore is not compressive. This however, is misleading. ANY inward force is compressive, especially since the vast majority of our height factors are positive and above C/A…hence they drive the spine downward. The spine therefore, becomes more compressed!
My own personal journey of facilitating better corrections, as well as seeing the bigger chiropractic picture, has accelerated, shifted and evolved far beyond the ‘bone out of place’ model. The informational field has opened wide and that vision has taken a larger, more comprehensive path. Up to this point, everything that I have learned and taught has been in integrity. Until now I have not seen the larger 3D picture of how the pieces, from top to bottom, relate to the misalignment, breakdown and spiral leading to the re-corrected steady state. I too, continue to evolve. This means that we are not done and do not have all the answers. It's actually quite the contrary. Information will hopefully continue to evolve as the drive to improve will hopefully continue. That is where the fun is. Learning and open-mindedness is what separates our work from all other UC procedures.
I am hopeful that others will recognize this broader picture and realize that we must grow from our 1960’s model. The tensegrity model that the body is an up and open system is the progressive and current paradigm that will gain traction. Truth always rises to the top.