Upper Cervical Chiropractic Care: What Is the NUCCA Technique?

NUCCA chiropractic is a gentle and precise way of correcting misaligned bones in the upper neck (the upper cervical area). It is used by chiropractors who are specialists in this area of the spine. The term “NUCCA” is also the name of an organization, the National Upper Cervical Chiropractic Association, which was established to further refine the technique and help other chiropractors learn about it.
Compared to other methods of chiropractic treatment, NUCCA is known for being a low-force and carefully measured adjustment. Patients do not experience the popping and cracking that comes along with other chiropractic methods. NUCCA also results in a longer-lasting adjustment, which enables the body to function in its ideal fashion and continue its healing process.
The NUCCA organization was founded in 1966 by Dr. Gregory, the main developer of the technique, and other chiropractors who were interested in promoting this type of chiropractic care. Prior to 1966, Dr. Gregory had spent over 20 years researching and perfecting the NUCCA technique. His success in creating ways to accurately measure body imbalance and apply a precise atlas adjustment has helped numerous people regain and maintain their health.

Why is it a problem if the atlas vertebra is misaligned?

The atlas vertebra is very important to the overall health of the body. It plays a critical role in its top position in the spine. The atlas supports the weight of the head, which can weigh about 10-12 lbs in adults. When the head is off balance, it makes it harder for the body to hold it up. Neck and shoulder muscles can become tense and cause pain.
The body naturally tries to keep the eyes parallel with the horizon. If a tipped atlas is causing the head to be off kilter, the rest of the body will try to help out. One shoulder may drop lower than the other one. And to counter that, one hip may rise up higher than the other hip. Vertebrae in the spine can twist or turn from their ideal positions too. The atlas may also be putting pressure on the brainstem, negatively affecting communication through the central nervous system. All of this results in body imbalance due to the misaligned atlas. The phenomenon is known as Atlas Subluxation Complex (ASC). When the body is suffering from ASC, it can also experience a wide range of health problems. Correcting the altas alignment gets to the root of the problem.

How does the NUCCA technique work?

People who are familiar with traditional chiropractic care may assume that all chiropractors adjust the neck and back with strong applications of force that result in a popping or cracking sound as the vertebrae shift. In fact, this makes some people reluctant to seek out chiropractic care. However, the good news is that upper cervical chiropractic care is much more gentle than traditional chiropractic.
The NUCCA technique is very gentle, and it can be so gentle because it is so precise. When a patient is examined, the upper cervical chiropractor will use various types of equipment and tests such as x-rays from several angles, equipment that measures structural imbalances, and a leg length test. All of these assessments provide information so that the chiropractor can develop an individually tailored plan of action.
When it comes time for the adjustment, the patient will usually lie on his or her side with support provided for the head. The upper cervical chiropractor will use his or her hands to gently put pressure on the neck at a precise angle. The goal is to coax the upper neck vertebrae back into the correct position. Follow-up x-rays or other tests may be used to confirm that the vertebrae are properly aligned.

Health Conditions That NUCCA Can Help

Neck and back pain are not the only problems that upper cervical chiropractic care can solve. Many people these days realize that having a properly aligned spine is a preventative measure that enables the body to maintain its health and avoid potentially serious health conditions. Children and adults periodically visit upper cervical chiropractors to have their alignment checked in an effort to sustain their good health. But for those who are suffering, receiving upper cervical care can be incredibly freeing. Here is a list of other health conditions that can be relieved by upper cervical chiropractic care:
Attention Deficit Disorder
Auto and Sport Injuries
Cerebral Palsy
Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
Chronic Stress or Pain
Herniated Discs
Multiple Sclerosis

NUCCA Makes the Difference

Adjustments made by Austin upper cervical chiropractors using the NUCCA technique are long-lasting compared to traditional chiropractic methods. This attribute has numerous benefits. First of all, the longer the correction holds in place, the longer the body can continue the healing process. The systems of the body need to be functioning optimally for the body to restore itself and heal any damage that was done by the health condition that had manifested due to the atlas misalignment. Secondly, longer-lasting adjustments mean that patients do not have to spend as much time and money on their medical care. Correct alignment that stays in place results in fewer office visits, less money spent, more healing, and sustained healthy living.

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