NUCCA vs. Traditional Chiropractic: What Makes It Different?

“I’ve been to a chiropractor before, I know what it’s like”

For the most part, the majority of chiropractic offices are pretty similar. You go in for your appointment, the doctor assesses your back on the table, thrusts a few manual adjustments (AKA the snap, crackle and pop), hooks you up to an electrical stimulating machine for 10 minutes and then sends you on your way. So when we hear this response, we understand where most are coming from. We’ve been that patient too.

But when we try to explain NUCCA chiropractic to our new patients, the simplest way we can compare our care to traditional chiropractic care is that it’s night and day. Our care is very unique in every aspect; from our intake, our adjustments to even our recommendations.

At CSCC, we strictly follow the NUCCA protocol. NUCCA stands for National Upper Cervical Chiropractic Association. It’s a gentle and specific form of chiropractic that focuses exclusively on the upper cervical region of the spine (C0-C1-C2). Before we accept anyone for care, we thoroughly assess if you are candidate for care. We carefully measure your body to see if it demonstrates something called ‘Postural Distortion’. Postural Distortion is a fancy way of saying that your top bone in your neck (AKA C1 or the atlas bone) is off and is placing pressure on your brainstem creating a muscle imbalance throughout your entire body. This muscle imbalance can lead to various health conditions from neck pain, headaches, digestive issues, tinnitus to even sciatica.

Once we determine if you are a candidate for care, we take x-rays. But we don’t take just any x- rays though, we take very specific NUCCA x-rays of your head and neck to see how your atlas is positioned. NUCCA x-rays are considered the most precise x-ray series in both the chiropractic and medical fields. If we measure an x-ray to have more than 2 mm of rotation (similar width to the tip of crayon) the image is considered invalid.

After we take these films, the first appointment ends. Why? Because our doctor takes time (typically hours) analyzing these films to accurately measure the atlas misalignment. We schedule a follow up appointment with our patients to review our findings and measurements. After going over all our findings, we give the first adjustment. The adjustment is very gentle, in fact; the pressure used is similar to taking one’s pulse. The doctor will perform a series of gentle adjustments (or as some of our patients call it “taps”) to the atlas. Once the doctor determines the atlas has moved enough they will re-check the postural distortion. The doctor will keep adjusting until the patient’s body measures balanced.

So what do we do after this first adjustment? We re-take those same NUCCA x-rays! Although the body measurements help determine if a correction has been made, x-rays are an even better way to measure if we made the right amount of change. If we’re happy with the amount of change, we leave it. If we find more work needs to be done, then we repeat these steps until we get it exactly right.

After the second appointment, we will have a series of scheduled follow-up appointments to check and correct the atlas (C1) to ensure that your body is properly healing. It’s important to know that the atlas (C1) adjustment itself doesn’t heal you, but the maintaining of it does. With that being said, healing depends on the body which often takes time. However, when we allow our bodies to truly heal, we are able to live to our fullest potential.

To learn more, schedule a free consultation with our doctor today.

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