Want to learn more about what NUCCA is and how it can impact your health? Take a look at the answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about NUCCA chiropractic care.
WHAT IS NUCCA CHIROPRACTIC CARE?
NUCCA chiropractic care focuses on the upper cervical spine – which is the neck area – as opposed to the full spine, which is what conventional chiropractic medicine involves. NUCCA still will align the middle and lower spine, but this is done through a special technique to adjust the upper spine. Chiropractic doctors and their patients have found that this technique can be more effective than full spinal adjustments.
The reason NUCCA can have such a positive impact on healing, pain relief, and even the effects of neurodegenerative diseases, is the profound relationship between the upper cervical spine and both brain stem function and the central nervous system.
Because of this relationship, a misalignment in the upper vertebrae of the spine can lead to a wide range of issues, including stress, chronic pain, and problems with the digestive and circulatory systems. These issues can contribute to the development of health conditions over time.
The basic tenet of NUCCA is to correct upper cervical spinal misalignments to allow the brain to communicate efficiently with the body. When this happens, the body can restore itself, where it would otherwise not be able to fully heal. By specifically treating this upper area with NUCCA, it’s possible to relieve the pressure, tension, and stress on the neck area, which could be affecting the whole body. As a result, the body can heal and reach a state of optimal health – and the patient can feel better, healthier, and happier.
WHAT DOES NUCCA STAND FOR?
NUCCA stands for the National Upper Cervical Chiropractic Association. It refers to a specialized chiropractic technique developed by Dr. Ralph Gregory over three-quarters of a century ago.
Dr. Gregory devoted his life to understanding how the upper cervical spine influences the central nervous system and brain stem function–and to helping his patients reach a greater state of wellness through NUCCA.
From 1941 until his death Dr. John Francis Grostic, another doctor specializing in spinal adjustments, worked alongside Dr. Gregory to help evolve the technique into the highly effective healing therapy NUCCA is today.
IS NUCCA SAFE?
NUCCA is completely safe when practiced by a qualified NUCCA chiropractor. It’s a gentle technique – in fact, you probably won’t feel a lot of sensation during the treatment. As a noninvasive therapy and as no medications are involved, NUCCA is an approachable therapy for most people.
CAN NUCCA BE USED FOR CHILDREN?
NUCCA is completely safe for children. Individuals of any age can benefit from having a properly aligned spine. Children also tend to respond to chiropractic care faster than adults. They usually will have a less complex form of misalignment simply because an imbalance hasn’t had the chance to develop for many years, as is the case with adults.
These are some of the signs of a spinal misalignment in children:
- Irritable mood
- Allergies and asthma
- Frequent ear infections
- Mentioning pain, experiencing growing pains
- Trouble sleeping or eating
- Bed wetting
HOW DO I KNOW IF I NEED AN ADJUSTMENT?
The only way to know for sure if you should get an adjustment is by having a NUCCA trained chiropractor assess your spine. If you notice neck pain, have issues with pain, stress, headaches, or notice any differences to your gait or posture, there may be a misalignment. The best way to ensure your spine is aligned is to have a regular chiropractic assessment. This way you can have any issues corrected before they lead to further health problems and you can make sure your body is set up for remaining in a state of balance and health.
WHAT ARE THE CAUSES OF NECK PAIN?
Often people seek NUCCA care when they notice pain in the neck area. Some of the common causes of neck pain include car or sports injuries, poor posture, and sleeping in the wrong position. Whether it’s a sudden event or the gradual development of neck pain overtime, when there is a misalignment, it can impact the surrounding muscles, joints, and ligaments. Neck pain can be an early symptom to more serious symptoms like migraines, facial pain, and headaches but it can also inhibit your body’s ability to reach a state of balance because of how important upper spinal alignment is to brain stem function and the central nervous system.
WILL MY NECK REALIGN ON ITS OWN?
No, there’s no way for your spine to realign itself without a true spinal adjustment performed by a third party. Sometimes people think they’ve regained alignment without correction, but what’s happening, in this case, is the body is just adapting to stress. Unfortunately, this means the increased level of stress and tension is still having a negative impact on the body; it just becomes the “new norm.” With chiropractic care, the objective is to allow the body to stay in a reduced state of stress.
WHAT DO NUCCA CHIROPRACTORS DO?
NUCCA chiropractors use a gentle pressure to correct any upper cervical spinal misalignments you may have. This will realign the head and neck, allowing the brain to properly communicate with the body.
You’re not likely to notice a difference directly after a session. A few hours after your adjustment and the next day you may feel a slight soreness. The positive changes will occur over time, but you will probably notice gradual improvements to your health.
HOW DOES NUCCA DIFFER FROM A NORMAL ADJUSTMENT TO THE UPPER SPINE?
The upper spinal area, also known as the atlas, is the focus of NUCCA but the actual technique is a specialized form of chiropractic care. With traditional chiropractic methods, a doctor may use an instrument to adjust the atlas, or they’ll simply use their hands. Either way, they are correcting this area as if it were independent of the rest of the spine. With NUCCA, the upper cervical spine serves as the leverage point to align the entire spine. That’s why NUCCA chiropractors don’t need to adjust the rest of the spine – the NUCCA technique works to realign the middle and lower back as well as the neck area.
With NUCAA, doctors also use a special tool called an anatometer. This tool measure hip height, body lean, and pelvic rotation to check for postural distortions that could indicate a spinal misalignment.
HOW MANY TREATMENTS WILL I NEED?
Every patient is different, so there is no set number of visits, but our goal at True Spine is to improve your spine, so you no longer require ongoing adjustments. Depending on how complex the misalignment is, you may require several alignments to get to this point. We’ll continue to assess your health, working to the goal of infrequent adjustments. Once your upper spine is corrected, you may only require a periodic assessment.
WHAT HAPPENS WHEN I COME IN FOR A VISIT FOR NUCCA CHIROPRACTIC?
A NUCCA chiropractor will assess your posture to check for signs of misalignment. If it looks like a misalignment is present, precision x-rays are taken. With these x-rays, your chiropractor can identify exactly where the misalignment is and develop an individualized plan for your body. X-rays are also important for ruling out other more serious conditions.
Once we’ve confirmed the misalignment, we use precise positioning and constant, light pressure to reposition your spine. You won’t experience any discomfort during your adjustment.
After your adjustment, we may use x-rays to confirm the adjustment and to assess how well your body has responded. If any fine-tuning is needed to balance your spine, we’ll recommend more visits. Because we’ll have already identified where the misalignment is and how it’s doing, these visits will only take around 20 minutes to complete.
Once your body is maintaining the corrected position, you no longer require ongoing adjustments. At this point, your body can operate properly and heal.
HOW WILL I FEEL AFTER AN ADJUSTMENT?
People will have different experiences after an adjustment so what you feel may be different from what someone else feels. After an adjustment, you may not notice anything at first and will only notice gradual improvements over time. Other people will feel an instant change in symptoms, such as noticeable pain relief and reduced stress.
Immediately after, you can expect some discomfort for up to two to four days after your adjustment. This is just the body adapting to its new position. Usually, people don’t experience significant soreness or discomfort beyond their first or second adjustment.
You may also feel a sense of relief, even euphoria. Others feel a little tired.
WHO SHOULD SEE A NUCCA CHIROPRACTOR?
Anyone can see a NUCCA chiropractor if they are concerned that their spine may be out of alignment or if they are struggling with chronic pain, discomfort, or stress. We can then assess your spine and determine if an alignment will help. Often patients who come to us have tried other medical treatments, including both conventional and alternative therapies. They find that NUCCA can offer the health benefits and relief they haven’t been able to achieve with other methods.
The following symptoms and conditions can benefit from NUCCA care:
- Neck pain
- Low back pain
- Jaw pain
- High blood pressure
- Shoulder pain
- Hip, knee, ankle, and foot pain
- A herniated disc
- Whiplash injury
If you’ve experienced a fall or other injury – even if it occurred years ago, such as falling off your bike or slipping on ice – you might want to have your spine assessed by an experienced chiropractor. Sometimes, injuries that happened years in the past can leave our spine out of alignment and contribute to health problems. The problem is that the pain and progression are so gradual, many people learn to live with their misalignment. But, the majority of adults have a misaligned spine – it’s estimated that at least 95% of adults have a misalignment.
IF I DON’T HAVE ANY PAIN, COULD I STILL BENEFIT FROM NUCCA?
Yes! A lot of people don’t notice any pain or symptoms of misalignment for years. You could have a poorly aligned spine for decades before you start to notice anything. Meanwhile, when your brain is not able to communicate properly with your body because you need a spinal adjustment, you could also be dealing with a host of gradually increasing health conditions. That’s why it’s so worthwhile to have your spinal health assessed. NUCCA may be a big first step on your journey to wellness and a level of health you won’t be able to achieve without a spinal correction.
HOW OFTEN SHOULD MY SPINE BE ASSESSED AFTER ALIGNMENT?
We’ll work to get you to the point where you need spinal adjustments as infrequently as possible. After that, we may recommend coming in to assess your spine every three to six months. This way, we can make sure any progress you’ve made isn’t lost.
CAN MY SPINE BECOME MISALIGNED AGAIN?
There are a lot of factors that can lead to an improperly aligned spine. When you come in for a spinal adjustment, we’ll talk to you about the things you can do to help support your spine in between adjustments. Things like dealing with a lot of stress and tension, any type of fall or trauma, and poor posture can all contribute to misalignment.
DOES INSURANCE COVER MY VISIT?
We don’t accept insurance at True Spine, so your insurance policy won’t cover your visits. We do keep our costs affordable, however, making NUCCA care as accessible as possible. For new patients, your initial consultation is free!
You’ll also find that the long-term benefits to your health are well worth it. When your body is allowed to heal and reach a state of balance, you may be able to reduce your reliance on other treatments for managing symptoms.
To find out more or two schedule your initial consultation, contact True Spine Chiropractic. Located in Bend, Oregon, we see patients on Monday through Thursday, and on Fridays by appointment only. Get in touch and book your free consultation today.