Chiropractic care in the United States is on the rise as more conscious and informed healthcare consumers seek less invasive and more holistic approaches to health. In addition, the opioid crisis has fueled a demand for non-narcotic approaches to both temporary and chronic pain, and chiropractic care offers is an excellent treatment option for many types of pain.
If you have been researching Chiropractic care for yourself or a loved one, you may have come across Upper Cervical Care (UCC) and wondered how it differs from general Chiropractic care. This article explains a few of those differences.
1. Focus on the neck: The vital connection between the brain and central nervous system.
It is important to keep in mind that UCC doctors are initially trained as a General Chiropractors, but they have additional education and training in dealing with the delicate C1 (Atlas) and C2 (Axis) vertebrae in the neck. These two vertebrae are the most delicate in the spine. They are the only two bones in the spine that lack the intervertebral discs and facet joints that the rest of the spine relies on for strength and support.
These differences make these two vertebrae very mobile however, this mobility makes them extremely vulnerable to misalignments from injury (even old injuries) and even poor posture.
The location of the Atlas and Axis vertebrae are precisely where the brain stem comes into contact with the rest of the central nervous system. If you think of the nervous system as a network of train tracks responsible for communication between the brain and the rest of the body’s function, this area is the equivalent to Grand Central Station.
Even the most seemingly insignificant misalignment, also called a subluxation, of the C1 or C2 vertebrae can therefore have a ripple effect throughout the entire body. And, the negative consequences are not limited to back or neck pain. In fact, your entire hormone, digestive, circulatory and immune systems rely on the proper functioning of this vital junction.
That is why Upper Cervical Care can improve overall health in a variety of surprising ways, including:
- Minor to severe pain throughout the body
- Digestion problems
- Headaches or migraines
- Inner ear disorders
- Chronic disease such as fibromyalgia, diabetes, and hypertension
- Difficulty sleeping
- Healthy pregnancy
2. Using the most advanced imaging technology: CBCT.
Another major difference between Upper Cervical Care and general Chiropractic Care is the use of the latest in medical imaging technology thanks to 3D Cone Beam Scanning (CBCT). Originally developed for use by oral surgeons, this technology allows for an extremely precise and measurable, 3-dimensional, 360° image of the structure of your jaw and upper spine.
Your UCC doctor will analyze these images before making any adjustments, allowing for extremely precise diagnostics that you will be able to see with your own eyes. This technology is much more precise than the palpitations and other techniques used to identify spinal misalignments used in traditional Chiropractic Care.
3. Gentle corrections: Addressing subluxations with precision.
Once your UCC doctor has identified the precise location and degree of misalignment in your upper spine area, they can perform highly accurate corrections with very little force to bring your C1 and C2 vertebrae into exact alignment, making sure that this critical communication hub between your brain and the rest of your body is functioning at optimal levels.
If you have visited a traditional Chiropractor, you may be familiar with the popping and cracking sound that can be part of a spinal alignment procedures. You may be surprised to find out that the corrections performed by Upper Cervical Care professionals are much gentler.
After an UCC alignment, an Infrared Thermography exam will measure the success of the procedure and guide your doctor throughout the treatment process.
4. Holding is Healing.
Your body has extraordinary healing capacity when it is functioning properly. Although a healthy lifestyle including regular exercise, a balanced diet, and a commitment to mental wellbeing can all contribute to your overall health, the foundation for health is a properly functioning spine and nervous system.
It is the goal of your UCC practitioners to not only correct the subluxations in your upper spine but keep them in alignment so that your brain/spine connection stays strong to support the function of the rest of your body’s vital systems. This is one of the major differences between General Chiropractic which typically “manipulates” patience on each and every visit.
But “holding is healing” means even more. The goal of UCC care is that you will hold the proper alignment. Using both CBCT Imaging and Infrared Thermography, if there is no objective sign that you need an adjustment, you won’t get one from a UCC doctor. In fact, it would be a red flag if you did get an adjustment at each and every visit with UCC care.
The goal of UCC treatment is getting you to the point where you are less and less dependent upon the need for any more adjusting.
5. Focus on compassionate care and holistic health.
Like more traditional Chiropractors, you can expect your UCC doctor to treat you like a whole person and review your case history with care. Their focus is on the body as a system and their goal is overall wellbeing and wellness.
You won’t walk out of the office with a handful of prescriptions or a date for surgery. Sure, if your condition requires the attention of a specialist in the medical community, your Upper Cervical Care doctor won’t hesitate to refer you. However, you can rest assured that their approach to health won’t start with pharmaceuticals to mask symptoms and invasive and costly surgeries.
Upper Cervical Care of Glen Carbon, Illinois
Interested in learning more about if an Upper Cervical Care specialist might offer the relief you or a loved one is looking for? If you are living in the Glen Carbon, Maryville, Metro-East or St. Louis area, give our office a call to schedule a free consultation. (618) 692-6992.
You may be a gentle correction away from natural relief.