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Upper Cervical Chiropractic Explained

Updated: Feb 7

Upper Cervical Chiropractic Explained

Upper Cervical Chiropractic is a technique that focuses on rebalancing the body by correcting misalignments also known as subluxations in the upper cervical spine. If you’ve been wondering if Upper Cervical care is right for you, here’s what you need to know about Upper Cervical Chiropractic and how it works.

About the Upper Cervical Spine

The upper cervical spine is made up of the atlas or C1 and the axis or C2. The top bone, (C1) called the atlas, is named after the Greek God of the same designation. This bone is where the head attaches to the neck. The second bone (C2) called the axis is the bone upon which the head and atlas rotate.

These are two bones that have the distinction of being two of the most important bones in your body since they protect your brain stem, which connects your brain to the rest of your central nervous system. They are also two of the most vulnerable bones in your body because unlike the other vertebrae in the spine, the Atlas bone is not connected to a disc; only a few ligaments hold it in place. This allows your head and neck a full range of motion, however, since it’s not fused to any discs, it’s the bone that is the most vulnerable to misalignment in the spine.

Accidents, injuries, and even the stress of daily living can cause this bone to become misaligned. When misalignment occurs, it can inhibit the nerves in your neck, making it difficult for them to send signals to the rest of your body. Additionally, your muscles may overcompensate for the misalignment, causing muscular and structural imbalances throughout the body. These imbalances can lead to a variety of undesirable symptoms, ranging from headaches to hypertension.

While the intent of Upper Cervical Chiropractic isn’t to treat these ailments directly, it can remedy the root of the problem: misalignment in the upper cervical spine. As a result, you’ll likely see a reduction in or even complete elimination of your other symptoms.

The Upper Cervical Chiropractic Method

The Upper Cervical Chiropractic method focuses on correcting the misalignment or subluxation, also called vertebral subluxation, of the upper cervical spine. The noninvasive technique involves using gentle pressure to manipulate the bones in the neck to eliminate any interference in your spinal column. With Upper Cervical Care gentle adjustments are combined with innovative technology like digital infrared paraspinal thermography to scan the upper cervical spine, ensuring precise analysis of any misalignment.

Because Upper Cervical Chiropractic pinpoints the exact position and degree of misalignment, there is less need for repeated corrections. The body wants to heal itself. Thus, returning the bones of the neck to a normal position promotes proper function in the body as a whole.

What to Expect at Your 1st Upper Cervical Chiropractic Appointment

During your first Upper Cervical Chiropractic appointment, the majority of your doctor’s efforts will focus on reviewing your new patient intake form. It is important to go over a detailed health history and allow the doctor time to get to know you, your body, and any negative symptoms you are experiencing. This is also the time when the doctor will discuss your health and wellness goals, and help determine the root cause of your health challenges.

A thorough Chiropractic evaluation and neurological diagnostic testing will be performed during this visit as well. This will help to further determine the exact cause of your current health challenges. This evaluation will include but is not limited to:

  • Range of motion testing

  • Muscle strength testing

  • Manual muscle testing

  • Static and motion palpation

  • Orthopedic testing

  • Basic neurological testing

  • Postural analysis

  • Infrared thermography of the brainstem to evaluate brainstem function

  • Vital signs

It is important to note that you will not receive an adjustment on your first visit. Because of the delicate nature of the atlas and axis, there can be no “guesswork” in your procedure and the doctors will need time to analyze your data to determine the best course of treatment for you specifically.

Evaluating Your Initial Diagnostics

After the initial diagnostics done on your first visit, the doctor will determine whether you are a candidate for Upper Cervical Chiropractic care. Although just about anyone can receive Upper Cervical Chiropractic treatments, they will be more effective in treating some conditions than others and the doctor can advise you as to whether Upper Cervical treatment makes sense for your particular health and wellness journey. Once it has been determined that the upper cervical is right for you the doctor will discuss the findings of your diagnostics and discuss your personal treatment plan. Once you have agreed to begin your treatment, your chiropractor will perform your first upper cervical adjustment.

Your First Upper Cervical Chiropractic Adjustment

For your initial adjustment, the chiropractor will select the adjustment positioning that is right for you and perform a gentle but powerful adjustment. In most cases, the adjustment will only take a few minutes to complete and you’ll be surprised by just how little the vertebrae have to be moved in order to alleviate pressure on your spinal nerves.

After your adjustment, you’ll relax for 15 – 20 minutes in a zero gravity recliner in the resting room to allow your adjustment to integrate and hold correctly. Once you have finished relaxing and setting your adjustment the doctor will perform a second scan to see how your spine responded to the initial adjustment and determine if additional corrections are needed to get your neck into proper alignment. If your chiropractor concludes that you need additional adjustments to get your spine into proper alignment, you’ll be readjusted, then check again.

Every person’s body is unique and heals in its own way, at its own pace. The goal of each follow-up appointment will be to evaluate how your body has responded to the adjustments. The longer your spine stays in proper alignment, the easier it will be for your body to recover. Any future adjustments you’ll need will be more minor than your initial adjustments as they are merely maintaining proper spinal alignment, not establishing it in the first place. With ongoing treatment, the ultimate goal is to get your spine so healthy that you no longer need adjustments at all!

Who Can Receive Upper Cervical Chiropractic Treatments

Because the Upper Cervical method is so gentle, this form of treatment is suitable for just about anyone, regardless of age and overall health. Getting regular Upper Cervical adjustments can enhance your body’s ability to keep itself as healthy as possible throughout your lifetime.

Get Started With Upper Cervical Chiropractic Today

At Atlas Specific Upper Cervical Care, we are proud to offer both the Upper Cervical method and the Traditional method in chiropractic care to our patients. If you are unsure whether Upper Cervical Chiropractic is right for you, we will be more than happy to answer all of your questions. Call us at 970.259.6803, visit our Durango office at 1800 E 3rd Ave #108, or click the link below to schedule a free initial consultation.


Notice of Disclaimer:

We are doctors of upper cervical chiropractic, but we are NOT necessarily YOUR doctors. All content and information on this website is for informational and educational purposes only, does not constitute medical advice, and reading or interacting with this site does not establish any form of patient-doctor relationship. Although we strive to provide accurate information, the information presented here is not intended as a substitute for any kind of professional advice and you should not rely solely on this information. Always consult a professional in your particular area of need before making medical decisions.

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