As you sit at your desk during the workday, do you feel a nagging discomfort in your neck and upper back? Or maybe you feel pain in that area as you work outdoors. Neck and upper back pain can happen to anyone, and it can be debilitating.
The area involved in upper back and neck pain is known as the cervical spine. This area of the body, which includes the first seven vertebrae of the spine, allows you to move your head and neck. Issues like aging, injury, poor posture, stress and degenerative conditions can cause pain in this region. How can you address this pain?
You can address chronic pain in several different ways, depending on the root cause. For some people, upper cervical chiropractic care can be the answer.
What Is Upper Cervical Chiropractic Care?
Chiropractic care is a treatment approach that involves manual manipulation of the spine. Trained specialists, referred to as chiropractors, use their hands and sometimes other tools to provide treatment. The goal of spinal adjustments is to relieve pain and improve mobility.
So what is NUCCA then? NUCCA is a specific chiropractic approach developed by the National Upper Cervical Chiropractic Association (NUCCA). The NUCCA approach includes a series of different non-invasive adjustments designed to address a condition known as an Atlas subluxation complex. This condition refers to a misalignment of the Atlas vertebra, or the C1 vertebra, which is the first in the spinal column and helps support the weight of the head. This part of the spine is highly mobile, letting you move your head, but it’s also susceptible to injury.
What are the symptoms of an Atlas subluxation complex? When the C1 vertebra becomes misaligned due to injury, the symptoms can be widespread. You might expect the pain to occur only at the source of the issue, the upper cervical spine. But pain can often manifest in the lower back. This condition can cause interference in the nervous system, making it difficult for the brain to communicate with the rest of the body. The NUCCA approach aims to correct this imbalance, relieving pressure and restoring balance to the nervous system.
Here’s what you can expect during a visit for upper cervical chiropractic adjustment:
- Consultation: Most practices that offer NUCCA will begin any new patient visit with a consultation. During this time, you can talk about your symptoms and share your health history. Your doctor will listen and ask you questions to begin to develop a plan for your treatment.
- Physical exam: Chiropractors will perform a physical exam to get a sense of your mobility, range of motion, posture and reflexes. Chiropractors may also perform neurological tests during the physical examination to understand how your nerves may be compressed or affected by your condition.
- Imaging: Imaging is an integral part of the NUCCA approach. Your chiropractor may order X-rays or another type of imaging test to gain visual insight into the misalignment of the Atlas vertebra. Chiropractors use imaging to take precise measurements of any misalignment and tailor their treatment approach based on those measurements.
- Adjustment: Once your chiropractor has all of this information, they can perform an upper cervical adjustment. You will be asked to lie on an adjusting table and position your head in a specific way. Next, the chiropractor will gently perform manipulations to address the misalignment. You may experience this part of treatment multiple times at follow-up appointments.
4 Benefits of Seeing an Upper Cervical Chiropractor
Upper cervical care is beneficial for a number of different conditions related to subluxation. Whether you are seeking relief for chronic back and neck pain or for migraines, upper cervical chiropractic care could help. The benefits of NUCCA include:
1. A Holistic Approach
Holistic care differs from traditional medicine. This model of care focuses on looking at patients as a whole person rather than keeping a narrow focus on a particular part of the body or set of symptoms. A holistic approach is one of the key benefits of upper cervical chiropractic care. NUCCA aims to treat the whole person, addressing the cause of pain rather than simply chasing and treating the symptoms.
2. Personalized Treatments
The personalized nature of NUCCA is one of the advantages of upper cervical chiropractors. Before any treatment, spinal manipulation or adjustment begins, your chiropractor discusses your symptoms with you, completes a thorough physical examination and orders imaging. Using the images of your cervical spine, your chiropractor takes detailed measurements specific to your body. Your NUCCA care is based on those measurements, not a general expectation or someone else’s case.
3. A Gentle Adjustment
Many people incorrectly associate chiropractors with back cracks and sudden, uncomfortable adjustments, but the NUCCA approach is nothing like this. NUCCA procedures are gentle and subtle. Most people experience light pressure as they are undergoing care. You won’t be surprised by any sudden twisting or other movements. As you lie on the adjustment table, your chiropractor will talk you through everything they are doing. NUCCA patients do not have to worry about experiencing pain or discomfort during their treatment.
4. Improved Balance and Posture
Misalignment in your upper spine can affect the entire body, causing issues with pain as well as poor balance and posture. Correcting the misalignment with the gentle NUCCA approach can help relieve your painful symptoms and restore proper balance and posture to your body. Even a slight misalignment can cause severe, chronic symptoms, and correcting it can significantly reduce symptoms and improve your quality of life.
Contact Dr. Gertner for an Experienced NUCCA Chiropractor
Dr. George Gertner provides care at his practice, Upper Cervical Chiropractic of New York in White Plains. During his studies, Dr. Gertner suffered a serious lower-back injury. After trying different treatment approaches with no success, he connected with a chiropractor who specialized in the NUCCA approach. That experience started him on the path to becoming an expert in upper cervical chiropractic care. He studied under an expert NUCCA chiropractor before setting out to establish his own practice. Today, he is one of only a few hundred specialists trained in this approach.
Living with chronic pain is frustrating and exhausting. Dr. Gertner is dedicated to helping his patients improve their symptoms through effective spinal correction. Just half an hour outside of New York City, Dr. Gertner’s successful practice helps restore patients’ health. Contact UCC of New York to schedule your first visit and to take the first step toward creating your plan of care.