Upper Cervical Chiropractic FAQs

What is upper cervical chiropractic?

Upper cervical chiropractic is based on the scientific fact that your body is a self-regulating, self-healing organism.  The body’s functions are controlled by the brain through the spinal cord and all the nerves of the body.  If the nervous system is impaired, it can cause malfunction of the tissues and organs throughout the body and is known as a subluxation.  Upper cervical chiropractic is the science and art of locating interference to the nervous system (subluxations) and removing them so the body can function optimally, giving the body a much greater chance for health restoration.

Just what is body imbalance and how do I know if it has happened to me?

Body Imbalance occurs when the C1 or Atlas, and/or the C2 or Axis, the top two vertebra in the neck, are misaligned and out of their proper position. This can occur as a result of an accident, emotional trauma, or chemical toxicity in the body. Childbirth itself can move the atlas out of position because of the massive amounts of pressure on the head and neck of the baby as it passes down the birth canal. Or childhood accidents like falling from a tree, bike or skates can misalign it. In adulthood, the atlas can be shoved out of position during minor or major accidents such as sporting accidents, automobile accidents or slips and falls. Some of the worst cases of atlas misalignment and resulting pain have been caused by minor car accidents such as being rear-ended. One indication of body imbalance is having one leg slightly shorter than the other. You may also notice that when you stand in front of a mirror one shoulder is slightly higher than another, and one hip is higher than the other. Another indication your atlas may be out of position is by having different symptoms in your body that your medical doctor cannot explain or find the cause for on any tests.

How can body imbalance cause me to have physical problems?

The C1 or Atlas is a donut-shaped bone that your skull rests on. Your spinal cord coming out of your brain and brain stem passes through the center of the donut shape. Your spinal cord at that point consists of trillions of nerve fibers (the nervous system) that "bottleneck" through the small opening in the atlas. These fillers eventually branch off carrying information to every part of your body. If the C1 is out of its proper position it can irritate, constrict or disrupt vital nerve signals to any portion of your body. This can cause muscle or joint pain. organ dysfunction. lowered immune system and countless other conditions that you would not ordinarily relate to a problem originating in your neck.

How can adjusting the top bone in the neck affect my mid back, low back, or even legs?

Because it effects the entire spine and body. Wherever your atlas moves, your head moves with it. If this top bone in your neck has shifted out of position ever so slightly, no more than the thickness of a fingernail, it can move your head off center of your body. In an effort to keep the head over the center of the neck, the entire spine and pelvis will twist, pulling one hip up and one leg with it. You are now walking around on one leg that is shorter than the other. This places more weight on one side of your body than another. The wear and tear on your entire body is exactly like driving a car that is out of alignment The result can be muscle and joint pain anywhere in the body. Without correcting the problem, which originated with a single bone (Atlas) at the top of your neck moving out of position, your entire body is now imbalanced. When this continues over time, something else starts to happen. Because nerve flow is disrupted or distorted, degeneration of cells in organs can occur, causing internal physical problems that may not show up for years.

How do you get a misaligned (subluxated) spine?

An accident or injury at some time in a person’s life causes their spine to misalign. It is not necessarily an injury that you would remember.
Examples of injuries are:
1)  A difficult or traumatic birth
2)  A fall as a child *
3)  Falling off a bicycle
4)  Bumping your head getting in or out of your vehicle
5)  Car accidents
6)  Twisting or popping your neck
7)  Roller coaster riding
8)  Bumper cars
9)  High school sports
* (Researchers have found the avg. child falls 30-40 times per day)
The list goes on and on. Our clinical studies have shown us that 99% of the adult population has a misaligned spine.

How do I know if I have body imbalance and subluxation?

You can have subluxations and not even know it.  Like the early stages of tooth decay or cancer, subluxations can be present before warning signs appear.  Body imbalance is determined by leg length disparity, postural measurements and X-rays.

How is the spinal correction calculated?

Once body imbalance has been determined, precise x-ray analysis, using physics and mechanics is used to calculate a formula for each spinal correction.  Each formula is calculated for that individual patient and no two spinal corrections are alike.

Can body imbalance clear up on its own?

We have never known of a case that has had their misaligned spine correct itself. Today’s hectic lifestyles are a constant source of body imbalance.  Fortunately, our bodies have the ability to self-correct many of these problems.  But many times it doesn’t, and that’s when we need to see an upper cervical doctor and have our body balance restored.  Once body balance is restored, the body has a much greater ability to maintain this balance and clear problems up on its own.

Are your methods safe?

Yes.  A New Zealand government study found that adjustments are “remarkably safe.”  By avoiding drugs and risky surgery, chiropractic care enjoys an excellent track record.  A thorough exam can identify the rare person for whom chiropractic care might be unsuited.  The precise and gentle nature of our correction procedures require NO SNAPPING, POPPING OR TWISTING OF THE NECK OR BACK.  The adjustment is extremely safe, gentle and effective.

Are all patients adjusted the same way?

It has been estimated that over 10,000 combinations exist of Atlas misalignments. Each combination requires a different, precision spinal correction, which is determined from the thorough analysis of the patient’s x-rays.

How many adjustments will I need?

The number of adjustments needed from person to person varies. This variance is caused by several factors, these include:

1) Patient compliance (following the doctors recommendations)
2) How much damage there is to the spinal structures
3) How long spine has been injured
4) Spiritual/Mental/Physical health
5) Emotional and physical stress

The goal for all of our patients is to reach a point where they hold a single correction for 3 months. Some patients stabilize quickly, while others may need more time to get the correction to hold for that long. Our corrections generally hold much longer than non-upper cervical types of chiropractic adjustments.

Are x-rays really necessary?

Absolutely! Precise spinal x-rays are imperative for our adjusting procedures. We are often dealing with mis-alignments as small as ¾ of a degree, which is 1/10,000 of an inch (The thickness of a fingernail). With such small mis-alignments the precision x-rays that we take, allow us to calculate the correct method to restore the mis-alignment to a better position, thus allowing your body to begin the healing process.
The radiation exposure is extremely low with our upper cervical x-ray series, due to special lead filters that block out a majority of the radiation. The NAS (National Academy of Sciences) considers a single exposure of the whole body of 50,000 mrems (50 rems) to be a high level dose.

NUCCA X-ray series 0.22mrems
Flight from LA to Paris 4.8 mrems
Dental X-ray (whole mouth) 310 mrems
Apollo Moon Flight 480 mrems
Barium Enema (X-ray Study) 8,000 mrems
Cancer Radiation Treatment 6,000,000 mrems

How long until I feel better?

 Each patient’s response is different.  Some people receive immediate relief after their first adjustment while it may take up to 2-4 weeks for other patients to feel relief. Many factors are involved with you feeling better, including:

  1. Type and severity of the condition(s)
  2. How long you have had the condition
  3. What other treatments you have had
  4. Medications you are taking
  5. Compliance with the doctors recommendations
  6. Age

Can I have adjustments after back surgery?

Yes.  Rest assured that your chiropractic doctor is specifically trained to deliver a completely safe and gentle spinal correction which requires no bending, twisting or cracking of the spine. Our staff of doctors will also communicate with other health professionals if there are any possible contraindications that we are concerned about.

How long willl I need upper cervical chiropractic care?

The same amount of time that you will need to eat healthy, exercise, practice good spiritual disciplines and other healthy lifestyle choices. Our job is to offer you the very best care and we stand ready to help all patients, regardless of their health goals.  How long you decide to benefit from chiropractic care is always up to you.

What type of education do upper cervical doctors of chiropractic get?

Today's doctor of chiropractic is well educated.

Chiropractic Compared to Medical Education


Classroom Hours


Classroom Hours

Anatomy 540 508
Physiology 240 326
Pathology 360 401
Chemistry 165 325
Microbiology 120 114
Diagnosis 630 324
Neurology 320 112
X-Ray 360 148
Psychiatry 60 144
Obstetrics 60 148
Orthopedics 210 156
Total Hours 3,065 2,706

To practice chiropractic, graduates must pass demanding National Board Examinations. A chiropractic education never ends. Most doctors complete postgraduate instruction for license renewal and to stay current on the lastest scientific research.

Will insurance cover my upper cervical chiropractice servcies?

We recommend that you don’t base your decision to get care or not, on an insurance companies coverage. Your quality of life is your responsibility not your insurance companies. However, for more information regarding insurance information click here to go to our financial policies link.

What if my policy doesn't cover your services?

Your health affects everything you do and everyone you know.  It is your most valuable possession.  Yet, each of us is free to place a different value on our health.  It’s convenient when an insurance company or third party pays the bill.  But be careful!  Don’t allow the profit motive of huge corporations to make the decision about your quality of life for you. It is you that needs to live with your body the rest of your life, not the insurance company.  Find out how we make our services affordable for just about anyone.

What if your methods don't help me?

If we do not see indications that our methods are working we will inform you as to not waste your time, or ours.  Additionally, we will do whatever we can to inform you of other treatment options you may have.

Does Medicare cover your chiropractice services?

Medicare does cover a large portion of the chiropractic adjustments provided in the office. Our staff will submit the services to Medicare, and Medicare will reimburse you directly.

Do you take care of children?

We take care of many children with a variety of conditions. In children, we have seen results with the following: ADHD, colic, ear infections, learning disabilities, autism, difficulty sleeping, neck and back pain, and postural distortion just to name a few. Anyone of any age can be a candidate for our services if their spine is out of alignment.

Can you have a subluxation without experiencing pain?

Yes. A subluxation is known as a silent killer. It may be present for decades before pain or symptoms show up. Two of our country's biggest killers may also be present for years before they are symptomatic. Many people are walking around with heart disease and cancer without any pain or symptoms.


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