Frequently Asked Questions

about NUCCA chiropractic care
How is NUCCA different than other types of spinal care?
Most techniques that address spinal-related health problems take what is called a segmental approach. Each piece of the spine (the vertebrae) is analyzed individually, and usually a short, quick thrust is used to align the pieces that are believed to be out of place.

NUCCA approaches spinal problems from a global, or tonal perspective.

The entire spinal column along with the attached muscles and associated nerves are considered collectively. Rather than treating the spine piece by piece, the NUCCA procedure addresses how the central nervous system controls the muscles that influence spinal balance.

A high degree of specificity is required, which allows for an extremely gentle correction without any thrusting or twisting. In our experience this global approach results in a more complete restoration of spinal balance and mobility. Most importantly, it allows for long-term stability and improved health and well-being.
How is the NUCCA approach different from the medical approach to healthcare?
While it can be difficult to precisely articulate the differences between the two, it would be accurate to say that NUCCA directs its focus on health from a different perspective than the medical approach. Both approaches are appropriate in certain situations, but neither approach is appropriate for all situations.

While medicine tends to think of our pain and other symptoms as targets that need to be found and eliminated, in reality this perspective runs counter to what is often taking place in a person's body.

Health problems occur as a result of a loss of normal function, and the only way to truly eliminate them is to tear our focus away from the symptom itself and focus on where the loss of normal function has occurred.

The effect of targeting symptoms merely results in a further loss of normal function: pain medication blocks your body's normal sensory pathways; cholesterol medication blocks normal liver function or causes intestinal cells to function abnormally in order to absorb less cholesterol. Virtually all medications act by interrupting the body's normal function. And this is why all medications have side-effects: the part of the body targeted by the medication carries out a number of functions, and by interrupting one of those functions, the rest are also affected.

Which is not to say that the medical approach isn't valid. In emergency and crisis care situations this approach is often the only way to reverse life-threatening conditions and prevent loss of life.

NUCCA's approach to healthcare differs in that the focus is shifted from targeting individual symptoms to restoring normal function. In the presence of normal function, symptoms cease to exist.

It might be easiest to say that the medical approach attempts to eliminate disease, while NUCCA's approach seeks to restore health. At first glance the two might just seem to be different sides of the same coin--a simple matter of semantics. In practice however, the effect of truly restoring one's health results in genuine well-being, while the alternative often leads to a host of complications and disappointment.
Do you take care of children?
Children of any age can be adjusted using the NUCCA procedure. Many parents are more comfortable with NUCCA care for their children because it doesn't involve any forceful twisting or thrusting.

Depending on the age of the child, the exam may be modified to match their stage of development. Children typically have less complex misalignments, and they tend to respond and stabilize more quickly than adults.

The excellent textbook by German medical physician Heiner Biedermann, Manual Therapy in Children, provides some of the best documentation of the importance of atlas alignment in children.
How can such a light pressure make such dramatic changes?
Although the patient feels only a controlled contact and light pressure under the ear, the force applied to the neck is perfectly adequate to make the necessary correction.

The same mechanical principle that allows you to move a heavy pile of bricks with the light push of a wheelbarrow, allows the NUCCA practitioner to gently correct the position of the head and neck.

Using the first vertebra along with the weight of the head to gain a biomechanical advantage, the doctor carefully positions their own body at a calculated angle to specifically address the patient's individual misalignment. The patient will feel very little beyond a light pressure and controlled contact just behind the jaw.
How long will it take for me to feel better?
Everyone wants to know the answer to this question. And it's definitely one of the most difficult questions to answer specifically.

That being said, we do know that some problems resolve more quickly than others. Once we understand the type of problem you're dealing with, we can start to get a good idea of when you can expect to get the relief you're looking for.

In addition to the type of problem, we also take into account a number of other factors such as:

*how long has the problem been present?
*are there additional chronic health issues?
*what is the severity & complexity of the atlas misalignment that needs correction?

These and other factors that are relevant to your situation are carefully considered so that we can make as accurate of a prediction as possible for you.
How will I feel after the correction?
There are 3 basic responses following your initial correction.

*Type 1= Immediate relief with the initial correction:
Statistically I've found that this occurs in about 50% of patients in this office. After your correction a few things that happen immediately: **muscles of the spine get back their normal nerve input (they relax & balance out)
**the pelvis levels & the leg length evens (movement & alignment is restored)
**nerve sensors in joints can send accurate info to the brain (balance, equilibrium, etc)
**pressure/tension on the lower brain stem/upper spinal cord is removed (normal brain-body communication restored)

If there hasn't been additional damage or change to your body over time, problems go away more quickly because the cause/effect relationship is simple & straightforward. In other words, there's only a small degree of healing/repair that needs to take place to bring back normal function.

*Type 2= Feeling new short-term symptoms associated with the corrected neurological and structural position of the body:
This happens in about 20% of cases, and there are two main reasons.

1) Sometimes part of the problem is that the nerve signals being sent from your body to your brain are interrupted. The correction removes that interruption so those signals to get through normally, and your brain starts to realized what's really going on in other parts of your body.

An oversimplification of this process would go like this:
**When the atlas is misaligned: body sends 100 pain signals to brain→50% of signals are blocked→so brain gets 50 pain signals.
**When atlas alignment is corrected: body still sending 100 pain signals to brain→brain receives all 100 pain signals.

This is absolutely necessary for long-term, sustainable healing, but uncomfortable for a short period of time.

2) When the skeletal framework of your body is first compromised there's some level of pain associated with that breakdown. If it's not corrected your body adapts to that compromised position the best it can, and over time the initial pain and discomfort decreases or shifts to a different part of the body.

The NUCCA procedure restores balanced structural position of your body's skeletal framework, and when there's been months or years of compensation for that distorted alignment, it's common to notice some short-term discomfort.

It's a little bit like breaking in a new pair of shoes--uncomfortable for a short period of time, but there's no getting around it unless you want to keep wearing the same ratty pair shoes--or in this case, keep dealing with the same problems your trying to get rid of.

In these cases the relief takes longer because underlying cause of the problem is more complex.

*Type 3= Feeling no different right after the initial correction:
About 30% of people will fall into this category. When the spine is misaligned for long periods of time it can damage surrounding tissues. Most often these are tissues like:

**spinal discs
**joints in the spine, hips, knees, etc

So when the damaged tissues are the source of the problem (in part or entirely), the cause and effect relationship becomes somewhat more complex in that you need to allow the damaged tissue begin to repair in order to experience relief.

And keep in mind that different types of tissue have their own repair times. Muscle is going to repair and adapt relatively quickly because it has a rich blood supply. Tendons, ligaments and joints have a poorer blood supply, so they take longer. Nerves are the slowest to repair.