6 Things to Look For When Choosing an Upper Cervical Chiropractor

by The Atlas of Life on January 26, 2010

Lately, I’ve been coming across some difficulties finding a good Upper Cervical Chiropractor for people in various parts of the country. It’s hard to tell how someone practices just from their website, so I’ve come up with a list of six characteristics to look for when searching for an Upper Cervical Chiropractor.

1.) What technique does the Upper Cervical Chiropractor utilize?

Some of the various upper cervical techniques are Atlas and Advanced Orthogonal (AO), Blair, HIO Toggle/Palmer Specific, Knee Chest (KCUCS, IUCCA, The Specific Chiropractic Centers), NUCCA, and Orthospinology. Some differences in the techniques are:

-Blair uses x-rays based on assymetry.

-Atlas Orthogonal, Orthospinology, and NUCCA use Grostic-based (structural) x-ray analysis.

-Advanced Orthogonal utilizes x-rays that incorporate both assymetry and structure in their x-ray analysis.

-HIO Toggle/Palmer Specific and Knee Chest utilize HIO x-ray analysis.

-Blair, HIO Toggle/Palmer Specific, Orthospinology, Knee Chest, and NUCCA utilize hand adjustments. AO and Orthospinology utilize instrument adjustments. No that is not a typo. Orthospinology does utilize a hand and tool adjustment… it just depends on the doctor as to which one you will get.

2.) Does the Upper Cervical Chiropractor take/use/analyze x-rays?

X-rays are used to determine how the atlas and/or axis is misaligned. Without x-rays, it can sometimes be difficult to determine which way C1 or C2 has moved. Some Upper Cervical Chiropractors are skilled enough to learn the malposition of the C1 or C2 vertebra based on posture (this is done by knee chest specific Upper Cervical Chiropractors on mission trips to other countries), motion palpation, and C1/leg length challenges. Overall, x-rays are ultimately the best tool in learning malposition of an upper cervical vertebra, completely taking out any guessing if done correctly.

3.) Does the Upper Cervical Chiropractor use any pre- and post-analysis?

Pre- and post-analysis are very important in upper cervical work. Pre-analysis is needed to determine if an upper cervical adjustment is needed. Post analysis is used to determine if interference to the nervous system was properly removed. This is a must.

4.) If the answer to #3 is yes, what forms of pre- and post-analysis does the Upper Cervical Chiropractor use?

Grostic-based upper cervical techniques such as AO, Orthospinology, and NUCCA take post x-rays after the first adjustment to determine if they moved the bone correctly.

Supine (laying on your back) leg checks are utilized by NUCCA, Orthospinology, AO, and HIO Toggle/Palmer Specific chiropractors.

Prone leg checks are utilized by Blair Upper Cervical Chiropractors.

AO chiropractors use scanning palpation to determine inflammatory areas in the upper cervical spine before and after an adjustment.

Thermography is the primary form of analysis for Blair, HIO/Palmer Specific, and Knee Chest Upper Cervical Chiropractors, though other Upper Cervical Chiropractors do use this technology as well. Thermography is usually carried out via Computed Infrared Thermography i.e. Tytron C-3000, C-5000, etc.

5.) Does the Upper Cervical Chiropractor utilize therapies and/or modalities in his/her practice?

An Upper Cervical Chiropractor usually trusts in the capability of the patient’s Innate Intelligence to restore proper healing, not the reduction of symptoms. Using one of these “additional treatments” focuses on the patient’s symptoms, and really accomplishes nothing in the grand scheme of a patient’s health. There really isn’t good research to prove their effectiveness anyway.

If you are not interested in a therapeutic or electrical “band-aid,” make sure you ask this question.

6.) Will the Upper Cervical Chiropractor see kids?

Some Upper Cervical Chiropractors have a hard time with kids and don’t see them often, or at all, in their practice. In my opinion, if the parent is getting checked on a regular basis and not bringing their kids in to the office as well, both the parent and the Upper Cervical Chiropractor are short-changing the children’s health.

Vertebral subluxations can and do usually occur at birth. Without having that subluxation removed, how much harder will that child’s life be? Things like ear infections, asthma, and ADD/ADHD might not even occur if the nervous system is free of interference. I believe we as chiropractors have a responsibility to check kids and ensure they can grow up subluxation-free.