A Full Spine and Body Adjustment
Chiropractors in general are well known to work with the spine and problems associated with the spine. The cervical spine refers to the neck. Upper cervical chiropractors have a specific focus on the top two neck bones, which sit just below the base of the skull. A quick Google search of the atlas and axis bones (top neck and second to top neck bones) will show that they are shaped differently when compared to every other bone in your spine. This area of the spine is unique for two major reasons: mobility and the brainstem.
The upper neck is responsible for over 50% of all movement in your neck, which makes it the most mobile portion of your spine! Unfortunately there is a trade off in your body for all that movement, and that shows up in stability. As you increase the amount of movement somewhere you lose stability and increase the likelihood of an injury happening. Let’s compare to anywhere outside of the spine. Is it more likely to sprain your wrists, shoulders, ankles, and knees or break your arms or legs? Of course sprained/strained injuries are significantly more common than breaks because those areas of the body move much more. Similarly, injuries to your spine effect the upper cervical area more significantly because of its increased ability to move. This leads to the second reason why the upper cervical spine is unique.
The brainstem is the portion of the brain that sustains basic life functions like heart rate, breathing, and digestion as well as assists in maintains healthy brain function and balance/coordination. An accident or injury to the upper neck can lead to pressure on the lower portion of the brainstem which in turn can result in a significant number of problems such as neck pain, back pain, vertigo, or headaches. It can also contribute to much larger problems such as fibromyalgia, multiple sclerosis, Meniere’s disease, trigeminal neuralgia and others. This problem is referred to as an upper cervical subluxation.
What Does Upper Cervical Treatment Look Like?
The very first thing an upper cervical chiropractor will do is review your health history to determine if treatment will help or not. If the doctor feels like Dr. Gamm can help, the next step will be to perform a thorough examination to figure out if you have an upper cervical subluxation and then a very precise set of x-rays are taken to figure out exactly how the neck should be treated. The detailed exam and x-rays allow for an upper cervical adjustment (treatment) to be performed.
How does just working on my upper neck effect my entire spine?
One of the most frequently asked questions to an upper cervical chiropractic practitioner (UCC) is, “How does adjusting only my upper neck effect my low back/digestion/sciatica/infertility, etc?” The answer is easy to understand. If you have ever watched a boxing match, “as the head goes, the entire body goes.” With UCC we actually look and take into account your entire posture during your initial assessment and then develop a mathematically precise alignment using calculated formulas based on your x-rays to put your “head on straight.” This alignment of your 10 pound head allows the rest of your body to realign underneath, thus restoring the communication pathway between the brain to body.
If you stepped on a dog’s tail, where would the noise come out? Not from his tail, but from his mouth by way of a total body communication system through the nervous system. If you stomped on a healthy person’s toe, the noise will come out of their mouth, but if you stepped on Christopher Reeves toe after he became a quadriplegic, no sound would come out because there was a total disconnection in communication between his brain and body. All chiropractors have the ability and licensing to adjust the entire spine and extremities. UCC is a precise art that requires the practitioner to use their extensive training to figure out how to align the entire body using the lever system provided by the anatomy of the upper cervical spine. UCC has been around for nearly 100 years with spectacular results in helping people get well. It is common for patients to have sought care in many numerous places before coming into our center, and they are still able to see remarkable positive changes.