Upper Cervical care is a branch of the chiropractic sciences that pertains to aligning the cranial cervical junction, correcting an Atlas Subluxation Complex and/or Axis Subluxation Complex. Upper Cervical (UC) is focused on the intimate relationship between the brain to body neuroLogic connection. Since the 1930's, the most scientific collection of case files pertaining to aligning the head and neck mathematically is under the umbrella of Upper Cervical.
The Upper Cervical spinal anatomy consists of the Atlas (C1) and the Axis (C2) vertebrae. The relationship of the Atlas and Axis alignment to the occiputal foramen magnum, under the base of the skull, is imperative to neuroLogic health. These osseous structures house and protect parts of the most delicate organ in the body -- the brain, brain stem and spinal cord. Acute, or long standing past injuries, sometimes decades ago, may create chronic nerve pressure impairing bodily function today. Nearly every cell, tissue, gland and/or organ are controlled by nerve fibers that are connected to the brain or brain stem. Many unusual symptoms, conditions or dis-eases may be improved that are seemingly unrelated to the Atlas Subluxation. The question becomes, "is my head on straight?" or "do I have an Atlas Subluxation?"
There are many reasons that the Atlas region is vulnerable to subluxation for all human beings. The fragile Atlas is the only bone in the spine without an intervertebral disc above and below it. Without an adjacent disc, the Atlas is vulnerable to subluxation especially for people with a history of past injuries or trauma. Secondly, the Atlas does not have interlocking joints above of below it, unlike any other vertebra of the spine. Thirdly, the Atlas has the most complex systems of fulcrums and levers out of any other joint in the entire body. The articulation is termed a synovial diarthrodial joint. Fourth, the Atlas and Axis vertebrae don't have a means to be self correcting neuroLogically. This is because the muscles which control the position of these two vertebra receive their nerve supply from nerves which pass down through the Atlas and Axis and then to the muscles providing them with movement and support. Lastly, the head and the neck are a huge transition region in the body. The adult head weighs between 9-17 pounds and it sits on a 2 ounce Atlas bone -- like a bowling ball on a broomstick.
Human beings are unique to the animal kingdom in that they walk on 2 legs for transportation. A subluxated atlas creates a disturbance in the neural canal that may cause nerve pressure on the fibers that control posture. This may affect the alignment of the entire body. The Atlas Subluxation can create a condition commonly called a short leg or leg length inequality. This is caused by uneven or assymetrical nerve supply to many muscles, some of which reside in the lumbar and pelvic areas. A short leg may also create uneven wear and tear on many joints of the body and shoes. Watch Minnesota people mall walking in February with the all-too-common gait difficulty -- one adverse effect of an Atlas Subluxation on the rest of the body.
Less than 1 percent of chiropractors in Minnesota are Upper Cervical doctors. The Cranial Cervical doctors utilize unique equipment to the profession. Here are some things to look for when searching for an Upper Cervical doctor. All UC doctors require X-rays and many take pre/post or before/after comparative X-rays. Secondly, UC X-rays have analysis software based on mathematics of the structures involved to determine how to reverse engineer the head/neck buckle. Third, most UC doctors test for leg length inequality before and after an Atlas correction in addition to scanning palpation of the C1 & C2 bilateral dorsal nerve root ganglia. Fourth, UC adjusting tables are different than traditional chiropractic spinal adjusting tables. The UC tables designed to adjust the Atlas/C1 may be low to the ground with an adjustable head piece or a higher table with a mounted percussion instrument. Fifth, typical Atlas corrections may have an ability to hold an improved position for longer periods of time than they had been accustomed to. Holding the Cranial Cervical improved position allows neuroLogical healing. Sixth, many cases experience a healing event encompassing multiple bodily systems. Seventh, patients in some cases require less frequency of care after the initial 12-18 months compared to their past utilization frequency. The UC doc, lastly, brings unique language and vernacular to everything neuroLogical, muscular or skeletal.