Before we get started on today's topic, I want to go a little further with the discussion on sleeping from last week.  Underrated is the importance of sleeping on a pillow that allows you a chance to get the optimum night of sleep.  If you stack two massive pillows on top of each other, then your body is going to be positioned in such a way that the all-important head and neck relationship is strained.  If your body is strained - you won't sleep well.  So, here's a link that will give you some suggestions.  On that site is everything from the Ford Pinto of pillows to the pillow version of the Rolls Royce.

Chiropractic vs. Upper Cervical Chiropractic

Recently, I had a patient make a request that I do a newsletter (and post it to the various social networking sites) on the difference between Upper Cervical Care and general chiropractic care.  So, I thought I'd take the opportunity to tackle that topic this week.  To me, there are three major differences between chiropractic and upper cervical chiropractic. 

The first revolves around the
use of instrumentation to help in identifying when and when not to adjust someone.  I think it important to point out that many general chiropractors do use instruments - scanners, temperature/thermal probes, etc. - when evaluating a prospective patient/client.  However, very few use these instruments on a daily basis as a means to determine when/how to make a correction on some one's spine.  Rather, they are mainly used on first visit evaluations and on future re-evaluations.  There are also a select group of Upper Cervical docs that do NOT use scanning instruments, instead relying on leg length analysis as their primary tool of when/not to adjust. 

One common theme that many chiropractors agree on is that misalignments cause disruption of the normal communication within the nerve system.  The disagreement comes when discussing where it's possible for that to occur.  So, if you want to measure that disruption - you need a gauge.  You wouldn't get on an airplane if the pilot had no gauges to direct his flight path, so why let someone toy with your health without gauging it first?  Most Upper Cervical docs, for this reason, use instrumentation on a visit-per-visit basis, reading the patterns shown on the scans to avoid adjusting someone that really does not need to be adjusted.

Speaking of not needing to be adjusted...the second major difference is
that you will NOT be adjusted every visit at the office of an Upper Cervical doc.  With the instrumentation used to gauge neurologic disruption, an Upper Cervical doc can determine when you really do and when you really do not need to have your spine corrected.  General chiropractic still relies on the use of the hands to "feel" if you need to be adjusted. 

The third and final major difference is the
specificity of the adjustments made by an Upper Cervical doc.  No matter which of the nine different Upper Cervical techniques a given doctor may use at their disposal, each of them have one common theme: x-ray marking systems designed to take a very close look at the top two vertebrae in the spine and their relationship to the base of the skull.  This anatomy that surrounds the brainstem is measured using a system designed to identify a misalignment as specifically as possible - often times down to the nearest millimeters.  There are x-ray marking systems in general chiropractic, but the corresponding corrections made to the spine are not, generally, as precise - especially in the neck.  The Upper Cervical specific adjustment is done quickly and gently with the patient in a normal, neutral position.  You lay your head down as if you were taking a nap.  There is no cracking, popping, twisting, or yanking. 

If you have any questions about that, please just let me know.  Also, I am going to be taking requests from now on, so if you have a topic you'd like me to write about, then suggest it to me and I'll consider it.

Thinking good things for you, as always,

Dr. Chad