A lot of people I meet and talk to are curious to know the differences between full-spine chiropractic and what I do as an Upper Cervical practitioner. Although there are numerous differences, I highlight below my version of the greatest differences between the two.
1) Upper Cervical Care uses objective science in order to make clinical decisions. Upper Cervical doctors don’t rely on our subjective reasoning such as “what we feel,” or “how we think your nervous system is working,” as the majority of full-spine chiropractors do. Upper Cervical Care uses objective instrumentation to determine if there is interference to your nervous system, which takes the human error out of the equation. Also, x-rays are absolutely vital for an adult to qualify for Upper Cervical Care. Without the x-rays, we won’t be able to pinpoint to the exact millimeters and degrees of your individual misalignment, and therefore will not be able to help you. With that said, Upper Cervical Care is specific or its nothing.
2) NO TWISTING, CRACKING, CRUNCHING, OR POPPING. Why does it make sense to push a joint to tension, and then past the physiological barrier of the ligament’s laxity to move a bone? That’s the definition of manipulation, when we have to put abrupt forces into the spine to get something to “move.” It’s simply unnecessary. Upper Cervical Care takes a CONTROLLED, SPECIFIC, and GENTLE approach to moving the bone without compromising the cartilage and ligament laxity/strength. There is no need for any of the cracking or awkwardly twisting of the patient’s neck. With Upper Cervical Care, the patient is in a very relaxed state and barely feels the correction take place.
3) An additional difference between UC Care and Full-spine chiropractic is how we define the word healing. Upper Cervical Care defines healing when you are HOLDING your correction, and thus the brain stem has no interference relaying the messages and signals from the brain to the rest of the body.
In full-spine chiropractic, more emphasis is placed on the adjustment itself as to how the body heals (the instant removal of the bone off of the impinged nerve). However, that bone will continue to get pushed, pulled, and cracked on for the next several weeks, to months, to years with no objective science telling us whether the bone needs to be moved that day or not. In Upper Cervical Care, if you are holding your corrections, we have scientific and objective evidence (via infrared thermography) that proves that your body is or isn’t healing.
4) How often does my spine need to be adjusted? With Upper Cervical Care, you WILL NOT get adjusted every single visit. If we make an intervention to your spine EVERY visit, two things are happening:
You aren’t healing because you are in constant need of an adjustment due to brain stem interference, and/or
The doctor isn’t doing his/her job correctly.
The goal of Upper Cervical Care is NOT to adjust you every time. It’s to make sure you are holding your corrections, which means your body is working optimally. Wouldn’t it make sense that your body will eventually get strong enough and learn how to HOLD the correction?
Your body learning to hold the correction is similar to going to the gym for the first time. If you’ve never worked out before, and you go to the gym thinking you’re going to curl 30 lb. dumbbells and be fine the next day, you’re terribly mistaken. That would be a complete and total shock to your body’s muscles and nervous system. You will be very sore for days if not more than a week! However, I can guarantee if you continue to do that same workout on a weekly basis, eventually your body is going to adapt and get used to it. Not only will you not be sore from the 30 lb. workout, but your muscles may find it too easy and be ready to move up to 35’s! The body is very smart. If you tell it what to do, as long as there is no brain stem interference or immune compromise, it’s more than likely going to do it, and do it well.
Same thing goes with Upper Cervical Care. Once we teach your body how to heal, it should do better and better with each subsequent correction. As the healing process takes place, your body won’t need constant corrections and interventions to your spine. If anything, interventions to the spine when unnecessary can actually do more harm than good! Without scientific instrumentation to tell Upper Cervical doctors when and when not to make correction, it becomes a guessing game with your health, and that’s never a good idea.
Yours in Health & Wellness,
Dr. Josh D’Alessndro
Upper Cervical of Wilmington