Upper cervical chiropractic care is extremely specialized and vitally important. The care is “specific” because of the unique structure and function of the upper cervical spine–the Atlas and the Axis. These two vertebrae, unlike any other in the spine, are primarily held in place by ligaments and muscles, instead of bone. While this allows for greater mobility, structural stability is susceptible to misalignments from traumas such as falls, auto accidents, sports injuries, and birth traumas. Misalignments at this level may produce irritation to the brain stem and nervous system, and compromise an individual’s health.
Due to the global effect of an upper cervical misalignment, a delicate and specified protocol is necessary when examining and caring for each patient. The manifestations of an upper cervical misalignment are far-reaching. Therefore, the objective of Upper Cervical protocol is to accurately identify the position of the vertebrae.
Consultation and Examination
An in-depth consultation and examination are vital in determining a patient’s current health status and medical history. These help ascertain a patient’s level of health and to help develop the appropriate care plan.
Computerized Infrared Thermography
A thermographic scan is performed using a highly sensitive temperature scanning device that can detect irritation to the nervous system. The digital infrared scan is obtained by moving a thermographic scanner along both sides of the cervical spinal column. This scan will be performed at the beginning of each visit to determine if nerve interference is present. This scan of the cervical spinal column will also be used to determine when the problem in the nervous system has been corrected and when the irritation has been decreased.
If, upon examination, we determine that nerve irritation exists, an accurate view of the cervical spine may be necessary. We utilize a high-precision, laser-aligned x-ray system to gather the necessary three- dimensional views. These films are only performed when clinically necessary and are more accurate than standard x-ray technology. The x-ray films are analyzed by the doctors to determine the misalignment of the upper cervical vertebrae. In addition, these films are used to determine if there has been damage to the spine that may affect recovery and healing.
Based on the information gathered from the x-ray films, examination and thermal scan, a “tailor-made” adjustment is performed. Each person is uniquely made and requires a specialized, specific adjustment. Due to the unique anatomy of the upper cervical spine, specialized tables are utilized to aid in the relaxation of the spinal column, allowing this precise adjustment to be performed.