Upper Cervical FAQs

The following is a list of the top questions from our patients…
How will I feel after an initial upper cervical chiropractic correction & treatment?

Better & Different! Perhaps you may be slightly tired or extremely relaxed; somewhat bodily sore temporarily as your body attempts to adjust & shift; feeling taller, more grounded, and lighter on your feet when standing up; and prone to short term light-headedness, more mental clarity, and warmth in certain areas of your body due to enhanced blood & oxygen circulating immediately after.

What do the upper cervical corrections feel like?

Very Gentle! The patient will be on their side and the correction involves a series of gentle releases & touches with very controlled and light pressure around the top of your neck. Each person receives a tailor-made adjustment according to his/her unique misalignment pattern based on their objective measurements.

I see that you work on the neck. Does that mean you pop and twist it?

No, there is absolutely no popping or twisting of the neck with upper cervical chiropractic. While general chiropractic adjustments offered by other chiropractors are safe, we do not adjust in this manner. The upper cervical/cranio-servical approach to spinal care is based on gently moving the head & neck, and ultimately the spine into its proper alignment, emphasizing precision & leverage over force. That makes the upper cervical chiropractic adjustment effective while being extremely gentle. Anyone who is fearful of traditional chiropractic adjustments (which are also safe and effective) may appreciate our unique & gentle approach.

How can such a light pressure make such dramatic changes?

For the same reason why one is able to move a pile of heavy bricks with a light push of a wheelbarrow…LEVERAGE. Using the 1st vertebra (C1 – Atlas) and the weight of the head to gain a biomechanical advantage, the doctor places their own body on a calculated angle to ensure the correction is specific to the patient’s individual misalignment. The force generated by the doctor is transferred to the patient in such a gentle and precise fashion that many patients are surprised by the light feel. Although the procedure is subtle in its application, the results are not!

How safe is upper cervical chiropractic (i.e. NUCCA)?

Extremely! NUCCA is one of the safest treatments you’ll find, because it is remarkably precise, gentle, and pain-free. No drugs. No surgery. No anxiety. Natural healing at its finest.

How do I know if upper cervical chiropractic is right for me?

Our Expertise! Dr. Armen Manoucherian thoroughly evaluates candidates to determine whether or not treatment is appropriate. We will make a referral if we believe our office is not the best fit for you.

Why are you looking at my overall balance and posture if you are adjusting only my neck?

Think of the upper cervical region as the top of the guitar where all the strings are tuned up for maximum sound and efficiency of the guitar. A body out of proper balance (uneven weight distribution, leg length discrepancy, higher hip on one side, lower shoulder on one side, etc.) can be an indication that the upper cervical spine (i.e. top of the guitar) is out of its normal position and creating imbalance in the overall tone of your body’s musculature.

When a guitar’s strings (i.e. postural muscles) are out of tune, the strings (muscles) will not have its proper tone to sound right. Therefore, when the tone of the muscles in the spine are not properly “tuned” just like in a guitar, this will create stress on the spine and ultimately affect the overall movement and function of the body. We “tune-up” your body!

The main objective tool we use in our office to determine body imbalance and whether or not you are in need of an adjustment is the Posture IQ. After an adjustment, we will always check you again on the Posture IQ in order to check if the balance has been restored (and your guitar has been properly tuned).

My neck feels fine, but my lower back hurts. How can an upper cervical chiropractor be a possible solution this?

When posture is corrected, the entire body rebalances resulting in less stress to all areas, including your low back. Your postural muscles are constantly working to maintain an upright posture against gravity. Gravity is THE BIGGEST STRESSOR ON THE BODY. Postural distortion results in uneven weight distribution over all of your joint surfaces. The muscles throughout your neck, spine, arms and legs will compensate for this shift in weight. Pain and wear & tear will show up in the area of greatest breakdown. The reduction of postural distortion provided by the upper cervical chiropractic (i.e. NUCCA) procedure decreases the stress on all areas of the body and allows for the possible relief of pain and proper healing.

How did I get this way?

The average human head weighs 10 – 15 POUNDS (like a bowling ball), and is supported by the Atlas bone (C1) which weighs 2 OUNCES. Therefore, this leaves the upper cervical area (where the head meets the neck) very susceptible to being injured, and ultimately causing the body to breakdown against gravity. More often than not, many injuries have occurred over time and lifestyle factors have compounded the damage. Examples of common injuries which can cause this:

  • Childhood falls, bumps, bruises
  • Difficult birth; use of forceps or suction
  • Placing the head and neck in extreme positions
  • Sports injuries
  • Bike accidents
  • Motor vehicle accidents
  • Thousands of other events (too many to list)
How long until I am better?

The healing process takes time. If you were to break an arm, the medical physician would cast it and you would be instructed to keep it in the cast for approximately 6 to 8 weeks. That is because this is the typical healing time for bone. When dealing with a spinal misalignment, the integrity of the musculature and ligaments has been compromised and you must allow adequate time for these structures to heal in the aligned position. The longer your spine has been out of alignment, the more possible damage has occurred and therefore the more required healing time.

Do I have to keep coming in?

When will your Brain and Spinal Cord no longer be important? The answer to this is, THEY ARE ALWAYS IMPORTANT. After we correct & reduce the spinal misalignment and get it stabilized, depending on the person and their lifestyle, we encourage our patients to get checked anywhere from once a month to 3-4 times per year. We work for you, and ultimately YOU decide how long you want to benefit from upper cervical chiropractic care.

Who should be “checked” to see if they need an upper cervical correction from an experienced chiropractor?

Anyone can benefit! If you have a spine and a nervous system (which you do), you should be checked. There are countless benefits for everyone whether you have symptoms or not. Upper cervical chiropractic has helped thousands of people of all ages regain & maintain their health throughout their lifetime. It offers a conservative approach to healing that is specific to that person and works to enhance the body’s own ability to be well.

Why aren’t there more chiropractors like you that specialize in the upper cervical region?

We often speak with patients who have very powerful and positive experiences with this care who want to refer family and friends from outside our area. They can get frustrated when discovering that there are very few upper cervical chiropractors in general, and even fewer NUCCA practitioners in particular. The reasons for this are many… The first is that not every chiropractic school teaches the importance of addressing the upper cervical spine with a specific protocol, so not every chiropractic student is exposed to our unique perspective on caring for the spine. The second is that this work requires further education, and travel, which for many reasons, can be a hurdle that stops some doctors from participating.

Why is the body being in optimal balance through upper cervical chiropractic the platform and foundational component to overall health?

This centered & optimal position of the spine allows the body to be “tensegral” (Up and Open) like a spring. This is the position for your body’s maximum health. It restores:

  • Optimal power (nervous system) – reduces vertigo, trigeminal neuralgia, seizures, and provides your body with the power to heal.
  • Minimizes muscle tension – tension that causes pain, spasms, trigger points, fibromyalgia, headaches, etc.
  • Balances all joints – minimizes arthritic conditions, sports injuries, spinal pain, degeneration, excessive wear & tear, etc.
  • Decompresses the vital organs and diaphragm – leads to increased energy & function.
  • Increases blood, oxygen, nutrition and removes harmful toxins.
How will I know if my body is out of alignment and needs an upper cervical correction once I am under care?

Practice and time! There are many things that happen to us during daily activities throughout the course our lives that will give us “signals”, i.e. sitting on a long flight for a vacation, bumping your head against the kitchen counter, over doing it with an excessive exercise routine, holiday stress, etc.  Life happens! However, your upper cervical chiropractor will teach you key ways and strategies to maintain proper alignment and detect issues. Periodic checkups are a great idea as well, just like a dental office.

Should I be skeptical about upper cervical chiropractic (i.e. NUCCA)?

An investment in health is the most important investment you can make. So, you should be wise about such investments. Consumers are justifiably concerned about health offerings of all kinds, whether surgical, procedural or medicinal. Specifically the NUCCA upper cervical chiropractic procedure has been around since the 1960s. It is not new science, but it is unique, highly specialized and utilized by thousands and thousands of patients over decades. Ultimately, you must be the judge of whether or not you wish to reverse pain with a more holistic, cause-based method.