The evaluation process begins with a detailed consultation of your health history, including any past traumas, motor vehicle accidents, or surgeries. We will also discuss any treatment programs and other diagnostic tests or previous x-rays that you have had. We will explain the NUCCA procedure and answer all of your questions. An examination to assess your condition and general health will follow. This will include a spinal evaluation to determine if you are a candidate for NUCCA chiropractic care.
FINDING THE PROBLEM
Attention will be focused on the entire spine, but especially the relationship of the head to the neck. The top bone of the spine, known as the atlas or first cervical, must be in line with the head, as well as the vertebrae below. Structural imbalance can misalign the spine resulting in:
- Vertebral subluxations;
- Postural changes;
- Pelvic distortion;
- Leg length disparity, also known as the “functional short leg” phenomenon.
Measurement of postural distortion and leg length will be made. Pelvic distortion will be measured. Additional evaluation of posture will include shoulder height deviation and palpation of musculature. Ranges of spinal motion are also evaluated. If spinal misalignment is indicated by examination, a series of x-rays are then taken. It is important to know you would only be accepted as a patient if the exam results indicate that you could benefit from NUCCA care. X-rays are taken only if care is to be initiated.
The correction of spinal distortion begins with 3 cervical x-rays taken at exact right angles (90 degrees) to each other with specialized precision aligned x-ray equipment. Additional x-rays of the spine may also be taken, depending on your history and condition. Precise measurement of the distortion (vertebral subluxation) demonstrated by the x-rays must be made which provides the exact angle of correction, or trajectory needed for the adjustment. These x-rays determine the direction and degree of spinal misalignment and provide information on how to properly restore the spine to normal. The upper cervical adjustment depends upon precise mathematical calculations, physics, and biomechanics. X-rays are a critical part of ensuring the spinal correction is accurate and successful. Typically, corrective adjustments are not given on the first office visit (except in extreme cases). This first office visit is dedicated to information gathering and evaluation. You may schedule your second visit as soon as schedules allow. We are anxious to help you begin to experience the benefits of NUCCA chiropractic care. Both your first and second office visit will last approximately 1 hour.
YOUR SECOND OFFICE VISIT
REPORT OF FINDINGS
On your second office visit, Dr. Ciano will give a complete report on your exam and x-ray findings. You will then be adjusted.
The adjustment is done by hand with a gentle contact to the first vertebra in the neck. Even though the primary focus is the neck, the atlas correction influences the entire spine and all body systems. This is because the NUCCA procedure affects the highest control centers over body balance, the brain stem and Central Nervous System. This adjustment will allow you to experience maximum health benefits.
The atlas, also known as the C-1 vertebra, is a small doughnut-shaped bone located at the top of the spine below the base of the skull. The atlas surrounds the brain stem (the lower end of the brain) which exits through the opening at the base of the skull. When the spine is subjected to stress or trauma, the atlas can become misaligned and spinal distortion results. This spinal distortion affects the brain stem which produces pelvic imbalance and a functional contractured short leg. This phenomenon is known as the Atlas Subluxation Complex Syndrome or the ASC Syndrome.
To simplify: when your atlas is out of alignment, your brain stem is pinched, causing your pelvis to shift from the horizontal position due to muscle contraction, and a functional short leg is created. This causes your spine to twist and pinch your spinal nerves. The adjustment is manually done while you lie on either your right or left side, determined by distortion findings calculated from the analysis of the x-rays. The adjustment itself is very gentle and non-forceful. You will not have your head or neck twisted, and your neck will not be pushed. Many people find this low force adjustment procedure relaxing.
Immediately after the adjustment, your spine will be re-evaluated. Measurements of your pelvis, shoulders and legs will be taken. To determine if the trajectory of the adjustive force applied during the correction was accurate, 1 post x-ray will be taken.
You will be instructed on how to maintain your correction by making some ergonomic changes in your lifestyle, if necessary. Activities of daily living will also be discussed.
A follow-up office visit is scheduled 3 to 5 days after your first treatment. The goal of the NUCCA technique is not to give you as many treatments as possible, but to give you a treatment that will stabilize your spine so that you can experience maximum health benefits.
PROTECTING YOUR ADJUSTMENT
Protecting your adjustment and understanding how to maintain it will speed your recovery. Following recommendations will ensure the best results. Here are a few suggestions.
- Keep all scheduled appointments.
- Avoid physical and mental stress for 24 hours after your adjustment. The more relaxed you are, the better your spine will remain stabilized.
- Follow all home care instructions after your treatment. These may include such things as hot or cold packs, exercise, lifting instructions, etc.
- Sleep on your back or on your side, but never on your stomach. Ideally, you should have your neck supported while you sleep so your head is in a neutral position. To lessen the stress on your low back, place a pillow under your calves (while on your back) or between your knees (while on your side).
- Sit straight while in a chair, making sure that your low back is supported.
- Lift properly. Use your legs. Bend at the knees while keeping your back straight.
- If any particular motion causes discomfort, avoid that motion.
- Keep a positive attitude.
- Be patient. Healing takes time. Ligaments and muscles must have time to re-train themselves to support the re-aligned vertebrae. This is a natural process that can’t be rushed.
- Please feel free to ask any questions that you have about your health or wellness. We are here to help you understand the best way to take care of your spinal condition.
- Report any change in your condition.
- Read all information given to you. Information given is meant to help you progress steadily and to learn how to take care of your spinal condition more effectively.
- Share with others! Our mission is to make this a healthier world for everyone.