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Common questions about NUCCA Chiropractic

You might have questions that others have had in the past. Here are some common questions that people ask when they are considering a visit with Dr. Sarah Johnson and Dr. Lisa Strickland  at Spine Wellness Center of Nevada.

If you don’t see your question here, then please call the office, or submit your question via email.

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. While general chiropractic adjustments offered by other chiropractors are safe when practiced by fully trained doctors of chiropractic, we do not adjust in this manner in this office.

The NUCCA approach to spinal care is based on gently moving joints into alignment, emphasizing the use of precision over force. That makes the NUCCA adjustment effective while being extremely gentle. Anyone who is fearful of traditional chiropractic adjustments (which are also safe and effective) may appreciate our unique approach.

What kinds of health problems do you see?

We don’t see health problems. Rather we see the people who come in after struggling with any number of life-limiting conditions. All of these conditions are serious in one way or another to the persons who experience them. Our goal is to help our patients remove barriers to the body’s natural healing ability, focusing especially on one powerful barrier known as the Atlas Subluxation Complex.

Here are some things that people desire help with:

  • Arthritis
  • Asthma
  • ADD or ADHD
  • Back Pain
  • Bed Wetting
  • Carpal Tunnel
  • Syndrome
  • Cerebral Palsy
  • Constipation
  • Depression
  • Digestive Problems
  • Ear Infections
  • Female Disorders
  • Digestive Problems
  • Ear Infections
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Frequent Colds
  • Hacking Cough
  • Headaches (all types)
  • Migraines
  • Herniated Disk
  • Neck Pain
  • Numbness
  • Poor Vision
  • Sciatica
  • Sinus Problems
  • Tendinitis
  • T.M.J. Disorder
  • Tourette’s Syndrome
  • Whiplash

In each case, the doctor will discuss your history and your goals for your care to make sure that you understand what role the NUCCA chiropractic approach might have for meeting your needs.

How can I know if you can help my problem?

Anyone interested in help is invited to contact to the office and schedule a consultation. Drs. Johnson and Strickland offers a free consultation which gives you face to face time with the doctor in order to determine if the upper cervical chiropractic procedure might be helpful in your case, or in the case of your child. NUCCA’s clinical research, as well as Drs. Johnson and Strickland’s experience, will guide the process.

Do I have to have a health concern to make an appointment, because I’m interested in wellness and general health maintenance?

No you do not have to have a specific condition in order to benefit from upper cervical chiropractic care. The upper cervical chiropractic procedure intends to restore proper balance to the human body, regardless if there is pain. Those concerned with human well-being and performance, including athletes, have found that the better body balance through NUCCA is beneficial.

Do you see babies and children?

Yes. Upper cervical chiropractic care is a natural choice for improving the life of small children and babies, especially those who experienced a difficult birth, or who are suffering from chronic health problems.

Generally speaking, both babies and small children respond quickly to upper cervical adjustments, and the gentle approach by NUCCA is very safe and appropriate for their small bodies.

How is Upper Cervical Care different than other kinds of chiropractic care?

From the patient’s experience, NUCCA is very different for several reasons. There is no popping, twisting, or thrusting into the spine. When performed by trained chiropractors, these procedures are very safe and can be very effective. However, they are not used in NUCCA. The adjustment is based on measurements taken from x-rays, so each individual patient receives an adjustment tailor-made for their body. The focus is on restoring total body balance. In many cases this means that fewer chiropractic adjustments may be necessary in order to reach the desired changes, which means fewer chiropractic visits.

I don’t have a “cervical” problem. Can you still help me?

Yes. Sometimes the name “upper cervical” is confusing. It refers to the neck part of your spine, specifically the top two vertebrae where the head joins the neck. That is the point of application of the upper cervical procedure. However, the effects can be felt across the entire body, including in the low back.

That is because the area where Drs. Johnson and Strickland work has a lot of control and influence on important posture control centers for the body. The NUCCA procedure expects to change the level and rotation on the hips, and the amount of muscle tension traveling down the whole back. Even if your problem is on the other end of the body from the neck, Drs. Johnson and Strickland may be able to help.

Does the adjustment hurt at all?

The NUCCA procedure is purposefully gentle because of the way the body responds to sudden motion at the top of the spine. It is extremely rare for a patient to say that the adjustment hurts.

However, like any other health care procedure, sometimes changes within the body after the adjustment can cause some temporary and minor discomfort as the body responds to its new alignment. Drs Johnson and Strickland will prepare you for all of these possibilities when you visit.

How long until I’m better?

Upper cervical chiropractic care doesn’t provide you with any new body parts, nor do Drs. Johnson and Strickland prescribe drugs that are meant to take away symptoms. Your body is given a new sense of balance, and an opportunity for self-healing.

All proper healing takes time, and your particular case depends on your health history, what other health challenges you may be facing, and other factors, like your current medications and your stress levels.

That said, a majority of patients will usually feel some change within the first seven days after the initial adjustment. For many that will be a decrease in symptoms. Drs. Johnson and Strickland will evaluate your situation and give you a more specific healing time frame based on the area of the body tissue involved, and your unique history.

Generally speaking, children respond a lot faster than adults because they do not have the same level of spinal degeneration nor poor postural habits that are found in many adults.

How often do I need to come back?

The NUCCA procedure is meant to restore proper body balance and allow the body a greater ability for self-healing. For most people that does not come from a one-time adjustment, so a proper care plan is necessary to make sure that you’re progressing under Drs. Johnson and Strickland’s care.

While everyone’s response is different, generally speaking, those who choose upper cervical care make fewer repeat visits than with other forms of chiropractic care. The emphasis in NUCCA is not on getting repeated adjustments, but making sure that your adjustment is holding. After an initial period of care, many patients are able to make seasonal return visits to Drs. Johnson and Strickland to get their alignment checked.

Do you take x-rays?

Yes. To see is to know, not to see is to guess, and we don’t guess about your health. The NUCCA procedure is guided by objective measurements of your postural alignment, including x-rays at the junction of the head and the neck. What gives Drs. Johnson and Strickland the ability to adjust so precisely is her use of x-rays.

Those concerned about x-ray radiation should know that every precaution to minimize exposure is taken by Drs. Johnson and Strickland.

Why don’t you make a chiropractic adjustment at every visit?

The goal of a traditional chiropractic adjustment is to restore motion in the spine, anywhere where there might be problems in the joints of the spine. In this system, multiple adjustments over multiple visits is expected and helpful.

The goal of the NUCCA adjustment is to restore balance across the entire spine, expecting problems of joint motion to change and improve the longer the spine stays in balance.

Over time this new balance gives your body an opportunity to heal, relax, and find a new equilibrium. Some days feel really good. And other days don’t feel so great. Drs. Johnson and Strickland will always check if you are maintaining your new alignment based on objective measurements of your posture. She will only adjust the upper cervical spine when there is a clinical indicator to do so.

Generally, the fewer adjustments one receives, the faster the patient tends to progress through their upper cervical chiropractic care plan. Holding means healing in the NUCCA system.

Why do you look at posture so much?

Drs. Johnson and Strickland uses objective measures of posture to determine if a patient is out of alignment and in need of an upper cervical adjustment, or if care is not needed at this time. Every patient visit includes multiple, objective measures of posture.

Many patients note that they can actually see the difference in their posture before and after the adjustment, and Drs. Johnson and Strickland will coach you on identifying the signs that your own posture is changing, showing when you might need an upper cervical chiropractic adjustment.

Do I need a referral to see you?

While Drs. Johnson and Strickland does receive referrals from primary care providers, and other body work professionals, a referral is not necessary to seek a consultation with Drs. Johnson and Strickland.

Why aren’t there more chiropractors like you?

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 it exposed to our unique perspective on caring for the spine.

The second is that this work requires extensive discipline and continuing education after chiropractic school, which for many reasons, can be a hurdle that stops some doctors ( especially young doctors ) from participating.

As a whole profession, chiropractic care is often misunderstood and under-utilized by those who would most likely benefit from it, which means that we have fewer chiropractors than our society needs.

If you’d like to see more practicing upper cervical doctors, consider giving to our research at the Upper Cervical Research Foundation, or tell your primary care physician about this wonderful and gentle form of spinal care.