Is Your Head On Straight?

Article by: Glenn E. Cripe, D.C. (Certified N.U.C.C.A. instructor, Newport Beach, California)

Just when you thought you have tried everything, have you checked to see if your head is on straight?

Most people have experienced back pain or spinal-related problems sometime in their life. There are numerous approaches to achieving relief from this often-disabling pain. There are procedures that vary as widely as bed rest to medications, acupuncture, acupressure, and then the extreme: surgery. All of these and other systems have had their degrees of successes and failures.

Perhaps the one thing that can be said for certain is that there is no cure-all, no one hundred percent solution for all back problems. It is after all, a very complicated problem. The spinal column along with various layers of muscles, and the nervous system largely make up the structure that not only allows us to remain up-right under gravity, but also allows us to bend, twist and tilt. In seeking out help, most people will use the more conservative approaches first, like bed rest, and then keep moving toward the more extreme, like surgery, if they have not obtained the relief they need. In this arena of back pain procedures, there is a system that offers still another approach. It’s conservative, cost efficient, but, more importantly, extremely precise and painless. This procedure is named N.U.C.C.A. after the National Upper Cervical Chiropractic Association. The N.U.C.C.A principles were developed in Michigan by Drs. Ralph Gregory and John Grostic in the 1940’s. N.U.C.C.A. was formed in 1965 as a national organization recognized by the federal government. N.U.C.C.A. is a group within the chiropractic profession that concentrates specifically on returning the head and neck to normal.

Some conditions that can benefit from chiropractic care begin and can end in the neck. Falls, a whiplash type of accident, or a twist of the neck can all result in the relationship of the head and neck going off centre. By adjusting the head and neck, the entire spine, including the pelvis, can return back toward normal. This must be done before spinal balance can be attained.

The pelvis is the foundation for the spine; hence it supports the spine. As the head shifts off centre, the pelvis must also shift. This is to keep the body as upright as possible. If the head is in its normal position, the pelvis will be directly under it. But if the head and neck misalign, the muscles of the back will automatically tighten to shift the pelvis so it will be as directly under the head as possible. This shifting of the structure of the spine and pelvis can be the cause of many back problems, such as low back spasms, headaches, poor posture, or tingling pain in the extremities etc. Unless the head and neck are returned back to their normal positions, you may never really have a long-term correction with long term results.

Because the pelvis is the supporting structure of the spine, N.U.C.C.A., through precise instrumentation, measures its displacement and uses it as a gauge in determining if the patient is in adjustment or in balance. Three views of very exacting x-rays are taken and analyzed before any type of treatment is rendered. Each person has his or her unique type of misalignment pattern, which must be precisely determined. Once the type and degree of misalignment have been established, the doctor is able to direct a slight and controlled pressure into the neck at a particular spot, which will then bring the head and neck back towards normal. The closer the doctor can restore the head and neck to normal, the more stable and long lasting the adjustment will be. As the body returns to normal, the muscles will pull evenly, relieving muscle spasms. Swelling around the nerves can subside, relieving the pinched nerve feeling. Postural changes can occur along with the removal of stress on the weight-bearing joints (hips, low back).

After the correction has taken place, both the doctor and the patient should see significant results in postural changes. Each case is unique but generally symptoms can begin to alter from as soon as a few hours up to four to six weeks from the adjustment. After all, it usually has taken time to get out of shape. It will also take time for the tissue and nerves to heal.

As an alternative to correcting back problems, N.U.C.C.A. has had wonderful results and research documented over the past 50 years. So when you get to the point where you thought you’ve tried everything, you may want to find out if your head is on straight. ©