Frequently asked questions
We try to answer all questions up-front, so there are no surprises. If you have a question we didn't answer here, please contact us.
- What is Upper Cervical Specific Chiropractic
- There are hundreds of chiropractic techniques, and each chiropractor chooses to use the one(s) they find most beneficial to their patients and for them personally. Upper Cervical is a technique that focuses on the top two bones in the neck (cervical spine). Even within this small group, there are many different ways to analyze and adjust this area. Some upper cervical chiropractors use an instrument (atlas orthogonal), some adjust patients on their side (Blair, Toggle, Grostic, and NUCCA), and others adjust on a special table called a "knee chest table" (Knee Chest and Kale). The important part to know is that these techniques are all a part of the same type of chiropractic technique (upper cervical specific). They all focus on the area of the spine closest to the brainstem, and they all can have effects relating to body as a whole (not just the neck).
- Will getting adjusted hurt?
- Many people see what looks like someone adjusting them on television: they turn the neck quickly to the side and a "cracking or popping" sound is heard. There isn't anything wrong with that kind of adjusting, however in this office we don't do that. Our adjustments are very gentle and specific, although I would be lying if I said it doesn't feel uncomfortable at times. Sometimes when I need to be adjusted, the area in my neck is tender just to touch. It's difficult for me to relax so my chiropractor can make the gentle and specific adjustment, but then it's done. As for the actual adjustment, most people usually say "that's it?" or "aren't you going to adjust me?" and it's already been done. It doesn't LOOK like it's gentle, but usually it feels like I barely pressed on your neck. It's the main reason I adjust using a special table where there is no quick turning of the head, and there is no "cracking or popping". It's very gentle and specific.
- What happens on the first visit?
- 1. Due to the significant difference in chiropractic technique, we will discuss exactly what we do and don't do in our office and why. It is IMPORTANT to understand this so you are not later surprised when things are not the same as your friend Suzy, who goes to another chiropractor in the area, or even your own experience with someone else. Usually, this takes up the entire first visit, if not most of it. 2. If you decide you want to be checked, we will begin the new patient exam. We will review imaging and records, take x-rays if necessary, and gather other information to determine if and how we can help you. If we are almost out of time, we will do as much as we can the first day. 3. If we are able to get through all the above in the same day and there is time (usually this does not happen unless you have already sat through a family member or friend's first visit) we can adjust you. If we did not finish the exam on day 1, we will complete it and usually adjust you the second day. There are some rare exceptions.
- Will you adjust me today (my first visit)?
- If you have attended a first visit with a family member or friend, we will begin the new patient exam at the start of your first visit. After that, if you are able to be adjusted that day we will certainly do so. If this is your first visit ever to our office, it really depends on the time it takes to educate you, examine you properly, and adjust. It's not common to be adjusted the first day.
- How long will it take to get better?
- Each person is different. Some people feel immediate changes, while others can take weeks before noticing a change. Some things that can affect healing times: 1.) severity of your condition 2.) length of time from original injury 3.) lifestyle choices 4.) medications/drug use 5.) compliance with doctor recommendations 6.) age
- Is everyone adjusted the same way?
- No. There are many different ways the bones in the upper cervical area can misalign, and this is a good part of why you precise x-rays for correction. We are as specific as possible because we are dedicated to getting and keeping you functioning at your best.
- Is it safe to be adjusted?
- Yes. Several safety studies on chiropractic care have been done, and support that it is safe to be adjusted by a chiropractor. This is also part of why we use x-rays in our office. We want to be sure it is SAFE to adjust you before we actually do it. Several safety studies have been conducted on chiropractic, and it should be added that our malpractice rates are low because the risk is also low. If you are going to be adjusted, be sure it is done by a chiropractor if you are concerned about safety. -The Effectiveness and Cost Effectiveness of Chiropractic Management of Low-Back Pain (The Manga Report). Pran Manga and Associates (1993) - University of Ottawa, Canada. - Acute Low Back Problems in Adults. Clinical Practice Guidelines. Bigos S, et al. Agency for Health Care Policy and Research Publication No. 950642 (1994) - U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. -New Zealand Report. Hasselberg PD. Government Printer, Wellington - 1979
- Can I be adjusted after back surgery?
- It depends on the situation, and we work WITH your other doctors to discuss the specifics of your care and any contraindications to being adjusted. Most of the time, the answer is YES, however we never assume. Please bring all your imaging and records with you if this is the case so we can best help you.
- How long will I need upper cervical chiropractic care?
- This question gets me sometimes because you don't brush your teeth only when you have a cavity, right? You don't only eat well when you have a cold, do you? You don't only exercise when you need to lose weight? You don't only change the oil in your car when it's broken down, and you don't change the tires on it when you've had a blowout. You also should not only be adjusted when you are in pain or unable to do something any longer. There are times you will be in pain and NOT need an adjustment. Sometimes you will feel GREAT and still need an adjustment. Pain is not the only indicator, and this is why we want to CHECK you (not necessarily adjust). The body is self-healing, self-regulating, and intelligent so we want to support you by CHECKING and only adjusted WHEN YOU NEED IT. I recommend being CHECKED approximately once a month, however how long you choose to benefit from chiropractic care is up to you.
- Can children be adjusted?
- Yes, we take care of many children in our office (including my own). Parents of many children have been helped who struggle with colic, ear infections, autism, difficulty sleeping, neck and back pain, and postural distortions such as scoliosis. Kids with a free flowing nerve system are better able to express themselves fully and that is a great gift!
- Can I have chiropractic subluxation without pain?
- Yes. There are many "silent killers" heart disease and cancer, where people walk around for years or decades with no symptoms. Vertebral subluxation is also a silent killer, as the longer you have a misaligned spine with interference to the nerve system, the more the spine can degenerate and be more difficult to heal.
- How does an upper cervical adjustment affect the rest of the body?
- Your head sits and moves with the atlas. If this top bone in your neck has shifted out of position it can move your head off center from your body. To keep "your head on straight" the entire spine and pelvis will twist, pulling one hip up and one leg with it. This is why one leg can seem to be shorter than the other. This places more weight on one side of your body than another, wearing the joints unevenly (leading to degeneration). It's just like driving a car that is out of alignment! When we re-align the top bones in the spine, the rest of the body is able to shift back into a better position. The time it takes to do this is different in each case.
- How can I tell if I need to be checked by a chiropractor?
- The top two bones in the spine can misalign when physical, chemical, or emotional stresses are greater than your body's ability to handle them. When this happens, the rest of the body will compensate to help you keep your "head on straight", resulting in misalignment. There are several things you can check at home to see if you might have spinal misalignment: 1) March in place with your eyes closed and stand up straight. Open your eyes and have a friend look at you. - Is one ear or eye higher slightly than the other? - Are the nose or chin off-center from the core of your body? - Is one shoulder higher than the other? - How about the hips? This is a good start. If you said YES to any of these, you might want to be checked by a chiropractor.
- Do you take my insurance?
- We never recommend deciding your care on what your insurance company will or won't pay for. That's NEVER how it should be, although I do understand the struggle. Aside from that, reimbursement from the insurance companies can be little to nothing and nowadays copays and deductibles make it so most people end up paying out of pocket for their care. Simple, affordable membership options are available for individuals, couples, and families. We also offer a box on the wall, which allows you to contribute what is fair and affordable in a discreet manner. I cannot do this if I accept insurance, or it would be a dual fee system (which is a big no no) as they only do billing per service. In short, I do not participate with insurance but offer plans usually more affordable than using it (even with the copays).
- How much does it cost?
- There is NO COST for the first visit, which is your education visit where all questions are answered. The second visit has a cost of the new patient exam, and x-rays if needed. After that, your payment depends on which method is best for your family. Please see our Affordable Pricing page for details.
- What do I need to bring?
- Bring yourself, an open mind, and your significant other if you can. If you have imaging (x-Ray, CT, MRI) please bring the CD with the images along with the radiology report and any other medical records you have.
- What if you can't help me?
- No one chiropractic technique is perfect for everyone (that's part of why there are so many). If you are not a candidate for this type of care, we will tell you that and hopefully send you to someone who can help you. Sometimes things happen in your life that might make another technique or treatment more beneficial for you. If so, I'll refer you to that person so you can get the help you need.