We all want that “miracle case” where the patient immediately feels better after one correction but the reality is it takes time to heal. Our typical patient has had their problem an average of 15-20 years. Patients often notice “changes” within a few visits but to fully recover depends upon the following factors: how long have you been sick/injured, how severe is the condition, age of patient, are there degenerative changes (i.e. arthritis, disc bulges, bone spurs, etc), stress, diet and lastly, how well do you “hold” your correction. These are all factors that play into the equation of time; how long will it take to heal. Remember, corrections don’t allow you to heal, it’s “holding” the correction. The longer you “hold”, the quicker you heal.
Health is a journey and not a destination.
In medicine you may have a cardiologist, an orthopedist and a neurologist; each is a medical doctors but they have completely different practices or areas of expertise. The same can be said for general chiropractors and upper cervical chiropractors.
As upper cervical doctors, our areas of expertise are the top two bones in the spine, called the Atlas and Axis, and most importantly, the brain stem. This region is called the “upper cervical spine”, hence the name upper cervical doctors.
The reason for focusing on this region is two-fold. The first reason is biomechanical; the top two bones in the spine are the most susceptible to injury and misalignment because there are the only bones in the entire spine that don’t have a disc or inter-locking joints. As a result, they are freely moveable (move in 6 planes) which makes them vulnerable to misalignment. Secondly, if a misalignment does occur, the brain stem, considered the master control center for the entire body, is compromised. This condition is called a subluxation, and it’s the only location within the spine where is kind of injury can occur.
Two things happen when you have an upper cervical subluxation. First, if one of the top two vertebrae becomes misaligned, you don’t have a choice, your spine compensates and the entire body shifts. We call this “body imbalance” (Dr. Clark illustration). Secondly, and most importantly, the brain stem houses most of the vital control centers and it is the conduit between your brain and your body. If the brain stem is affected, you reduce the “brain to body communication” and the body begins the breakdown and grow dis-ease.
Incidentally, the brain and brain stem do NOT have pain receptors so many patients don’t have neck pain.