NUCCA stands for the National Upper Cervical Chiropractic Association. This is a chiropractic technique that works through the correction of small misalignments of the cervical spine. This correction seeks to restore balance to the entire spinal column allowing the nervous system to better communicate with the rest of the body.
All healing in the body is self-healing and helping the nervous system to reach optimum function by removing nervous interference caused by misalignment supports the body’s ability to heal itself.
Although the adjustment is performed on the neck, the entire spinal column can be affected. The upper cervical spine influences the central nervous system and the brain stem, two of the most important control centers in relation to posture.
What to Expect
NUCCA practitioners are trained to examine the body to determine if there is a misalignment requiring correction. This includes a detailed history and physical examination that utilizes orthopedic, neurological and postural measurements. If it is determined that a misalignment is present then a specific series of radiographs are taken and analyzed to determine how best to correct the misalignment. The radiographs also serve to highlight any potential contraindications to adjustment and/or pathologies present. Multiple factors contribute to an individuals’ unique misalignment and thus the adjustment must be tailored to each patient.
For the adjustment, you will be lying on a table on your side as determined from the radiographs. The doctor will position himself according to the x-ray information and place a hand behind your ear at the determined contact point of the first cervical vertebra (also known as the Atlas). The doctor will then proceed with the corrective adjustment.
As Atlas only weighs approximately 2 ounces, the force required for the adjustment is very low, where proper positioning and angulation play a greater role in the corrective procedure. The adjustment is not fast enough and does not have great enough depth to cause the popping or clicking sound that occurs when a joint is taken to end range and slightly beyond. This is known as a cavitation and does not occur with a NUCCA correction.
Post-radiographs are taken after the first adjustment and are analyzed to determine the level of correction, thus ensuring the production of successful adjustments as well as guiding the practitioner in further care. This is generally only performed after your first adjustment, however, further adjustment and radiographs may be taken in order to insure optimal correction.
Recent NUCCA research:
Effects of NUCCA on Migraines: a Pilot Study
To learn more about this technique and current research please visit: