When someone tells you that they are a chiropractor, what do you think? What probably comes to mind is “a bone cracker”. Well, just as there are many types of surgeons, each with their own specialty, there are also many types of chiropractors, each with their own specialty and techniques. You might think that chiropractors are "bone" doctors, but in fact they are actually "nerve" doctors. The body naturally heals itself through a system called the Central Nervous System. The body knows what it needs to be healthy. When there is no nerve interference, the body can better diagnose and heal itself through this nervous system.

The spine is the channel through which all of our nerves run. Essentially the only way to keep the nerves free of interference is by adjusting the bones that cause the interference! Chiropractors are uniquely trained to locate and remove the nerve interference so the body has the 100% capacity to do what it has been made to do - heal itself - naturally - without drugs - without surgery. After years of study at Palmer College of Chiropractic in Davenport, Iowa, I was trained and certified in many different chiropractic techniques, including the ability to be a “bone cracker” through manual adjustments. However, I feel that our bodies experience enough trauma from the daily activities of our life, and though I will perform low force manual adjustments and utilize many techniques to aid in the healing of the body, I prefer to utilize one particular technique. This technique, called the Blair Upper Cervical Technique, focuses on the "power of the upper neck". It is a subtle, passive adjustment that is extremely powerful. Many healthcare providers do not recognize or understand the power, and if they did, they may refer their patients to a chiropractor instead of prescribing medication or surgery. Through years of study, clinical practice, research and the reading and studying of many well written articles, I have gathered, summarized and compiled some key points into a handout to help my patients understand how they can achieve health through this very powerful technique. To start, they must understand the anatomy of the spine, which is comprised of the cervical or neck region, the middle or thoracic region and the lower or lumbar region, then the sacrum and coccyx. There are seven vertebrae in the neck numbered from C1 through C7. Your head sits directly on the C1 vertebra, named the “atlas” because it has the most difficult job. Derived from Greek mythology, Atlas had the weight of the “celestial spheres” on his shoulders, just like your atlas vertebra has the weight of your head on it. Specifically, your head, which typically weighs around 10 or 11 pounds, rests on top of the two-ounce, doughnut-shaped atlas vertebra. The atlas is also called the “yes” bone because your head rocks back and forth on its two articulations when you nod your head to indicate “yes”. That is why, when your skull slips partially off one of these atlas joints in one direction or another, pressure is applied to the brain stem, causing you to be “off your rocker”. Your second vertebra (C2) is called the “axis”. This is the vertebra that allows you to turn your head left and right. You could call it the “no” bone because it allows your head to rotate left and right as you shake your head “no”. Incidentally, your atlas and axis are the only two vertebrae which do not have inter-vertebral discs between them like the rest of the vertebrae in your spine. Furthermore, they are the two most freely moveable vertebrae; and as a result, are the ones most commonly misaligned and the easiest to be misaligned. You might not realize this, but your brainstem actually extends down into the atlas and axis cavity so your spinal cord basically begins with the C3 vertebra. Thus, if your top two vertebrae are out of alignment (what chiropractors call a subluxation), they put pressure on the base of your brainstem. This, in turn, interferes with the free flow of signals up and down your nervous system—sometimes with serious consequences. As Dr. Burcon explains, “Five of the twelve cranial nerves originate in the brainstem. The base of the brain controls many important bodily functions, such as breathing, blood pressure, the sleep center, and balance.” When a C1 or C2 subluxation occurs, the weight of your head is no longer balanced evenly on your atlas. Rather, it is moved off center because of head tilt. When this happens, the rest of your body will begin to compensate for that shift of weight. One shoulder will drop down, one hip will come up bringing that leg up with it, creating imbalance in your body (Functional Short leg). Now you have a problem with your back. One leg appears relatively shorter than the other and you are not walking with a normal gait. As we have just seen, this head-neck misalignment results in pressure on the brainstem. This can cause interference at the point where your head and neck join (the atlas). “If the atlas is out of its proper position, it can irritate, constrict or disrupt vital nerve signals to any portion of your body. This can cause muscle or joint pain, organ dysfunction, lowered immune system and countless other conditions that you would not ordinarily relate to a problem originating in your neck” including the symptoms of Meniere’s disease. Therefore, as some might say, it is important for your health to keep your head “screwed on straight”. When examining your body from the side, you want your spine to have a nice curve to it. If the atlas is in subluxation, the spine cannot maintain the proper curve. This is where upper cervical chiropractic treatment comes in. Adjusting the atlas (and axis) can take this pressure off your brainstem, thus alleviating many problems by allowing your brain to send its healing messages throughout your body and allowing your spine and nervous system to revert to its proper alignment and function. This is why I practice the Blair Upper Cervical Technique. With this technique, I take a special set of x-rays to look at and analyze the C1 vertebrae. With these x-rays, I am able to determine exactly how the C1 has misaligned and at what angle (every person’s anatomy is different). By analyzing the x-rays I am able to generate a “listing” which tells me how to adjust you in order to return the C1 back to its proper position. I then use a protractor to line up at the exact angle of your joint and deliver the perfect adjustment every time. Through this very scientific method of chiropractic care, the body is able to function as it was designed, like a super highway of information, with the innate ability to keep itself healthy and happy...naturally.