You might have questions that others have had in the past. Here are some common questions that people ask when they are considering a visit at Read Health Center.
If you don’t see your question here, then please call the office, or submit your question via our secure online form.
I see that you work on the neck. Does that mean you pop and twist it?
No, there is absolutely no popping or twisting of the neck or anywhere else in the spine. There is also no thrusting into the spine.
The NUCCA approach to spinal care is based on gently moving joints into alignment, using more precision instead of more force. That makes the NUCCA adjustment effective while being extremely gentle. Anyone who is fearful of traditional chiropractic adjustments (which are also safe and effective) may appreciate our unique approach.
What kinds of health problems do you see?
We don’t see health problems. Rather we see the people who come in after struggling with any number of life-limiting conditions. All of these conditions are serious in one way or another to the persons who experience them. Our goal is to help our patients remove barriers to the body’s natural healing ability, focusing especially on particular barrier known as the Atlas Subluxation Complex.
Here are the most common things that people desire help with:
- headaches (tension and other kinds)
- neck stiffness and pain
- mid-back pain
- low back stiffness and pain
- arm and leg pains
- nerve pain
- pinched nerves
- tmj pain
- facial pain (trigeminal neuralgia)
- fibromyalgia pain
- sinus problems
- chronic ear infection (children)
- colicky behavior (children)
- anxiety, nervousness, and depression
- chronic pain
Here are a few more less common that some desire help with:
- symptoms related to multiple sclerosis
- symptoms related to cerebral palsy
- symptoms related to hormone imbalance
- symptoms related to other chronic diseases
In each case, the doctor will discuss your history and your goals for your care to make sure that you understand what role the NUCCA chiropractic approach might have for meeting your needs.
How can I know if you can help my problem?
Anyone interested in help is invited to contact to the office and schedule a consultation. The doctor allows for a free 15 minute consultation which gives you face to face time with the doctor in order to determine if the NUCCA procedure might be helpful in your case. NUCCA’s 40 year clinical research, as well as the doctor’s own extensive experience, will guide the process. The final decision whether to proceed with care or not is always left up to the patient.
Do I have to have a health concern to make an appointment, because I’m interested in wellness and general health maintenance?
No you do not have to have a specific condition in order to benefit from upper cervical chiropractic care. The NUCCA procedure intends to restore proper balance to the human body, regardless if there is pain. Those concerned with human well-being and performance, including athletes, have found that the better body balance through NUCCA is beneficial.
Do you see babies and children?
Yes. Upper cervical chiropractic care is a natural choice for improving the life of small children and babies, especially those who experienced a difficult birth, or who are suffering from chronic health problems.
Generally speaking, both babies and small children respond quickly to upper cervical adjustments, and the gentle approach by NUCCA is very safe and appropriate for their small bodies.
How is NUCCA different than other kinds of chiropractic care?
From the patient’s experience, NUCCA is very different for several reasons. There is no popping, twisting, or thrusting into the spine. The adjustment is based on measurements taken from x-rays, so each individual patient receives an adjustment tailor-made for their body–not a generic adjustment. The focus is on restoring total body balance, not just restoring joint motion. In many cases this means that fewer chiropractic adjustments may be necessary in order to reach the desired changes, which means fewer chiropractic visits.
A great way to learn what happens during the NUCCA procedure is to visit the doctor’s animated website about how the NUCCA procedure works.
I don’t have a “cervical” problem. Can you still help me?
Yes. Sometimes the name “upper cervical” is confusing. It refers to the neck part of your spine, specifically the top two vertebrae where the head joins the neck. That is the point of application of the NUCCA procedure. However, the effects can be felt across the entire body, including in the low back.
That is because the area where the doctor works has a lot of control and influence on important posture control centers for the body. The NUCCA procedure expects to change the level and rotation on the hips, and the amount of muscle tension traveling down the whole back. Even if your problem is on the other end of the body from the neck, the doctor may be able to help.
Does the adjustment hurt at all?
After over a decade of practice, the doctor has never had a patient complain that the adjustment hurt. The NUCCA procedure is purposefully gentle because of the way the body responds to sudden motion at the top of the spine.
However, like any other health care procedure, sometimes changes within the body after the adjustment can cause some temporary and minor discomfort as the body responds to its new alignment. The doctor will prepare you for all of these possibilities when you visit with her.
How long until I’m better?
The NUCCA procedure doesn’t provide you with any new body parts, nor does the doctor prescribe drugs that are meant to take away symptoms. Your body is given a new sense of balance, and an opportunity for self-healing.
All proper healing takes time, and your particular case depends on your health history, what other health challenges you may be facing, and other factors, like your current medications and your stress levels.
That said, a majority of patients will usually feel some change within the first seven days after the initial adjustment. For many that will be a decrease in symptoms. the doctor will evaluate your situation and give you a more specific healing time frame based on the area of the body tissue involved, and your unique history.
How often do I need to come back?
The NUCCA procedure is meant to restore proper body balance and allow the body a greater ability for self-healing. For most people that does not come from a one-time adjustment, so a proper care plan is necessary to make sure that you’re progressing under the doctor’s care.
While everyone’s response is different, generally speaking, those who choose NUCCA upper cervical care make fewer repeat visits than with other forms of chiropractic care. The emphasis in NUCCA is not on getting repeated adjustments, but making sure that your adjustment is holding. After an initial period of care, many patients are able to make seasonal return visits to Dr. Read to get their alignment checked.
Do you take x-rays?
Yes. To see is to know, not to see is to guess, and we don’t guess about your health. The NUCCA procedure is guided by objective measurements of your postural alignmnet, including x-rays at the junction of the head and the neck. What gives the doctor the ability to adjust so precisely is her use of x-rays.
Those with concerned about x-ray radiation should know that every precaution to minimize exposure is taken by the doctor.
Why don’t you make a chiropractic adjustment at every visit?
The goal of a traditional chiropractic adjustment is to restore motion in the spine, anywhere where there might be problems in the joints of the spine. In this system, multiple adjustments over multiple visits is expected and helpful.
As a chiropractic specialty, however, the goal of the NUCCA adjustment is to restore balance across the entire spine, expecting problems of joint motion to change and improve the longer the spine stays in balance.
Over time this new balance gives your body an opportunity to heal, relax, and find a new equilibrium. Some days feel really good. And other days don’t feel so great. The doctor will always check if you are maintaining your new alignment based on objective measurements of your posture. She will only adjust when there is a clinical indicator to do so.
Generally, the fewer adjustments one receives, the faster the patient tends to progress through their NUCCA care plan. Holding means healing in the NUCCA system.
Why do you look at posture so much?
The doctor uses objective measures of posture to determine if a patient is out of alignment and in need of a NUCCA adjustment, or if care is not needed at this time. Every patient visit includes multiple, objective measures of posture. Many patients note that they can actually see the difference in their posture before and after the adjustment, and the doctor will coach you on identifying the signs that your own posture is changing, showing when you might need a NUCCA adjustment.
Do I need a referral to see you?
While the doctor does recieve referrals from primary care providers, acupuncturists, and massage therapists, no referral is necessary to seek a consultation with the doctor.
Why aren’t there more chiropractors like you?
We often speak with patients who have very powerful and positive experiences with this care who want to refer family and friends from outside our area. They can get frustrated when discovering that there are very few upper cervical chiropractors in general, and even fewer NUCCA practitioners in particular.
The reasons for this are many.
The first is that not every chiropractic school teaches the importance of addressing the upper cervical spine with a specific protocol, so not every chiropractic student it exposed to our unique perspective on caring for the spine.
The second is that this work is a specialty that requires more discipline and more education, and travel for more education, which for many reasons, can be a hurdle that stops some doctors (especially young doctors) from participating.
As a whole profession, chiropractic care is often misunderstood and under-utilized by those who would most likely benefit from it, which means that we have fewer chiropractors than our society needs.
If you’d like to see more practicing NUCCA doctors, consider giving to our research at the Upper Cervical Research Foundation, or tell your primary care physician about this wonderful and gentle form of spinal care.
Can Children Benefit from NUCCA?
Children can be adjusted using the NUCCA procedure right from birth. Often children do not need the full NUCCA assessment as their many simple reflexes that can be checked allowing for a modified exam. Due to the tendency for a child’s misalignment to have been present for a relatively short period of time the misalignment is typically less complex. Children also generally respond more quickly to adjustments and usually require fewer adjustments to attain spinal stability.
How Can Such Light Touch Make Such A dramatic Change?
Although the patient feels only a slight pressure behind their ear while being adjusted, there is adequate force being put into the neck. Using the first vertebra and the weight of the head to gain a biomechanical advantage, the doctor places his/her body on a calculated angle to ensure the adjustment is specific to the patient’s individual misalignment. The force generated by the doctor is transferred to the patient in such a gentle and precise fashion that many patients are unaware of any intervention whatsoever.
How Can I Tell If I Need An Adjustment?
By paying attention to your body, you may become more sensitive to whether or not you are in alignment. Although some rely on the return of their symptoms to tell them when they’ve lost their alignment, we suggest patients pay attention to their reflection in the mirror; paying attention to head tilt or a low shoulder for example. Other cues may include where they feel their weight distributed on their feet, or if a change in gait is observed. More subtle indications may even include having to adjust your car rearview and side mirrors. Even with all of these clues, it is still recommended that periodic chiropractic assessments be performed to verify proper balance.
Why Should I Get Checked If I'm Feeling Fine?
We feel prevention and optimization are better that reactive, distress care. It is best to be assessed periodically to ensure that if you are misaligned but non-symptomatic, you can be adjusted to prevent your body from being accustomed to a misaligned state once again and avoid the spinal deterioration that often involves a return to pain.
Why Are You Looking At My Feet If You're Adjusting The Top Of My Neck?
There are many postural muscles that are constantly contracting and relaxing in response to normal body movements to prevent us from falling over and allow us to maintain an upright posture. When our first vertebra is misaligned, the weight of the head is no longer evenly distributed over the neck and the rest of the body. The body therefore responds to this imbalance by contracting different muscles in its attempt to maintain an upright posture. It is the contractions of the postural muscles that result in the contracted/ shortened leg.