Headaches, neck pain, shoulder pain, migraines, and TMJ (temporomandibular joint) pain are common neuromuscular conditions that people in Brisbane can experience.
They are actually so common that there are actually neck pain specialists, headache specialists, and TMJ specialists in Brisbane, who focus exclusively on medical neck treatment.
People often try pain killers first. If that doesn’t work, they may try stronger painkillers or go to a neck pain specialist, who takes an x-ray, CT, or MRI scan of your neck to find the cause of your condition. Often, your report comes back saying that “Everything is normal” - or that there is just some degenerative arthritis that could be causing your neck pain - and that your typical options are nerve injections or physiotherapy.
By downloading the ChiroWebMD mobile app you can better control your patient portal.
These types of neck treatment are often very effective for certain types of neck pain. For other people, however, they do not help much.
It is usually at this point - when people are starting to lose hope because they’ve already “been everywhere else” - that they come across something called an “upper cervical chiropractor” who focuses on the health of your head and neck.
So what exactly is an “upper cervical chiropractor?”
How is this different from a general chiropractor?
And how might upper cervical chiropractic care be able to help if the other neck treatment you have tried hasn’t worked?
What is an upper cervical chiropractor?
An upper cervical doctor is a chiropractor, who has completed additional study in the relationship between the alignment of the top vertebrae in your neck - the C1 (atlas) and C2 (axis) and your nerve system.
The nerve system is the master control and coordination system for your body. Your atlas and axis protect your brainstem and also form the gateway for all communication between your brain above and the body below. In addition, the atlas and axis have the potential to affect blood flow supply to your brain, and also drainage back to your heart.
In brief, this is a very important area of the body!
It is often considered a “no go” zone for neurosurgeons because there are so many delicate and variable nerve fibers and blood vessels that it makes surgical procedures very difficult to perform.
The irony is that natural, conservative options are often the preferred way to go!
This is where an upper cervical chiropractor may be able to help. Upper cervical care is a unique division of chiropractic that has been researched extensively in the USA. Unfortunately, there are still very few upper cervical-specific chiropractors here in Australia.
Unlike general spinal manipulation, an upper cervical chiropractic adjustment does NOT use any twisting, cracking, or popping. There are actually many methods of upper cervical chiropractic adjusting: Atlas Orthogonal (AO), Blair, and NUCCA being the most commonly searched.
Although they may be slightly different, what they all have in common is a precise form of diagnosis so that any neck treatment or atlas treatment can be done with the least amount of force possible - usually only the equivalent of force you would use to click a pen!
How is upper cervical chiropractic neck treatment different?
The key difference with chiropractic atlas neck treatments is the degree of precision that is used.
An upper cervical chiropractic doctor is trained first to perform a thorough health history and to perform a physical and neurological assessment in order to determine if there is a mechanical problem with your neck that could be impacting your nerve system and your overall health.
If so, the next step is a precise and unique type of advanced imaging study involving three-dimensional x-rays. In brief, standard x-rays, CTs, and MRI scans are useful for detecting pathology like arthritis, cancer, or infections. However, they are not nearly as useful for determining the alignment of the individual joints in your neck.
Every human being is built differently on the outside and also on the inside. Unless we take these individual difference into account, we may never actually see what is wrong with you neck … and thus not know what the appropriate neck treatment is.
If you consider all the possible combinations and degrees of misalignment that can occur among just the top four vertebrae in your neck, it has been calculated that there are over 500,000 possible combinations.
So what an upper cervical chiropractic doctor does with these images is stay them to identify the exact location, direction, and degree of misalignment in your neck in order to design a customised adjustment made just for you to help with the underlying condition.
How could upper cervical chiropractic neck treatment help me?
Atlas Health is the premier upper cervical specific healthcare and neck treatment center in Brisbane. Located in North Lakes (north Brisbane), we provide care for people suffering long-standing issues, often those who have been multiple places already, to help them find long-term solutions so that they can enjoy the quality of life that they desire.
Often, what we find is different about the neck treatment that we are able to do for people is that we are not just treating the symptoms or the tight muscles. What we are going after is the underlying cause when it is coming from the alignment of your upper neck.
What we often find also is that it is the angle or direction or correction that we are able to offer that is so different from other medical and neck specialists that you may have already seen.
So if you have been searching for an answer for long-standing headaches migraines or neck pain, it’s likely that the neck treatment, exercises, and other procedures you have been doing have actually been important! However, if you are missing this one essential piece to the puzzle, it may be like trying to solve a combination lock with the numbers in the wrong order.
Indeed, upper cervical chiropractic care and neck treatments are not cures for everything! Nevertheless, if your neck being out of alignment so happens to the thing that is preventing the rest of your other neck treatments from working the way that they are supposed to, you may not experience the relief you are looking for until you’ve gotten your neck properly adjusted by an upper cervical chiropractor.
Dr. Jeffrey Hannah is an advanced certified Blair upper cervical chiropractor with Atlas Health Australia. He is also certified in the Atlas Orthogonal (AO) technique and has studied many upper cervical neck treatment techniques including NUCCA, QSM3, and Knee Chest specific. He is a published author, international speaker, and recognised leader in the field of upper cervical chiropractic care.
If you would like more information, we are happy to offer a 15-minute complementary over the phone consultation with Dr. Hannah so that you can discuss your condition and ask any questions so that you can decide if upper cervical neck treatment may be right for you,
If so, you can reach us through the Contact Us link on this site, or phone us direct at 07 3188 9329.
Atlas Health Australia - “Hope. healing and wellbeing from above-down, inside-out,”
Neck Treatment References
Addington EA. Blair cervical spinographic analysis. Conference on Research and Education. Monetary, CA: 21-23 Jun 1991. Appendix B. https://chiro.org/LINKS/ABSTRACTS/blair.shtml
Cramer GD, Fournier J, Henderson C. Degenerative changes of the articular processes following spinal fixation. J Chiro Educ 2002;1:7-8.
Cramer GD, Henderson CN, Little JW, Daley C, Grieve TJ. Zygapophyseal joint adhesions after induced hypomobility. J Manipulative Physiol Ther 2010;33(7):508-18.
Cramer GD, Fournier JT, Henderson CN, Wolcott CC. Degenerative changes following spinal fixation in a small animal model. J Manipulative Physiol Ther 2004;27(3):141-54.
Mingels S, Dankaerts W, Granitzer M. Is There Support for the Paradigm 'Spinal Posture as a Trigger for Episodic Headache'? A Comprehensive Review. Curr Pain Headache Rep. 2019 Mar 4;23(3):17. doi: 10.1007/s11916-019-0756-2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30830498
Shahar D and Sayers MGL. Prominent exostosis projecting from the occipital squama more substantial and prevalent in young adults than older age groups. Scientific Reports. 8;3354:20 Feb 2018. https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-018-21625-1
Taylor DN. A theoretical basis for maintenance spinal manipulative therapy for the chiropractic profession. J of Chiropr Humanities (2011) 18, 74–85. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3342827/
Teng CC, Chai H, Lai DM, Wang SF. Cervicocephalic kinesthetic sensibility in young and middle-aged adults with or without a history of mild neck pain. Man Ther. 2007 Feb;12(1):22-8. Epub 2006 Jun 14. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16777468
Wong JJ, Shearer HM, Mior S, et al. Are manual therapies, passive physical modalities, or acupuncture effective for the management of patients with whiplash-associated disorders or neck pain and associated disorders? An update of the Bone and Joint Decade Task Force on Neck Pain and Its Associated Disorders by the OPTIMa collaboration. Spine J. 2016 Dec;16(12):1598-1630. doi: 10.1016/j.spinee.2015.08.024. Epub 2015 Dec 17. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26707074