Upper Cervical is a branch of chiropractic dealing primarily with the upper neck of a person. The joints between the base of the skull (occiput), C1 (atlas), and C2 (axis) are anatomically unique to the rest of the spine and require a great deal of care and precision. Upper cervical chiropractors devote their careers to understanding and fixing structural problems in this area.
The reason that some chiropractors choose to focus entirely on the upper cervical spine is because of how influential this area is to the whole body. A small misalignment of the upper neck will cause the rest of the body to compensate and distort itself, creating chronic tightness, poor posture, and faulty biomechanics. This leads to secondary conditions as diverse as low back pain and knee injuries. A misalignment of the upper neck can also affect the nerve signals going to and from the brain, playing a role in a wide range of problems. Once the misalignment is corrected, the body starts to untwist, muscles relax, and secondary conditions begin to fade as the body’s self-healing capabilities work more naturally.
One of the benefits of specific upper cervical care is it generally requires less adjustments than traditional chiropractic. By being as precise and gentle as possible and dealing with the source of the problem, one’s body can accept the changes and stabilize rather quickly. Another benefit is that it is gentle and safe enough for just about anybody. Because the adjustment is given in a neutral posture (there is no twisting of the neck), those who are young, elderly, or just anxious about having their neck cracked can safely be treated.