NUCCA: National Upper Cervical Chiropractic Association

NUCCA: National Upper Cervical Chiropractic AssociationWhile there are approximately 70,000 Chiropractors practicing in the United States only about 150 practices this very specific discipline or type of Chiropractic Treatment. NUCCA is an acronym for National Upper Cervical Chiropractic Association. NUCCA is to Chiropractic as a whole as Endodontists are to Dentistry. This is a very specialized branch of Chiropractic. I have experienced this modality first hand and can not attest to it’s effectiveness. My experience may have been due to Chiropractor or the methods, I don’t know which. I do believe there is some merit or logic behind the “Theory”, but can not tell you definitively if it works.

My Personal Experience with NUCCA Chiropractic Care

I have been treated by the traditional Chiropractic techniques (Massage and quick violent snapping of the neck). This snapping of the neck was described to me by the practicing licensed Chiropractor as being very healthy for the neck (I do not share that view). I have also been treated by a NUCCA Chiropractor with Level 1 Certification. The NUCCA doctor has been practicing his trade for many years and has developed a significant practice and established name for himself.

NUCCA procedures are quite different from general Chiropractic Techniques. If I were to advise which type of Chiropractic treatment to seek first I would definitely say to seek out a qualified NUCCA Chiropractor first, even though I am not convinced as to the benefits of Chiropractic treatment. And here is why – XRay alignment equipment. On your first visit the NUCCA Chiropractor (Should you desire treatment after evaluation) will take a series of 3 XRays and possibly a few more (After the “adjustment” is made a follow up XRay is taken to verify the movement and the alignment). The XRays are from the side Top, and front of the Skull. The NUCCA practitioner uses these X-Rays to develop a precise mode of treatment. The spine is not 2 dimensional and neither is the treatment. The downside is ionizing radiation however small in dose is cumulative and poses risks of DNA damage to your cells.

The objective of the NUCCA treatment is to center the Skull on top of the spine. The theory that “getting your head on right” allows the rest of the spine (which works as a unit) to follow along in correct alignment. How degenerated or damaged discs (which is what I have) play into the equation I don’t know. I’m not a doctor. What I can tell you is that if it does align your head, you will definitely feel the difference.

If you were to watch a NUCCA practitioner treating a patient prior to being educated about the process you would think it’s pure “Quackery”. The very gentle movement the Chiropractor makes just behind your ear on one side or the other of your head (depends on which way the spine is out of alignment) doesn’t hurt. But several hours or even for a couple of days afterwards you will definitely feel the procedure (At least that was my experience). For me each time it makes my neck sore, followed by a day where I fell okay, followed by another day where I feel very ill and tired. The fourth day I feel normal. Unfortunately I felt no long term relief after several treatments. I really want to believe this works, but who knows? I do know it sucked a lot of money out of my wallet. Those X-Rays were not cheap!

IUCCA Upper Cervical Care

Chiropractic care in general seeks to eliminate nerve irritation created by a spinal misalignment in order to restore the nervous system’s ability to properly control the body’s functions and achieve good health. How you can achieve this result in the presence of a collapsing spine I don’t know. However, there are many different chiropractic techniques and substantial differences exist between techniques in terms of training required to perform the technique; diagnostic tests and procedures utilized in the technique; and the results that can predictably be achieved by the technique.

Upper Cervical Chiropractic Care, as performed in accordance with the guidelines of the International Upper Cervical Chiropractic Association (IUCCA).

The IUCCA upper cervical specialty requires postgraduate training and uses new advancements in technology, Laser-aligned Radiography and Digital Infrared Imaging, to analyze and correct misalignments of the upper cervical spine in order to stimulate healing of a wide variety of health problems. The use of this innovative technology has increased the predictability of results as well as the number of health problems that respond to this specific form of upper cervical care.

Currently, very few IUCCA-trained upper cervical specialists exist in the USA or worldwide. For additional information on the IUCCA, for a list of IUCCA-trained practitioners, or to become trained as an IUCCA Upper Cervical Specialist, please contact the IUCCA at (650) 361-8908 or

The above information was provided by Dr. Erin Elster D.C. Upper Cervical Specialist. You may visit her practice in Boulder, Colorado.


Upper Cervical Research Foundation

Chiropractic Advocacy

Posted by on Jul 13th, 2008 and filed under Neck Pain. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response by filling following comment form or trackback to this entry from your site

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