Upper Cervical Chiropractic is a unique, extremely precise and gentle technique designed to take pressure off the brainstem and the nerves to allow proper body function.
What parts of the body are included in the upper cervical area?
Dr. F.J. Schofield: Upper cervical means upper neck. What you’re actually looking at is you’re looking at the skull, the atlas, the axis to the first and second bones in the neck primarily, and then you’re also looking at how they compare to the lower neck, but you evaluate the entire body. You’re looking at people’s posture so when they come in, I’m going to evaluate head tilt, leg length, hip and shoulder tilt. Then we take x-rays of the upper neck from the side to front, the top, so we know exactly how it’s positioned, but then we’re also going to take x-rays of the low back so we can see how the entire spine is basically positioned, where the tension resistance and pressure might be that causes their problem. Then when you adjust, you’re only adjusting the top bone, the atlas with an instrument or by hand. The amazing thing is you can actually correct the entire spine by centering that head and the neck. You’ll see shoulders balance out, hips balance out, leg lengths will normalize, head tilt will disappear, and then you’re restoring the brain stem, no pressure on the brain stem. That allows now postural muscles to function normally. You’re only adjusting the one bone in the neck, but you’re affecting the entire body.
What makes Upper Cervical Chiropractic a unique chiropractic approach?
Dr. F.J. Schofield: First of all, very few chiropractors are trained and certified to do it, less than 1%. I’m the only one in my county that does it, so it’s a post graduate training and it’s very complicated. It takes a lot of time, so a lot of people choose not to do it. Also, it’s extremely gentle. There’s no cracking or twisting of the neck. You can perform it on patients who have had surgical fusions. You can perform it on babies. You can perform it on people who have congenital malformations, also the elderly. I have patients, my oldest patient is 97. I have patients with severe arthritis, degenerative disc disease, and because it’s so gentle and there’s no twisting of the neck, you can do it on everybody. You can help a wide, wide range of people.
It’s also corrective, which is different. You’re actually taking before and after x-rays to make sure you change, you improve the position of the body. I actually, you take a lot of x-rays in the beginning and then you take two x-rays after the adjustment to make sure you’ve reduced the rotation of atlas, to make sure the head is more centered, the lower neck is more centered, the atlas, the axis are all in better position. It’s corrective in that you’re actually changing, improving the body. Then you want to see people hold the adjustment. That’s the goal. In upper cervical, we say holding is healing. We actually have patients come in after their correction and we check them and we don’t adjust them. They’re holding, they’re healing, and then as they hold longer and longer we see them less and less. It’s very, very different than say a traditional chiropractic adjustment.
What conditions benefit the most from Upper Cervical Chiropractic care versus traditional chiropractic care?
Dr. F.J. Schofield: That’s a great question. More and more studies are coming out. Studies have shown that upper cervical is more effective with neck and back pain than traditional. Now, traditional does help neck and back pain patients, but upper cervical has a higher success rate. Studies have also shown that upper cervical helps with headaches, migraines, acid reflux, asthma, allergies, ADHD, autism, Bells Palsy, glaucoma, hypertension, fibromyalgia, irritable bowel syndrome, Meniere’s, multiple sclerosis, panic attacks, insomnia, Parkinson’s Disease, seizures, sleep problems, tinnitus, vertigo, trigeminal neuralgia, and neuropathy. There is tons of research showing that upper cervical can help with a wide range of conditions.
That’s one reason I got certified in it, one reason I’m really passionate about it, because I did traditional chiropractic care only for a few years and I did help a lot of people but I didn’t help a lot of people with high blood pressure. I didn’t help a lot of asthmatics, vertigo, neuropathies. I wasn’t getting great results and so I kind of went on this search, did a lot of different seminars. I found upper cervical. I got adjusted myself, was blown away by the results and how you can help so many different people.
The reason you’re helping them is you’re removing that pressure on the brain stem. You’re taking pressure off of the brain literally. You’re allowing the brain and the body to communicate at 100% of its capacity. It’s like we’re on the phone now … Not landlines as much, but cell phones. If you’re on a cell phone with poor signal and hearing half or part of what someone’s telling you, well, you’re not going to get the job done right if they’re asking you to do something. Now, if the brain is asking the heart to do something and there’s pressure on the spinal cord and those messages don’t get through, well that heart isn’t going to function properly so you can get high blood pressure or you can get irregular heart beats. If it’s the stomach, you can get, say, irritable bowel syndrome or digestive problems. If it’s nerves going into the leg, you could get neuropathy or fibromyalgia. By reducing that brain stem pressure and getting pressure off those nerves, the body heals itself and you help with a wide, wide range of issues.
For a new patient, what is a typical Upper Cervical Chiropractic technique or adjustment like?
Dr. F.J. Schofield: I love this question. It’s hard to believe it works because all you’re going to do is you’re going to lay on your side on a table and we’re going to position you almost like you’re in the fetal position. You’re going to have a headpiece under your head. Now, based on your misalignment, we’re going to move the headpiece around, move you around. It’s all going to be based on your x-rays. Then you very gently either take an instrument and tap right around the ear lobe, is typically where the atlas will be located. You’ll either very gently tap or you’ll use your hands and you’ll bend down and you’ll apply a sustained pressure, only about one to three grams of pressure, so it’s very, very gentle. You apply that pressure for usually around five minutes. Then you have the person get up, you check their leg length, you check the muscle tone in their neck, hip tilt, shoulder tilt. You’ll see right away if you made a good adjustment. You’ll see all of that improve instantly. It’s pretty unbelievable. Most people look at me like I’m crazy, like there’s no way it can be that gentle and be that powerful, but it is. It’s an amazing technique.
Do all chiropractors practice upper cervical chiropractic or is there special training for this?
Dr. F.J. Schofield: No, very few do it, less than 1% of chiropractors. I believe there’s around 15 in the state of Wisconsin and there’s about 4,000 chiropractors, so not very many. It is a lot of extra special post graduate training, so after you’ve graduated, you go to a lot of seminars, you take a lot of tests. It’s a very, very difficult technique to master. It takes a lot of time. You have to get extra equipment. You take extremely precise x-rays. We measure everything down to a hundredth of a degree. Everything you do is extraordinarily precise, so it takes a long time, years to master and because of that, very very few chiropractors do it.
If you are interested in speaking with Dr. F.J. Schofield visit www.westbendchiropractor.com or call 262-334-8188 to schedule an appointment.
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