Frequently Asked Questions

What is upper cervical chiropractic?

Upper cervical chiropractic is an advanced specialty within chiropractic that aims to correct spinal misalignments of the upper neck to remove pressure from the brainstem. Tension and stress on the brainstem from misalignments, even slight ones, impact the way our brain functions, brain-body communication and the overall expression of our health and our ability to heal. Upper cervical care is rooted in the universal law of cause and effect. For every effect (or in this case, symptom), whether mental or physical, there must be a cause! An upper cervical chiropractic doctor is trained to locate and correct causes of interference in the nerve system (in this case, spinal misalignments), which may be contributing to your health condition and keeping you from living life to the fullest.

What is a subluxation?

A subluxation, or misalignment, is a condition in which the vertebrae of the spine are shifted out of their normal alignment, resulting in a structural, circulatory and neurologic compromise. Think of it like a sprained ankle in the neck: the ligaments and connective tissues have lost their integrity, leading to internal stress on the spinal cord.

How does someone get subluxated?

Subluxations may or may not cause symptoms, so they can go undetected for years until a thorough chiropractic exam is done by a doctor of chiropractic. X-ray imaging reveals how long the subluxation has been present and how severe it is. Your first subluxation typically occurs at birth when you’re assisted out of the birthing canal. Many childhood health issues are related to birthing injuries, which is why we always encourage parents to bring their children in to get checked! Other times, sporting injuries, whiplash injuries from car accidents, slips, falls and bumps and even daily emotional and chemical stress can cause misalignments of the upper neck.

When will I receive my first chiropractic adjustment?

Dr Joe will not adjust you without first having done an investigation. This includes a one-on-one consultation, a full neurologic exam and a series of precise X-ray images to understand the biomechanics of your spinal issue. Upper cervical chiropractic adjustments are very precise and scientific, so it depends on these X-ray images and is completely tailored to you and your anatomy. This process takes up to 3 visits to complete, however, you can rest assured that you or your loved one is receiving the highest quality of chiropractic care possible.

Do I need a couple of days in between chiropractic adjustments?

There are certain instances when Dr Joe will want to see you the following day after an adjustment. All of this depends on your specific chiropractic care schedule and what's needed for you to get well. Upper cervical chiropractic adjustments are given only when necessary, so you will not be over-adjusted.

Do you offer any family programs?

Absolutely. We are a family practice, so we offer family rates with great savings. Just as your dentist will encourage you to have your children’s teeth checked for cavities and cleaned on a regular basis, likewise, we believe children should be checked regularly for neurologic stress from vertebral subluxations (misalignments). This belief translates into our pricing for care.

How do I know if upper cervical chiropractic is for me?

It is for this reason that we do a full neurologic exam on day one and follow it up with our X-ray image study. We need to determine if we can help you and if you’re a good candidate for upper cervical chiropractic care. If you are dealing with issues that you think may be unrelated to the upper neck, it is our job to investigate and give you answers. Many times, people seek out upper cervical care after trying many other medical and natural treatments, which failed to offer a lasting solution.

Do you offer massage, physical therapy or other modalities like electrical stimulation? 

Dr Joe focuses on one thing and continually trains to do this at the highest level. While other things have their merit, upper cervical chiropractic is the only style of chiropractic care that can consistently and precisely remove brainstem pressure. We are happy to recommend and refer out other forms of care when necessary for your recovery, which may include naturopathic health, homeopathic care, fascial stretch therapy and more!

What is the difference between an upper cervical chiropractor and a regular chiropractic doctor?

Although Dr Joe will check and adjust the full spine, the emphasis of care is on the upper neck and brainstem health. At each visit, we will assess the brainstem and each segment in your neck through a series of nerve scans and neurologic muscle tests. These tests tell the doctor which areas of your neck need to be adjusted, if at all. The best way to understand the difference is to personally experience upper cervical adjustments yourself.

Are upper cervical chiropractic adjustments safe? 

Upper cervical chiropractic adjustments are incredibly safe and gentle. The doctor will never twist, crack or pop your neck. The upper cervical adjustment is done while lying on your side on a specialized table with a gentle drop mechanism in the headpiece. The force required to restore alignment in the upper neck is minimal and less than you would expect. The top bone in our spine (C1) is 2 ounces, so it does not require a forceful adjustment. The doctor will use his hand to adjust or sometimes an instrument: whichever chiropractic technique is required to restore the biomechanics of your spine and neurologic function.

Will I hear or feel anything during the adjustment?

This depends on how the chiropractic doctor corrects your misalignment or subluxation. If the chiropractic adjustment is done by hand, then you may hear and feel the headpiece as it drops an inch. The drop mechanism of the upper cervical table allows for the adjustment to “take” and it enables the doctor to use less force to effectively correct it. 

Common things patients experience immediately after the adjustment:

  • Instantaneous blood flow change
  • Warm and tingling sensation in the head and neck region
  • Sinuses clear immediately
  • A sense of ease and comfort
  • emotional release and a few tears
  • Slight lightheadedness 
  • Change in breathing and respiration volume

What will I feel after my chiropractic adjustment?

Many people find that they experience the relief they were seeking and feel that they were given a new lease on life. Others feel euphoric, energized and have a sense of clarity following an adjustment. Others may not feel much of anything. Others experience changes more gradually. 

As the vertebrae are “unlocked” and realigned, it may feel sensitive or slightly uncomfortable for a short while after. This is due to the spine unwinding and muscles and fascia responding to the structural changes. This discomfort usually doesn’t last too long and depends completely on the person. All of these experiences are normal: they are a necessary part of the healing process and indicate that things are changing.

When is a good age to start having my spine checked?

The most ideal time to have your spine checked is right after birth. There are doctors to check every aspect of your newborn's health, except for the assessment of their nerve system. This is where an upper cervical chiropractic doctor may help. Considering how traumatic the birthing process may be for a baby, many are brought into this world with spinal misalignments, which compromise the functioning and health of their nerve system. Many of the basic survival mechanisms, such as feeding, digesting, bowel movements and latching depend on a properly functioning nerve system. 

The amount of research on pediatric chiropractic care is abundant and points to the fact that children thrive when they are adjusted regularly. Many experience fewer infections, better digestion, improved sleep, greater focus, less colic, better mental/emotional health and much more. 

Dr Joe sees many newborns, infants and children: we believe that we can make a difference to a whole generation and raise healthy, strong adults. Many of the adults that come to Full Life Family Chiropractic have spinal issues that first occurred at birth or earlier on in life. 

The pediatric adjustment is so gentle that it’s comparable to checking the ripeness of a tomato. Your child will also be greeted by Cera the Triceratops chiropractic table and our giant giraffes, Geoffrey and Gerald!

Does my TMJ have anything to do with my spine?

There is an intimate connection between TMJ and the upper neck. Many people experience relief from their chronic TMJ issues when we begin to address and correct their upper neck subluxations. When there is a structural, fascial and neurologic imbalance in the upper neck, it will create biomechanical imbalances in the TMJ. This may lead to the common symptoms of clicking, pain, abnormal jaw opening, clenching, etc.

If I am pregnant, can I be adjusted?

Absolutely! We see pregnant women all the time and many of them have reported great relief and a smooth birthing process. If you are already pregnant, we will postpone the X-ray study, however, the doctor is still able to care for you all the way through your pregnancy. The benefits of doing this are abundant not only for mom but for the baby.

When mom is neurologically clear and connected, baby will also develop better. We will also ensure that the pelvis is in proper alignment for mom, especially as she nears her expected delivery date.

Can I still be adjusted if I have had spinal surgery?

Yes! Dr Joe will take all of this into account and this will be carefully observed in the X-ray images obtained in-office. The segments above or below the surgery may be adjusted and the adjustments are always gentle and safe. If there is any concern, you may discuss this with the chiropractic doctor during your consultation. 

Do all chiropractors adjust the upper cervical part of the spine?

Although most chiropractic doctors adjust the upper neck, as an upper cervical chiropractic doctor, Dr Joe receives ongoing additional training to correct these misalignments to the highest standard. Our attention to detail in the upper neck analysis and correction oftentimes makes for greater results, more stability, longer adjustment holding times and a unique experience in healthcare. You will immediately understand the difference when you begin care! Our chiropractic adjustments are never delivered based on “feel” and there are multiple tests and nerve scans done each visit to know when and when not to adjust. 

If I had a problem with my brainstem or spinal cord, wouldn’t I know it?

Believe it or not, the research found that just the weight of a dime on a spinal nerve can reduce its transmission of information by up to 60% after 3 minutes and you wouldn’t even know it. Brainstem pressure in some cases doesn’t lead to obvious signs or symptoms, as there are no pain receptors on the spinal cord. It's why some people can play the violin or talk during brain surgery! 

It is the job of your chiropractor to assess all the objective data collected from visit to visit to know when and when not to adjust your spine. Since you cannot feel when you are out of alignment, your chiropractor will put you on an individually-tailored chiropractic care schedule to help stabilize your spine and health. This is similar to having braces put on, as you would not want them removed before they have achieved the desired outcome of oral alignment. Many patients who start care with Dr Joe come to understand how their chronic health issues were related to their upper neck, even though this was never obvious from how their symptoms presented.

What about the rest of my spine?

Through the course of your care at our clinic, the chiropractic doctor will adjust your full spine on state-of-the-art chiropractic tables, the Zenith 440s. These tables are fully pneumatic (air assist) and each section of the table has a drop mechanism. These drop features are what allow for very comfortable and gentle chiropractic adjustments to your full spine. The tables also elevate to a standing position so that you may be lowered down into position and then elevated back up after the adjustments. These are fantastic tables and our patients always look forward to their chiropractic care visit at Full Life. Dr Joe also uses specialized chiropractic techniques and tools like the Integrator to deliver the adjustments when necessary!

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Tuesday: 10 am – 6 pm
Wednesday: 9 AM – 1 PM
Thursday: 10 AM – 6 pm
Friday: 9:45 am – 1 pm
Saturday: closed
Sunday: closed

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