The Science of Upper Cervical

September 26, 2012 by
Filed under: Research, Spinewave Bulletin 

Spinewave has recently made some large investments into the science of chiropractic, yet retaining its most traditional tenets: blending neuroscience, chiropractic neurology and upper cervical specific techniques into a modern day art.

The chiropractic profession pioneered skin temperature analysis with the introduction of the neurocalometer over 70 years ago. BJ Palmer, the founder of chiropractic, was on the cutting edge with the use of X ray and his “neurocalograph” – today’s thermography.

BJ wrote, “The neurocalograph reveals the causative factor to be quite remote from the area of pain or from the area of spinal misalignment as shown by the calograph. The average uninformed mind usually thinks in terms of direct manipulation of the affected areas when the spine is concerned, rather than with the correction of the cause.” (right: the old “Model A” with printout)

The “correction of the cause” meant analysing the whole system (spine) to assess where areas of interference to function were most consistent, addressing those, and then allowing the body to heal itself. Oftentimes this was nowhere near the perceived problem area.

Persons free of neurological interference tend to display skin temperature readings which continually change, but when spinal misalignment and interference to normal neurological function appear, these changing differentials become static. They no longer display normal adaptability, and  the patient is said to be “in pattern”, requiring an adjustment.

The new Tytron 2.0 software we use at Spinewave now allows us to accurately assess an individual’s pattern from visit to visit, or even immediately after an adjustment to see what effect it has had on the nervous system.

Patterns are like earthquakes erupting through the spine. The objective is to not only change the pattern (below) but also affect the symmetry of the pattern. Symmetry refers to the “spikes” on the graph from left to right. These spikes are temperature differences, and temperature is controlled by your nervous system. If irregular spikes repeatedly appear on the scans, it means the nervous system is not working properly and ill health ensues.

Pattern analysis is extremely important in dictating how specific adjustments need to be delivered. Marrying modern day neuroscience and traditional upper cervical care means assessing dysfunctional output from the brain and devising strategies to create positive input to the nervous system to allow the body to work better.

Spinewave’s clinical objective is to make the biggest impact on the nervous system in the shortest amount of time. Few techniques are more powerful than upper cervical specific to create this rapid change in brain function for the following 5 reasons:

  • The upper neck is closest to the brain – proximity means power
  • Atlas (top bone) directly influences the brainstem – the body’s main fuse box
  • Atlas and axis have the most complex alignment system in the body
  • The upper neck has the richest array of neurological input (proprioception)
  • The upper neck is the gateway between brain and body

Addressing the complexity of the upper spine requires the right tools. Recently we upgraded our equipment to what has endearingly become known as The Ferrari (unveiled below).

To get the right output from the brain, you need the right input. Specific corrections (without gross manipulation) to either atlas or axis have a huge impact on the function of the nervous system. Because of the complexity of the skull, atlas and axis, proper analysis is paramount in achieving the desired outcome. Sometimes, this change can be achieved and recorded in a single adjustment…

The grandfather of September’s Case of the Month was visiting from Australia for the weekend. After Pip explained to him what Spinewave specialises in, he thought this is what he’s been looking for. We only had one day to make a change because he was flying back to Australia.

For 2 years he had suffered with a myriad of symptoms after being hit in the head by a steel beam at work. MRI and CT scans were negative. The science of chiropractic neurology though is not looking for the blindingly obvious, it’s looking for “sub-clinical” indicators. Meaning signs from the brain and body that show you what’s not working properly and how to fix it.

Changing what you can’t see is where the magic lies in getting people well.

Not for quite some time had I felt so proud, inspired and grateful for the ability to make this kind of life-changing impact on a person’s life. Next year I begin my Masters in Neuroscience and never before have I been so excited about the direction Spinewave is headed, and the affect our skills and information has for the well-being of each of your families.

Thank you to all who have stuck with us through thick and thin for the last 5 years!

© Dr Neil Bossenger 2012

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