Orthospinology is a subspecialty of chiropractic healthcare targeted to the upper cervical spine.
Fixing misalignments in your upper spine can address a surprising number of health problems. Seizures, chronic migraine, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, high blood pressure — orthospinology has lead to improvement in the quality of life for people suffering from many different conditions.
At Denver Upper Cervical Chiropractic, we employ the evidence-based techniques of orthospinology to bring relief to patients who have found little success with side effect-laden medications or want to avoid invasive surgeries.
Listen to real customer testimonials about how upper cervical care worked for them.
Keep reading to find out more about orthospinology, including which conditions it treats and what to expect from a visit to a qualified orthospinology expert.
What is orthospinology?
Orthospinology is a gentle chiropractic technique that aligns the upper cervical spine to reduce pain, promote overall wellness, and relieve chronic health conditions. Orthospinology is a proven conservative alternative after pharmaceuticals and surgery fail.
Performed properly, upper cervical chiropractic care should actually eliminate the need for these more invasive treatments.
This subspecialty of chiropractic care focuses on the upper cervical spine, which consists of the upper 2 vertebrae:
- Atlas, or C1
- Axis, or C2
Dr. John F. Grostic developed the Grostic technique in the 1940s. From the beginning, the focus of this technique was on maximizing the specificity of the analysis as well as the precision of the adjustments.
In the 1970s, Dr. John D. Grostic continued his father’s research. He expanded the list of adverse effects on the central nervous system due to upper cervical spinal misalignment, based on overwhelming evidence.
Orthospinology was birthed out of the Grostic technique. Clinicians sought to improve the reproducibility of the adjustments and minimize human error by switching to an instrument-assisted style of adjusting.
This allows for increased specificity and precision as well as equally gentle adjustments to many other upper cervical techniques.
Upper cervical chiropractic care is gentle, not rough. We are not trying to crack your back; we are fixing how your spinal cord communicates with your brain stem.
It’s one thing that sets orthospinology apart from other chiropractic — it doesn’t require rough motions or cracking.
National Upper Cervical Chiropractic Association (NUCCA) defines and regulates the practice of manually adjusting the upper cervical subluxation complex based on x-ray analysis.
NUCCA has a negligible different analysis from orthospinology — NUCCA adjustments are usually done by hand, whereas orthospinology uses instruments.
Usually, a patient who has good outcomes at a NUCCA office will have a good experience at an Orthospinology practice, and vice versa.
Atlas Orthogonal is slightly different from orthospinology, though they are both upper cervical low-force procedures.
The Atlas Orthogonal technique looks the most like an orthospinology adjustment, but the instrument delivers the adjustment with a “percussive force” (essentially, a sound wave).
The orthospinology technique utilizes a similar percussive instrument for some types of misalignments, and a larger table mounted instrument with a slight mechanical excursion for others.
What causes neck misalignment?
What causes atlas subluxation? Traumatic injury is usually what leads to Atlas Subluxation Complex — or, a subluxation in your top vertebra. Poor posture and repeated injuries are common risk factors that worsen atlas subluxation.
What happens when C2 is out of alignment? When the C2 (axis) is out of alignment, you can expect pain, numbness, weakness, or even loss of bladder/bowel control. You should seek upper cervical chiropractic care to correct C2 misalignment to avoid chronic health problems and long-term complications.
What to Expect During Orthospinology Treatment
During orthospinology treatment, you can expect an initial consultation. On your first visit, many upper cervical chiropractors will not administer an adjustment. Precise analysis and diagnostics are essential to orthospinology, so the chiropractor often wants a few days to process the results.
At your initial consultation, your upper cervical chiropractor may do a physical exam, digital x-ray analysis, and maybe even a cognitive exam.
On your second visit, chiropractors will typically perform the first adjustment.
Upper cervical adjustments are gentle. Forget about those rough twists and cracks. Orthospinology is gentle enough for children and grandmas alike.
These adjustments are often instrument-assisted. Sometimes, the instruments will be handheld. Other times, the instruments are mounted on advanced equipment.
This video helps you know what to expect from an orthospinology adjustment.
At Denver Upper Cervical Chiropractic, we also have a post-adjustment room for patients to relax and cool down after spinal realignment. Our calming post-adjustment room contains:
Here in our offices, we may also recommend upper and lower back stretches to help with certain conditions.
How long does it take to realign your spine? It takes one adjustment to start realigning your spine. The total number of visits and how much improvement your chiropractor can promise varies by case and depends on the condition of the patient.
However, a handful of visits to your chiropractor every year are likely needed to maintain spinal alignment.
The Orthospinology Technique: Before and After
You can see in the below pictures that an orthospinology adjustment corrects a misaligned upper spine.
The before and after pictures (below) from www.orthospinology.org show an average individual and how misaligned their spine may be before a spinal correction.
Another method upper cervical chiropractors use is analyzing functional leg length by comparing the patient’s heels before and after adjustments.
Benefits of Orthospinology
Orthospinology aims to improve nervous system function, immune system function, and overall health and wellness. But what specifically do upper cervical procedures treat?
According to peer-reviewed research and case studies, the possible benefits of orthospinology/upper cervical care include improving the quality of life for patients with medical conditions such as:
The Orthospinology Sub-Specialty of Chiropractic
Orthospinology is a subspecialty of the chiropractic profession.
It takes many hours of additional education and certification before a chiropractor understands the complex structure and biomechanics of the upper cervical spine and is qualified to practice orthospinology.
A Doctor of Chiropractic degree is required as a prerequisite.
The Society of Chiropractic Orthospinology is a non-profit organization that trains chiropractors in orthospinology.
They provide orthospinology training through various seminars and workshops and offer testing for certification as an Advanced Graduate of Orthospinology.
Once a chiropractor has gone through the necessary education and certification, individual patients can be confident in the effectiveness of the adjustments to their upper cervical spine.
Orthospinology in the Denver, CO Area
At Denver Upper Cervical Chiropractic, we have administered countless upper cervical adjustments and witnessed amazing success stories. Orthospinology is critical to proper body function and overall health.
Set up your appointment right away. We reserve Friday for patients traveling from outside of Denver, CO.
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Find out about Dr. Ty Carzoli and his unique approach to spinal care.