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NUCCA Chiropractic Care vs Traditional Chiropractic Methods

What’s the Difference between Traditional Chiropractic and NUCCA?

Woman getting upper cervical adjustmentIf you have neck or lower back pain and you’ve decided to see a chiropractor, how do you pick one? Isn’t all chiropractic the same? Definitely not! As with any type of healthcare, there are many different ways to address any given condition.

Some chiropractic techniques are milder and use a very light touch to realign your neck and back. Other techniques are more traditional in their approach and use the thrust and pop that people most commonly associate with chiropractic.

In fact, there are over 200 different documented techniques in chiropractic healthcare. All of these techniques have their benefits and drawbacks.

But which one is best for you?

Every person’s body is different; some people respond to different chiropractic techniques better than others.

Questions to Determine Which Type of Chiropractor Is Right for You?

  • Are you comfortable with a more forceful approach?
  • Do you enjoy the immediate relief of a forceful adjustment?
  • Are you more comfortable with a lighter approach?
  • Have you been reluctant to seek chiropractic care because you are fearful of a forceful adjustment?

In traditional medicine, there are various specialists to treat any given illness or condition. Chiropractic is similar. There are multiple techniques within chiropractic care.

While the differences in medical specialties deal with various parts of the body, the differences in chiropractic approaches deal with ways to address your neck and back pain.

At Precision Spinal Care, we use a light-touch technique called NUCCA. This gentle approach pinpoints and corrects areas in the neck (upper cervical spine) that lead to problems throughout the entire spine. NUCCA is one of many approaches to chiropractic care.

If you are reluctant to see a chiropractor who uses more traditional twist and pop techniques, NUCCA might be the alternative for you. If you prefer a heavier forceful adjustment, you might want to consider a different approach.

No two people are alike, but being well-informed about your options in chiropractic care will help you find the right doctor and technique for you.

First Things First

Before any chiropractic technique is pursued, you should have a thorough orthopaedic, neurological, and biomechanical examination to see if chiropractic treatment is needed and which technique is most appropriate for you.

Thrust vs. Non-thrust Chiropractic Techniques

Typical chiropractic techniques fall into one of two categories: thrust or non-thrust.

Thrust Techniques

A thrust technique is a high velocity, low amplitude adjustment to realign individual spinal segments. Thrust techniques can release chemicals (endorphins) into the body and initiate a central nervous system pain reduction response that can be very effective. Thrust techniques typically involve a snapping, popping or twisting of the spine.Thrust techniques are typically more regional. In other words, these techniques generally target the immediate area of discomfort anywhere along the spine (from the neck to the tailbone). However, they might not address the underlying cause of the spinal misalignment from a biomechanical standpoint.With traditional chiropractic, the adjustment is the treatment. Force and full-spine techniques usually require multiple adjustments.


Non-thrust techniques use more gentle approaches to align the spine (no twisting or popping that is generally associated with chiropractic adjustments). NUCCA is a non-thrust technique that focuses on the upper cervical spine.

Upper Cervical vs. Full Spine Chiropractic Techniques

NUCCA and Upper Cervical Techniques

NUCCA, which stands for the National Upper Cervical Chiropractic Association, is a technique that focuses on the unique anatomy of the upper cervical spine. It is a safe and painless way to realign the entire spine with a precise upper cervical adjustment.

How does NUCCA work?

Because NUCCA gets a biomechanical blueprint of spinal misalignment with the use of x-rays, it is much easier to pinpoint the exact location of misalignments within the upper cervical spine. This area of the spine influences the alignment of the entire spine, including the tilt and rotation of the hips. Thus, NUCCA is a more global approach that seeks to locate and correct the cause of the pain and discomfort, which in turn, will affect your entire spine.

This global upper-cervical technique does not involve snapping, twisting or popping of the spine. NUCCA involves specific corrections to the upper cervical area. The body wants to heal itself. If the head and neck are properly diagnosed and gently aligned, the rest of the spine will naturally try to correct itself.

NUCCA is an evidence-based approach scrutinized by double blind studies. Objective evaluations are used to track your progress throughout the time you are working with a NUCCA doctor.

Things to Consider when Deciding between Traditional Chiropractic and NUCCA

  • Have you had a thorough orthopaedic, neurological, and biomechanical evaluation before starting any chiropractic care?
  • Would prefer the immediacy of a regional twist and pop approach which targets the specific symptom areas?
  • Would you prefer a more global approach that seeks to find the underlying cause of discomfort?
  • Would you rather have a light and painless approach to correcting irregularities in your spine?

At Precision Spinal Care we follow best practice guidelines for NUCCA care. We use a safe and painless, evidence-based approach to correct irregularities in your upper cervical spine.

Pinpointing and alleviating the cause of your neck and back pain is our goal. However, if you prefer a more forceful approach, we are happy to refer you to another specialist.

No matter whom you choose for healthcare services, find out what techniques they use first and make an informed decision.

We understand that you need to explore all your options when you look for expert chiropractic care. At Precision Spinal Care we are happy to help you determine the best way to address your specific needs.

Call our office at (757) 382-5555 to speak to the doctor or set up a consultation. You can also set up an appointment through our webpage.

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