Why Don't More Chiropractors Do This?
Sometimes people are astounded by what happens when they get an Atlas Correction.
Most people that come to the office are those that have been to pain management specialists, orthopedists, physical therapists, accupuncturists, and more before having a consult in my office. They've tried various drugs, had injections, and spent a ton of time doing exercises to make their problem go away.
They go through the consultation, they take the x-rays, and they complete the Structural Chiropractic Exam. After all of that work, they finally lie down on the table, they feel a light tapping against the back of the ear, and.....
That's it? All of that work for a few light taps near the ear? What a waste of money.
After an unusually great night of sleep, it's not uncommon for the patient to wake up and notice that their morning headache is gone, and there's no zapping pain in the back when they get up out of bed. Interesting....
A few weeks go by, and people are feeling almost 85% better than when they first started. Now they don't think it's placebo. Now they're believers. Then they say things like this:
Dr. Chung, why don't more chiropractors do this work?
While I can't speak for other chiropractors in practice today, I can speak from my experience before I began down the path to learning NUCCA and Structural Correction.
Here are some of the things that I used to be concerned about:
Does Correcting the Neck Really Help All These Other Problems? - with more traditional chiropractic methods, we were trained to think about the site of the problem, and what part of the spine might be connected.Someone with back pain or sciatica, will likely have their pelvis or lumbar spine adjusted. A person with respiratory complaints may have their thoracic spine adjusted because of the nerve connections into the lungs. When you are focued on learning NUCCA, you are counting on a correction of the head and neck to be the primary intervention no matter what condition that patient has. The thought of that for a novice chiropractor is definitely unnerving, and the amount of research out there is pretty thin.
How Will People React to Such a Gentle Procedure - If you've never had the pleasure of experiencing the NUCCA procedure, you may be surprised with how gentle it feels. It's much less force than a spinal manipulation. It feels lighter than a gentle massage. It feels like almost nothing at all when it's done to you. A lot of people that I take care of are people who came in with a lot of pain. Some with burning sciatica. Others with terrible neck pain when turning their neck. When they come see a chiropractor, they are expecting that a lot of force will be needed to fix their spine and address their problem.Taking that patient with burning sciatica and all you do is touch behind their ear, you have to have a lot of certainty in your protocol to prepare yourself for the skeptical look and attitude that your patient is going to give.
What Do you Do When Someone Doesn't Need a Correction? - One of the unique things about practicing this style of chiropractic is that you are looking to adjust someone as few times as possible. We definitely embrace a "less is more" attitude when it comes to taking care of people. So what happens when someone comes in and they don't need a correction? We celebrate the fact that their spine is getting better and more stable. We use the visits that they don't need a correction as a benchmark to monitor the patient's progress so we can set expectations for how well their spine will adapt to the correction. This can make a lot of people uncomfortable. Can you really do nothing to a patient when they come in?The natural answer is YES! Millions of people go into a doctor's office hoping that they don't need a procedure done to them. Why should chiropractic be any different?
Extra Training and Expense - Most people, regardless of the profession, look forward to the day when they don't have to study and take exams anymore. For chiropractors, there's an excitement about getting into the workforce and taking care of patients in a real life setting.When I got into NUCCA, I learned that most doctors will spend extra time after school to master their skills in x-ray technique, x-ray analysis, and of course the skill of the Atlas correction.When you've devoted 8 years of your life to school, the thought of being in another educational process can be daunting....especially when many of your classmates will be going straight into their own practice.Opening a practice like this can also be more expensive. The cost for specialized x-ray equipment and tables can add many more thousands to a start up expense than many doctors are prepared to spend. While I think that we need more chiropractors out there who are trained in the NUCCA procedure, it's only because there are so few of us. There are only 300 of us in the country! I don't think everyone needs to practice this way. Different people respond to different approaches to the spine. I send a dozen patients to a traditional chiropractor every year because I think a certain type of patient will be a better fit elsewhere. That's why we have a Complimentary Consultation so we can screen patients and see if NUCCA is a good match for them.