Neck Pain and Disability: An Upper Cervical Study

This is this weeks Topic of the Week.

Neck Pain and Disability: Significant Improvement in 2 Weeks With Upper Cervical Care.

A recent study in the Journal of the Canadian Chiropractic Association (August 2009) found people suffering from pain and disability from neck problems were significantly improved with Upper Cervical Care. This was a retrospective study of 66 patients with neck pain and disability. Disability was ranked using the Neck Disability Index which is a questionnaire, which measures changes in a patient’s function and disability in common daily tasks, such as sleep, reading, driving, and lifting. Pain was measured with a numeric pain scale.


Patients answered the questionnaire before treatment began and in two weeks after starting treatment. Patients on average received 2.7 atlas adjustments within that time.


Patients were furthered grouped into those whose correction toward the orthogonal ideal (90 degrees from the skull to the atlas, and 90 degrees from the atlas to the neck) were 30% or greater, and those whose correction of their misalignment after their first adjustment was less than 30%.


Patients with less than a 30% reduction of their misalignment saw a reduction of their pain of about 62% with function only improving 38% on average. Patients with a reduction of their misalignment of greater than 30% had a 72% reduction of their pain with a significantly better improvement with their function (62%). These improvements occurred within two weeks of the initial adjustment (treatment).


This study shows that upper cervical care can safely and quickly improve neck function and decrease neck pain within two weeks. It also shows that patients function will significantly improve if the correction of their misalignment is 30% or greater.


Rochester R. Neck pain and disability outcomes following chiropractic upper cervical care: a retrospective case series. The Journal Of The Canadian Chiropractic Association, August 2009;53(3):173-185.

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About Dr. Michael Polsinelli, DC

I really enjoy my work. It is a combination of listening, analyzing, and the skill of performing my craft. I love the expression on my patients faces when I puzzle out a long standing problem of theirs, or when their pain leaves after gently adjusting them. Read more about me

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