SPECTRA WELLNESS CHIROPRACTIC

Our chiropractic team consists of Dr. Amanda Campbell, Dr. Kevin Segall and Dr. Moses Bernard.  

 

 

 

 

PRECISION UPPER CERVICAL CARE

Spectra Wellness takes an integrative, whole body approach to improving your health.  Part of this process is ensuring that the brain and body are communicating clearly, and there are not any structural misalignments that could be compromising this transmission.  Because the first place this misalignment can occur is the upper cervical spine (upper neck), our treatment focus starts in this area.

CONDITIONS

Photo by AndreyPopov/iStock / Getty Images

We most commonly see changes with orthopedic-type conditions including neck pain, back pain, shoulder issues and all kinds of joint pain.  We also frequently see neurologic-type conditions like headaches and dizziness.  However, because atlas vertebra position is intimately related to proper function of the lower brainstem, any number of health conditions can potentially respond favorably to atlas vertebra alignment.

We have safely treated patients of all ages: young kids, seniors, post-surgical patients, and professional athletes.

If you have a condition that has not responded to traditional health care approaches, or are just looking for a new approach, upper cervical care may be the missing link in your journey for optimal health.

ADVANCED (ATLAS) ORTHOGONAL PROCEDURE

The upper cervical procedure used at Spectra Wellness Solutions is called the Advanced (or Atlas) Orthogonal procedure.

This non-invasive technique starts with taking very specific three-dimensional x-rays, which are digitally analyzed to determine exactly how the atlas vertebra has misaligned.

Once the x-rays have been studied, the exact vectors to be used in the correction are calibrated into an adjusting instrument that uses a percussive sound wave to re-position the misaligned structures.

The specificity of the Advanced (Atlas) Orthogonal procedure allows patients to be corrected within their normal range of motion, without requiring any twisting, popping, cracking or gross manipulation. 

This non-invasive approach can be used with patients with pre-existing disc injuries or arthritic degeneration, and is safe for all ages.

WHAT TO EXPECT

The Spectra Wellness approach to structural alignment is very different from traditional chiropractic approaches.  As such, we want to make sure that we are able to answer any questions you may have about your care.

Spectra Wellness takes an integrative, whole body approach to improving your health.  Part of this process is ensuring that the brain and body are communicating clearly, and there are not any structural misalignments that could be compromising this transmission.  Because the first place this misalignment can occur is the upper cervical spine (upper neck), and postural reflexes are governed by this area, full-body alignment is dependent on upper cervical spinal alignment.

First Visit:

The first visit is designed to gather your health history and perform a physical exam to determine whether or not you would are a candidate for our care. If the examination is able to confirm the presence of abnormal biomechanics in the upper cervical spine, x-rays will be taken off-site to determine the direction and magnitude of misalignment.  Spectra Wellness has an exclusive partnership with Rose Radiology – Kennedy for our Upper Cervical imaging needs.

Second Visit:

The second visit is generally scheduled after we have had time to analyze your x-rays.  This is usually scheduled within a few days of your initial visit.  It is at that time that we will discuss your exam and x-ray findings.  This includes going over the anatomical relationships of your misalignments, the presence or absence of any spinal degeneration, your treatment plan and prognosis, as well as any co-treatments that may be appropriate for your care.  Please feel free to ask any questions you may have about your care and the procedure at this time. You are also welcome to bring your spouse, significant other, or any friend of family member who may be interested in learning more about your treatment.

The most common experiences from our patients following the initial correction are:

  • Soreness – The upper cervical correction often changes the reflex activation of the spinal muscles. This can result in a “turning on” of muscles that had been previously “turned off”.  The experience can be similar to the soreness experienced when exercising for the first time after a long layoff.  For patients who do experience this symptom, it normally self-resolves within 2-3 days.
  • Joint crepitus (“popping & cracking”) – As the whole body shifts and un-twists, there can be changes at specific joints in both alignment and range of motion. When a stiff joint gains extra range of motion, crepitus is a common finding as joints and soft tissues shift around.  As long as there isn’t any pain, some minor popping and cracking is a normal finding and not of concern.
  • Sleep – Most patients experience changes in their sleep quality after their initial correction. Many patients report that their sleep within a few days of their first correction is one of the best nights of sleep they’ve had in months or years.  Conversely, a very small minority of patients will experience mild restlessness during their first one or two nights after the correction.
  • Thirst – Even if you don’t experience any extra thirst, we recommend that all patients drink more water than they normally would, especially during the 48-72 hours immediately after their first correction. A properly hydrated body helps the healing process and we recommend one ounce of water for every two pounds of body weight.

Follow up Visits – Structural Re-Alignment

You treatment plan will start with a precision percussion correction of the first vertebra in the upper cervical spine called the ATLAS vertebra.  Following this treatment, you will be seen for approximately 5-8 visits over the next 2-3 months.  These appointments are to ensure that your atlas vertebra stays in proper alignment, and to adjust any other joints in your body that may be limiting optimal movement and function.  Please note that the doctors at Spectra Wellness will never use any manual manipulation techniques that you are uncomfortable with (especially of the neck) and are equally proficient in both low-force instrument adjustments, and more traditional full-spine manual manipulation.  During this time, your visit frequency will decrease as your body responds to care, initially scheduling follow-ups approximately every 5-7 days, and eventually being spaced out to every 1-3 months.

Our goals are to create a body that is moving optimally from head to toe, can thus stay pain and injury-free, resist joint degeneration, and is able to handle anything life throws your way.  Whether you want to simply have less pain, want to run a marathon, or just be able to pick up your grand kids, we want to give you the tools to get there.

MOVEMENT RE-EDUCATION

When we think about our health, most of us don’t think about how we move.  This is a big problem in the US, the #1 cause of disability is low back pain, and 3 of the top 5 causes of disability are movement disorders.  The biggest quality of life problems in America are directly related to how we move.

While our health care system has done a great job screening for many diseases so they can be managed in the early stages, we usually don’t manage the musculoskeletal system until after pain, injury, or symptoms appear.  We simply don’t do a great job of being proactive with the largest functioning system of the body.

While simply being active helps, it’s not just about getting off the couch.  Many of us assume if we just move more, we will automatically move well.  Unfortunately, training poor movement patterns reinforces poor quality and creates greater risk of injury.

The solution lies in screening and assessing proper movement BEFORE it becomes a problem.  It isn’t simply about going for a run, working the abs, hitting the gym, or doing some stretches.

Spectra Wellness Solutions has created MOVEMENT RE-EDUCATION – a revolutionary system to identify, evaluate and correct movement imbalances.  This physician guided system covers the spectrum from rehab to performance, and works whether injured or healthy, just off the couch, or world-class athlete.

FAQ

What is Upper Cervical Care?

Upper cervical care is a unique branch of healthcare within the chiropractic profession that focuses on proper alignment of the upper vertebrae in the neck.  The importance of these vertebrae (the first called C1 or the atlas, the 2nd called C2 or the axis) has to do with the vital structures it surrounds.  The most important structure in this area is the lower brain stem, which extends out of the skull into the upper neck, before transitioning into the spinal cord. The significance of the lower brainstem is that it controls most of the vital automatic functions of the body including heart rate, digestion, breathing, blood pressure, and many reflexes.  Also passing through this area are the postural reflexes, that unconsciously control muscle tone throughout the spine.  In addition, this area is critical for regulating the body’s inflammatory response.

The upper cervical procedure used at Spectra Wellness Solutions is called the Advanced (Atlas) Orthogonal procedure.  This non-invasive technique starts with taking very specific three-dimensional x-rays, which are digitally analyzed to determine exactly how the atlas vertebra has misaligned.  Once the x-rays have been studied, the exact vectors to be used in the correction are calibrated into an adjusting instrument, and a table-mounted spring loaded instrument is used to re-position the misaligned structures.

The specificity of the Advanced (Atlas) Orthogonal procedure allows patients to be corrected within their normal range of motion, and does not require any twisting, popping or gross manipulation.  This non-invasive approach can be used with patients with pre-existing disc injuries or arthritic degeneration, and is safe for all ages.

Q: What makes the Atlas vertebra so special?

Structural anatomy:

Of the 24 bones in the spine, the lower 23 of them have near identical anatomy.  These commonalities include cartilaginous spinal discs between all of the joints in the front, and angled, interlocking joints (called facets) in the rear.  These two structures limit the amount of motion in the spine.  The atlas vertebra is different as it has neither facet joints, nor spinal discs between it and adjacent structures.  This makes it much more freely movable, allowing for much more range of motion (around half of the total movement in the neck occurs between the top two bones), but makes this area more vulnerable to structural misalignment.

Neurology:

The lower brain stem is the part of the nervous system where the brain transitions into the spinal cord.  This occurs at the bottom and rear opening of the skull, at the upper neck.  The majority of unconscious functions occur in this area, such as heart rate, breathing, blood pressure, and reflexes like coughing and swallowing.  Extending down to the middle and lower neck are clusters of brainstem nerves that control the muscles of the head, neck and face, sensations to most of the face, mouth and tongue control, and a variety of other functions.

Blood Supply:

The vertebral artery passes directly through the atlas vertebra, prior to bringing blood into the head.  The vertebral artery is responsible for bringing blood to the entire brain stem, and the middle and back of your brain.  As you can see, significant rotation of the atlas vertebra can create a “kink” of this critical artery.

Because of the unique anatomy of the atlas vertebra, and its proximity to these critical structures, it is essential that it be properly aligned.

Q: Advanced Ortho..what?  I’ve never heard of this procedure.

Within the chiropractic profession there are different specialties, some of the most common ones being auto-injuries, sports practices, or family practices.  Some of the less common specialties include chiropractic radiology, internal medicine, and the upper cervical spine.

The upper neck became an area of focus and specialty within the chiropractic profession as early as the 1930’s, with a focus on using precision radiology to study the area coming shortly thereafter.  Hand-held instruments started replacing manual manipulation in the 1970’s and the use of table-mounted instruments similar to what is used at Spectra Wellness started in the 1980’s.

Today there are over a dozen techniques within the Upper Cervical Chiropractic specialty, and these techniques are taught at almost every Chiropractic school in America.  The protocols used at Spectra Wellness are called the Advanced (Atlas) Orthogonal technique.

Q: Do I have to keep coming back forever?

A: No!  Traditional chiropractic treatment plans are based on the idea that spinal health is dependent on outside intervention.  Most chiropractors believe that you will ALWAYS need “maintenance” adjustments (sometimes as frequently as every week) for the rest of your life.  The Spectra Wellness approach is to address structural alignment through reflex muscle control, joint mobilization, and movement re-training.  Using these strategies, motivated patients are given the tools to be able to maintain their corrections indefinitely.

Q: My back hurts, why is he adjusting my neck? Will the doctor adjust anything else?

Low back pain is one of the most common ailments in North America, as it is the 2nd most common reason for missed workdays, and up to 80% of Americans will have it at some point in the their lives(Archives of internal medicine, 2009).  Unfortunately, most people (health providers included) don’t realize that posture is largely driven by unconscious reflexes, and these reflexes affect spinal alignment.  In fact, a 1992 animal study in the International Orthopedics Journal found that you were able to create scoliosis just by stimulating certain parts of the brain stem.

When the top bones in the neck have subtle misalignments, they can affect these postural reflexes, indirectly affecting the back.  The Spectra Wellness approach to back pain deals with first normalizing these reflexes (which starts at the neck), THEN treating the back if necessary, AND THEN fixing any potentially compromised movement patterns.  Despite focusing on the upper neck, one of the most frequently seen conditions seen Spectra Wellness chiropractors is lower back pain, and it responds tremendously well to re-aligning the upper cervical spine.

Q: Can this treatment work for (insert condition here)?

A: Maybe.  We most commonly see changes with orthopedic-type conditions including neck pain, back pain, shoulder issues and all kinds of joint pain.  We also frequently see neurologic-type conditions like headaches and dizziness.  However, because atlas vertebra position is intimately related to proper function of the lower brainstem, any number of health conditions can potentially respond favorably to atlas vertebra alignment.

If you have a condition or know someone with a condition that has not responded to traditional medical approaches, upper cervical alignment could be the missing link.

Q: Will I get my neck cracked?

A: Rarely (only if you prefer it).  While Spectra Wellness chiropractorsare trainedin the manual spinal manipulation performed by most chiropractors, they prefer to take a much more specificand non-invasive approach to correcting the neck.  The top bone in the neck in adjusted using a percussion sound wave instrument, using a procedure that is dependent on precise x-ray analysis.  The correction is performed with the spine in a neutral position, within the normal range of motion, without any twisting, popping or cracking.  This non-invasive approach can be used with patients with pre-existing disc injuries or arthritic degeneration, and is safe for all ages.

Q: I already have X-rays, can we use those?

Unfortunately, no (but we still want to see them).  Traditional medical X-ray, MRI or CT scans are designed to find significant medical problems and are an essential part of modern healthcare.  However, the subtleties involved in detecting the upper cervical misalignment require that the patient is specifically positioned prior to the images being taken, and traditional x-rays do not require this level of detail.

Spectra works exclusively with Rose Radiology on Kennedy in South Tampa, where Spectra chiropractors have trained a select number of their radiology technicians in the intricacies of taking precision upper cervical films.  If you have previous x-rays, they can tell us a lot about the state of your condition, but may not help us with a specific correction to the upper cervical spine.