What is NUCCA?

NUCCA Therapy is offered at CMSTC

When it comes to adjusting the spine, I think it’s easy to argue that the top of the neck is the most important and delicate part; there is a ton of sensitive anatomy, coupled with the tremendous range of motion that the joints of the upper neck are capable of compared to the rest of the spine – about 70% of cervical rotation comes from the Atlanto-axial joint!

The upper neck is also more challenging to adjust than the rest of the spine; with 2 joints at C1 instead of three you have at every other spinal joint you have a more mobile but less stable joint. This is why I use xray to guide my adjustment of this area, there are more possible ways for this joint to misalign than further down the spine.

If a patient has an accident or injury to this joint, they may feel scared of having the area treated, and rightfully so, it is a very sensitive area. The NUCCA procedure is an image guided adjustment of this joint, and with any process that you are trying to do carefully and precisely, you do it more slowly. In the NUCCA procedure the joint is moved over 30-60 seconds, so there is no twisting or cracking that is typically associated with Chiropractic adjustments. 

What conditions can be related to the upper neck? The obvious one would be neck pain, but headaches are also a very common symptom which responds extremely well (this is how I got into doing NUCCA – it made my migraines go away!). Because the joints of the upper neck are also significant contributors to our proprioceptive sense, posture will typically break down with an injury to this area. With a patient laying, posture breakdown will typically present as a long or short leg, or significant imbalance in paraspinal muscle tone that either won’t release fully, or that doesn’t stay released (reoccurs once they return to a standing posture).

Have a tough case that you think might have an upper cervical spinal issue? My door is always open (even if it’s closed, I’m always happy chat if not with patients). If you are sure there is an upper cervical issue present you can also suggest the patient book a 1 hour assessment. This will allow me to understand if they have the signs of an upper neck issue and if I might be able to help move the case forward with you!


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Dear Valued Calgary Muscle and Soft Tissue Clinic Patients,

We are still open for business. Due to the outbreak of COVID-19 we want to make sure we do our part to prioritize your health and well-being and that of our team and community. We are open for business and continue to offer a welcoming and safe place for patients and our therapists alike. We are paying close attention to the up-to-the-minute updates from Alberta Health Services and are strictly enforcing all the recommended sanitary protocols and practices. We are committed to ensuring that everyone stays safe and healthy while visiting our clinic.

As we navigate through this period of heightened awareness we will be taking a serious of precautionary steps including:

  • A further increase in our cleaning and sanitizing procedures
  • Disinfecting treatment rooms and tables after each use
  • Limiting hand and face contact (no handshakes, hugs, etc.)

We ask that if you are feeling unwell, even if it just feels like a cold or cough, or if you’ve recently returned from travelling to a high-risk area to please cancel your appointment (we value your observation of giving us as much notice as possible). 

Our community is strong and for that, we are thankful. Together, through intentional connection, we will get through this. This situation will be updated on our website homepage as new information becomes available.

Be well, stay safe and thank you for your continued patronage.


Laurie Fisher
Clinical Director/Owner