The first clue that something is off comes from the association’s overly broad range of conditions which can be treated by the same procedure.
“The focus of the NUCCA work is the relationship between the upper cervical spine (neck) and its influence on the central nervous system and brain stem function. It is this relationship that affects every aspect of human function from the feeling sensations in your fingers to regulating hormones, controlling movement, and providing the ability to hear, see, think, and breathe.”
Every aspect. Give them credit for being bold.
The mission of NUCCA is defined as “Maximizing the human health potential as associated with the reduction of the Atlas Subluxation Complex (ASC).”
The stuff chiropractors do can be summarily described as “manual manipulation”. Can such actions (neck manipulations) on a “misaligned” atlas cure something simple, like high blood pressure?
Some forms of manual therapy can temporarily lower blood pressure while others may temporarily raise blood pressure. Tension relief or relaxation that occurs as a result of manual therapy may temporarily lower some forms of high blood pressure, but I don’t know of any way that neck manipulation can permanently reduce high blood pressure, which has many causes unrelated to the neck. Except in cases involving gross anatomical abnormality or injury to the upper cervical area, affecting vascular structures, there is no reason to believe that slight misalignment of the atlas would affect blood pressure, especially the minor, painless “subluxations” routinely adjusted by NUCCA upper cervical chiropractors
In addition to not being a cure for high blood pressure, permanently changing the position of the atlas is impossible since it is free moving (it allows your head to turn from side to side) and will always return to its anatomically determined resting position.
A flawed study and shady chiropractors combine to separate the fools from their money.
The findings of the questionable and controversial study in the Journal of Human Hypertension, offering support for contentions that correcting a minor atlas misalignment will lower blood pressure, are being extrapolated by NUCCA chiropractors to prove that upper cervical chiropractic is an effective treatment for organic ailments.
This skeptical viewpoint comes courtesy of:
Samuel Homola, D.C., a retired chiropractor who limited his practice to science-based methods and spoke out against the irrational and abusive practices of his colleagues. He is the author of Inside Chiropractic and Bonesetting, Chiropractic, and Cultism and co-author with Stephen Barrett of the skeptical Chirobase website, a division of Quackwatch) .
The sheer amount of anonymous venom directed at the author on the Amazon.com page for Inside Chiropractic is a good sign he’s struck a nerve against those quacks. Check out the whole article for a brief history of chiropractic methodology and a more in depth analysis of this situation.