Upper Cervical Care


Whitehead Chiropractic specializes in upper cervical care, also known as Orthospinology, a specific chiropractic technique that does not include any "popping" or "cracking." We are one of the few upper cervical chiropractors in Austin specializing in Orthospinology, serving the community since 1988! 

Orthospinology (aka Upper Cervical) is a gentle chiropractic technique and analysis system that restores the body’s natural ability to achieve optimal health, reduce pain and ease chronic health problems. 

nucca chiropractor in austin dr whitehead

Upper Cervical: Chiropractic Adjustment With NO Cracking or Popping

            If you ask people what they think of when they hear the word ‘chiropractor’, the majority of people will probably say “they crack bones”. If you ask a person under chiropractic care what they think of when they hear the word ‘chiropractor’, they may give a variety of different answers from “they make me feel better”, “they helped me after an accident” or “they pop my back and make my pain go away”.

Sadly, the majority of people are too intimidated to go to a chiropractor because they think of cracking bones or they are scared that the pop will hurt.

The good news is that there such thing as a no crack chiropractor near you. Chiropractic has so much more to offer than “cracking” and “popping” - starting with a technique that is super gentle and has no “pop” or “crack” associated with it.

This technique is called Upper Cervical Care. This is an umbrella term, and there are many techniques that fit under this umbrella. Let’s look at one in particular – orthospinology.


What is Upper Cervical Care, or Orthospinology? 

This technique has been developed on the premise that accuracy is more important than force. The more accurate the upper cervical doctor is and the less force needed usually results in the greatest correction and reduction of a person’s symptoms. This technique is able to accomplish such great results while still being extremely gentle for the patient through the use of three different x-rays that allow the practitioner to mark exact reference points to show how the Atlas - or first bone in the neck - is misaligned.  

This also allows for a comparison when you take a post x-ray to measure and show the patient the exact correction that was made to their spine. This technique involves expansive of research to be so effective.

What’s the Difference Between Upper Cervical Chiropractic vs Regular Chiropractic?

Upper cervical care does not require any twisting or popping to manipulate the spine. An upper cervical chiropractor focuses on the health of the neck vertebrae knowing the rest of the spine will follow suit when the top two are in working order.

Upper Cervical Chiropractic Benefits: Common Health Problems & Conditions

upper cervical chiropractic patient in Austin

Using gentle adjustments to the upper cervical spine, this treatment can help those suffering from: 

-ear and sinus infections
-migraines
-diabetes
-chronic fatigue
-sleeping disorders
-carpal tunnel
-plantar fasciitis
-digestive problems
-multiple sclerosis
-fibromyalgia
-trigeminal neuralgia and seizures


About Our Austin Upper Cervical Chiropractor, Dr. Wendee Whitehead D.C.

Austin upper cervical chiropractor Dr. Wendee Whitehead D.C. and our staff have advanced training in Orthospinology. Our Austin chiropractors are dedicated to achieving the most cutting edge techniques in upper cervical care. 

Dr. Wendee Whitehead D.C. has studied Orthospinology extensively and is a Board Certified Orthospinologist:

I became interested in Orthospinology from personal experience, I was having severe neck pain, carpal tunnel and plantar fasciitis, I was sleeping in braces on my hands and feet and getting out of bed was excruciating.  I was adjusted by a colleague who does Orthospinology and immediately my neck pain, plantar fasciitis and carpal tunnel was relieved. My life was changed forever due to this experience. It felt like a miracle! As a result I want to pass these miracles on to my patients.  It brings me great joy to help those who are suffering. I believe that Orthospinology is one of the most powerful healing techniques I have experienced."

According to Dr. Whitehead:

Orthospinology restored my life, I was suffering with carpal tunnel, plantar fasciitis and numbness in my face. A colleague adjusted me and my life was restored. I am committed to giving my patients the highest quality care. I believe the more precise our adjustment the better the patient heals. It is because of our dedication to serving our patients we attend training to keep up to date with the latest advances so that we may help others find relief from their suffering.” 

Upper Cervical Care Is Changing the Way People View Chiropractic Care

Chiropractic Care is so much more than just getting someone out of pain and back to their daily lives. The end goal is to get the spine realigned so that the brain can communicate properly with the rest of the body and function the way it should.

Sometimes that takes more than just an adjustment.

It’s like when you go to the dentist for regular check-ups - they don’t just tell you “oh, your teeth are straight” - they look for cavities, do cleanings or fillings, or put crowns on.

A chiropractor can do more than just adjust - they may also recommend certain exercises or stretches as well as the adjustment. When the spine is out of alignment, certain muscles can become weak from inactivity, and others are too short from hyperactivity. Stretches are to balance the musculature out so the patient holds the adjustment better for longer periods of time. Following an injury, chiropractors may use ice or stim or laser to help reduce the amount of inflammation that sets in, which can help reduce swelling and pain as well. 

Call Us Today To Schedule Your Free Consultation

 If you are looking for a no crack chiropractor near you in Austin, look no further If you are interested in learning how Orthospinology can help restore your life, please schedule for a complimentary consultation.

If you or someone you knows suffers with headaches, seizures, jaw disorders, neck pain, numbness, tingling or a lot of different symptoms, or you are someone scared to see a chiropractor because you don’t want to hear or feel a pop - don’t worry; a Chiropractor certified in upper cervical is just the person needed to help you or someone you know feel better.

Contact our office at 512-451-0115 to schedule an appointment! 


FAQ: Upper Cervical Care

How Does Orthospinology Work?

upper cervical chiropractor austin

The brain is the control center of the body.  It controls and regulates trillions of cells of your body. Directly below the brain is the brainstem.  The beating of your heart, your breathing, digestion and even your immune system are under the control of the brainstem.  

The upper two cervical vertebra in the neck surround and protect this vital part of our nervous system.  The anatomy of this region of the spine is unique in many ways. There are only two vertebrae in the spine with names.  The first and uppermost vertebrae C1 is called the Atlas, because in Greek Mythology, Atlas held the world up or in our case our 8-12 lb. head.  C2 or the second cervical vertebrae is called the axis because it acts as the axis of rotation for your head and most of your neck.

 These two vertebrae are the only two vertebrae between which there is NO DISC. The absence of the intervertebral disc allows for a greater range of motion. Because of this increased range of motion, these segments are much more likely to misalign, causing nervous system interference at the level of the brain stem.  

When these two bones get out of alignment, the innate healing power coming from our brain flowing down our spinal cord is interrupted.  At that point the trillions of cells of our body are not getting vital nerve control resulting in a cascade of adverse physiological conditions.


What Does Upper Cervical Chiropractic Research Say?

 Research shows the amazing ability for one correction to restore normal function between the brain and the rest of the body. “Outcome assessments were significantly improved for neck pain and disability, headache, mid-back pain, as well as lower back pain and disability (p <0.001) following care with a high level (mean = 9.1/10) of patient satisfaction.” [i]

            Upper cervical care is a unique technique, especially when it comes to patients who suffer from migraines, seizures, neurologic disorders or other symptoms because of the relationship between the Atlas and the brainstem.

In one study, it was proven that “connective tissue bridges were noted at the atlanto-occipital junction between the rectus capitis posterior minor muscle and the dorsal spinal dura. The perpendicular arrangement of these fibers appears to restrict dural movement toward the spinal cord.”[ii]

A misaligned Atlas would cause tension on these fibers and muscles and would result in abnormal flow from the brain to the body whether with blood flow (resulting in headaches) or Cerebral Spinal Fluid, which could cause a slew of other symptoms. When adjusted and realigned, the flow normalizes and the symptoms reduce or even go away. You can still receive chiropractic care using this technique after an injury to the head or neck because it’s so gentle and effective.

For example, in another research study, a 17 year old male landed on his head from a height of 10 ft. while attempting a pole vault. Prior to the accident, no health problems were reported. Following the accident, the patient developed numerous neurological disorders. Symptoms persisted over the next 6 years, during which time the patient sought treatment from many physicians and other health care practitioners. At the initial examination, evidence of a subluxation from the upper cervical spine was found through thermography (skin temperature reading) and radiography (x-ray). Chiropractic care was administered using upper cervical technique to correct and stabilize the patient's upper neck injury. Assessments at baseline, 2 months, and 4 months were conducted by the patient's neurologist. After 1 month of care, the patient reported an absence of seizures and manic episodes and improved sleep patterns. After 4 months of care, seizures and manic episodes remained absent and migraine headaches were reduced from 3 per week to 2 per month. After 7 months of care, the patient reported the complete absence of symptoms. Eighteen months later, the patient remains asymptomatic.

How Long Does Upper Cervical Take To Work?

Each adjustment is unique for every patient. Your body will get restored via natural healing, and natural healing takes time. Your health history, complexity/severity of your health condition(s), length of time you have had your problem play a major role in the duration of your healing journey.

Most times though, patients will notice a change in their bodies after 5-30 days following their first adjustment. Changes may come earlier or later in the form of immediate decreased symptoms, feelings of relaxation or tiredness, muscle soreness, changes in other parts of their bodies or some patients may not notice any significant change. All of this is normal. The body goes through different cycles of repair over the next few months. 

Our patients usually require follow-up visits to monitor your alignment and progress every step of the way as you move towards better health. The most important factor is not to perform repeated adjustments, but to ensure adjustments are maintained .


What Causes Misalignment of the Upper Cervical Spine? How can you tell if I have Brainstem pressure from upper cervical misalignment?

As a result of the upper cervical spine being the most mobile joint of the spine, traumatic forces such as auto accidents, falls, traumas, poor posture, cell phone use and even child birth can easily misalign the upper cervical spine.


How can you tell if I have Brainstem pressure from upper cervical misalignment?

There are several ways to identify brainstem pressure.

1. Computed Infrared Thermography

Computed Infrared Thermography

This nervous system interference can be detected through the use of Computed Infrared Thermography. Thermography has been used for thousands of years to diagnose the sick. 

In modern times new medical breakthroughs have allowed us to further understand the link between thermal imbalances and nervous system dysfunction. 

For this reason we utilize thermographic scans both pre- and post-adjustment. It is of absolute importance that the patient understands that results do not come from the adjustments themselves, but rather from the patient achieving a healthy and fully functioning nervous system

For that reason, we utilize thermography to indicate when nervous system interference is present, and therefore, whether or not the patient needs an adjustment. Furthermore, thermography is utilized post-adjustment to be sure that the proper adjustment has been made and that nervous system interference has been reduced or eliminated

2.  Scanning Palpation

Misaligned vertebrae cause tightening of the muscles in the cervical spine that can be palpated by a trained upper cervical practitioner.

3.  Leg Length Check

Pressure on your brainstem causes one side of your body to be contracted resulting in a short leg on that side.  The most precise leg checks utilize a bowing shoe because they have a stripe for accuracy.

leg check austin chiropractor

leg check 2

4.  Posture Evaluation

posture evaluation chiropractor austin

posture eval











5.  Precision Laser-Aligned Digital Radiography

The misaligned segments are identified through the use of Digital Laser-aligned Radiography.  Precision and accuracy to the millimeter assures optimum alignment of your spine to its normal position relieving pressure off your brainstem.  The x-ray images are analyzed by the doctor to determine the three-dimensional displacement of the upper cervical vertebrae. Special x-ray filters reduce x-ray exposure.  

before upper cervical chiropractic care in austin

after upper cervical chiropractic care in austin








Is Upper Cervical Care Popular Amongst Celebrities? Yes! 

Upper Cervical Care has helped celebrities including Montel Williams with MS and Jim McMahon with brain fog. Montel Williams was diagnosed with MS in 1999. Since then, he’s tried a variety of treatments to combat his disease, including chiropractic care. According to the former talk show host, the results were positive

Williams claims that his pain is severe and unrelenting, yet with chiropractic care he says, “I am walking differently. My pain is less; I have already regained strength in my left leg. My left leg has dropped because I found out that my pelvis was tilted, it’s dropped back down, they are now the same length; it’s the most amazing thing that has ever happened to me.” For McMahon, his miracle story came about after a visit to New York upper cervical chiropractor Dr. Scott Rosa. After a specialized scan in the FONAR Upright MRI, Jim was found to have significant misalignment at the base of his skull causing obstruction to the flow of his spinal fluid. McMahon received Rosa’s patented I.G.A.T. (Image Guided Atlas Treatment) which, Jim says literally saved his life.

Just moments after the first cervical adjustment, McMahon said "it felt like a toilet bowel flushed and all the pain and stress went away". This occurred because the CSF (Cerebrospinal Fluid) flow went from being obstructed to flowing normally, allowing it to remove the neurotoxins and wastes that are a byproduct of brain function. This improved Jim McMahon's dementia symptoms as well his brain fog, migraines and slurred speech. .”


Eriksen, K., Rochester, R. P., & Hurwitz, E. L. (2011). Symptomatic reactions, clinical outcomes and patient satisfaction associated with upper cervical chiropractic care: A prospective, multicenter, cohort study. BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders,12(1). doi:10.1186/1471-2474-12-219

Alix, M. E., & Bates, D. K. (1999). A proposed etiology of cervicogenic headache: The neurophysiologic basis and anatomic relationship between the dura mater and the rectus posterior capitis minor muscle. Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics,22(8), 534-539. doi:10.1016/s0161-4754(99)70006-0

Elster, E. L. (2004). Treatment of Bipolar, Seizure, and Sleep Disorders and Migraine Headaches Utilizing a Chiropractic Technique. Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics,27(3), 217. doi:10.1016/j.jmpt.2003.12.027



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