Q&A #33 Upper Cervical Technique


There are a number of good arguments for HIO but I recently heard an old one that leaves me perplexed. The argument is that the more you allow the body to do for itself like correct subluxations below Axis the stronger it becomes. Conversely, the more you do for it, like correct those subluxations, the more it becomes dependent. Can we discuss rationally and without rancor, the pros and cons of this argument?

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This article has 35 comments

  1. Paulo Henrique Sugimoto 10/26/2012, 4:56 pm:

    Because adaptation (not intellectual adaptation) takes place at the brainstem, and because the occiput-atlas-axis joint is the most bio-mechanically unstable of the whole spine, it makes more sense to me that the interference (break in the triune) happens right there.

  2. Steve 10/26/2012, 6:57 pm:

    Hey Joe,
    If I remember my HIO from Vol.XVII, and Mike Kale DC, there were no “subluxations” below axis. Misalignments should not be adjusted/ corrected as they were adaptations of II. Technically you cannot “adjust” a misalignment anyway as there is no nerve interference in a misalignment. Working on misalignments is the job of the orthopedist. We are not spine straighteners. Remember BJ was for doing less to achieve more, leaving it up to innate to correct those displaced non-interfering segments. I hope that clears it up for you.

    • Steve 10/26/2012, 6:58 pm:

      sorry, VOL XVIII (18)

  3. Bryson 10/26/2012, 8:08 pm:

    Would innate become more dependent upon repeated upper cervical adjustments if I adjusted from a Logan Basic standpoint?

    I’ve read that BJ Palmer once said that the worst subluxation to have is the coccyx due to the tension it puts on the dura mater. For that matter, wouldn’t ANY subluxation that is disrupting the full expression of innate intelligence be the “worst” subluxation?

    • Steve 10/26/2012, 9:39 pm:

      Hey Bryson,
      I am curious, do you remember where you read that statement ?

      • Bryson 11/02/2012, 6:43 pm:


        The topic (regarding a coccyx subluxation) is talked about extensively at Torque Release Technique seminars and I know that Jay Holder, DC has made the statement. He referenced “The Art of Chiropractic” By: R.W. Stephenson, DC. I apologize for the late response.

  4. anthony 10/27/2012, 1:00 am:

    If the body can and is correcting subluxations below atlas, and the body is becoming stronger, then why can’t the body correct its own atlas? Wouldn’t it then be reasonable to suggest that if we let the body correct atlas subluxations that the body becomes that much stronger?

    • Paulo Henrique Sugimoto 10/27/2012, 12:21 pm:

      The body does correct the atlas subluxation. Especially once it has been stable for a long time!

  5. ej 10/27/2012, 4:41 am:

    just a thot that occurs to me from the above. if c1/c2is the most unstable, how is it that people can “hold” their adjustments for so long under uc care? with amp analysis people are subluxated very frequently.

    • Steve 10/31/2012, 2:43 pm:

      Hey ej,
      What is amp analysis?

    • Don 11/01/2012, 1:46 pm:

      I think AMP is the short form of Advanced Muscle Palpation. A technique developed by Nick Spano.
      If you are asking HOW an AMP user analyzes, that I don’t know because I haven’t studied it.

      • Steve 11/02/2012, 3:45 pm:

        THANX Don

        • Claude 11/02/2012, 11:18 pm:


          I’m back! And I’m back in 1976 WHEN Reggie Gold introduced us to the Vertebraille Analysis using muscle palpation. From Vertebraille Analysis, Miguel Bolufer and myself develop the ADIO analysis also known as today as Muscle Palpation Analysis. It is a very reliable analysis based on the premise of “working” muscles used by the innate intelligence of the body to correct VS. It is Nick Spano WHO chose to teach ADIO analysis and later on renamed it Muscle Palpation Analysis and developed it further into Advanced Muscle Palpation Analysis. I took that course and I recommend it to those WHO would choose to have reliable pre and post checks and address VS in a very specific way. We must remember that VS is not static, it is constantly in motion and that is WHY paravertebral muscles are always in use by the innate intelligence of the body in correcting VS. I have been using AMP for 35 years now. –

          – Technique analysis is a part of the ART of chiropractic. As long as it is you WHO choose to use a technique that you are confident with and can have pre and post checks of your art form, you are practicing the ART of chiropractic.

  6. Steve 10/29/2012, 4:40 pm:

    Hey Y’all,
    Keep in mind, strict UC assumes anything below C2 is a misalignment, not a true subluxation. Palmer said “manipulation” below C2 only becomes an adjustment if C1 or C2 are moved by the shock force of the lower thrust. (Remote adjustment clearing upper cervicals.)
    Palmer estimated the body fixes itself (unsubluxates through normal movement or during sleep)about 80-85% of the time. It is the 15-20% that have been, due to the limitations of matter, out for so long or were pushed out so violently that require the assistance of the chiropractor.

  7. Richie Barone 10/29/2012, 9:21 pm:

    Depends on your analysis and criteria…..Hopefully we analyze and adjust with what we feel is the best that we do to LACVS. or why are you doing it? Chiropractic is also an art and as an art we each express ourselves differently.

  8. StraightDC 10/31/2012, 4:52 pm:

    I remember being taught that chiropractic is 3 pronged: philosophy, science & art. And each must be of equal strength & importance in a chiropractic practice. I see the upper cervical practitioner doing this the best, since in the UC practice there is truly a science in finding the subluxation & using concrete data in knowing when & WHEN NOT to adjust. (I have never been to a DC that does NOT adjust me each & every time I go other than a UC doc.) Also the UC practioner must be very good at communicating the philosophy since they will obviously not be addressing the symptoms & hitting every sore spot on the spine. This speaks to me of being more of a science rather than”ain’t innate great”.

    • JStraussDC 11/01/2012, 11:24 pm:

      Dear Straight, welcome to the blog. The storm knoked me offline so I did not get a chance to acknowledge your comment before today. I will allow some others to comment before giving my 2 cents (as well as catching up on other comments). Thanks for joining us,

      • StraightDC 11/05/2012, 3:51 pm:

        I guess no one wants to reply. This has always been an issue for me since most chiros practice with an emphasis on one of the three: (philosophy, science or art), instead of a balance between the 3. Again I see the UC practitioner having the best balance of all three because you would have to – to be able to consistantly practice UC.
        You have to educate well, adjust well because of the specificity, & have concrete data on when & when not to adjust.
        I’m not saying other techniques do not accomplish subluxation correction, but I think they are less disciplined in the practice.

        • Steve 11/05/2012, 5:57 pm:

          Hey Straight DC,
          Let me ask you, who do you think does more explaining of our philosophy the UC or the Logan practitioner? Who do you think does more research, subluxationists or technique/ product peddlers? Where are you in your philosophy, DD, BJ, Reggie, OSC?
          Don’t get me wrong Straight (if I may address you by your first name), I use several techniques including UC (but not Logan, not in the classical sense anyway) depending on the situation (patient needs), but all ChiropracTORS should well versed in all three branches of the profession. A stunted leg on the stool will produce leaning, leaning toward medicine or faith and chasing symptoms.

          • StraightDC 11/05/2012, 11:07 pm:


            I am in total agreement that a stunted leg on the stool, makes for less than the best chiropractic practice so I am continually on the search for how to combine philosophy, science & art to produce a practice that uses the least amount of force in the least places for a subluxation correction. It appears that the docs (now that’s not all of them) who talk the most philosophy, are kind of “vague” on the technique, and the technique masters are so intent on the technique being the answer, that the philosophy is not as emphasized in their offices (again, not all of them).
            I see an UC practice as being the most conducive to have the best balance of philosophy, science & art because you have to do a lot of educating to convince someone that one bone in the neck is all that is going to be adjusted, and you better be good at adjusting that one bone since that is your only chance. Most other practices combine a variety of techniques that make it easier to chase symptoms.
            I did not understand your question: ” Where are you in your philosophy,DD,BJ,Reggie,OSC?” What do you mean? Thank-You!!

          • JStraussDC 11/06/2012, 1:58 pm:

            Straight, just curious, how is an UC practice any more scientific than any other type of chiropractic practice that LACVS?

  9. Steve 11/02/2012, 3:13 pm:

    Hey Joe,
    Glad you’re back, hope you and yours are doing well after Sandy 🙂
    LOM > IR…….. Lots of Moisture overcoming Internet Reliability 😉

  10. StraightDC 11/07/2012, 10:41 pm:

    JOE, in response to how is UC more scientific……..

    UC chiropractic is more scientific in that it uses non-metaphysical data to determine when to adjust & when not to adjust. It is NOT about the WHO as Claude says. It’s about the WHAT that the reading shows that has nothing to do with how the doc feels.
    Also there was no REPLY button for me to press to respond to you, Joe.

    • JStraussDC 11/08/2012, 4:13 am:

      Straight, (wish I knew your first name), I appreciate your patience but I have another question which I’m sure you can answer. If the 4th and most important criteria of a vertebral subluxation is a metaphysical phenomena, (interference with the transmission of mental impulses between brain cell and tissue cell,…I’m sure you knew that but perhaps by chance someone else is reading this thread) how can a scientific instrument/analysis and “non-metaphysical data… determine when to adjust and when not to adjust?” Thanks for hanging in there with me!

      • StraightDC 11/09/2012, 3:27 pm:

        Yes, that is very true. Then how can we say (in all honesty) that chiropractic is a philosohy, SCIENCE, and art??? It would appear that the 3 legged stool is out of balance if only philosophy & art is what is constituting the practice. What happened to the balance & equal importance of all three: philosophy, science & art?

        • JStraussDC 11/09/2012, 4:56 pm:

          Dear Straight, chiropractic is based upon certain scientific concepts, the anatomy and physiology of the spine and nerve system. But I would say that everything else is philosophy and art.

          • Claude 11/09/2012, 5:36 pm:


            Welcome to the blog. –

            – WHAT Joseph said is true. I tell the practice members WHAT chiropractic is NOT…. Then I tell them that chiropractic is PHILOSOPHY — SCIENCE — ART. The philosophy of the law of life, innate intelligence, with its 33 principles, the science of the nerve system for mental transmission and the art of LACVS restoring the interference with the FLOW of mental transmission.

        • Steve 11/09/2012, 5:35 pm:

          Hey Straight,
          As Joe pointed out, no instrument measures presence or absence of Mental Impulse, and as far as I know, even if your doing nerve conduction studies, we are all measuring physiological effects. Thermocouples/ infrared measure balance of heat, muscle palpation measures tension and balance, motion palpation looks at joint play, activator goes by leg checks, even the old meric system used nerve tracing. All analyzing effects of neuronal activity on the tissues of the body, and yes even instruments can be affected by the handler not every reading you take is done perfectly. Every good technique has a pre and post check to determine it’s effectiveness, I hope. This is where Claude’s statement of the WHO you chose to be comes in. It is YOU that decides what chiropractic is and how thoroughly you apply it. The how, what, why, where and when are all determined by the WHO. I would rather have a precise Meric adjustor than a sloppy UC done by an MD after a weekend seminar. BJ said, Chiropractic always works, if you have a Dr that can deliver it and a patient that can accept in. The three legs however are rarely separate and distinct, they often overlap. Analysis is an art-form, technique is often philosophically driven and science is only as good as your skill-set.
          Previously you asked my meaning behind “where are you in philosophy”. If I am too assume you are a scientist, artist and philosopher, my question is, are you current and up to date in all 3 “legs”?

          • StraightDC 11/12/2012, 3:26 pm:


            Too often I see DC’s who are very philosophically “heavy” & out of balance in that area while they preach the excellence of innate, so the adjustment becomes less than it should. I have had some nasty adjustments on the portable table at some chiro seminars where the adjustor was 150% into the philosophy. You guys make it sound like you cannot adjust incorrectly if you have the philosophy right. I think the UC guys have it down when it comes to specificity of the adjustment & the philosophy & art.
            I have to disagree with you on who I would rather have adjust me. I would much rather have anyone, MD included, give me a PRECISE atlas adjustment over a precise Meric adjustment. But you have to admit that anyone in their right mind would wonder WHY & HOW could an adjustment on one bone in the neck be beneficial & that’s just the point I am making – ONE WOULD HAVE TO UNDERSTAND CHIRO PHILSOPHY QUITE WELL TO WANT TO LEARN HOW TO ADJUST ONE BONE SPECIFICALLY & CONTINUE TO PRACTICE THAT WAY. When the DC is constantly repeating in their head “ain’t innate great” and putting forces in the spine with the thought that innate will fix whatever they do, I think it is easier to get sloppy in adjusting.
            To answer your last question…….My goal as a DC is to be seeking excellence in all 3. That’s why I am enjoying reading this blog – IT’S CHALLENGING.

  11. Steve 11/12/2012, 6:41 pm:

    Hey Straight,
    Ah, so rare it is to meet a balanced individual. One however should be aware of biases brought to the table. Your statement,”You guys make it sound like you cannot adjust incorrectly if you have the philosophy right.”, could not be further from the truth. No one ever said such a thing. What has been said is that Innate Intelligence makes the adjustment we as chiropractors do not. Philosophically we understand the difference. If you have been reading for a while you may recall discussions concerning the importance of accuracy in analysis and technique,our educated input if you will. That you have a favorite technique is quite apparent, I am happy you have settled on one. Just remember, all that is known is not true and all that is true is not yet known. Now lets hear your thoughts on philosophy this is after all a PHILOSOPHY FORUM.

    • StraightDC 11/14/2012, 12:45 am:

      My thoughts on Philosophy are being refined as I read this blog, & I do appreciate Claude’s repetition of: interference with innate forces is what we are all about. I am in agreement with this & I do read Claude’s & Joe’s responses with much anticipation & concentration.
      My disagreement is NOT with the philosophy, it is the lack of focus & attention to how the forces are put in the spine.

  12. Claude 11/14/2012, 1:54 pm:


    Following your thoughts, if it is you WHO were to choose to give a correct adjustment with your educated intelligence, the question would be: WOULD YOU EVER GIVE A CORRECT ADJUSTMENT? And HOW would you know YOU did?

    • Claude 11/14/2012, 2:29 pm:

      … or did NOT?

      • StraightDC 11/14/2012, 8:33 pm:


        I know what you are driving at when you ask me those questions. Here’s the answer you are looking for………with our educated intelligence we can only do so much so we have to rely on whatever pre & post checks our technique dictates. So if they show that we did the job then hey it’s a correct adjustment. And if the post check does not check out, then it’s either wait & see what the body does with the force with some more time, or adjust again.
        I am NOT an UC practitioner, but since I have been going to an UC doc for the last few years I have been adjusted much less & have been functioning better than ever before. This is what makes me continue to question the ability of the WHO that is giving the adjustment rather than the WHAT of the technique being used. And from my personal experience, it appears the technique has made the difference in my quality of life.
        To answer your question, I am always looking for better ways to LACVS & from my experience it appears that the UC guys have something that is “more scientific’ than what the WHO feels should be adjusted at that moment.


        Also, do you not think that after a period of time, people should not be able to hold an adjustment for longer than a week? Should not the body be getting better with our chiropractic care? I believe you mentioned that everyone should be checked every week.
        Thank-you for your response!

        • Claude 11/14/2012, 11:17 pm:


          First of all I am not looking for anything in particular. Just checking where the philosophy, science and art of chiropractic is leading us today. –

          – When I say it is ALWAYS about WHO, I do not use it to imply that NTOSC practices by “feeling” (and I don’t mean palpation) where, when, how and what to adjust. Not at all! It is ALWAYS about WHO choosing ANYTHING! –

          – The NTOSC is one WHO chooses to examine the spine of the practice member with a specific technique of locating VS, a specific technique of analyzing VS, a specific technique to introduce a specific force with a specific line of drive at the subluxated vertebra with specific position of the practitioner and the practice member on the specific subluxated vertebra with the specific intent that the innate intelligence of the body of the practice member will adapt the universal force that the chiropractor specifically introduce into subluxated vertebra for the correction of VS by the innate intelligence of the body of the practice member. As a NTOSC it is me WHO chooses to practice the OBJECTIVE of chiropractic which is to LACVS for a full expression of the innate FORCES of the innate intelligence of the body. PERIOD! That’s me WHO chooses to do that versus something else. Right intent, right purpose, right idea and the rest WILL follow! –

          – Regarding UC APPEARING “more scientific”, I have no problem with that. I’m wondering if the APPEARING scientific is perhaps a “way” of selling chiropractic to a scientifically minded society WHO wants to see, feel, hear, taste and touch reality. –

          – As far as holding the adjustment, it really is up to the law of life to maintain the material of the body in ACTIVE organization (pri.21) and since force is manifested by MOTION in matter (pri.14), the LIVING human body is CONSTANTLY in FLUX. ONLY, the innate intelligence of the body governs the holding of the adjustment by adapting universal forces and matter for use in the body (pri.23). And regarding the body getting better under chiropractic care, it is also the realm of the innate intelligence of the body and is not a concern of the NTOSC. The NTOSC is one WHO chooses to LACVS. Period! The rest will follow. –

          – You ask: “HOW DO YOU KNOW IF YOU HAVE GIVEN A CORRECT OR INCORRECT ADJUSTMENT? In the context of WHAT I explained above, it is NOT an appropriate question. The chiropractor does not ADJUST! It is the innate intelligence that does the adjustment and innate intelligence being 100% (pri.22) and normal (pri.27), the adjustment is ALWAYS 100% and normal within the limitation of matter (pri.24). –

          – Thank you for participating in this blog. I do appreciate YOU and I hope this helps clarify the philosophy, science and art of chiropractic for you. 😉

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