Why the Atlas and Why NUCCA? – A Case Study


There was a case in my office last week that sparked the inspiration for today’s blog post.

A few weeks ago, I began taking care of a patient with chronic daily headaches. Nothing had worked for this patient. They tried several different medications. Mindfulness therapy. Accupuncture. Herbs. You name it, it was already in his medical record.

Our reputation for taking care of people with headaches in West Palm and Wellington has been growing due to a few great testimonials and success stories, and he decided to come and try to see if our Structural approach to chiropractic would help.

Off to a rough start

For most people with headaches as a Secondary Condition to Atlas Displacement, I sometimes sit on the verge of over confidence. When I take care of a headache patient, they almost always get better, and they usually start getting better very quickly.

However, after the first couple visits, the headaches were basically the same, and in some ways, worse than when they started.

That’s the difference between a doctor and a technician. Once we learn that something is not working, you have to come up with ways to solve the problem.

Troubleshooting Protocols

The main reason I use the NUCCA protocol for Atlas correction is that it relies on precision in order to get the job done right. It also has tools that allow the doctor to troubleshoot an alignment problem if one were to come up.

Instead of relying on sounds or touch to know if the spine is in a better structural condition, NUCCA relies on pre and post-correction x-rays to see if the job is getting done correctly. We also rely on precise angles to deliver an exact line of drive that is unique to each patient.

Everything from the amount of force used during an alignment, the angle of the head on the table, to the measurements taken before a correction is a variable that can make a difference in the patient’s outcomes.

After the patient’s first 2 appointments, I knew that there was something wrong with how I was adjusting him. I needed to make a change.

I looked at his first x-ray and noticed that something about the x-ray wasn’t perfect. I took a new x-ray to take a closer look, and the data from the new x-ray said to change the angle of his adjustment.

My measurements were only off by 1 inch, and the angle I needed only changed by 1.5 degrees. My most standards, that seems insignificant.

However, when you are working with the position of someone’s head and neck, 1.5 degrees can mean the difference between chronic headaches and living a normal life. A 1 inch difference in my stance could mean that the person’s head and neck get 60% better, or 90% better.

When the Doctor Works, the Patient Wins

On the third visit, I used a new x-ray to modify the adjustment by 1.5 degrees and told him to check back the following week. When the patient came back, he said that he had a decent week. Here are the results:

  1. Headache intensity went from a 8/10 to a 4/10
  2. Headache frequency went from constant headache throughout the day to daily headaches that come and go.
  3. Headache would be worse in the middle of the day with increased activity, now increased activity had no role in headache severity. Needless to say, he was MUCH happier because now he had some hope that his condition could get better.


I’m not going to say that I can troubleshoot and solve everyone’s problem with NUCCA. However, NUCCA gives me a systematic method of modifying the Atlas Correction to allow me to leave the patient in a better structural position.

In our office, we will never:

  1. Sweet talk you, or convince you to keep giving us more time
  2. Do the same thing over and over again without maximizing your results
  3. Keep you hanging if you are not getting better We will always reassess our methods and find other ways to help you get to where you need to be. If we cannot solve your primary problem with Structural Chiropractic care, we will refer you to other experts who may. That’s our promise.

Did you like this article? Feel free to share it with the people you care about and see if a Complimentary Consultation is the next step to regain their health. Dr. Chung is a practicing Structural Chiropractor in the West Palm Beach area. He has been published in peer reviewed scientific journals and is a sought after speaker in health and wellness. Follow his blog at http://chiropractorwellington.com/category/keystone-chiropractic-blog/ or find him on twitter at @drjonathanchung


Real Patient Testimonials

I can’t say enough how much my life has changed under Dr. Chung’s care. After 10 years of chronic pain and being dismissed by my neurologist, I came to Dr. C. He was caring, and really listened. After only 2 visits, I have already had a tremendous reduction in my pain! I feel like a new person.
Clemence Heller
I can't say how much Dr Jonathan Chung has given me back a full quality of life. Migraines was my daily focus, brought my on by a minor car accident few years before. I thought I was going to live with pain medications for the rest of my life. After seeing 2 neurologist prior I was convinced that was my life. But I never stop searching for holistic approaches which led me to Keystone Chiropractic. Thank you.
Michelle Graham
Dr.Chung has been a huge part of my journey to getting back to how I was before my dizziness and vestibular issues. Under his care I am now better than how I was before and I am able to live a normal life again. He is passionate about his patients and he’s such a great person. I’m so happy he’s my doctor! His staff is amazing as well!
Sabrina Kopejz
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