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NUCCA is a style of Upper Cervical Specific Chiropractic developed by Dr. Ralph Gregory and based primarily upon the work he and Dr. John Grostic performed known as the Grostic Technique. In 1966, Dr. Gregory founded The NUCCA organization, which is an acronym for National Upper Cervical Chiropractic Association, where the NUCCA technique was first taught at the first NUCCA seminar located at the Howard Johnson Motel in Monroe, Michigan.


The NUCCA protocol consists of several steps: determining whether or not atlas subluxation complex (ASC) is present, taking precise x-ray films of the upper cervical spine in 3-D, x-rays analysis, the adjustment and post-x-rays.

NUCCA practitioners believe that scientific investigation has demonstrated that a misalignment (subluxation) of the C1 area results in over-excitation of an area of the brainstem that controls tone of postural musculature. They believe that this stressor on the nervous system results in postural imbalances and unequal leg lengths. Posture can be analyzed utilizing different postural measurement tools although NUCCA protocol officially recognizes only the Anatometer. Leg length checks are performed in the supine position differing from other chiropractic techniques.

The 3 x-ray views take by a NUCCA chiropractor are the lateral cervical view, the nasium view and vertex view. These 3 x-ray views, a precise analysis utilizing instruments engineered to investigate the position of the atlas vertebra (C1) in relation to the center of the skull, the axis vertebra (C2) and the lower neck is used to determine a vector with which to adjust the atlas vertebra.

The adjustment itself utilizes the hands and requires that the patient lie on their side (whichever side is determined by the x-ray findings). The NUCCA doctor follows a protocol of 8 phases to re-align the spine and contacts the atlas transverse with their pisiform. The adjustment itself is known to NUCCA doctors as the triceps pull.

Tests are used to determine if any change has occurred. After the first adjustment, a second set of x-rays is performed and re-analyzed to determine the efficacy of the adjustment. Posture is also re-analyzed after each adjustment.


Textbooks such as Eriksen's "Upper Cervical Subluxation Complex"[1] argue for the technique on the basis of empirical evidence in private practice and a review of associated concepts in published literature.

A pilot study[2]concludes that alignment of the atlas vertebra results in notable and sustained reduction in blood pressure.

NUCCA textbook[3]


  1. Eriksen, K. Upper Cervical Subluxation Complex. A review of the chiropractic and medical literature. Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, 2004. ISBN 0-7817-4198-X
  2. Bakris G, Dickholtz M Sr, Meyer PM, Kravitz G, Avery E, Miller M, Brown J, Woodfield C, Bell B (May 2007). "Atlas vertebra realignment and achievement of arterial pressure goal in hypertensive patients: a pilot study". J Hum Hypertens 21 (5): 347–52. doi:10.1038/sj.jhh.1002133. PMID 17252032. 
  3. Thomas, M. NUCCA Protocols and Perspectives. A Textbook for the National Upper Cervical Chiropractic Association. National Upper Cervical Chiropractic Research Association, 2002. ISBN 0-9716652-0-6

External links