Dr. Erin Elster    
Healthy and Well-Adjusted

By Cindy Schumacher

Maui Weekly

December 5-11, 2013

Upper cervical care specialist helps restore the body's natural ability to regain and maintain optimal health.

It is said by many in the chiropractic field that because of the failure to emphasize prevention of disease instead of treatment of disease, "there is a monumental healthcare crisis in this country."

"Until the focus is changed, people will forever be chasing symptoms rather than maintaining health," said Erin Elster, D.C., owner of Upper Cervical Chiropractic Care on Alamaha Street in Kahului.

Having maintained a chiropractic license and practice in Boulder, Colorado, for 17 years, Dr. Elster is pleased to bring the Upper Cervical Care experience to her new practice on Maui.

Elster received a bachelor's degree in the College of Arts and Sciences from the University of California, Berkeley.  She went on to receive Magna Cum Laude honors from Palmer College of Chiropractic in Davenport, Iowa, and continued with a postdoctoral study of the upper cervical spine.  Elster has also received numerous honors for her research and journal publications in the field of upper cervical care.

To answer important questions about how upper cervical care helps restore the body's natural ability to heal, we should begin with 'what exactly is it?"

"Upper cervical care is an effective, scientifically proven procedure in the chiropractic profession," said Elster noting that it is a chiropractic specialty.  "It is designed to restore the body's natural ability to regain and maintain optimal health."

The procedure is intended to correct head and/or neck misalignment and remove interference at the point where the head and neck join.  By improving the brain-to-body communication, the body's natural self-healing process can function properly.

"Upper cervical care focuses on the alignment of the top two vertebrae in the spine, directly underneath the head," said Elster.  "Because of their location at the base of the brain, misalignments of these bones can interfere with brain signals," she said.  "When normal messages are reestablished through upper cervical treatment, patients have reported healing from a wide variety of ailments."

The top two vertebrae in the spine are commonly known as the atlas, or C1, and the axis, or C2.  These vertebrae support the flexion and rotation of the head and are extremeley vulnerable to injury through trauma, such as blows to the head, whiplash and concussion.  Motor vehicle accidents, falls and impacts during sports are frequent causes of upper cervical misalignments.

"In children, the inevitable tumbles and falls of childhood may also cause injury," said Elster, who specializes in pediatric upper cervical care as well.

To diagnose upper cervical misalignment, Elster uses two state-of-the-art tests.  The first is computerized infrared thermography.  This method involves a non-invasive, painless, heat-measuring instrument.  The test is performed by running a sensitive scanning device along the spine.

"Abnormal temperature patterns will appear when nerve transmission from the brain is impeded," Elster said.

Secondly, three-dimensional X-ray views are taken of the neck to measure the vertebral misalignment.

"The displacement between the bones is measured down to the millimeter and is not typically visible through standard X-ray or MRIs," Elster noted.

From X-ray findings, Elster determines the precise angle of upper cervical adjustment.

"The adjustment is then performed using a specially-designed knee chest table to relax neck and spinal muscles."

"The patient places his or her body on this table, and a swift tap corrects the vertebrae's position," said Elster.  "After a brief rest period in a quiet space, a post thermal scan is performed to measure the brain's response from treatment."

Immediately after the correction is made, muscles begin to relax, blood and oxygen circulation is increased, the immune system is enhanced, and "brain healing messages flow to the affected area and the body's natural self-healing process begins," she said.

"Unrestricted brain-to-body communication will help the body maintain natural health and healing," said Elster, whose primary objective is to help each patient live pain-free and enjoy a better quality of life.

"Rather than treating symptoms, upper cervical care seeks to address the cause of chronic health problems," she said.

Because the analysis is extensive and the application is precise, repeated adjustments are often unnecessary.  The intent is not to adjust with every visit, but rather to make a correction that holds for an extended period of time, thereby facilitating healing.

"Restoring normal brain function allows individuals to heal from even the most complex of ailments," said Elster.  "Patients undergoing cervical care have reported recovery from a wide range of health conditions, such as neurological disease, auto-immune conditions and chronic pain."

Dr. Elster has published research showing positive results for patients with migraine and cluster headaches, vertigo disorders, Tourette syndrome, sleep disorders, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson's disease and more.

"Many of these patients recalled experiencing one or more traumas to the head and or neck prior to the onset of their health complaints," Elster said.

An upper cervical examination is necessary in each individual's case to assess whether benefit from upper cervical care can be achieved.

Individuals interested in scheduling an initial consultation with Dr. Elster may request an appointment through www.erinelster.com or by calling (808) 866-6551.  Her research publications can also be read on her website.