ralph-gregoryDr. Ralph Gregory was a visionary and gifted healer whose lifetime work was the relationship between the upper cervical spine (neck) and its profound influence on the central nervous system and brain stem function. He developed a healing technique now known as NUCCA that stands for the National Upper Cervical Chiropractic Association. The circumstances and events that led to the establishment of NUCCA are described as follows.

In 1941, Dr. John Francis Grostic received an atlas adjustment from Dr. Gregory which forged the beginning a close friendship and the evolution of the NUCCA upper cervical procedure. As a victim of Hodgkin’s disease, Dr. Grostic had been unable to obtain a corrective atlas adjustment prior to his visit to Dr. Gregory other than at the B. J. Palmer Chiropractic Clinic in Davenport, Iowa.

While both doctors had practiced full spine adjusting, their primary interest was the upper cervical spine. It was only natural, therefore, that they should collaborate, making every possible attempt to evolve a more biomechanically accurate system of upper cervical subluxation correction. To achieve this end, the installation of precisely aligned x-ray equipment and patient placement became essential, permitting distortion free x-rays to be taken and making x-ray analysis with rotatory measurement acceptable.

Dr. Gregory had been influenced by Dr. A. A. Wernsing’s The Atlas Specific and was greatly impressed by Wernsing’s comment: “…due to the shape of the superior articular facets of the atlas, the atlas moves laterally as if on the rim of circle”. From there, Drs. Grostic and Gregory added the axis superior articulations, and as a result, the condylar-axial concept became the starting point for what was to become the Grostic Technique.

In early 1943, Dr. Grostic, who was not satisfied with existing methods of determining atlas laterality, developed the prototype of the instrument which was to become the cephalometer, a skull-divider for establishing the central skull line. When joined to the atlas plane line, these two lines formed two angles with atlas laterality being on the side of the acute angle. This system of establishing atlas laterality was checked for months by both Grostic and Gregory. It was found to be consistent and remains so today. Rapidly following this work were the concepts of atlas-odontoid relationship, axis-spinous position, the lower angle, the method for determining atlas rotation, the discontinuance of the recoil for the triceps pull adjustment, and the horizontal resultant. Analytical instruments were perfected, adjusting tables modified, and adjustment coordinators developed.

Immediately following the death of Dr. Grostic in 1964, Dr. Gregory did not wish to continue teaching seminars, but concentrated on advancing the basic work. In early 1966, however, he was contacted by Dr. L. H. McLellan of Mesa, Arizona who requested that Dr. Gregory conduct seminars for several chiropractors because of his close affiliation with Dr. Grostic. Dr. Gregory finally agreed and held the first seminar in 1966 at the Howard Johnson Motel in Monroe, Michigan. By 1978 the seminars were approved for license renewal by the Michigan State Board of Examiners.

Dr. Gregory consulted with Mr. Donald A. Miller, a Detroit attorney and former friend and legal adviser to Dr. Grostic, who, with other interested chiropractors, formed The National Upper Cervical Chiropractic Association, Inc. (NUCCA), a fraternal organization, on April 16, 1966.

Elected first President was Dr. Irvin Mathias of Indiana; Vice-President, Dr. Albert Dick of Michigan; Secretary, Dr. Robert Kemp of Michigan; Treasurer, Dr. Marshall Dickholtz of Illinois, and three NUCCA directors: Drs. Max Foster and Ralph R. Gregory of Michigan and Andrew Mathias of Indiana. The newly elected board adopted the NUCCA emblem and authorized an official organ, NUCCA News, of which Dr. Gregory was appointed editor. The first publication was issued in December of 1966. Harry Long, Ph.D. was appointed the first research advisor in 1967.

As ever-increasing clinical observations arose, hypotheses were formulated that required testing. Research expanded, re-examination of the original basic work had to be facilitated, and newer methods of subluxation analysis and correction developed. To accomplish this task, the NUCCA board was advised that a research organization needed to be established because NUCCA was a fraternal organization and could not conduct research.

The National Upper Cervical Chiropractic Research Association (NUCCRA) was incorporated for research purposes only. It was decided that NUCCA should publish a more scientifically-oriented paper and the name NUCCA News was changed to The Monograph, meaning: learned treatise on a particular subject.

Since then, the accomplishments of NUCCA and NUCCRA have been numerous and include: (1) The development of the double-pivot-point system in x-ray analysis; (2) The development of the triceps pull adjustment; (3) The design of improved film analytical instruments; (4) The development of biomechanical concepts in film analysis and adjusting; (5) The design and development of the Anatometer by Dr. Gregory and Peter Benesh, an instrument which measures bodily distortions before and after the C-1 adjustment, providing proof of the effects of a C-1 subluxation; (6) The design and development of a multiple support headpiece for extreme subluxations; (7) The establishment of a vertical axis for C-1 subluxations; (8) The classification of C-1 subluxations into basic types; (9) The location of the skull center of gravity; (10) The identification of the components of the lever system and their relationship inherent in an Occipital-Atlanto-Axial subluxation.

NUCCA Mission Statement

The National Upper Cervical Chiropractic Association is dedicated to:

  • Maximizing the human health potential associated with the reduction of the Atlas Subluxation Complex (ASC)
  • Constructively impacting the chiropractic profession by creating awareness of the ASC and the effects of its correction
  • Maintaining an effective, passionate, responsible organization contributing to the standards of the measurable, objective and reproducible reduction of the Atlas Subluxation Complex
  • Attracting, engaging, adjusting, educating, mentoring and certifying doctors in an open and supportive environment
  • Creating ongoing opportunities for public awareness and healing resulting from the NUCCA procedure and correction of the Atlas Subluxation Complex

NUCCA Board of Directors

Dr. Jeffrey Scholten, President

In private practice in Calgary, Alberta, Canada since 2001, Dr. Scholten is the clinic director and owner of The Vital PostureTM Clinic. Dr. Scholten is a Board Certified Diplomate in Chiropractic Craniocervical Junction Procedures and is currently the only Canadian to hold the distinction of being […]

Dr. Tymothy Flory, Vice President

Dr. Tymothy L. Flory, D.C., the founder and director of Atlas Spinal Care, is the only Board Certified NUCCA Chiropractor practicing in Southern California.

Dr. Tymothy L. Flory graduated from Logan College of Chiropractic in St. Louis, Missouri. Before opening Atlas Spinal Care, Dr. Flory practiced […]

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Dr. Patricia Gregg, Treasurer

Dr. Gregg has been in private practice in Austin, Texas since 1995. She was led to the NUCCA work in 1978 when her life changed significantly as a result of being run over by a truck while sledding. During her effort to recover, she felt […]

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Dr. Johanna M. Hoeller, Secretary

After receiving a life changing NUCCA spinal correction in Vancouver, Canada, Dr. Hoeller attended the University of Victoria from 1978 to 1981, and then graduated from Western States Chiropractic College in 1985.

She began serving on the NUCCA board in 1999 and specifically has served on […]

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Dr. Marshall Dickholtz, Jr., Director, Co-Chair of Standards Committee

Dr. Marshall Dickholtz Jr. is one of only twenty board certified NUCCA doctors worldwide. He practices in Northbrook, Illinois and is an authority on the diagnosis and treatment of adults and children with headaches, musculoskeletal conditions, spinal disc syndrome, back and neck pain, and other […]

  • Dr. Craig Lapenski

Dr. Craig Lapenski, Director, Chair Nominating Committee, Co-Chair Standards Committee

Dr. Lapenski discovered NUCCA while in Chiropractic college and following his first NUCCA adjustment, realized this was the care he needed to provide for his patients. Dr. Lapenski graduated with honors from Palmer College of Chiropractic in Davenport, Iowa in 1999. He has been in […]

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Dr. David Packer, Director, Co-Chair Education Committee

Dr. David A. Packer graduated as a Doctor of Chiropractic from Palmer College of Chiropractic in Davenport, Iowa in 2000. He earned a B.A. and M.B.A. from University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV) in 1993 and also served as a hospital corpsman in the US […]

Dr. Kurt Sherwood, Director

Dr. Kurt Sherwood graduated from the prestigious Palmer college of Chiropractic with academic and research honors in 1989. Since then he has been private practice in the Seattle Washington area, focused on the NUCCA procedure exclusively. Dr. Sherwood is also a member of the International […]

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Dr. Lee Yardley, Director, Co-Chair of Education Committee

Dr. Lee Yardley graduated as a Doctor of Chiropractic from Palmer College of Chiropractic in Davenport, Iowa in 1978, and completed his undergraduate education at the University of Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand. In addition, he was Board Certified by the National Upper Cervical Chiropractic Association […]

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Dr. Michael Zabelin, Director, Finance Chair

Dr. Zabelin is a fully certified NUCCA doctor practicing in San Francisco as the sole practitioner of Cow Hollow Chiropractic clinic. He is a graduate of Pacific States Chiropractic College/Life Chiropractic College where he was an honor student and valedictorian.

Dr. Zabelin is past Chair of […]

Dr. Ben Kuhn, UCRF Representative

Dr. Ben Kuhn has extensive experience and education in engineering, physics and computers, outdoor living and building. Upon completing all the requirements needed for beginning a chiropractic course of study, he moved himself and his family of then four, to Davenport, Iowa, graduating in 2006 […]

NUCCA Committees

Co-Chair Dr. Lee Yardley
Co-Chair Dr. David Packer
Co-Chair Dr. Craig Lapenski
Co-Chair Dr. Craig Lapenski
Co-Chair Dr. Marshall Dickholtz, Jr.
Chair Dr. Bill Davis
Chair Dr. Kyrie Kleinfelter
Chair Dr. Chris Whitney
Chair Dr. Benjamin Kuhn
Chair Dr. Rodrigo Imana
Chair Dr. Michael Zabelin
Chair Dr. Craig Lapenski
Mary Pat McGlynn, Executive Director

Jessica Bartram, Associate Director

NUCCA Board Certified Doctors

  • Dr. Irene Adamczuk
  • Dr. Glenn Cripe
  • Dr. Dr. Keith Denton
  • Dr. Marshall Dickholtz, Jr.
  • Dr. John Dunn
  • Dr. Don Erwin
  • Dr. Vince Fitzpatrick
  • Dr. Tymothy Flory
  • Dr. Michael Foran
  • Dr. Gordon Hasick
  • Dr. Johanna Hoeller
  • Dr. Daiki Ishiyama
  • Dr. Kerry Johnson
  • Dr. Craig Lapenski
  • Dr. Steven MacDonald
  • Dr. David Packer
  • Dr. Teresa Palmer
  • Dr. Lonnie Pond
  • Dr. Barbara K. Read
  • Dr. Deb Sesker
  • Dr. Finley Sesker
  • Dr. Kurt Sherwood
  • Dr. Jack Stockwell
  • Dr. Lee Yardley
  • Dr. Michael Zabelin

NUCCA Past Presidents

  • Dr. Michael Zabelin 2015 – 2016
  • Dr. Lee Yardley 2010 – 2014
  • Dr. Robert Goodman 2007 – 2009
  • Dr Steel 2005 – 2006
  • Dr Robert Brooks 2003 – 2004
  • Dr. Robert Goodman 1997 – 2002
  • Dr Berti  1990 – 1996
  • Dr. Ralph Gregory 1968 – 1990
  • Dr. Marshall Dickholtz, Sr. 1967
  • Dr. Mathias 1966