What is Atlas Orthogonal Chiropractic?

The Atlas Orthogonal Program is a revolutionary advancement in chiropractic upper cervical techniques used to find and correct misalignment of the first vertebrae of the spine, the atlas bone. This procedure is based on scientific and biomechanical principles.

The Atlas Orthogonal Chiropractic Technique

The Atlas Orthogonal Chiropractic Technique is a specialty within the chiropractic field. This technique is a painless and safe upper cervical chiropractic spinal correction of the atlas bone that restores a person’s balance and stimulates the natural-healing capabilities normally present in the body which results in the amazing byproduct of pain relief and greater function. The Atlas Orthogonal Chiropractic Technique is a gentle, effective approach to renewed health and relief from discomfort.
The Atlas is a 2 oz. vertebra at the top of the spine. It is the vertebra that the head sits on. When the atlas is misaligned, it not only negatively affects the vertebral artery (blood supply to 75% of the brain), but also causes irritation to vital nerves that travel throughout the entire body. This irritation from a bony misalignment is known as a subluxation. 

Subluxations can occur anywhere in the body where a bony misalignment negatively affects a spinal nerve. Not all subluxations cause pain, but they can still create imbalance and dysfunction at some level. This is a serious threat, as many people associate the lack of pain as a sign of health. The body instinctively tries to compensate for these imbalances and this causes stress throughout the spine which can lead to postural distortion and more importantly, disruption of communication between the body and the brain. Imagine touching a hot pan and not having proper communication with the brain.

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You would lack the pain reflex to withdraw your hand immediately and suffer severe damage.

How about stepping on a tack? If the communication lines to send that message to the brain were being blocked or disrupted by pressure on nerves to the foot your body would not be able to send the proper information necessary to heal the foot. Notice how if the communication lines between the brain and body are impeded, the brain cannot properly control the endless functions of the body. Atlas Orthogonal Chiropractic Treatment aligns the spine, which restores your natural balance and allows the body’s nervous system to keep its lines of communication open. As a result, pain and/or dysfunction is decreased or eliminated, your posture improves, the body stays healthier and you become more resistant to illness. Upper cervical chiropractic at its best!

What is an Upper Cervical Chiropractic Technique?

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Atlas Orthogonal Chiropractic, an upper cervical chiropractic technique, is a way of healing that can help restore the body’s balance and promote an ideal state of well-being. Atlas Orthogonal Chiropractic is a very gentle chiropractic technique; there is no “cracking” associated with the procedure. Upper cervical chiropractic techniques work with the unique relationship between the upper cervical spine (neck) and its influence on the central nervous system and brain stem function. This specific relationship affects every aspect of human function from the sensations in your fingers to regulating hormones, controlling movement, and providing the ability to hear, see, think, and breathe.

What does “Atlas Orthogonal” mean?

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The Atlas is the first bone in the spine, located at the base of the skull.

Orthogonal means at a right angle or 90 degrees. The goal of the Atlas Orthogonal adjustment is to realign the misaligned atlas bone to an orthogonal position. You might say the Atlas bone is the leader of the spinal column. Sitting at the top of the spine, it is like the steering wheel. The other vertebrae follow the position of the Atlas similar to a twisted rope. If you untwist a rope in the center and let it go, the rope will go back to the twisted position. However, if you untwist a rope from the very top and let it go, the entire rope will hold in the straightened position. Your head rests on the Atlas bone. When the Atlas is misaligned, your head will shift in order to see a level horizon line. However, the rest of your body will shift to compensate, thereby causing leg length inequality. This can result in low back and leg pain.

The Atlas has the most range of motion of all the vertebrae, making it most susceptible to misalignment. It is also of vital importance because it has major arteries as well as nerves passing through it. When the Atlas bone becomes subluxated, it often chokes the artery that provides roughly 75% of blood flow to the brain as well as local nerves and nerves that go to the entire body!  This is unlike any other area region in the body. When this happens, you may feel burning, numbness, and tingling effects from the nerve, as well as symptoms such as headaches, dizziness, facial pain, sinus pain, allergies, and a multitude of other symptoms due to the lack of blood supply to and from the brain.

How does Atlas Chiropractic determine if my atlas needs correction?

It is the expertise of board-certified Atlas Orthogonal Chiropractors to specifically and gently deliver an adjustment with the use of the Atlas Orthogonal Table Mounted Precision Adjusting Instrument. The doctor will take several x-rays of the patient’s head and neck, giving the necessary and accurate readings to figure out the precise adjusting angle for each individual. Every patient has an angle specific to them. The force used to create the correction is a percussive force. You may be familiar with a common example of such a force with Newton’s Cradle, shown below. This model demonstrates that if you pull one ball back and release it, the balls in the middle stay put, while the ball on the end bounces away…  the Atlas Orthogonal Percussion Adjusting Instrument works on this same principle.

In the adjusting head of the instrument, there is a solenoid that strikes a stylus. The stylus does not move, but the percussion is transmitted through the tip. The tip is placed over the bony process (located behind the ear) of the 1st vertebra and this percussive force moves the Atlas in the desired direction based on the vector (aka angle) set by the doctor.

Once the x-rays are completed, the Atlas Orthogonal Chiropractor then uses other methods to determine whether a patient’s Atlas is in or out of adjustment. The doctor will skillfully feel for specific nerves in the back of the neck. This will reveal if the nerves are pinched, tender, or inflamed. The patient will also be instructed to lie down, allowing the length of their legs to be measured. If the criteria call for an adjustment, the doctor will appropriately position the patient on the table and administer a low-force adjustment using the angle determined to be specific to the individual. Immediately following the adjustment, the doctor will re-check the nerves and the leg length.

The proper adjustment will free up the nerves in the neck, which will reduce inflammation and tenderness, and the leg will drop to measuring even, thereby restoring both a structural and chemical balance in the body. The Atlas Orthogonal Chiropractor will take two post-x-rays to confirm the proper adjustment was administered, and the patient will be on their way with the restoration of health into their system.

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