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Atlas Orthogonal FAQs


Many people visit a chiropractor for back pain relief in Fort Worth, especially when conventional medicine doesn't provide adequate pain control. There are many different types of adjustments that can be made to the spine to relieve pain, but there is one of technique which proves to be more promising than almost any other.

The atlas vertebrae -- the top most vertebrae of the cervical spine -- can cause misalignment throughout the spine if not aligned correctly. Adjusting the atlas can bring the entire head, neck, spine, and hips back into alignment. Additionally, with the atlas being right at the brain stem, getting the atlas into proper alignment opens the communication between the brain and the body and the body and the brain.

What Makes A Board Certified Atlas Orthogonal Adjustment Different From Other Chiropractic Adjustments?

The atlas adjustment involves using an instrument designed specifically to adjust the atlas vertebrae, and does not involve the "cracking" or "popping" the vertebrae. The equipment delivers a precise percussion force designed to bring the atlas vertebrae back into alignment.

 

What is Atlas Orthogonal?

Atlas Orthogonal is an engineering term. The Atlas vertebra is also known as C1 and is the top bone in the spine which supports the head. Orthogonal means 90 degrees and in this case is specifically concerned with the relative position of the atlas in conjunction with the head and the rest of the cervical spine. The atlas supports the weight of the head most efficiently in the orthogonal or neutral position.
Atlas Orthogonal also refers to an upper cervical specific chiropractic adjusting technique invented by Dr. Roy W. Sweat. The history of treating the atlas goes back to the early 1900s when Dr. B.J. Palmer, the developer of chiropractic, spent many years of clinical research in discovering that it was the atlas that controlled the position of the head and the resulting position of the rest of the spine. Dr. Palmer taught to correct the atlas position using the hands with about 40 pounds of force.

 

What is the history of atlas orthogonal chiropractic care?

Dr. John F. Grostic and Dr. Roy W. Sweat were both taught chiropractic by Dr. Palmer. In their extensive clinical research, Dr. Grostic and Dr. Sweat found that much less force was actually necessary to correct the atlas into position. Dr. Sweat worked and studied for many years with Dr. Grostic developing the Grostic method of hand adjusting the atlas. Later Dr. Sweat invented and engineered a highly advanced instrument that without pain or pressure is able to accurately re-position the atlas vertebra using a percussion wave, which is a vibration. The procedure, Atlas Orthogonal Precision Adjusting Technique, is non-invasive and gentle. Dr. Sweat is considered by many to be one of the foremost authorities in the world on the cervical spine.


Atlas Orthogonality – All about Balance


That Atlas weighs about two ounces and supports the base of the skull, which weighs nine to 17 pounds! When the Atlas is correctly aligned, it supports the skull in an efficient orthogonal position.

A person’s eyes and ears must be properly aligned with the horizon to keep natural equilibrium of the brain’s balance center. The whole body continually shifts in order to maintain the brain’s balance center. When the Atlas is misaligned, the body tries to compensate to maintain its center of gravity. It does this by keeping the head directly over the center of the feet. However to maintain the level position of the head the rest of the spine adapts and is thrown out of alignment. The body alters its structure in such a way that the muscles contract to cause one leg to appear shorter. In most cases one leg is not actually shorter than the other, but is drawn short due to the body’s compensation for the displaced atlas.
When the atlas is orthogonal, the entire spine and body will move towards proper balance.


How do I know if my Atlas is misaligned? Signs, symptoms and effects of a misaligned Atlas

Some of the most common effects of a misaligned atlas include decreased curves in the neck, scoliosis, and changes in the alignment in the shoulders and pelvis. These changes in the alignment affect the structural integrity of the skeletal system and negatively impact the nervous system.  Once the atlas is moved out of its orthogonal position the resulting misalignment may cause nerve pressure and inflammation directly at the brain stem and indirectly throughout the entire nervous system. The resulting disruption of the normal functioning of the nervous system may play a role in a multitude of symptoms and pain in different areas of the body. Some of the most common symptoms and problems associated with an Atlas misalignment include headaches, neck, and facial pain.

Does It Hurt?

No. The tool used to perform the adjustment does not cause the patient any pain during the adjustment. It is a tap behind the ear.  We’ve had children say, “It tickles!”  Atlas orthogonal treatment does not involve abrupt rotation of the neck or spine.

How Does That Tap Behind the Ear Do Anything?

The percussive force  that emanate from the stylus gently but efficiently realigns the atlas vertebrae. If you’ve ever played pool, you’ve seen two balls touching each other.  When you hit the first ball with the cue, it hardly moves.  The second ball takes the energy and moves.  The Atlas Orthogonal Adjusting Instrument works with the same percussive principle. The tap behind the ear is like the first ball, and the atlas takes the energy and moves in the correct direction. The head is then able to sit properly on the atlas, thus aligning the rest of the spine. Not only might this help a patient to feel better nearly instantly, it can also activate the body's natural nerve pathways and healing processes.

What can I expect in the evaluation of my Atlas?

An atlas orthogonist uses a system of examination and diagnosis that utilizes a detailed scientific and biomechanical protocol. Precise measurements of the angle of the atlas are the basis of the treatments.

An extensive evaluation of the patient condition is rendered by the doctor on the first visit. A complete and thorough history is critical in aiding the doctor in the proper diagnosis. This history includes asking a variety of questions pertaining to every aspect of the patient’s symptoms and injuries. The exam also includes orthopedic/neurologic, and postural assessment of imbalances in the spine that would lead to problems with the health of the spine and its related symptoms and pain. The first step of the diagnosis is to determine the degree in which the atlas is misaligned. Very precise x-rays are taken which show the doctor exactly how the atlas is displaced. The x-rays taken are invaluable in making the most precise atlas correction which is as unique to the patient as their own fingerprint. Following the diagnosis a specific treatment protocol is developed to align the atlas into the correct neutral/orthogonal position.

One of the most important post adjustment steps are post x-rays, which are taken immediately after the initial treatment. There is no guess work in this program. These x-rays are taken and analyzed to verify that the best possible correction was rendered. The doctor may then show the patient the comparison between before and after x-rays. Post x-rays are an illustration of the exact change that has taken place because of the atlas orthogonal correction.


The Atlas Orthogonal adjustment is a safe, painless spinal correction procedure that restores balance to the body and improves body function through correct atlas vertebra alignment.

Who can benefit from Atlas Orthogonal chiropractic care?

Since the atlas is at the very top of the spine, even a minor misalignment can have a profound impact on spinal alignment and the health of the entire body. Atlas Orthogonal chiropractic care supports whole body health, alleviating pain symptoms, supporting injury recovery, and improving all aspects of a patient’s wellbeing. Atlas Orthogonal treatments relieve nerve irritation, which can otherwise trigger pain, numbness, tingling sensation, structural distortion and poor posture, body weight imbalance, muscular imbalance, and progressive degenerative changes in vertebrae, discs and disc space. Atlas Orthogonal chiropractic care has been beneficial for many people who have presented with such symptoms and diagnoses as neck pain, back pain, herniated disc treatment, sciatica, carpal tunnel, scoliosis, fibromyalgia, migraines, headaches, multiple sclerosis, whiplash injuries, and other chronic pain conditions. This adjustment has also shown to benefit patients with leg and arm numbness, epileptic seizures, asthma, chronic fatigue syndrome, autism, ADHD, birth trauma, Bell’s palsy, allergies, sinus problems, trigeminal neuralgia, and other conditions.

How long does an Atlas adjustment last?

Each patient is different. There are many factors to consider, such as, how long your atlas has been out, lifestyle choices, diet, physical fitness, and age. When our spine is misaligned, our muscles adapt to the bones being out of place. When proper alignment is achieved, the muscles want to go back to the position in which they have become accustomed. At the beginning of care, patients are seen more frequently to retrain muscle memory. Once a patient starts holding his/her adjustments, they are seen less and less often.

Will My Atlas Adjustment Hold After the First Adjustment?

The atlas orthogonal adjusting technique is exceptionally precise, allowing maximum results to be achieved in just one or two simple adjustments. Corrective care can take time; however, each person’s results are different.  When bones have been out of place for a long period of time, the body adapts to their new position.  Muscles elongate on one side and shorten on the other side.  Moving bones requires retraining the muscles. Think about what an orthodontist has to do to move teeth and get them to stay in the proper position.

Why Are More Doctors Not Trained In This Procedure?

The atlas orthogonal technique requires specific equipment and training. Some chiropractors are not aware that the technique exists.  Other chiropractors do not want to spend the additional time and money for the advanced training.

What Can I Expect After the First Adjustment?

When the atlas is first adjusted, the body must respond to the new alignment. This takes time; some patients feel that their symptoms are alleviated almost immediately after adjustment. Some patients feel additional pain while the body moves and shifts. As the body begins to heal, you may notice some fatigue or sleepiness, or that your muscles are stiff or sore.

These symptoms generally dissipate quickly and are nothing about which to be concerned. How long the body takes to recover generally depends on the degree of misalignment or how severe the patient's condition is in the first place.

If you suffer from neck or back pain, the atlas orthogonal treatment may be right for you. Discuss the treatment with your chiropractor to start your path to living a pain free life.


How do I maintain my Atlas Orthogonal spinal correction?

As the body becomes accustomed to being properly aligned a simple routine of therapeutic stretching exercises, along with following specific instructions for maintaining proper posture, can help hold an alignment.


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