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Up C Spine - Is your Head on Straight?
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Home | About Up C Spine | My Story | Finding Some Answers


I started to research more vigorously using various Internet search engines and uncovered a wealth of information. Once I found a theme I tracked it relentlessly, and applied the conclusions to my own situation. Much I could simply dismiss, but there soon became this common thread, which I followed. I followed a TMJ - temporomandibular joint (jaw joint) thread, but eventually (and after many bite splints and TMJ surgery) I learnt that I was off track. My actual problem was my cervical spine (neck), in particular C1. The jaw was a secondary problem, caused by the problem at C1. Actually it was a dentist who suggested I should get C1 checked. Thus I found myself visiting a chiropractor. I'm sitting there thinking, "Why do I need to see a chiropractor?" "I've never been to one, and why do I need one for my jaw?" My doctors warned me about chiropractors. It turns out that warnings about chiropractors are an all too common practice, and in the majority of cases totally without basis.

My first visit to a chiropractor turned out to be a very profound experience. I told him nothing other than what I had been experiencing and in less than 5 minutes of consultation he diagnosed C1 subluxation (which means 'minor misalignment'). He just observed me as I was leaning over his desk, and he carried out a couple of really quick checks. He mentioned C2 as well. He sat me in a chair and proceeded to correct this subluxation with his thumb under my left jaw/left ear area whilst seated.

I now know that he was contacting the left transverse process (wing) of my atlas or C1 vertebra. This is the vertebra, which the skull sits on top of and it is no bigger than say a credit card. The skull and its contents weigh in at around 4 to 5kg (about 10lbs). Needless to say that this is a tough job for this little bone and the ligaments attached to it. [You will note that a doctor Kaute discusses a similar 'atlas therapy' performed by Arlen for treating tinnitus, in a paper "The Influence of Atlas Therapy on Tinnitus", International Tinnitus Journal 1998;4(2):165-167.]

Remarkably within 2 minutes of the C1 adjustment, I started to feel better. During the following week the majority of the previous symptoms disappeared! Some of the symptoms, such as my back pain, disappeared over a slightly longer period. The remaining symptoms were - left ear tinnitus, strange pulling sensation right shoulder, light paresthesias left side, left tongue/mouth burning however there had been a vast improvement as these were now only of minor intensity. Following a check up 6 months later the chiropractor made another adjustment. OUCH! This turned out to be a disaster as I got back my symptoms and then some. After this he was not much help. I was on my own again. I supposed I could have written off the whole of the chiropractic profession because of this second event. Do you write off the entire medical profession because of the mistake of one doctor? I'm glad I persevered.

My further research revealed that there is a small group of the chiropractic profession practicing a specialist form of chiropractic technique, known as specific or precision upper cervical (UpC) chiropractic. There are numerous upper cervical chiropractic techniques and approaches to making atlas and axis adjustments. There are some, which are very gentle and very specific. That is, the amount of misalignment is measured with pre and post specific and accurate x-rays. I am familiar with many of these techniques now and I provide information about them on my site. When delivered correctly they seem to have no adverse side affects and are extremely gentle. Certainly, more gentle than the first adjustment that was moderately forceful for me, although initially providing the desired results. There would seem to be no trauma involved in the Atlas Orthogonal (AO) approach. Most upper cervical techniques seem to be effective and many are very, very low force. The point is there are a few techniques for upper cervical and they do seem to work very effectively.

It was the AO approach that I became very interested in because of the fact that there is NO manual (hands on) manipulation involved in this technique, besides there was at the time only one upper cervical practitioner in the whole of Australia!

The 'adjustment' to the atlas is administered via a percussion (sound wave) instrument. Dr. Roy Sweat, an upper cervical chiropractor, developed this technique [see www.atlasorthogonality.com]. This is a wonderful approach yielding almost miraculous results in many cases. This technique is so gentle that you will most probably ask the chiropractor, "Did you do anything?" because you will not feel the adjustment. In the majority of cases patients feel a 'warm feeling' immediately after the adjustment. I think this is arterial release at the level of the atlas. The healing process has begun! Specific post x-ray analysis will confirm the realignment of the atlas w.r.t. the skull and the leveling of the atlas w.r.t. the ground. On this website under 'Upper Cervical Techniques' and 'Atlas Orthogonal' you will find a brief movie of Dr. Sweat's AO adjustment under video fluoroscopy. Make no mistake - this technique works!

My first adjustment by the only Atlas Orthogonist in Australia, Joe Ierano in Camden NSW [see www.chiropracticierano.com.au] was just as amazing as my very first adjustment. The only remaining symptoms I now experience, I am certain are due to having had the TMJ surgery, which I now regret. My jaw joint noises are persisting including clicking, cracking, crunching and grinding and my feet hurt during and after eating. If I do not eat for a couple of days and rest my jaw, I have few symptoms. The doctor who performed the TMJ surgical reconstruction unbeknown to me ground 4mm off my right jaw condyle. Now my jaw is permanently misaligned. There is a significant link between the atlas vertebra and the TMJs, one, which is often, overlooked by many practitioners.

My own experiences certainly helped me to uncover the amazing work being done by 'specific' upper cervical chiropractors around the World. It's not hard to find these wonderful people. As a direct result of my research and my contact with these chiropractors I have now personally helped thousands of people experience either 100% recovery or at the very least have significant health improvements.

This atlas problem is very common. I used to think that about 30%-40% of people have it. Now I think it's more like 70%. Just because you don't have much wrong with you doesn't mean you don't have an atlas subluxation. It's very easy to detect and the signs and symptoms are usually consistent. The mechanism of injury is usually a head knock although it doesn't have to be as severe as mine. As mentioned previously, it can be from falling out of bed, walking into a door or something even less traumatic. It can even be from the birthing process. Usually it's from an incident such as falling off a bike, a horse or, the more insidious injuries, as a result of car accidents. Anyone who has ever been in a car accident, especially if they experienced whiplash, regardless of the presence of any pain, should visit a specific, gentle upper cervical chiropractor. If the skull is shifted on the atlas, it may stay in that position until it is 'helped' back to where it should be. In theory it's that simple!

The consequences for those people, who do not seek treatment, are numerous. Over time there is a loss of your their natural neck curve (cervical lordosis) and you might acquire disc bulges. This is due to the altered weight bearing on the UpC spine. Eventually the discs may disintegrate and the vertebra may even fuse. This takes many years. Once this happens you are in a real mess. Doctors regularly pass off minor loss of neck curve, as OK, but in truth I think that they are wrong. Any loss of neck curve (lordosis) however minor could be associated with the possible loss of relationship between the skull and the atlas and thus this should be investigated. There are about 17 or so signs and symptoms, which I have come to know, indicate a possible atlas problem. I have listed these on my website.

The symptoms, conditions & diseases, which this atlas adjustment appears to help to fix or improve, are numerous and will surprise you. I say 'help to fix', because whilst the adjustment is the key factor involved in the healing process, it's your own body which in the end does the healing. Cranial nerves and spinal nerves, which were once working at say 70% due to muscular compression and traction, now, work to full capacity. Arterial flow under compression now returns to normal. This is not difficult to understand. Why doctors don't see it I don't know. There are enough anecdotal stories, case studies and scientific evidence to justify thorough investigation.

This is not a hard jump to make for anyone. I believe that if funds were put towards researching this, the results would be immediately evident and would enable us to eliminate many illnesses. This is where I intend to place my focus. My objective is to establish credible research into the atlas phenomenon and the effects of upper cervical chiropractic on a wide range of illnesses.

My last word to people who are ill, but have been unsuccessful in getting results, despite seeking help from countless physicians: If you haven't been to see a specific upper cervical (UpC) chiropractor, then you may just be bypassing exactly the one thing that will get you better. If you are sick and just cannot seem to get well, ask yourself this question: "Is my head on straight?" Because more than likely, it is not!



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