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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
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
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
besides there was at the time only one upper cervical practitioner in the whole
The 'adjustment' to the atlas
is administered via a percussion (sound wave) instrument. Dr. Roy Sweat,
an upper cervical chiropractor, developed
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
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
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!