What does an “Atlas” or an “Upper Neck” Chiropractor do?
These are qualified chiropractors who have undertaken further training in theory, radiography, assessment and technique relating to the upper neck. An Atlas chiropractor will assess the top vertebrae in the neck (C1) and if it is found to be “out” of alignment, they will perform an adjustment to re-align its position.
What is Atlas Orthogonal Technique?
Atlas Orthogonal (AO) is a Chiropractic technique that addresses problems arising from the upper neck (cervical spine). The upper neck is an extremely delicate area with a high proportion of the bodies nerves sending and receiving messages located here. Atlas Chiropractic is a technique used to assess the upper neck and its relationship to the cranium above and remaining spine below. If there is misalignment of the upper neck vertebrae it could contribute to disturbances in other areas of the body, potentially leading to various ailments and health related issues. Upper Cervical Chiropractors use their techniques to attempt to realign the vertebrae of the upper neck to with the goals of allowing the body to function optimally.
How are Atlas Chiropractors different from other Chiropractors?
Atlas Chiropractors are post-graduate certified professionals. They have dedicated additional training to the fields of neurology, biomechanics, anatomy, structure & also bodily functions. There are approximately 900 Atlas certified Chiropractors in the world, only approximately 15 of these are in Australia. Our chiropractors at Wellbeing have been using Atlas Chiropractic treatment on patients for a range of issues for several years now.
What type of problems may Atlas Chiropractors help?
We see patients with a diverse range of symptoms and are fortunate to have been able to help many of them. Some of the most common signs patients present with include:
- Poor posture; abnormal head tilt/rotation
- Asymmetrical muscle development/strength
- Un-levelled shoulders & pelvis
- Unresolved neck/back/lower back pain & discomfort
- Jaw clicking
- Suboccipital muscle tension
- Headaches, Migraines
- ‘Grinding’ sensation when moving your neck
- Dizziness, Vertigo
- Hearing difficulties (i.e Tinnitus)
- Sensation of ‘Brain fog’ or inability to concentrate & think clearly
- Trigeminal Neuralgia
- Persistent tingling, numbness, weakness
- Sinus issues
Where to go for Atlas Orthogonal help?
Our team of chiropractors are available from nine locations: Hawthorn, Pakenham, Sunbury, Cranbourne Melton, Epping, Craigieburn, Point Cook and Hoppers Crossing.
The Hawthorn practice is at 365 Burwood Road, a 5 minutes walk from Glenferrie train station or a 20 minute drive from Melbourne CBD. Telephone (03) 9882 7135
The Pakenham practice is at 40 Main Street, only 5 minutes from Pakenham train station, accessible from the M1 freeway or Princess Highway. Phone (03) 5940 4760
The Hoppers Crossing practice is located at 4 Pentlowe St, off Derrimut Rd (1km from Werribee Shopping centre), a 10 minute walk from Hoppers crossing train station. Phone (03) 9974 6966
In the north, the Epping practice is at 765 High St Epping, the Craigieburn practice runs out of the Hume Tennis centre @ 225 Marathon Blv Craigieburn.
In the outer-west, we have a practice in the St George Surgery (medical clinic) @ 316 High St Melton.
How does Atlas Adjustment work?
Science has showed us that the brain is one of, if not the most critical part of the human body. It’s constantly receiving messages from the body and sending messages out so that it can appropriately control and facilitate every function in our body. But what happens when these messages are not allowed to occur properly like they normally would? Your upper neck, including your atlas (1st vertebrae) and axis (2nd vertebrae) surround the important communicating nerves from your body to your brain. When a misalignment of one or both of these vertebrae occurs it can potentially prevent the messages to and from your brain occurring normally leading to various symptoms and health related problems. Atlas Chiropractic care involves realignment of the upper neck. Many patients do not realise the difference between traditional chiropractic treatment, and Atlas Chiropractic techniques. Atlas treatments involve “no cracking”, “no traditional manipulations”, no abrupt tugging, pulling or jerking of the head and neck. Instead an Atlas styloid instrument is used on the side of the neck which transmits vibration into the upper neck (it has been compared to a “feather touching or brushing” the side of the neck)
Are all Chiropractors trained in specific Atlas care?
Not all Chiropractors are trained in Atlas Orthogonal. To be able to adust in the same style as Dr Sweat (founder of the Atlas Orthogonal principles and styloid-instrument technique) additional post-graduate study is required.
Currently, there are approximately 15 Chiropractors within Australia certified in the official Atlas Orthogonal protocol. Dr. Robbie Hunt, Dr. Peter Vrakatselis, Dr Alex Havey, Dr Nicole Ritchie and Dr. Adam Curwood are the trusted certified Atlas Orthogonal Chiropractors in Melbourne, Victoria having seen many patients for a variety of problems.
What does an initial Atlas Chiropractic appointment involve at one of our practices?
- Private one-on-one consultation
- A detailed review of your current and past health & medical history.
- Computerised postural analysis.
- Orthopaedic & Neuro-muscular testing
- Atlas Orthogonal X-rays are taken onsite (if clinically indicated)
- Thorough analysis of your results to accurately determine your need for treatment and the capacity of Atlas treatment to assist in your situation.
Why is the Upper Neck important?
Atlas Orthogonal (AO) is a technique that focuses on upper neck chiropractic or cervical spine and its influence on the central nervous system and brain function. Important connections to the central nervous system and brainstem are located within the upper neck vertebrae, therefore disturbances to this area of the spine can have a big impact on ones overall health and wellbeing. The spine, particularly the upper neck should align with the skull above and the rest of the spine below, if this does not occur subsequent imbalances in bodily structure & function may occur and progressively worsen over time if not assessed and treated appropriately.
Who can benefit from upper neck Chiropractic techniques?
Our Chiropractors promote “ preventative chiropractic” and the concept of “chiropractic maintenance.” This means we recommend all our patients, no matter what stage of life, have their spine assessed for potential issues. We are trusted to see patients across all ages, from paediatrics to geriatrics. Anyone who wants to attempt to enhance the overall wellbeing and function of their body should be assessed. Treatment is only provided to those who are found to have a measurable need for care.
11 Quick FAQs about Atlas Orthogonal
- What is AO? AO is short for Atlas Orthogonal, a Chiropractic technique which focuses on the upper cervical spine, C1 the atlas and C2 the axis.
- Who does AO? Registered Doctors of Chiropractic who have undertaken extra training and completed the Atlas Orthogonal certified training program.
- How is it different to traditional Chiropractic? It is different in terms of application and analysis. It focuses only on the upper cervical spine, C1 and C2. It is a low force adjustment technique and it is done by a styloid instrument. There is no hands-on adjustment, no cracking of the neck!
- Does it hurt? Atlas adjustment, undertaken correctly, should not hurt. As mentioned , it is the low-force adjustive technique.
- What will I feel afterwards? You can experience many different things after an atlas orthogonal adjustment. The most common being a decrease in problematic symptoms and/or an increased range of motion in the upper neck. Some patients have reported a short period of tiredness or fatigue and/or muscle tension. Results differ from patient to patient, with many different factors playing a part in how someone responds to treatment.
- How long will it last? The lasting affects of the adjustment is case-dependent. There are many different lifestyle and health factors which influence the length of time an adjustment lasts. Rehabilitative schedules and visit frequency is case-sensitive and each treatment plan is customised for each individual’s needs.
- How do I stay in alignment? Staying away from movements or activities that may hurt you or throw your body out of balance is the best way to start. Activities like wrestling, heaving weight training of the neck and shoulders, head-stands and whiplash prone activities are some to mention. It is helpful to stay relaxed and flexible in between visits, this may help you body stay in balance and keep you neck in a better alignment.
- What determines treatment? The Chiropractor will go over your full health history and learn more about your symptoms and problems. The Chiropractor will also perform orthopedic, neurological and physical examinations, leg length checks, range of motion, do palpation and an upper neck x-ray examination. The results of your medical history and the results of these tests determines the course of treatment needed.
- Do I need X-rays? Atlas Orthogonal is a specific technique which usually uses precise measurements of different upper neck landmarks in order to deliver the most precise adjustment possible. The use of specific upper neck x-rays are usually needed to determine the angle needed for correction. If the Chiropractor can’t see the problem then they then may find it difficult to help you.
- Who created AO? Chiropractor Dr Roy W. Sweat is the founder of Atlas Orthogonal principles and styloid adjusting instrument in 1981. Dr Sweat created the AO program after years of teaching another upper cervical technique called occipital-atlanto-axial complex, this was under the guidance of Chiropractor Dr John F. Grostic. Dr Sweat developed the Chiropractic adjustment instrument, x-ray positioning and x-ray analysis computer program.
- Who needs AO? Generally speaking AO is often sought out as a last resort treatment for many patients. Atlas Orthogonal Chiropractors are experienced in managing many different health concerns. The most common are; cervico-genic headaches, migraines, vertigo, tinnitus, arthritis, cervical herniated discs, Trigeminal Neuralgia, Bell’s Palsy, scoliosis, Fibromyalgia, chronic neck pain and whiplash injuries.
Upper Cervical (Atlas) Chiropractic Research:
Although research on Atlas chiropractic is limited due to poor funding; several University-funded studies have been completed over the past few years. Below is a summary of some of this research:
In a study by Kirk Eriksen published in the BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders Journal, the authors concluded patients who received Upper atlas chiropractic care showed “significantly improved” after only 3 weeks of care. Furthermore participants of the study report “high levels of satisfaction” from the atlas treatment. The closing statement of this study was that the “benefits of atlas chiropractic outweigh the potential risks”
A 2005 report conducted by McAviney & colleagues explores the importance of normal neck alignment and its effect on general health and function. It was shown that individuals with a straightening of the normal cervical lordosis “were 18 times more likely” to present with neck complaints. This findings indicates the importance of Chiropractic care for maintaining and improving the overall curvature of the cervical spine.
Joel Alcantara (2001) discusses the case management of an individual suffering headaches and jaw discomfort in the Journal of Manipulative & Physiological Therapeutics. This case study highlights the benefits of specific atlas correction care. Following atlas Chiropractic management the patients symptoms resolved.
For Atlas Treatment & Assessments Phone:
1300 123 365
9 Locations: Hawthorn, Pakenham, Melton, Sunbury, Epping, Craigieburn, Point Cook, Cranbourne & Hoppers Crossing