Introduction and disclaimer

Please be aware that the content on these pages is for informational purposes only and is not intended to be used in the place of a visit, consultation or the advice of any medical, allied health or other professional. It is the best I have been able to do to assemble information on the topic of upper cervical subluxations/malalignments- but it is far from complete. Any diagnosis and/or treatment requires hands on review by a qualified professional.

For many years now the subject of vertebral subluxations and the possible health effects associated with them has been the source of serious dispute between chiropractors and the practitioners of Western allopathic medicine.

As a general practitioner trained within the system of Western Medicine I personally have previously adhered firmly to the belief of my profession that this condition does not exist, cannot be clinically demonstrated, and could not possibly have all the health effects it is claimed to have.

My attitude to this question was changed dramatically in December 2009 when I finally encountered conclusive evidence that I personally had the condition and was suffering a range of serious health effects as a result of it. On 31 Dec 2009 I was given a single treatment with a relatively new, non manipulative technique called Atlas Profilax.

This treatment has produced a dramatic range of improvements in my health, which  continued to progress and deepen as I became fitter and corrected my previous stooped posture and the crooked spine secondary to the missed diagnosis of atlas subluxation. I note, however, that during a period of extreme stress I started suffering a recurrence of many of the symptoms of spinal damage that were secondary to the missed diagnosis of atlas subluxation.

It is also worth noting that it has been demonstrated to me that the original injury left me with significant disruptions to my brainstem based balance and postural control mechanisms. I am indebted to my chiropractor (a specialist in the new field of functional neurology) for his ongoing efforts, which are producing lasting improvements in my overall and postural health.

Again I note that the skeptics in my profession are quick to attack this are as “unproven science”. My personal attitude is that a good practitioner in this area can make a convincing case to his patient of reasons to expect benefit, and should be able to produce progressive improvements that are clear enough to allow an intelligent patient to see the improvement and make his own decisions. [I am not in favor of medical paternalism].

What I intend to do on this blog is firstly to give a full account of the improvements I experienced, and then to expand to a broader discussion of the condition, how to recognise it, what its likely complications are and the likely anatomical mechanisms for each of the likely complications. I will also provide links to the various other websites available that discuss the condition and provide supporting evidence.

The second aim of this blog is to contribute to the wider discussion of Mind Body Medicine, as it is clear that two of the major impacts of atlas subluxation are on the sympathetic/parasympathetic balance of the autonomic nervous system, and on on the afferent proprioceptive, nociceptive and mechanoreceptive inputs to the brain. These, and the visceral sensations generated by autonomic nervous system activity  are interocepted to allow the brain to generate a hypothesis of the current emotional state of the organism, and provide the basis for our intuitive awareness of the safety (or not) of our current environment. In this context, it is clear that an atlas subluxation can have profound effects on our assessment of the safety of our environment, and secondarily upon the intent of our fellow human beings.

As I mentioned, this condition is controversial. My profession is also extremely conservative and has been hostile to practitioners who have treated this condition over the years. I have personally been deeply disappointed at the resistance I encounter whenever I attempt to discuss the condition with other medical practitioners. I believe that in this case at least our traditional professional conservatism has gone too far.

Given these difficulties I do not intend to provide any direct link to my personal details until I am clear that all possible legal issues are fully reviewed.

It remains my hope though, that we will see greater cooperation and less competition between the various groups of health practitioners with a recognition of our mutual interest in positive outcomes for our patients.

However, in time a third element of this blog will be a dissection of the processes of academic authoritarianism and corporatism that are funneling control of information into the hands of fewer and fewer individuals.

Please be aware that the content on these pages is for informational purposes only and is not intended to be used in the place of a visit, consultation or the advice of any medical, allied health or other professional.

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6 Responses to Introduction and disclaimer

  1. Excellent site – replete with a plethora of insightful information on Atlas Laterality (frontal plane distortions of C1).
    I understand that the presented information is looking at a Descending Postural Distortional Pattern (in this case initiated by C1 Tilt). However, postural distortions is, as my research suggests, a two way street. That is, atlas laterality can impact the posture all the way down to the feet. And conversely, gravity driven pronation can impact the body all the way up to the cranial bones. A paper that is appearing in Cranio (Oct 2013) presents data that confirms this foot to cranial link. I have posted the abstract below for your edification:

    The purpose of this Series of Case Studies was to determine if the frontal plane position of the cranial bones and atlas could be altered using dental orthotics, prescriptive insoles, or both concurrently.
    Methods: The cranial radiographs of four patients were reviewed in this study. Three of the patients were diagnosed as having a TMJ dysfunction and a PreClinical Clubfoot Deformity. The fourth patient was diagnosed as having a TMJ dysfunction, a PreClinical Clubfoot Deformity and a Class II Sacral Occipital Subluxation.
    Each patient had a series of 4 cranial radiographs taken using a modified orthogonal protocol. The first cranial radiograph was taken with the patient using neither the dental orthotic nor proprioceptive insoles were used (baseline measurement). The second cranial radiograph was taken with the patient using only the dental orthotic. The third cranial radiograph was taken with the patient only using the proprioceptive insoles. The final cranial radiograph was taken with the patient using both the dental orthotic and proprioceptive insoles concurrently.
    The degree of change in angle between the various specified cranial landmarks and atlas were measured directly off of these radiographs and compared to one another.
    Results: In two patients, improvement towards orthogonal was achieved when using both prescriptive dental orthotics and prescriptive insole concurrently. Improvement towards orthogonal was less apparent when using only the prescriptive dental orthotic. And no improvement or a negative frontal plane shift was noted when using only the prescriptive proprioceptive insoles.
    In the third patient, the frontal plane position of the cranial bones and atlas increased (away from orthogonal) when using the generic proprioceptive insoles alone or in combination with a prescriptive dental orthotic.
    In the fourth patient, the frontal plane position of the cranial bones improved using the dental orthotic. However, the proprioceptive insoles when used alone, or in combination with the dental orthotic, increased the frontal plane position of the cranial bones and atlas.
    Conclusion: This study demonstrates that changes in the frontal plane position of the cranial and atlas bones can occur when using proprioceptive insoles and/or dental orthotics.

    Professor Rothbart

    • MindBody says:

      Thankyou Professor,
      Your website looks intriguing and I will need to look at it at some length.
      I will send you a private email, but for the purpose of this blog, I will make the following comments.
      1) I need to expand this blog document in much more detail the complexity of the many mechanisms by which this problem causes sympathetic arousal (and the interoceptive feedback loops that make the problem self sustaining at the psychological level of complexity).
      2) I am currently reviewing the book “Manual Therapy in Children” edited by Heiner Biedermann MD.
      This book documents the progression of the initial birth injury from a simple strain or blockage at the occipito-cervical junction, through the phase of infants with problems with feeding and settling, and with unusual, fixed sleeping postures, through to cranial and orthodontic distortion and disruption of normal neuromotor development.
      He documents significant issues persisting in the thoracic spine and sacro-iliac joint riven by persistent infantile reflexes, and then documents aprogression through to schoolchildren with postural problems,headaches, and often significant dysgnosia and dyspraxia, leading to a syndrome that is at the very least clinically very similar to ADHD, and is often responsive to one or two interventions at the occipito-cervical junction.

      I will shortly provide a much more extensive review of Biedermann’s work on this blog.

      My reading of the literature suggests that it should be clear to all of us that there are complex reflex servo- mechanisms that operate to maintain stability of head movement as we walk, and they depend upon accurate input from the base of the skull and the feet in particular.
      It makes perfect sense that there should be a reciprocal relationship operating here, and that intervening at any of the levels involved is bound to have a beneficial effect on the whole.

      We need to also be mindful that the podiatric distortions are only exacerbated by wearing flat soled shoes (which deprive our feet of proprioceptive information) and by walking on flat smooth surfaces all the time.

      In fact I have recently read Norman Doidge (Psychiatrist- The Brain that changes itself) suggesting that this combination of shoes and flat walking surfaces causes a chronic deprivation of afferent proprioceptive input that may be critical to the causation of senile gait disorder.

  2. I have just been extended the BraveHeart Award — and NOW, I am nominating YOU!

    Click link below to view the “blog- badge,” read about the Award & get specifics of how to accept your nomination (close to bottom of post — above the Related Content links).

    If you choose to accept the award, leave me a comment on the link below & your nomination candidacy listing will immediately be linked to your site.
    (or search for “Brave Heart Award” if it gets stripped out at comment post)

    Each nominee is notified with the inclusion the following words:

    Stand Strong You Are Not Alone

    I call you a survivor, because that is what you are. There are days when you don’t feel like a survivor and there are days when the memories trigger your past and it feels like you are losing the fight – but you are not. Take the past and heal with it. You are strong.

    I want you to know that the abuse you experience as a result of your diagnosis is not your fault. It does not matter what age it happened. You did not deserve it, you did not cause it, and you did not bring it on yourself. You own no shame, guilt, or remorse.

    In your life, you have faced many demons but look around you and you will see there is hope, and there is beauty. You are beautiful, You are loved, there is hope.

    You deserve to be loved and treated with respect. You deserve peace and joy in your life. Don’t settle for anything less than that. God has plans for you. Your future does not have to be dictated by your past.

    Each step you take you are not alone. Stand Strong.
    (Madelyn Griffith-Haynie – ADDandSoMuchMore dot com)
    – ADD Coach Training Field founder; ADD Coaching co-founder –
    “It takes a village to transform a world!”

  3. Sidney says:

    I have just found this problem, atlas subluxation, in my 14 year old son who has scoliosis and also had ADHD. His atlas was found to rotated dorsally to the left and was also shifted laterally in that directon. His cervical spine was curved opposite to the way it is supposed to. These have not been his only problems. When he was much younger he did Primitive Reflex Therapy, eye exercises for a lazy left eye, exercises for poor hand coordination etc., etc., etc.

    I just wanted to point out that chiropractors themselves, often don’t know about this and their training from one to the other is quite different. For example, neither of the two chiropractors that my son has seen, suggested I go and get my son’s atlas adjusted. I don’t know why this wouldn’t have occurred to them, they either don know or they don’t care and just want to keep taking my money. I have found a chiropractor near me who has studied the Pettibon system of adjusting the spine and incorporates exercises with weights on differerent parts of the body that works on balancing the body out, muscles, proprioception etc and thereby straightening the spine. There are studies that this works, but won’t work as much in someone with a mature spine, of course. Keep looking for a chiropractor who can help you. Yours may be well meaning, but it doesn’t mean he knows all there is to know.


    • MindBody says:

      Well said.This is a difficult problem to correct in adults and in older teenagers or those with a bigger degree of scoliosis.
      Please be patient with your treatment and keep coming back to your health care professsionals until it is fixed.
      I started treatment in late 2009. I have had to use a combination of chiropractic, trigger point massage, therpaeutic massage, movement mindfulness (Qi Gong) and sitting meditation.
      I believe it is possible that I may heve the problem fully resolved before 2014 is out.

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