Symptoms and Signs of Atlas Subluxation

Edited 9 July 2018

This information is not meant to provide a medical opinion or medical advice but I hope it will help readers understand the sort of things they should be considering and asking their own practitioners for help with.

I personally agree with the comments from manual therapists that these problems are extremely common, and often not understood. This is a real problem as it is possible to go to a doctor and show what is wrong- and he may say back “oh that’s normal”

These malalignments cause a great deal of symptomatology, often a long time after any injury. This reflects a slow deterioration of function after the injury.

In my own case there were always some symptoms (clumsiness, some emotional intensity) which would appear to have originated from a  birth injury, but the worst symptoms came on gradually following a disc injury in my low back which worsened my posture and gait, followed by a whiplash injury in 1986. The symptoms were a background nuisance that did not start really progressing until about 1993. The background symptoms were there for many years.

I strongly recommend reading Greg Buchanan’s account of his injury at
and especially the list of symptoms he experienced:
“An eye twitch started in my right eye. This would on some days be there all day, and on others only for part of the day. One doctor had delight in telling me he had one and I was to watch his eye, so I could see it happen. As if to make it normal!”

So many of the symptoms are subtle, and they are often poorly accounted for in Medicine. they are the sort of things that often we don’t know what to do with, and they dont seem abnormal because we have them too!

Mechanical Symptoms

Include, but are not limited to:

  1. Headaches- often involving the base of the skull, and referring to the sides of the head and around the sinuses.
  2. Migraines, often with marked agitation and nausea. I am speculating that some migraine like headaches might be caused by acute CSF obstruction caused by Dural torsion.
  3. Neck pains and stiffness and difficulty finding a comfortable position on the pillow at night.
  4. Sometimes crackling or grating noises at the base of the skull when turning the head. Often there are associated shoulder pains, especially between the shoulder blades.
  5. Jaw joint pains or dysfunction. Clicking jaw.
  6. Chest wall pain, and thoracic spine pain- due to mild thoracic kyphosis, distortion of the ribcage and obstruction of normal rib movement.
  7. Low back pain and/or disc injuries due to abnormal posture.
  8. Nerve root irritations at any level.
  9. Pains or injuries in one hip, knee or ankle, often repeated injuries to one side of the body. Some flattening of the arches of the feet.
  10. Patients may be told they have one leg shorter than the other.
  11. Other postural difficulties- forward head posture, functional scoliosis Symptoms based on nerve and blood flow and cerebrospinal fluid dysfunction
  12. Autonomic _ nausea, heartburn, irritable bowel, near fainting episodes, lightheartedness on standing up suddenly or on being upright for long (dysautonomia), high stress level, unstable attention, cold hands and feet, sweating- sometimes one sided, an intermittent one sided dilated pupil.
  13. Syndrome X issues due to chronic activation of the stress response (obesity, diabetes,
  14. Sleep disturbance- multiple kinds, difficulty sleeping due to discomfort or to low level restlessness, sleep apnoea and snoring, nocturia, nightmares, nocturnal hypersexuality, and sleep paralysis are all predictable outcomes of this knd of problem. I am unsure of how well they are all documented in the literature though.
  15. Mental dullness, fatigue, brain fog are common. Reports of their improving after successful atlas treatment (often within a couple of hours) are also common.
  16. Functional neurological symptoms due to disruption of afferent input- at a bare minimum, issues with balance, coordination, eye coordination (reading fatigue and other problems).
  17. Subtle and intermittent signs of neurological dysfunction like transient tinnitus, tremor in one or both legs, intermittent slurred speech, physical hypersensitivity to touch (clothes feeling painful), or to sound or to light.

Signs of Atlas Subluxation

The physical signs of atlanto- occipital subluxation are straightforward, and the diagnosis can usually be confirmed without investigations.

Posture- the head is carried forwards of the shoulders. ( In healthy posture the centre of the shoulder joint is vertically directly below the ear canals).

The patient may also have a degree of hunch or a sway back.

The patient will have great difficulty straightening up to hold his head in correct position.

The front on view will often clearly indicate the problem. The head may be tilted to one side, and the neck rotated a few degrees or so off straight ahead.

The midline of the trunk may not be vertical.

One shoulder will be higher than the other- the clearest marker of a mild functional scoliosis

Often the pelvis will visibly be off level as well (Usually high on the side of the low shoulder).

From the back the difference in the level of the shoulders will be more apparent, and one shoulder should be pushed out to the back. The head, shoulders, and hips may be out of alignment (viewed from above).

Viewed from  behind the midline of the neck should be vertical and a line drawn across the base of the skull should be at right angles to a line drawn between the mastoid processes. If that angle is not square then there is very likely an issue with atlas alignment.

If there is a subluxation/ alignment issue, the neck will almost always be tender just below the ears and behind the jaw (over the transverse process of the atlas and related muscles). It may be possible to feel that the neck bone (transverse process of atlas) is closer to the jaw on one side than the other. Postural issues, muscle spasm, or a “bull neck” can make this sign difficult to identify. However the joint between the atlas and the skull is not one at which rotation naturally occurs (beyond about 3-4 degrees at the extremes of neck rotation) so this sign is always abnormal if found. Very rarely it will be because of an asymmetrical atlas.

Equally, tenderness at the back of the neck along base of the skull just lateral to the midline is a warning sign for dural torsion– see below..

It is necessary to know some anatomy to understand this- and thankfully there are some excellent anatomy apps to help understand the issues.

This video helps:


However the key landmarks are:

On the skull, the mastoid processes- below each ear.
The occipital protuberance- the bump on the midline of the skull at the back (posteriorly), just above the neck.

The transverse processes of the atlas (C1)- immediately below the mastoid processes.
These should be non tender to the touch and they should be symmetrical- both of them should be pretty much below the ear/mastoid process in the same line down from the ear canal. If one is rotated forwards that is outside the normal range of movement of the atlas.

If you can feel the gap between the mastoid process of the skull and the transverse process of the atlas you should be able to feel the gap open and close if you wiggle your head from side to side a little (The classic Vedic head wobble) If you can’t feel that movement then there is muscle spasm guarding the joint. That’s abnormal.

See diagram:

The green circle is the ear canal and the two green xs mark the mastoid process and the transverse process of the atlas.


Screen Shot 2018-08-03 at 10.51.05 pm.png

The muscles are also relevant. Of particular interest are the small subocciptal muscles  and the posterior atlanto occipital membrane, rectus capitis superior major and minor. (RCP major and RCP minor).
These Wikipedia accounts are adequate for the purposes of this discussion.

The areas of the posterior atlantoocciptal membrane  deep to the RCP minor and minor are of particular interest, especially given the frequent dural attachments of RCP minor, and the high pain sensitivity of the dural membrane. These areas should not be tender to the touch and if they are that needs professional review.


Other References:





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359 Responses to Symptoms and Signs of Atlas Subluxation

  1. Carmon LaSarge says:

    I have been having a lot of these sypmtoms. Ive been to a chiropractor and have had 2 cervical MRIs and ive been told nothing so far. Its getting very hard to deal with on a daily basis. Its quite scary at times as well. I dont know what i should do!??

    • MindBody says:

      You need better communication with your practitioner re his her formulation of your diagnosis and treatment plan.

    • Janet Weigand says:

      Find another chiropractor. They are not all competent. My subluxations in C1 and C2 were life altering and caused major migranes and thought and vision disruptions that caused me to be non-functional in excruciating pain. The key to resolution was a one hour therapeutic massage of head, including jaw, neck and upper back. Proper realignment of C1 and C2, which were causing major pressure and swelling of brain stem. Ice therapy, followed by an additional hour massage immediately afterwards. I went from non-functional to normal functional in about 3 hours after this course of therapy.

      • MindBody says:

        Well said. No profession is completely free of inadequate practitioners. That very much applies to conventional medicine too.

      • Janet says:

        Yes ypu are correct. What i find curious is that if people go to bad conventional MD they will look for another but if they go to bad Chiropractor they give up and say it doesnt work.

      • anja says:

        that’s great. where do you live and who did you see?

      • anja says:

        who did you see to adjust c1 and c2?

      • Anja says:

        Janet you had this done at kempsville chiropractic and are better now?

      • Darcy says:

        Hello, I just read your post. I would really appreciate knowing where you received this therapy. I have had chronic neck pain for twenty years. Right now it is very bad. All of the symptoms I can relate to. I would be so thankful for an answer to my symptoms. I believe this post is a year old but if you read this please let me know where you received this treatment. I would fly there! I live near Seattle, WA now. Thank you, Darcy

      • anja says:

        janet can you email me? i wanted to hear about your recovery. my email is thanks!.anja

      • Darcy Herrett says:

        Hi Janet, I am having many of these symptoms and have had chronic neck pain for eighteen years. Could you tell me what practitioner you went to that resolved your issues and where they are located? I am currently going to a NUCCA chiropractor and decided this weekend not to go to the final two adjustments because my neck pain has actually gotten worse as a result of going. He is a good doctor for others but most work on my neck unless it is extremely gentle causes my symptoms to become much worse for about three weeks. I would really appreciate any suggestions anyone can give me as to how to resolve my neck pain. I have tried many, many healing modalities and none of them have given me relief for a while now. Thanks for any guidance any of you can offer. Darcy

      • MindBody says:

        I can shed a little more light on this issue of chronic spasm.
        The spasm is involuntary muscle guarding as the muscles brace to protect the cervical spinal cord from injury.
        I have been working with a chiropractor who specialises in functional neurology for some years now, and am well aware that I have had longstanding deficits of body awareness especially in the right upper quadrant. These were easily demonstrated on the more sophisticated chiropractic neurological examination that was done on me. (Us doctors have a LOT to learn).
        However- due to a combination of QiGong, and some rhythm related meditation with great emphasis on balance and exact awareness of foot placement I actually tuned off the neck spasm and pain about 3 weeks ago. This is quite a remarkable result- and I now understand that the basic problem was one of my brain receiving mismatching sets of visual, proprioceptive, tactile and vestibular information– and getting very overloaded.

        The other nice aspect of this is that it has completely turned off the last of my ADHD symptoms- and it happened virtually in an instant. I am now looking at a way of simplifying and operatonalising these findings to make them more widely applicable.

      • Anja says:

        Hi Janet,

        Which doctor did you see at kempsville? Looks like a great place. Thank you. Anja

      • Jerry says:

        Did it hold in place with massage and cold therapy?

      • Can you e-mail me. I have some questions if that is ok?

      • Marjorie chambers says:

        Janet, I have been suffering now for a year with similar symptoms. Can you please email me with additional information of where you went?

      • Rebecca says:

        What doctor gave you this treatment?

      • Helen says:

        My doctor told me I needed surgery with my c-1c-2 subluxation…

      • CEE says:

        Just saw your post. Who food your re alignment work?

      • Jeremy says:

        Can it be corrected? I have my top 3 rotated and it cause me a lot of different problems. I’m still able workout and stay in shape but it would be nice to feel normal again which I have waves of feeling normal every once in a while. I have been to a chiropractor but I’ve been dealing with this crap for 4 years now.

    • Lillian says:

      Hi…I just had a specific XRay for the head neck and have seen how C1 is tweaked.
      Will your chiro adjust your C1? Not all will do this.
      Good luck.

      • MindBody says:

        As per my reply to Meredith:
        Other options are to be found through the “NUCCA” website and also any practitioner of Sacro-occipital technique should be able to remedy the problem without excessive force.

    • Meredith says:

      I am currently on the healing path of an undetected (by MD and Radiologist ) of C-1 subluxation and during this time in trying to ‘rule things out’ I went to my sisters Lyme Literate Doctor to be tested via the Western Blot processed by IgeneX. While I was hoping that I would be able to rule Lyme out, I unfortunately had a positive test result. So I am dealing with the Physiological Great Imitator as well as the Pathogenic Great Imitator …….taking one day at a time. I agree to other posts find a competent Atlas Orthogonist to share your images etc. I know several if you need their information :). Nutrition both with Food and Supplements and a natural anti – inflammatory are very helpful in lowering pain levels……..I have a lot of info so if you would like to contact me you can at – Take care of Yourself 🙂 ~ namaste ~ Merry

      • MindBody says:

        Other options are to be found through the “NUCCA” website and also any practitioner of Sacro-occipital technique should be able to remedy the problem without excessive force.

      • Skippy Lamb says:

        Do not trust a “positive” igenx test. I was positive too. I am looking at atlas now. It may be neither, but those igenx tests are not “positive”.

    • Teresa Zweber says:

      You must see an Upper Cervical Chiropractor. There are but a few of these specialist.
      I am fortunate to see one in my locale, Bloomington Minnesota. David Philips is his name.

      • Brenda says:

        I agree, you have to see an atlas specialist for these issues as not just any chiropractor knows how to adjust the atlas and areas at the very top of the neck/head. I see one because I had all of these symptoms and it ruined my life, literally. He is the only one that could help me and fix the problem. Atlas specialist are sometimes hard to find but it is worth traveling to see one of you have to.

    • Tammy says:

      See a Maximized Living chiropractor. I had almost every one of those symptoms, and now I don’t. I have been in treatment for over a month, and probably have less than a month to go. I can see physical changes in my shoulders, hips and jaw. I can see much more clearly, the dizziness, headaches and ringing in my ears are gone. All positive changes. There motto is They do the adjusting, and God does the healing. I am a walking miracle, the chiropractors there are great, and Jesus is my Healer.

      • MindBody says:

        They have the right idea. I am actually a Buddhist- and so, strictly speaking do not believe in God- but what I believe amounts to the same thing- except that our perspective is that verbal labels constrict our appreciation of reality.
        “…..we seal ourselves in within a linguistic shell of dis-empowered perception.” ~Terrance McKenna

      • peace says:

        Amen!!!!! N I am so.glad u know the.lord, because I. Am gointjroufh the same neck pain n the lord to show me the way

      • anja says:

        Hi tammy,

        How are you doing now with your symptoms?

        Best anja

    • L.S. says:

      I have had these same symptoms that described myself… I was going to an awesome Chiropractor then he sold the practice to go do research… I just found out he now has had a new practice specializing in C-1 C-2… If anyone can find one in your area look up Chiropractic Orthospinology for advanced upper Cervical… It’s suppose to be precise and non invasive.. There’s even a you Tube video show how it’s done… I’m going to contact our previous Chiropractor I mentioned and get a consult from him and go from there… I have neck pain, lower back pain,, dizziness vertigo at times,, sleeplessness, tenderness behind jaw,, all classic symptoms.. Head tips to side etc… I’m going to try this method!!! Hope this might help someone else to investigate this method!!! Wellness to everyone!!!

      • MindBody says:

        Whatever method we use it is becoming increasingly clear to me that we need so supplement it with our own exercise and flexibility program.If the problem has not been addressed in childhood then there is likely to be some persistent boney deformity.
        I find that the combination of Tai Chi and sitting meditation is very beneficial for me as well as using self mobilisation techniques such as Pilates balls and foam rollers, and learning trigger point massage to unlock tight areas.
        That minimises the number of costly interventions that are needed.

    • Seema says:

      Get a DMX (digital motor x-ray), that is how I was diagnosed. It looks at your body while in motion. A still body won’t always capture what is causing the pain. It is kinda pricy but worth it. The chiropractor near us was $600. But if it can diagnose you, that is priceless for sure.

      • Seema says:

        Sorry, it’s digital motion x-ray, not motor.

      • MindBody says:

        Interesting– I’ve not heard of these being done routinely so that they can be offered as a routine test.
        There are a few videos on You Tube of cases. They are striking, and clearly valuable.From what little I have found so far the radiation dose is not huge.
        As far as I can see this is not yet available in Australia. Thankyou for bringing this up.

    • Thank you for helping me understand what has been been happening to me since an injury to the base of my skull In 2016.

      • This blog is such a great help to me knowing that there a others who can relate to everyone’s comments ! Thank You. I no longer feel so helpless !

      • MindBody says:

        Thankyou. This has been a controversial area for years ( entirely due to a demarcation dispute in which the medical profession seeks to avoid losing face to other health professions. Anyone who speaks out in favour of it is liable to be attacked. However the improvements for me have been great, and are getting greater, and I depended on knowledge gleaned from other bloggers (esp Greg Buchanan– Is your head on straight”), so I have felt morally obliged to continue this blog despite the risk of unpopularity in some quarters.

  2. Graeme says:

    thanks for the blog you are describing something that I have been managing for 25 years. I have been describing the first 5 symptoms to doctors forever without getting any closer to a solution. I have done the rounds from naturopath to neurosurgeon and come up short on treatment options. Not sure what can be done but a relief that I might finally be able to pin point a reason

  3. Jack Russell says:

    What was key here for me was, “The neck will almost always be tender just below the ears and behind the jaw. It may be possible to feel that the neck bone is closer to the jaw on one side than the other.”
    I had already diagnosed this in myself. I backed into the diagnosis in a roundabout way, but the day I cradled my head in my hands pressing in with my thumbsjust below and behind the ears did I feel the misalignment of the atlas (the left side did not feel like the right side). I could feel a slight bony-like projection on my left side, but for the life of me no matter how much I searched find any such structure on the right side (no matter how deep I explored with my thumb). Therefore, I pressed extremely hard on the left side trying to force the bone to the right back into place. I used a hard plastic case, using the heal of my left hand to push against it while bracing the neck on the right with my right hand. I had some success but the bone would always float back to the left. Finally this morning while lying in bed I once again used the plastic case, but this time positioned it very tightly and immediately below the mastoid process on the left side. I positioned my right palm over the mastoid on the right. Pushing with the left palm on the plastic case while resisting with the right hand and at the same time trying my best to relax the neck muscles. Guess what? I can now feel the bone on the right side. The left and right sides feel the same. This has not been the case.
    Now going forward I will need to maintain the ground I have taken and build on this success. I am now hoping that my sleep will improve and with it my energy level and love for life. I cannot expect this one thing to make all the difference. It will take effort on my part but I am hoping this small change will be the tipping point for me to move in a positive direction.

    • MindBody says:

      I am glad that the information was useful.
      If you could manage to settle it yourself you were lucky- most cannot.
      I certainly would not recommend that anyone try to repeat the exercise themselves!!
      My blog needs major revision, as my biggest discovery has been that the original injury caused brainstem injury that left me with long term balance and co-ordination issues.
      It has taken me years to get on top of these.
      I am finally getting close- but I must stress that the aim is to achieve an upright, flexible posture and good eye hand co-ordination.
      By “Upright” I mean SO upright that your ear canals, the centre of your shoulder joints and the centre of your hip joints lie in the one vertical plane.
      This takes quite a bit of work- but the rewards in term of ability to remain calm and focussed are huge.
      The reason this blog has remained anonymous has been the serious hostility I have faced from my local colleagues when I bring this matter up for public discussion.
      That matter is close to being resolved, and when it is, I hope to have time to give more information on the blog.
      For the meantime- it is well worth your while to go to the site and look up a talk by the chiropractor Ian Niven on “visual suppression of the vestibular system”, another one by randy beck on “Clinical correlates of traumatic brain injury” and another by Matthew Holmes on “Cervical dystonia following central nervous system injury – a case study highlighting the functional neurology approach”. it costs $20 to subscribe for 1 month- but is worthwhile.

      • Cameron says:

        I had a quick question. What was your original injury that caused the sublaxation that left you with permanent brain steam injury? Thanks

      • MindBody says:

        It would appear to have been a birth injury caused by forceps delivery- looking at childhood co-ordination and irritability issues..
        See the Biedermann book I have referenced.
        I am doing specific exercises designed to correct the brainstem problem- a slow process, but progressively successful.
        (Functional neurology- a new branch of chiropractic- still somewhat controversial with the conventional medical profession, but I am clear as to my improvements in reflexes, coordination and regulation of the stress response. Thankfully I have the anatomical knowledge and clinical skills to assess this- but this is an area where individuals must do their own research and make their own decisions).

  4. Janet says:

    I live in Virginia Beach, Virginia. Kempsville Chiropractic

    • Janet says:

      Anja. Yes. I have been going to Kempsville Chiropractic. Great doctors there. That is where i received the adjustment and massage therapy.

  5. Lillian DeBernardi says:

    Hi..dealing with balance/lightheaded ness for many years. Probably examined by at least
    100 Chiropractors over the past 20 years..but never an atlas expert.
    Any suggestions for one near Santa Barbara CA.?

    • MindBody says:

      The site is worth looking at. Also,the whole question of full postural and neurological rehabilitation once the atlas injury is corrected is relevant.There area group of chiropractors who specialise in what is called functional neurology.The Carrick institute in the USA is the main centre of this approach.

    • Sj says:

      Did you ever find an atlas chiropodist, Lillian? I’m seeing an upper cervical chiro in Ventura for vertigo, tinnitus an brain fog. My atlas was x-rayed and out by almost 4mm. I visited many non cervical chirps which never did the trick & Live in Carpinteriacl

  6. maria says:

    wow these symptoms ring true for me too. I’m 26 and have been having headaches like this since i was 9. i have been to SA for arteriole surgery for the painful blood vessels in my head and i was totally dependent on sumatriptan everyday for the last 3 years. It has reduced the headaches by 50% but my neck just won’t settle and the pain is constant some times worse and i need sumatriptan (x8 doses in x1 year…apposed to 75 doses every three months), sometimes just a nurophen and codine will kick it. I now also take nanalol for my heart to stop it releasing adrenalin all the time and i am feeling much calmer and no longer have ’emotion’ as a headache trigger. I am off to my doc tomorrow to talk about this atlas business…..and hopefully it i can crossed another thing off my list as ‘solved’: blood vessels – solved, emotional upheaval/anxiety/anger/crying – solved, food- solved, exercise- solved, muscles neck/head/face/chest/arms…. to be continued. Then I’m done and can have some babies 🙂

    • MindBody says:

      I wish that my doctors had picked this problem u in me years ago. There is a serious turf war going on between chiropractors and doctors and the existence (or not) of this condition, has become the sacrificial lamb in a fight for professional supremacy between doctors and chiropractors.
      Be sure that your advisor is well informed of all sides of the argument before committing.

      • anja says:

        so true. I went orthopedist who told me subluxation did not exist. yet I have just about every symptom you list. then two chiros confirmed I have c1 and c2 rotation. going to a nucca board certified doctor on monday. atlas gave me some results..looking for more healing. blessings for your site. anja

      • MindBody says:

        Your orthopedist is too ignorant to be fit to comment.

  7. Roger says:

    Can atlas and axis subulations be fixed on a long term basis at least rather than a life long manipulation therapy with a chiro or physio? Can disorientation, cloggy ears, depression, head pressure, tense masseter, tinnitus, noise sensitivity, noise anxiety be symptoms?

    • MindBody says:

      All of the above can be symptoms.
      I found my major atlas subluxation was nicely fixed by one treatment with Atlas Profilax, but that correcting the rest of the spine and relearning abberant movement patterns related to my old scoliosis has been a much slower process.

  8. Roger says:

    So does atlas profilax actually work or is it a placebo?

  9. Anja says:

    Is there anyway mind body can call me? My email is .

    Thanks! Anja

  10. Brenda says:

    Hi. Reading all of your comments has definitely made me feel better and bit less scared of my condition. I have been dealing with vertigo, stiff neck/back, balance issues, anxiety, etc. due to subluxation of my atlas, c1, c2, c3 and going to my chiropractior is stressful because I don’t like all the pressure and manipulation on my ear and head area. It is scary! I just want to get better soon as I am frustrated and cry to muvh lately it seems.

  11. vivian says:

    this website is EXCELLENT. in my humble opinion a subluxation to the atlas/axis due to head trauma could be the leading cause of parkinson’s disease CBD and Progressive supranuclear palsy, yep my opinion, and upper cervical chiropractic would be of major benefit, fortunatly there is not a drug sorry chemical that going to help with these conditions, chiropractors are mainly scorned upon, i’ve learned a lot over the last year about PSP, but yeah great info here.

    • MindBody says:

      Stay tuned, there is much more information to come.
      My experience is that I was badly injured by my profession’s foolish insistence that us doctors knew everything and chiropractors knew nothing.
      Unfortunately to even voice that opinion in Australia is to risk the wrath of some very senior and powerful figures in the medical profession who are attempting to get chiropractic courses driven out of Australian Universities.
      If I could pin this ignorance down to one individual, I would gladly sue for damages.

  12. petal says:

    I developed a very severe twist in my neck, jaw and spine after traumatic treatment from a chiro that has left me with some disability and neurological probems too. I had some Nuccu upper cervical x rays done which showed what the doctor described as one of the worst C1 subluxations they had seen in all directions. I have the xrays and I can see things there really do look wrong to me also.
    However I had some cervical flexion and extension xrays taken by a surgeon. He held my head in position to do them and forced my head forward and backward. He said he saw nothing to concern him whatsoever with the bone alignment and the twist and head pulling over was all down to a muscular issue. I am confused as if the muscles are in so much spasm I fail to see how the bones can be in alignment and also to how it differs to what I see from My Nucca xrays.

    Who do I listen to? The Nucca doctor or the ortho guy. Do I get adjustments of massage? Any advice most welcome. Thanks so much

    • vivian says:

      I would carry on seeing the upper cervical chiropractic, after all it was he/she who told you that the atlas/c1 was subluxated and they won’t be giving you silly chemicals sorry medication for the pain, as the neck is the junction of the body and brain, if excess tension or cervical misaligments exist, they can press on nerves in the neck to cause any number of symptoms, also ask the chiropractor to work on your nerve junctions and trigger points on your body to loosen tight muscles which would lessen the pain that radiates throughout the body,

    • MindBody says:

      The NUCCA chiropractor is likely to be more experienced in this area.
      However,anomalous neuromuscular activity does develop and maintain this problem, and may need further work to deal with it.
      Chiropractors are well trained to deal with this.

  13. petal says:

    Thanks for the replies you two. I did receive upper cervical adjustments over several months but they wouldn’t hold, hence why I saw an orthopedist. However he was quick to dismiss the seriousness of my body distortions and just told me I was holding this way due to pain which isn’t the case. My body just twisted uncontrollably after neck and pelvic adjustments. I now have a reversed lordosis and my head is locked down and twisted to the left also. A complete neurological mess. I don’t know where to turn as no one has ever seen this so severe before. I have tried cranial, dentistry, myofascial release, scenar plus more. I am desperate to know if there is anyone out there who will be able to help. I also know I have cranial distortions as proven by my dental molds. Do I focus more on the that, the atlas or body work? Also would profilax be too severe for a major subluxation. I am scared of how I would react to it being addressed all in one go. Any thoughts and thanks again.

    • Ruthie says:

      In my case, my occiput (skull) was lifted up and off the condyle on one side. Also, the neck muscles were interfering with adjustment because they were significantly stronger on one side and kept pulling it back out of align. I needed to have the muscles retrained on the weak side, strengthened through electrical stimulation. It worked!

      • MindBody says:

        That’s interesting.
        Do you mind telling me what the electrical stimulation was?
        The issue is that when the suboccipital muscles are in spasm the tonic neck reflex kicks in and pulls everything else into the wrong position.

    • Mattias Svensson says:

      I am under treatment for a C1 subluxaction, my chiro is using Gonsted to solve my problems. I have a extreme nummber off symtoms everything from eye focusing to lower back pain. I have allmost all the recorded symtoms from a C1 subluxaction there is. My chiro is treating me slowly from the bottom and up, he has told me that if he would correct C1 at once tings could get worse. Perhaps you simply need to rush slowly. Sorry for the english, /Mattias from Sweden

      • MindBody says:

        He is right that you need to be careful how you hanle it. It is best that he works in the way that he is familiar with. However- ask him about vestibutlar rehabilitation. Also worthwhile are exercises that help improve proprioception and awareness of head on neck. I am experimenting with a laser headlight that allows me to practice moving my head back to the original target I was pointing at (the exercise has to be done eyes closed- except to check at the end of each movement).
        Dealing with this problem will take me in all probably 7 years- but I can feel that I am closing in on a real, permanent success now.

        YOur English btw is far better than my Swedish– so don’t worry about it. 🙂

  14. vivian says:

    Hello Petal
    It can take some time for the adjustments to hold, your neck has become accustomed to being
    in this position.
    May i ask, what type of adjustment did the chiropractor do to cause your problems?
    The NUCCA chiropractors do not ‘crack or ‘pop your neck or spine and would be the most
    Benefical to your needs.

  15. Michelle says:

    Hi I have had many of the problems that many of you have mentioned and recently had an mri to confirm that the lump under my ear is indeed the transverse process of the C1 which clearly is more dominant on the left than the right. On the MRI you can clearly see the subluxation. The scan place noted that it is 2mm off the midline. Other than that all ok so the doctor says there is nothing that can be done about it. I have been contemplating having the Atlasprofilax procedure. I live in Sydney and there is one near Wollongong. I however are too worried that I might end up worse. Any thoughts, Michelle

    • Teresa Zweber says:

      Hello from Minnesota USA. Medical doctors don’t seem to have answers. In regard to the Atlasprofilax, why don’t you ask my upper cervical chiropractor. Here is his e-mail. He is really nice and compassionate individual.

    • MindBody says:

      As far as the doctor’s comments are gone, very few doctors are often even aware that the condition exists. I have had quite a number of patients had a plain X Ray or CT with specific reference to the relevant joint, and every single subluxation has been missed. In most cases the radiologist has been resistant to requests to amend their report and I have had to spend considerable time speaking to them to get the report amended.

      Now as far as Atlas Profilax goes- my medical defence organisation has warned me that they would not insure me for any incidents involving Atlas Profilax- as the practitioners were not registered by AHPRA.I would comment though that they clearly arrived at that decision without having done due diligence on the subject and they refused to look at further information I offered to supply. My own experience of Atlas Profilax is that I have personally referred a good number of patients (about 100) all of whom did well. Another doctor I know has referred about the same number and those 200 recommended the treatment to their friends- resulting in about 200 more referrals- so I have seen a good case load.

      However not all Atlas Profilax practitioners are trained enough to take people through the ongoing bodywork required to correct chronic postural issues associated with a longstanding atlas injury (these include fascial contractures, arthritic facet joints in the spine, sometimes spinal crush fractures and collapsed discs, and longstanding abberant patterns of movement. In this regard a good upper cervical or sacro-occipital proctitioner is the best option.

      I would also disagree that Atlas Profilax is “the only” procedure that can correct the malalignment, and that atlas malalingments that have been corrected by Atlas Profilax always stay in place.

      My own personal experience was that I had a rotatory misalignment of about 25 degrees and that the atlas profilax corrected that in a way that was uncomfortable but not painful, certainly did not seem risky, and produced an immediate result.

      However- correcting my posture fully has been a big job and is taking a long while – and minor recurrent subluxations do occur. For those I have definitely found chiropractic effective and safe, and also more affordable than repeat episodes of Atlas Profilax.

      What I would like to see would be more collaboration and less competition between Atlas Profilax and other manual and manipulative therapy traditions.

      So- to answer your question- it really is something that you have to decide for yourself, but there is enough information there re safety.
      Look especially at the atlantotec website– “their technique”- is actually virtually identical to Atlas Profilax– in fact I am told by an Atlas Profilax practitioner that they are a breakaway group from Atlas Profilax. However- they do have a study of 500 patients published on their website.

      • Michelle Ryland says:

        I take it you are not in Sydney otherwise you would be able to recommend some people in Sydney for ongoing chiropractic treatment. I really think I should try this as my 13year old daughter is showing signs as well. She was forceps delivery, at about age 8 fell off a bunk bed and hurt the side of her head then at the beginning of this year dove head first into the shallow end of a pool and twisted her body on impact. She has always been unco-ordinated as a child and this last year has had rib and chest pains, neck tension etc. She has just started high school and carrying heavy bags laden with books so all the practioners I take her to say that may be the cause of neck problems. I really feel now that I must have the atlasprofilax treatment and “test” the result on myself first. I would like to find a good chiro first to have follow up treatments. Anyone know of one in the Hills District of Sydney.

      • MindBody says:

        I really can’t provide treatment recommendations without seeing somebody as that would constitute providing medical advice.
        However, I have found that good chiropractors provide more comprehensive treatment than Atlas Profilax, that only fixes the one 9very important joint).
        I have done enough research to be confident of sacro-occipital chiropractors and specific upper cervical chiropractors.
        See and to find practitioners.
        It sounds like an XRay would be in order.
        As for heavy school bags- they will definitely make things worse- though the postural deformity caused by an atlas subluxation leaves one shoulder sitting up high- and people then prefer to use that shoulder to carry bags as the bag doesn’t fall off. An odd aside is that women always complain of the bra strap on the low shouler falling off and can never figure out wh until shown their posture.

      • ZG says:

        Hi MindBody,
        I hope you are still active here. I was going to post a follow-up after 3-4 years later from my original comments here.

        I was just wondering though, what type of chiropractor do you see when minor recurrent atlas subluxations occur? I have been having repeat atlas profilax adjustments for this, and while they do work they tend to feel like overkill given the recovery symptoms that occur afterwards, usually for weeks. Actually, it takes me at least 2 weeks, more like 4-6 weeks, to snap out of the mental fog I get following a profilax adjustment.

        I figured if you’re laying down and the weight of the head is supported and taken out of the equation, which seems to be how most chiropractic adjustments of the atlas work, that the procedure for re-aligning the atlas might be more gentle and produce less symptoms afterwards when “recovering”. Of course, there are so many different types like NUCCA, QSM3, Orthospinology, Orthogonal, etc. Is there a preferred that you use?


      • MindBody says:

        Hi, yes I am still active. I have been offline because I lost my password and had to change numbers because of continuous harassment by text and phone. However I have corrected that mess.

        Now to answer your question, nowadays I see a chiropractor specialising in functional neurology. He only rarely does any manipulation/mobilisation.
        Therapy is directed largely at using a low force/low frequency vibrating tool to increase afferent stimulation on the troublesome side.
        He also gives me exercises involving:

        Standing very straight (activating midline motor controls, very much like the basic tai chi posture).

        Nodding my head horizontally (no-no) or vertically (yes-yes), and using, if I need it a head mounted laser to ensure level tracking.

        Doing specific exercises (holding my gaze fixed ahead while I flex my neck and rotate my chin outwards to the left.

        Then there are a few exercises involving the horizontal semicircular canal. Look at L thumb while rotating thumb to L and head to right.

        These exercises stimulate a specific semicircular canal which is underfunctioning in me. It is very difficult to recommend specific exercises without an thorough individualised examination.

        So the emphasis has changed from passively shifting the subluxation, to reinforcing the neuromuscular activity required to keep the bones in place.

        Now we get to the question of just why we continue to lose positioning and re-sublux.

        The answer to this has only just come to light, and the important research is all referenced in a book called cranio-cervical syndrome and MRI. ( Craniocervical Syndrome and MRI Karger Press).
        It is very difficult to present this material without getting bogged down in excess verbiage!, but here we go:
        Now the essence of what is being presented here is that whiplash injuries have the capacity to interfere enormously with the normal anatomy and dynamics of the upper neck.
        We are told that 3 million injuries per year are bad enough to rupture one or more of the 2 transverse and alar ligaments involved in stabilising the occiput-C1-C2 complex. They are tiy injuries in tiny ligaments but they permanently de-stabilise the upper neck

        One of the authors of the book is proposing to screw C1 on to the occiput of the skull. He reports good results, but 1) the treatment is not available in Australia, where I live, and 2) Im just not keen on that unless there is no option.

        If you care to look, Mr Joel Franck details the dysfunctional anatomy and the treatment he does here:

        I am 100% certain that that is the problem I have, and probably, most people with recurring subluxations, but I prefer to work with more conservative treatments.

        Now a couple of other things come up:

        In any situation like this we hit problems with the pain-spasm cycle, and the difficulty of administering long term, heavy duty, dangerous opioids.

        One auxiliary treatment I find extremely useful is tiny doses of rosemary oil. Now the science is in on this one- we know which neurones it is effective on, and we know even which receptors are involved. It is clear cut- and if it works, fantastic. If not you have not lost too much. ($20 a bottle).

        When a muscle is in spasm for a long while this restricts the oxygen supply to the muscles, and they get starved of oxygen, and become metabolically deranged, with build ups of things like NO and reactive oxygen species (don’t quote me here I’m not an expert at that level).
        Low Level Laser treatment (near infra red range) is a fantastic treatment. The laser penetrates deeper than the sun (though I still encourage sitting in the early-ish morning sun at a cafe with the sun directed on your injured parts).

        Furthermore the exact frequency and wavelength of the light used is such that it shakes all these nasty compounds off the cytochrome c oxygenase (a vital enzyme in our mitochondria, which in turn produce all our energy for all our cells).

        Now I have trialled Low Level Laser in a number of different formats. All of them worked, but the lasers that are in use in medical practice are very expensive and that affects the price we have to pay for a treatment.

        What I am currently using for myself (a personal laser from China- parent company DOHMER) cost me about $370. It is brilliant and effective, and solidly build.
        (Sorry for the plug there but I am impressed, and good work should be recognised. Im not getting any kick-back payments for these comments either)

        So we need to take a multi-level approach. We have to tackle the subluxation, we have to tackle the issues that keep it going (pain spasm cycle), and we have to tackle the issues that keep making it recur (neuromuscular).

        The more time I spend working on this problem, the more I see the pitfalls that we all face, but in time it all falls in place. Right now I am torn: Did I overload you? Is there something missing? All I can do is reflect on what I have learned from my own experience.
        It is impossible to give personal advice in this format of communication.
        Please feel free to ask more questions, and I will fill in any holes as best I can.

      • ZG says:

        Hi MindBody

        I’m responding to your other post; I cannot reply to it directly because I believe you have a nested comment limit.

        First, thank you for the reply and advice. If not for your help a few years ago, I probably wouldn’t have seen any improvement at all. Heather and some others were asking what I was like before my neck became an issue; I will try to give a brief background on that before I can hopefully ask you some questions.

        I was bodybuilding in 2011-2012 and took on a manual labor job. Lifting hundreds of pounds to carting around heavy boxes for eight hours eventually led to symptoms like tension headaches, body jerks preventing me from sleeping, pins and needles in the legs, and upper back pain. At least from my awareness, this came on gradually and there was no single event/injury that caused it.

        The left side of my upper back was the worst; my left scapula also became dysfunctional and was prominent; I had a higher shoulder than the other. As the pain grew worse, instability started to occur. The pain and instability spread to the left side of ribs and chest. Eventually, it seemed with every breath there would be popping, snapping, or moving somewhere in my upper back, ribs, or chest. It was very painful.

        I saw a lot of specialists like physical therapists, chiropractors, osteopaths, orthopaedic, etc and got no where in terms of diagnosis or relief. However, they were all looking at my back rather than my neck.

        At this time, I hadn’t any issue with instability or pain in my neck at all, and I didn’t really have any cognitive issues; so my neck wasn’t even on my radar necessarily.

        Eventually, I ended up getting prolotherapy injections to the upper back/thoracic/ribs/chest. I did a year of prolotherapy. The injections were much stronger than the typical dextrose solution and consisted of: Asclera (polidocanol), Zinc Sulfate, HGH, and Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP). I saw very little benefits from this over the course of a year and 10-12 treatments. After this, I was advised to get a digital motion x-ray and was told by the prolotherapist that my neck was likely the issue, and he began injecting the upper neck.

        This is where everything went from bad to catastrophic. Prolotherapy is supposed to tighten ligaments yet it seemed like it had the opposite effect of increasing laxity in my upper neck; perhaps because they were done while the atlas was very misaligned.

        Almost immediately afterwards I developed all of the worst symptoms of atlas subluxation like snapping, popping, and cracking in my neck, ringing in ears, constant irritability, anxiety, sensation of impending doom, and all of the other cognitive and sympathetic issues. Whatever was going on in my upper back was now going on in my upper neck.

        Eventually, I figured out my issue was likely an atlas misalignment all along (from this blog mostly) and went to an Atlas Profilax practitioner.

        The practitioner told me I was extremely misaligned as though I had been in a car wreck, and was one of the worst cases she had ever seen. After the treatment, there was immediate relief as my atlas was supposedly realigned.

        However, even though my atlas was realigned, I still suffered from a lot of symptoms. I still had a lot of instability and snapping in my neck and back, cognitive issues, and many other symptoms. I was probably still in a fog for about 80% of the day for at least a year.

        Over the course of 1-2 years since the adjustment, I would sequentially cycle through symptoms that would last minutes, hours, days, or weeks, such as aches in the bones of my legs, cold hands and feet, extreme brain fog, etc. Eventually, though, that went away for the most part.

        One really odd problem I’ve developed is some of the issues I get with stress/fear. I wonder if you have had the same MindBody.

        Basically, the smallest amounts of what should be undetectable stress to the average person will cause my neck to tighten up and cause symptoms like brain fog and excess snapping/movement. This issue with stress was/is particularly problematic as I couldn’t do anything mentally stimulating at all without getting these symptoms. For example, it took me nearly two years to be able to read and write without these stress symptoms occurring. Also, I will get these symptoms from talking to people who have stressed me out in some way in the past, even if it had just been the conversation I had with them which was a bit stressful. It is very strange. My neck will seem to reflexively/automatically flare up when put into such situations, despite it not being stressful anymore in the present.

        Now to where I am today, and what I’ve done to help my situation:

        Currently, I’ve gotten atlas profilax about 6 times now. Typically, I will get it every 6 months to 1 year, because that’s how long I can usually hold an adjustment for. Although in order to do this, my life has been very restricted; the process of recovering from the adjustment is also quite miserable.

        When I first get the adjustment, I will move my head as little as possible for a few weeks. I find the longer I can let it “heal” or remain in place without a lot of snapping and cracking to occur initially, the more it stays over the long haul. Also, I’ll try to sleep as best as possible, and avoid all stress. For a while, I’ll sleep on one side and put something behind my back to avoid rolling in my sleep.

        I always get a lot of brain fog and a flare up of symptoms for weeks following a profilax adjustment, so I have to deal with that as well.

        For posture I bought an ergonomic computer chair that I’ve been sitting in most of the day since 2016. I believe it has really helped, and for a while it was the only chair I could sit in without back and neck pain. The chair is the herman miller embody. I’ve also purchased a height adjustable desk to switch from sitting to standing, which helps too.

        Over the past 2 years I’ve also done exercises — stretches mostly — to try and improve posture. Mostly to address issues like upper/lower cross syndrome; I’ve done hip flexor stretches, glute foam rolling, lat stretches, pec stretches, scapula winging exercises, and some more. I’m not sure how much they’ve actually helped though, and have since stopped doing them. Although no matter what I did, I’ve never regained proper functioning of my left scapula.

        After a profilax adjustment it takes me about 2-3 months to feel fully “all there again” — mostly this means no continual brain fog.

        Generally, with every adjustment I get, occurring roughly every 6-12 months, I will be better off 2-3 months later than I was at any point before.

        Now with that said, here is my biggest issue I still face today:

        It seems that no matter how good I feel or how much progress I make, the atlas will inevitably go out at some point. Despite seeing gradual improvement over the years, the atlas never seems to be any more capable of NOT going out. This is very disheartening as my health can come crashing back down again in an instant.

        I’ve found the easiest way to put my atlas out is emotional stress, with anger being the worst. If I get angry, my atlas will go out. I’ve had times where my atlas was in for 6 months and getting angry only for a brief moment put it out.

        When I get angry, tightness in my neck immediately follows, usually accompanied with some fluid-like noises, and within minutes I will start to feel the atlas shifting. And once it starts, it doesn’t stop, and it will continue over the week as my posture alters for the worse. I then need to have another adjustment.

        Physical stress is also a really big problem. Anything more strenuous than walking will cause flare ups. The smallest bumps on the head will cause flare ups. A simple bump on the head from the fridge or when getting into the car puts me into a day to week flare up. Any kind of exercises I do will causes a flare up. Even stretching my calf muscle will cause a flare up for a few hours until I’m used to it.

        I believe the reason I’ve been able to see improvement over the years is because I’ve been so careful in reducing stress, maintaining good posture, and working from home.

        So here’s where I’m at right now and hopefully I can ask some questions:

        I’m trying to move on in my life. I’m currently attempting to relocate and move in with my partner, and living such the way I was before won’t be as easy. I’ve also been under a lot of stress and had poor sleep in the past few months, which has of course put my atlas out again.

        So I guess I’m hoping you could help me again MindBody; I know you can’t prescribe personal treatment plans, but anything will really help me, so I’ll give it a shot:

        1. Given how symptomatic I get and the long recovery process following an atlas profilax adjustment, do you know any alternative treatments for re-aligning the atlas when it goes out besides atlas profilax, or do you still reckon profilax is the best option?

        Really, it would be great if I could just see someone who perhaps more gently re-aligns the atlas and allows me to feel back to normal within a few days or a week, rather than weeks and months.

        Atlas profilax technicians are also quite sparse; some countries don’t have any such as New Zealand (where I am hopefully relocating), so you’d have to fly into Australia if you needed to see one.

        2. Once the atlas is aligned, what do you reckon is a good way to progress in being able to actually keep it in? It seems that postural improvements and reducing stress only gets you so far.

        Considering after spending the last 2 years with my neck mostly in, and then having it go out so easily from the smallest amount of emotional stress (e.g. brief moment of anger), it would seem that I’m really failing in this area.

        Is there some kind of treatment I could undergo or type of practitioner I could see, who I could tell them what’s going on and they could help address this issue? Could I look for a chiropractor specializing in functional neurology as you have? Could I tell them what’s going on and they’d know how to address the issue? I’ve read your response and previous responses, but I’m still quite lost on a sort of go-to plan to follow in this area (I’m aware there isn’t one, but as a laymen I lack the knowledge and resources to discover something like one on my own). There has to be some way besides surgery to keep the atlas from going out so easily (I hope).

        3. Do you think there is any benefit in trying to strengthen the neck muscles? I recently found a long article on this subject and how to address it:

        I also found an article about treating atlas subluxation with myofascial trigger point therapy:

        There is also a practitioner in New Zealand who deals with the atlas through hands on gentle manipulation and “sound therapy”:

        Do you think any of these are actually worth pursuing and would help to keep the atlas in? I guess this ties into question 2 as I don’t really know where to go after the atlas is aligned from the profilax adjustment.

        4. After hearing about your success with Low Level Laser treatment, I am thinking of trying this once the atlas is re-aligned. Is there anything specific to know when seeing someone who does this (i.e. laser frequency/type, technique, etc)? Do they typically know how and where to use the laser to maximize results for someone with recurring atlas subluxation?

        Also, where could I buy the DOHMER laser and is there somewhere to learn how to use it properly on yourself?

        5. Do you have a preferred brand and way to take the rosemary oil? Are you rubbing and massaging a few drops on the upper neck?

        Sorry, it is a lot of questions.

      • MindBody says:

        your comment is rather complex, so I will do my best to reply efficiently.

        We need to ask what is causing the problem to recur.
        That boils down to a few items–
        1) ligamentous instability following a forcible injury, maybe many years after such an injury.
        (Im 57 and I only recently became aware of the significance of the injury at 27 through a car accident that I had dismissed a6t the time, believing I had got off lightly).

        2) The atlas does not have muscles that help correct it once it is out of balance.

        3) Once out of place there is a sensory mismatch between the balance system, the visual system and proprioception (body position awareness). I personally believe this is a very important mechanism and am keen to discuss the matter with someone more knowledgeable than I.

        4) Once out of place chronic muscle tension and anoxia (low oxygen levels) in the tight muscles can only make the problem worse.
        I believe that the underlying principal here is that once one group of muscles becomes fatigued and tender, then there is compensatory guarding– and that is when we get tension and trigger points in the superficial muscles.
        When the muscle is tense for any time the anoxia becomes a problem as the products of incomplete metabolism in that muscle cause secondary guarding because of chemical irritation. This is where the effect of Infrared light comes in.

        5) We have to contend with multilevel cervical vertebral instability. Some of my most dramatic symptoms have been associated with C1-2 instability– which is not specifically addressed by Atlas Profilax. Regardless of that, other levels are usually involved secondarily.

        Atlas Profilax claim a high rate of success on single treatment and they advertise that it should be a one off treatment.
        To my way of thinking, if you are having multiple recurrences you do not fit into the group of patients that Atlas Profilax is claiming success with and you should think about seeing someone more able to handle anatomical complexity.

        I am now convinced that the functional neurology stream of chiropractic is the best option here in terms of correcting any subluxtions/malalignments, and correcting the underlying movement problems- because they can handle the upper neck, and they can also handle the incorrect signalling from the brainstem that is causing the subluxation to recur.

        Re the laser I got mine through a facebook group discussing low level laser and photobiomodulation. One of the suppliers was advertising on it. I am happy with the effect and quality of build.

        RE Rosemary oil.
        I have just used whatever is available locally. It is expensive enough without going for top line brands. ($20 Aus for 5ml)

        As a rule it is recommended to dilute these oils about 50% with vegetable oil before applying.
        I tend not to do that as it is rather a nuisance, and I have getaway with it, but doing that carries a risk of local burn like reactions.
        I use the smallest amount that will cover the area when spread thinly- both to minimise cost, and the risk of any local irritation.

        The oil penetrates the skin and it affects ion gates along the path of the pain sensing neurones, making them less active and greatly.relieving pain

        There are a few more questions, but I will reread your email to be sure I get them all.

  16. Kir says:

    Hi, love this page, so informative. I have a question I hope you can answer. I have had chronic neck problems, apparently since birth. I was a forceps baby, then as a toddler I was accidentally dropped on my head onto a cement floor. A few years after that, neck froze after doing a summersault and I also had pulled a full length mirror over on top of me around 4 years old, which left me unconscious for hours. As a teen and adult, was involved in about three different car accidents. Fast forward to today and I have been dx with an Atlas subluxation, disc degeneration, along with bulging/herniated discs and reversing of c curve. Have had chiro done off and on for years but not consistently enough I guess to make a difference. Today I had a consult with a new chiro who I really like. He agrees that my neck is a mess.

    My question to you is this, i have suffered for about 20 years now with a laundry list of symptoms. Many of them I am sure can be attributed to the Atlas issue and new chiro agrees. My primary issues now that making my life a living hell are allergies (which only started about 4 years ago), asthma (also started about 4 years ago), dizziness, vertigo, motion sickness, panic attacks, hear papks, etc. that come out of seemingly nowhere, etc. Chiro thinks these are probably Atlas related. However I also have suffered from chronic candida, leaky gut, digestive issues, etc, for around 20 years, viruses, bacterial infections, etc. I am 47 now, i have done the diets, anti-fungals etc., and nothing has helped. I read on another Atlas blog that the Atlas can lead to dysbiosis, due to a redirection of blood flow away from the gut. Do you feel that the Atlas can be the cause of candida and/or leaky gut in any way and do you have any suggestions on how to remedy it once snd for all? As I said, I have done the diets, probiotics, anti-fungals etc., all to no avail. I’m pretty desperate, tired of being fat and tired, and of eating such limited things. Thanks.

    • MindBody says:

      Hi- this is only my best guess, as I am still digesting huge chunks of new information.
      Look at this webpage:

      So the issue here is that we know via the work of Heiner Biedermann and his colleagues (see Manual Therapy in Children) that the atlas problem is well and truly linked to balance/vestibular issues– and that there is a direct link between balance issues and stress/ anxiety.
      The latest information is that a dysregulated stress response will lead to an imbalance between the helper and suppressor sides of the immune system (and that is putting it very crudely)– so asthma and allergies are likely to be part of the broader picture.
      Re gut– the problems with chronic stress will divert blood flow away from the gut. The immune dysregulation is likely also to substantially increase the number of infections you get, and to increase your chances of being treated with antibiotics. Both impaired blood flow to the gut (via impairment of mucosal permeability and also altered gut motility and acidity), and increased antibiotics should be expected to be risk factors for intestinal dysbiosis &/or leaky gut. This problem in turn will further compromise good health and emotional regulation.

      I would concur with your chiro (though still have trouble formally proving this as comprehensively as I would like).
      However – with the atlas– when it is back in place– the rest of the issue is the small problem of keeping it back in place. My atlas was first corrected at age 47 by the supposedly one time Atlas Profilax- but my posture was distorted, my movement patterns were problematic and I am stuck with too much time at the computer.So- after another 4 years- I am pretty sure the problem is now fixed.I can certainly sense if it goes out and fix it very fast- and am now back in place and stable for the vast majority of the time.

      Re Infections- I used to get 8 upper respiratory infections a year- (as a doctor I am in the firing line). I have had one or two in the 4+ years since the atlas was corrected by Atlas Profilax (which I regard as a good method, but not quite as good as its promotional material!)

      • Kir says:

        Thanks for your reply, I just found your page again. Do you have any recommendations about how to go about finding upper cervical chiros in one’s area? I live in a suberb of Los Angeles and you’d think here, there would be one on every street corner. Sadly, the few I have been able to find are NUCCA’s and while I think they do help, they refuse to adjust anything other than the Atlas, and require you to pay for several months of treatment up front, which I think is very shady. I don’t know one person, myself included, who can afford to do that. And since insurance will not cover NUCCA, it’s incredibly unaffordable. If there is anyone in my area on here who can recommend someone, please leave a note here. Thanks.

      • MindBody says:

        Hi- I really do not know the details of practitioners in the US.
        I have found that I have got the best value from sacro-occipital chiropractic. They have a whole spine approach and gentle techniques.
        I do note slow progress at the atlas area with some of my patients- and wonder if they might need one or two specific upper cervical adjustments.
        These problems are complex and do not lend themselves to single treatment approaches in most cases- and any practitioner should be up front about that.
        I expect my practitioners to be able to give me a good explanation of what progress they expect, and what clinical features tell them when it is time to change course.
        I am happy for practitioners to offer a discount for a course of treatment versus session by session- but I would not personally be keen on paying up front for months of treatment. For a start- what if they get sick/die/go out of business?

      • Janet Weigand says:

        Try this link to find chiropractor in US:

  17. Kir says:

    Sorry for the typos. IPad typing is not my forte.

  18. Elizabeth says:

    I have all the symptoms from a fall(head trauma) a few months ago. Been to several dr/dentist and physical therapy and was going to be having braces put on in hopes it was severe tmj and that would correct. Pain was so severe I couldn’t complete my usual daily task and with two children that wasn’t acceptable. Went to chiro and he did X-rays to find my atlas was rotated 4 of the 5 it can rotate. He adjusted and after initial mild soreness that lasted about a day I started to feel so much better. Now, a few days later I’m having allot of weird pressure at base of my skull, last night I couldn’t for anything find a comfortable place to sleep and had a weird feeling of my head falling forward so I would hold my hand to my fore head while walking etc but that feeling is a little better this morning. Also having dizzy spells but it’s so weird. Pain is more pressure than pain and now I don’t know what to do, and honestly I can’t seem to find anything telling me the significance of it having turned 4/5. Any comments would be great I know this is old but looking for any help I can get.

    • MindBody says:

      See my reply to Darcy Herrett.
      I would guess that the adjustment left you with a sudden change in the mix of proprioceptive data being recieved by your brain- and that confusion is the cause of the problem. Persistinng with care is obviously important- but I think that the big thing we have to be looking at is ways to improve sensory integration– and that means things like qi gong, or maybe more formal sorts of dance or acrobatic type training.
      Qi Gong is good because it is gentle and does not require a complex set of equipment etc to do it.

    • Janet says:

      You may need weks of adjustments to keep it in place. Chiropractic is an ongoing out and can almost pinpoint process to keep your spine in alignment. Without injury at least a couple times a month. With injury and at the beginning of my treatment I had to go 3 times a week. You will get to the point once your spine stays in alignment that you can feel it almost instantly when it comes out.

  19. Dustin says:

    I have almost all the symptoms listed above. My question is I checked the spots below my ears and behind my jaw on both sides and the side on the left was hard. Could that be the bone? Also the muscles on the left side of my neck seems to be swollen because they are harder then the muscles on the right. Can anyone else relate?

    • MindBody says:

      Yes- this is all characteristic of the problem.
      I have been looking at a new technique called “atlas balancing”- while I hve no idea at all of the efficacy of this treatment, one of its practitioners has an excellent series of vidos demonstrating the way to find the position of the atlas, and how to find a malaligned one:
      All 4 short videos are worth watching.

  20. Kir says:

    Oh, a few symptoms I thought you might want to add to your list….pelvis, knee and ankle instability. All of these are always popping in and out of place, causing me to stumble. My current, non upper cervical chiro said this is most likely due to the Atlas. Massive brain fog, tinnitus, and head pressure as well. Do you know if bursitis can be caused by an Atlas subluxation? I have bad bursitis in my hips, thighs, low back, etc., preventing me from sleeping on my side or laying down. I have to sleep on the sofa with my head elevated, due to the bursitis pain, asthma and reflux. I miss bed. Thanks.

    • MindBody says:

      It it typical for any person with an atlas malalignment to also have issues at the sacro-iliac joint destabilising it and leading to an apparent leg shortening on one side and excessive loading of the “longer” leg.
      That overloaded leg will bear much more weight than the other one and be more prone to injury. Also significant is the fact that on the shortened side the knee and the hip are both thrown into external rotation and the foot pronates.
      All of the above contribute to orthopedic problems at multiple levels.

      To make matters even more complex- issues at the level of the foot, the sacro-iliac joints and also the temporomandibular (jaw) joint can feed back and destabilise the atlas.

      While my initial Atlas Profilax treatment vastly improved my neck issues eleswhere continually destabilised it again.

      In the end it has taken a year of work with a socro-occipital chiropractor to really resolve those issues, and that work has been assisted with other bodywork- initially yoga, but now specifically qi gong. It has also required expensive proprioceptive insoles. Now- after about a decade of difficulty with pain in bed at night due to multiple spinal issues- things are finally improving and I am sleeping through, and sometimes even waking with no stiffness. That has been a long time coming.

      So the short answer is that the problems you describe need acomprehensive approach, and a determined persistent attitude.
      As much as is possible I minimise analgesic use- and take the attitude that the pain is informing me that I am misusing my body.
      That is, after all what the pain signalling mechanism is meant to do!

      • Anja says:

        I had symptoms when I hit my head at a park with my daughter. Took three months but I started getting jaw click, vertigo, ear and eye issues, neck pain constantly, nausea, brain fog, it took me forever to figure out I have atlas subluxation……..thought it was tmj……..then I had X-ray and was told my atlas and axis were rotated. The best success I had has been with a nucca practitioner……have not seem him Often enough.this summer I plan on bumping it too three times a week. Some days I feel great…..others just awful. It’s so odd. Last night when I laid down I felt nausea and some vertigo..?But felt good all day. It gets frustrating…..yet I know I can heal. I have spoken to people who have for upcspine site. Thanks for everyone’s posts. Plan on getting vestibular testing in two weeks as well.


      • Heather says:

        What type of proprioceptive insoles do you have? I started with proprioceptive insoles, then a dental orthotic, SOT therapy, and soon an atlas correction. I am told it is best to stabilize the feet first due to gravity.

      • MindBody says:

        Sorry about missing this one- I have been using “Foot Levellers”.
        Definite benefit.

      • Beverly says:

        What qigong have you found helpful? There are stationary and repetitive movement qigong.

      • MindBody says:

        I do a combination of standing forms and 24 form Tai Chi (moving).
        I have been very slow to learn the more complex forms- it seems to me that a level of uncertainty with complex forms is part of ADHD for most of us.
        I am happy to go slow- as I am sure that learning to do the form well, and mindfully is more important than learning the whole form.

  21. Michelle says:

    Hi Guys, just want to let you know I actually had the atlasprofilax and I haven’t had any great improvement. When the practitioner did it the apparatus used just felt like a vibrating pad. She pushed hard and I had sore neck muscles for a day but other than that, no change. I will go back to get her to recheck it. Bit disappointed I guess.

  22. ElleLe says:

    I’ve had…every single one of these symptoms for as long as I can remember.
    I saw a chiropractor for back pain initially but he had an x-ray ordered of my neck too. I have a loss of the curve in my neck, and mild curve in my spine. He also noted one of my shoulders is lower than the other (I really can’t hold it up), and the opposite leg is shorter than the other by a substantial amount. My head is always forward of my shoulders, I really can’t keep posture…it hurts like hell. Not to mention one of my “floating ribs” (the 11th I think?) is distorted and noticeably protrudes out from my abdomen on the right side. Sitting is painful, it feels like the rib is pressing on something inside.
    He did back adjustments, pelvic adjustments, and those lovely “he’s going to break my neck” adjustments. None of which ever held for long. “At home” physical therapy made everything worse.

    And then… it gets better. I suffered a blow to the head. Since then the pain in my neck at the base of my skull is excruciating and constant. I have to sleep perfectly on my back, with my neck perfectly supported and slightly tilted back, or I will wake up so stiff I can’t move my neck. The most recent neck adjustment by this new chiro caused an extreme left sided migraine, pain down my left shoulder and arm, fatigue, blurred vision… the chiro advised if it continued to go to the ER.

    This most recent doctor even noted that at the base of my skull, there is a “bump” which he explained is probably me feeling the c2’s spinous process being slightly twisted, or one “side” of it is larger than the other…only it’s always protruding, tender and always centered. . Xrays, CT, and MRI all came back normal, aside from a noted “shift” that they didn’t really go into, said it was consistent with a the diagnosis of a sprain….

    After finding this site I am finding myself basically screaming on the inside. If this is something most doctors don’t even recognize as being real, how the hell do I get someone to listen? They say everything is normal….and I’m telling you it is most certainly not considering I’m young.. with severe symptoms (pick any from the list above…I’ve had it, or have it. Including a recent diagnosis of ADHD). The worst part? This blow to he head… well, lets just say these doctors aren’t exactly on MY side. I am literally, lost for words.

    • MindBody says:

      Please accept my apology for the delay with this reply.
      I can only empathise. It is probably worse for me because I am a doctor and I am quite frankly embarrassed at the entrenched, systematic, deliberate ignorance of my profession.
      It is worse than negligent.
      I now regard my chiropractors as my primary care providers.

  23. Barbara says:

    For those still searching there is a group of “Upper Cervical Progressive” chiropractors who have improved upon the NUCCA method and are calling theirs “QSM3” (Quantum Spinal Mechanics 3). It might be worth a try for some of you who have not had success with other treatments. I send you all hopes that your solution may be found.

  24. Christine says:

    @ kir — hi! Just finished reading med surg textbooks and scientific studies about the spine and have longstanding chiro care hoping this info is helpful — disc or facet or structural problems at c3 and or c4 will cause all symptoms you listed, in broad stroke. Please see if you can get MRI with flexion extension X-rays. I have disc disruption at c4 and had atlas readjusted — the lower level neck pathologies trump atlas in my neck — I have it all — disc, facet, prior surgery and c4 can very easily mimic c2 c1 pathology and also feeds into Vegus nerve, which serves heart, affects pulse, affects entire GI tract. So please get thorough neuro assessment and look for a retired healthcare pro who doesn’t have financial stake in diagnostics — some ortho surgeons are very structure savvy, along with pain docs. And physical therapists. But be wary of long term chirocare. Three sessions should do the job and if not, seek additional resources, eg, possible stretching, decompression and qi gong can be effective along with neck flexor strengthening once the spine is aligned — if spinal cord is compressed, go beyond chiropractic and see what feels better. If the body isn’t feeling better, the treatment is not working, nomatter what an expert may say or how much you may wish it were. Trust the body’s feedback. If it doesn’t feel good, there is a reason. Keep reading about physiological processes so you can evaluate care providers. Too many talk a good talk and sooooo few deliver. Cheers and all the best!

    • MindBody says:

      Interesting that you mention Qi Gong- as I have progressed into this myself- with very pleasing results. It is filling in holes that the chiro treatment is not quite able to master. However would have been much harder with a malaligned spine.

      • Lillian says:

        Hi Everyone…this site has been very helpful for me and my search for healing.
        Have been living with vertigo for the last 20 years in the Bay Area California. Probably seen at least 30 chiro’s who claimed they could help me. Would appreciate any recommendations
        for how I should approach healing. It’s been a very frustrating process. Wishing you all wellness..

  25. Earlene Lourenco says:

    Dr. Dan fixed my problem! call him at 858-484-0444. tell him your problem and ask if
    he can recommend the kind of help you need in your area. My atlas was out! Blessings & good luck, Earlene

    • Lillian says:

      Hi..I’m in Central California..where is Dr.Dan? Thanks

      • Tania says:

        Hi Liliian, i think i know a guy in your area that can help you. This person has had great success in treating Vertigo and alot of other things, he is in San Francisco

      • Ljdebernardi says:

        Hi..I’m actually 5 hours South of SF…Santa Barbara area. Any chance you can get a referral in my area? Thanks

        L DeBernardi 4692 Carpinteria Ave #38 Carpinteria CA 93013 925-487-6700


      • MindBody says:

        It’s not possible to provide any direct medical advice or referral advice through this blog (medicola]egal barriers- and I have no connections in the US anyhow)- but I will leave the post up for others to answer.

  26. FedUp says:

    Hi I have been suffering from a host of symptoms the past 2 years and this is my most recent present.

    Screwed up back at work with no initial pain or issues just gradual progression of symptoms. Began being unable to fall asleep by getting brain-like jerks (similar to being startled when relaxed) just before drifting to sleep. Made sleep nearly impossible.

    Adding to this next came extreme upper thoracic pain on the left side as well as left side of ribcage. Following this with chiropractic care (which made it worse), the instability spread to the chest and became very similar to costochondritis.

    Adding to the above, and still experiencing the brain twitches; came a new odd jerking issue in my legs, which became extremely exacerbated when trying to enter sleep. Very much like Restless Leg syndrome. Adding to this came twitching in arms, thighs, buttocks, etc. Adding to this came leg tingling. Adding to this came leg numbness. It then proceeded to cycle through these symptoms sporadically.

    Adding to all the above, the next thing in conjunction with the extreme back pain was cracking, popping, and occasional back spasms. Deep cracks in the thoracic area (more cracking when sitting or pinching back) and terrible pain following. Making any static movement (sitting or standing) terrible. Could feel the rib in my back, side and chest popping in and out as well.

    Got prolotherapy to this area many many times which somewhat helped. After a year when pain, cracking and twitching, numbness, etc were still there, got neck prolotherapy as a recommendation from the specialist.

    After neck prolotherapy, (the night of injection) immediately got a huge electric shock in throat and proceeded to sleep for 16 hours a night from this point on. Symptoms gradually creeped in within the next month.

    Started becoming unable to ever feel more or less tired; it began to feel like my body was always in a sleepy overly docile state. Could not get to sleep until 10 am the following day everyday.

    Became extremely weak, cold, body somewhat numb like it was in shock/fight or flight response, legs wobbly, super anxious, depressed and scared for no reason. Became unable to think clearly, started reading dyslexic and skipping words, and could stare into space in a near vegetative state for hours. Lack of internal dialogue or ability to think properly. Short term memory loss, etc. Got lost in a grocery store trying to remember where I parked for an hour.

    Daily consciousness felt like overtraining coupled with low testosterone coupled with excessive marijuana use burnout coupled with watching a loved one die in front of you (being in shock/shaky legs/numb body).

    Alleviating stress on neck aka lying sideways on a pillow would help alleviate symptoms and I would be able to think more clearly.

    Neck began making grating sounds when rotating when in sleeping position. Neck began cracking and popping in c1 area and halfway up the back of my head would snap badly. Hotness in feet and hands occured and were followed by intense bone squeezing aches from the knees down or ankles down depending on my daily luck.

    Both eyes started to burn red and water constantly (would wake up to left eye crusted shut). Eye lid muscles began to weaken and eyes began looking like that of a drug addict/zombie. Left side of face would go numb, as well as entire head would go numb at times, headaches too. As well as sinus issues, clogged ear sensation (like in plane) and popping in eardrums when opening jaw. As well as extreme sensitivity to light, making exposure unbearable and feeling sick and nauseous from it. Couldnt stand much in light.

    Pupils will dilate under low-light or darkness almost entirely covering iris. In sunlight pupils will contract so small that they look like a snake and are almost completely gone.

    ////Potential Conditions I Have / Relatable Symptoms;/////
    Slipping RIb Syndrome
    Snapping Scapula
    Brain Jerks (Unknown)
    Restless Leg Syndrome
    Leg/Body Twitching/Numbness/Hot Sensations (Unknown)

    ///Following Neck Injection////
    C1/Atlas Instability =/= Barrie Louie Syndrome
    Low Testosterone (Resulting From Above)
    Pregnenalone Deficiency (Resulting From Above)

    Any tips/advice?

    99% of doctors are unaware of any of this because it exceeds their medical book from uni. Typically can expect a “i dont know” response followed by suggesting a muscle relaxant or a anti-depressant. Aka worthless help.

    • MindBody says:

      My apologies for the delay in responding.
      Fixing these problems is difficult when they are that entrenched. I too have had huge issues with the thoracic spine and ribs, with associated racing heart.The trouble is that the spine is affected at multiple levels and problems at lower levels cause postures that continually destabilise the atlas.

      My approach has been to seek neurological rehabilitation from a specialist chiropractor and have a second chiropractor work on the alignment issues.
      I have done a great deal of Vipassana body scanning and apply the better body awareness to achieve a correct upright meditation posture – and to hold it while on the computer. I have also done a great deal of work learning self massage, trigger point massage, and done yoga and now QiGong. Now five years after the initial treatment I am defintely well advanced on an improving course. It is a really tough journey, but it is good to be feeling well again.

  27. Jo Buettner says:

    Very please to have found this – if for no other purpose than to maintain my own sanity while attempting to guide my son with his like-symptoms and complications. I’ve had symptoms since my early 20s, and now @62 years of age on disability for a decade, I am assisting my son of 21yrs. with what seemed to be a rather sudden onset (causes unknown) in the last year.
    I continue to not sustain with exception of lower extremities – having successful alignment for several months to a year at a time. I now have a dislocated mandible (left); repetitive costochondral separation – 1st and 2nd rib in persistent unstable condition; unstable clavicle – shifts into unstable left shoulder; C1 & C2 Sub. – unstable; C3,4,7 – periodic; thoracic rotation persistence. Vagus nerve impacts from head on down persistent as well.
    After years of being told everything from I “don’t have enough meat on my bones”, to “the only thing wrong with you is mental” … I began finding help, although no success in sustained improvement after 30+ years on no care …However self-pain management has increased significantly. My greatest limitation is insurance and disability determination limitations.
    Enough about me … I was devastated when my athletic, food conscious, non smoking; no-drugs; minimal-alcohol son described the pain and other symptoms I knew all to well. With a great chiropractor now, the concern is that he is not sustaining either. He has double-mandible dislocation; CI – persistent; costochondral (1 episode); rib2 – persistent – front and thoracic; persistent lower misalignment. His chiropractor is more than accommodating to him both in care and economic awareness – and a bit frustrated himself.
    I don’t know how to give him hope when my limitations are so enormous and continue to exasperate. Our rural location and depleted resources are definitely a factor. He lives a block from me – to help me, and now I’m pulling back on this as he is impacted by my needs.
    I do not know where to go from here … For me, kanesio taping was highly beneficial until recently. My skin and my muscles are fighting it now.

  28. Max says:

    I root xrays done last thraday that showed atlas and axis tilts. My CNS readings were off too. The chiro said it was definitely not good. I had my first adjustment later that day as well. I haven’t felt much improvement yet.
    Any idea on how long these take to improve?
    Am I supposed to feel better right away or not?

    Could these issues be causing my brain fog, constant fatigue, low libido, depression, anxiety etc?

    • MindBody says:

      Sorry about missing this one.
      Improvements can be fairly quick when the alignment is correct- but adjusting to the shift in alignment takes a little time- and you can feel a little fragile for a few days after.
      I felt immediate improvement after atlas profilax, and usually feel immediate improvement on the day of an adjustment.
      Certainly when my atlas slips out of alignment I develop clumsy speech and blurred vision within 1/2 an hour.
      The worst case was accompanied by an abrupt loss of thermoregulation and one sided vasodilation- and flushing of my face.

  29. john says:

    Hi MindBody / readers – Story from someone who cured their OWN c5 misalignment!

    I couldn’t not leave without telling you my story and my experiences. I have recently re aligned my own atlas / c5 after doing a lot of research.

    Ever since I was a kid my head was tilted, i remember closing each eye and looking at my nose with the open eye (alternating), it was like my nose was twisted but little did I know it was my head! Strange how nobody else noticed / pointed it out either.

    Anyway, had pretty much all of the symptoms above apart from headaches, and wow am i impulsive (or used to be). All the way through my life (28 now) people have said I seem to lack common sense, I’ve been a moderate/ heavy social binge drinker for years and was always doing stupid things (even when sober) i thought impulsiveness was just my personality, it’s crazy!

    I always thought my jaw was bigger on one side (then came the anxiety!) but it was actually underdeveloped sternocleidomastoid, levatator scapulae and trapezius on one side so yep my head was also twisted.

    For years I’ve not ACTUALLY known the problem, too shy to seek prof. help, it’s not until I started working out (which I thought would cure any imbalance) that I realised the problem was a lot more serious. Basically one side of my body was developing unevenly/ slower which after research (and watching Elliott Hulse on Youtube) I realized my atlas / c5 mis alignment was sending bad signals out throught my nervous system.

    Some of my personal symptoms on the effected side: (even though I was stretching like crazy) 1. could only turn my head (opposite to affected side) about 30deg, 2. Extremely tight trap – felt like it was gripping onto the ribcage when moved, 3. Deep breathe caused strange sensation (again, ribcage tightness), 4. Lower back was extremely tight (pelvis almost frozen, hardly any anterior/posterior movement), 5. Trapped nerve on trap/upper back, 6. Sharp Pain in mid back next to spine (trigger point maybe). 6. Impulsiveness, 7. Major anxiety, 8. feelings of hopelessness and depression, 9. Crunching when hitting the 30deg mark mentioned above, 10. ALMOST FORGOT – Major jaw pain (but on the opposite side)…the list goes on!

    Anyway here’s what I did:
    First started stretching following this video (do the affected side twice as much):
    2. Next go for a walk and focus on tensing the lower abs and the squeezing the glutes while tilting the pelvis forward (flattening your lower back) – this will release the tight pelvis muscles in your lower back. (I find walking and doing is easier – You may even feel your walking posture improve)
    3.Next do these exercises to re align the c5/atlas:

    I also roll out my mid back / s.blades on a foam roller.

    I can’t explain how I feel now I’ve fixed mine, it’s amazing… All my symptoms have gone, my anxiety is non existent, my pelvis is free, my neck looks even and healthy, head posture is excellent and I feel so much more switched on and connected to myself and my body. I know it’s not going to be the same for everyone but after more than 10 years of having these weird cervical / alignment / imbalance problems and now after a just a few days of rehab it’s gone! got to give hope to others! I really hope this helps you 🙂

    Also might be worth mentioning I eat a plant based diet but with protein (fish, chicken only) and also drink home made milk Kefir (the stuff is holy water!) Peace and Longevity!

    • MindBody says:

      Hi John,
      thank you for your reply.
      Those exercises you referred to really are excellent- and I will be referring my own patients to those links.
      The emphasis on doing the scapular/cervical ones hourly really is of critical importance, as we have to de-activate an abberrant postural and muscle activation pattern that has been persisting for years- and that cannot be achieved overnight.

      I personally have recently commenced Qi Gong- and find that the increased subtlety of body awareness that that gives me has vastly improved my alignment.
      I have been closely inspecting the skull on which I learned anatomy- and have actually identified that it has a small defect on the base of the skull that would make the atlas much more likely to slip out of place with minimal movement.
      I suspect that the individual whose skull I possess had a birth injury, and that atlas was misaligned from birth, while the bones were still remodelling. Consequently the labrum of the occipital condyle is deficient on one side- and he would have had an unstable atlas.

  30. john says:

    damn I meant tilt the pelvis back not forward!!!

  31. Roger says:

    What is the best kind of treatment to resolve these problems? For the past 5.5years II’ve seen some physios, chiros, osteos, I’ve had scenar, accupuncture done tai chi at the best all it’s given me is a 75 per cent temporary relief. Can this condition be resolved?

    • MindBody says:

      I have had to work at multimodal treatment for years to get good progress with this problem.
      As I see it the issue is that this is usually a longstanding injury (very often a birth injury) and it leads to very deeply entrenched aberrant patterns of posture and movement – which leads to secondary issues with orthopedic problems such as stretched ligaments and osteoarthritis. The bottom line is that our bodies have learned as default a posture that involves a twist running through the entire spine, and unless the whole crooked posture is corrected it will set up a situation in which the atlas is inclined to re-displace.

      I suspect that many of us who are coming to treatment later in life will require ongoing treatment and an ongoing commitment to exercise and work to maintain posture. None of this is easy in a culture which requires us to spend so much time sitting at the computer to work.

      I personally have had to spend quite an amount of time working at learning self massage and trigger point therapy techniques.

  32. lorrie says:

    My husband suffered for two years before a chiropractor specializing in Orthogonal Atlas Adjustment was recommended. His two year “odyssey” finally ended when he found the right doctor. Traditional medicine (2 orthopedists, neurologist, 3 neuro-surgeons, physiatrist, radio-frequency ablasion, 3 chiropractors, 3 physical therapists, acupuncture 4 times, dental bite guard……..and more) failed to fix the problem. Botox and RFA worked but only temporarily. His symptoms included, Right sided ear pain, vision problems, dizziness, hypertension, sinus congestion, and arm pain. He even had two sinus surgeries….still no fix. Eventually he had pain throughout his body and even had 17 trigger points injected twice. Since finding this treatment May, 2013, he has had to have it done at least 12 times but the treatment works. He is a carpenter and when his symptoms come back, he just gets adjusted. A sure sign the atlas is out is pain at the junction where the skull and spinal column meet. In hindsight, we are sure his problems began many years ago and progressively got worse because he never had the right treatment early on.

    • Justin says:

      What treatment did he find? I have atlas subluxation and haven’t been having much luck with a chiropractor. Any information is much appreciated! Thanks

      • MindBody says:

        HI Justin,
        I am hoping that all my readers can hang on for a couple of months while I revamp this blog.
        The are a series of feedback loops that maintain the problem of subluxation.
        It has taken me 7 hears of hard work to find this stuff and pin it down.
        You should see the size of my bookshelf@
        I am still somewhat stumped that I can use all this material and access it at will.
        I do understand this problem at virtually every level from the biochemical to the spiritual.
        As far as the neurology of the feedback loops that cause a subluxed atlas to go back to its abnormal, but familiar position– I am very close to being able to nail the whole problem neurone by neurone. Now all I have to do is to figure out how to explain all this stuff in terms that anybody can understand.
        I am taking a few months off work to finish this- as so far I can explain it to anyone but a doctor!!
        “Ignorance is not our real enemy. The real enemy is the illusion of knowledge”. ( A paraphrase of B Alan Wallace– I think). Sadly, most of my doctor colleagues have heads full of illusions. I am actually becoming embarrassed to classify myself in the same professional group as the clowns who have stuffed up my medical care for the past 54 years.

        However- please stay tuned- by July this site will be much better and much more user friendly 🙂

      • Anja says:

        Oh wow..
        Can’t wait too see what your
        How exciting. I will say im.having a.ton of.improvement with blair upper cervical.and lifestyle.changes.

        Thanks for do!


      • Mary shibley says:

        I am so happy to hear that others are receiving orthogonal atlas adjustments. It is the only treatment that works!!! Once your atlas starts holding then other areas can be receive treatment without causing your atlas area pain. An orthogonal atlas specialist along with the right equipment is mandatory. The specialist is a Chiropractor specifically trained to adjust your Atlas and specially trained and certified to do a more extensive exray of your Atlas area. Without atlas treatments I would be in hospital constantly.

        Sent from my iPhone


      • Justin says:

        I am going to be scheduling an appointment with Dr. Brian Elijah in Minnesota who is a chiropractor trained in Atlas Profilax. I am at my wits end so I figured I would try this out even though I am still skeptical as to how this works with only a one time adjustment. Dr. Elijah says he has been practicing chiro for 22+ years and has been doing atlas profilax for 8+ years with 96% positive results. He also guarantees that it will stay in alignment or follow ups for re-aligning will be free. Anyone else been to Dr. Elijah and have any insight to share? or any insight on Atlas Profilax results?
        A little about my story:
        I am a 29 year old male who is physically fit and very active, I have suffered from drop attacks (I have never passed out before but get random bouts of feeling like I am about to faint which lasts for a couple seconds) since I was young, although they were much more scary when I was younger I have just learned to deal with them. I recently over the last year have noticed increasing brain fog, clicking and locking of the neck (c1 c2 area), increasing neck and back pain, more frequent and larger knots in the back/shoulders, heart palpitations, dull headaches around the base of the skull, 2 full blown migraines, and random numbness/tingling in the arms. I am an Emergency Room RN and basically self diagnosed myself, I was always skeptical of chiropractors but I found one locally who did free xrays and a free consult for new pt’s, so I figured what the hell… xrays and consult only confirmed my thoughts and that I do have a c1 c2 subluxation on the right side. After going to the chiro 3 times a week for a month then once a week for a couple months I did start to feel better, no more drop attacks and feeling more energized, but when I went without an adjustment for 3 weeks d/t vacation, my atlas popped out again and the drop attacks with other Sx came back. The problem is I don’t want to have to go to a chiro the rest of my life, and I will be travel nursing around the US soon and wont be able to have regular adjustments. I hope this Atlas Profilax is the answer I have been looking for, at this point $250 is nothing to me if there is a chance it works. I will definitely follow up on here with how it all goes, I have to look into my schedule to see when I can set an appointment because I live 5 hours away. Hope this helps someone else out there who can relate to my story. TTFN!

  33. Hi, I have found your website interesting and the testimonies on various videos encouraging. Can I ask if you have treated anyone with ankylosing spondylitis of the neck? My pain started in the sacro-iliac and middle spine then involved my shoulders and fingers, which actually became swollen.I also have gastric problems with oesophageal ulceration. Lately it has all flared up in my neck, both back and front, with tightness, pain and a strangling sensation. I researched it and discovered it could be vagus nerve compression, since I also have very strange temperature swings and disturbed sleep as well as fluctuating blood pressures and pulses. Do you think manipulation would help with this? Or is the AS inflammation not amenable to mechanical treatments? I did in the past get some back relief with a local chiropractor but found the neck adjustments too scary and didn’t go back. Your views would be most welcome, thank you for your information. Roberta 🙂

    • MindBody says:

      Hi Roberta,
      I have not had specific experience with ankylosing spondylitis- and in the case of that particular problem results will be limited by the degree of rigidity of the spine.
      I really can’t give specific medical advice as to which treatment you should have except to say that there are non manipulative treatments available. For instance I see a chiropractor who specialises in Sacro-occipital technique. She gets great results simply by using the activator to release the tense muscles that hold the neck out of place.
      The comment by John dated 11 June 2014 gives links to some helpful exercises that are certainly safe and I have found very helpful- but they must be maintained.
      In terms of mechanism of your symptoms- I do need to update the blog.The biggest contributions to the symptoms are likely to be direct mechanical stretch on the brainstem and also related to a degree of upset of the regulatory systems of the autonomic nervous system caused by confused information input to the brain. As best as I can understand from my own researches the malalignment at the upper cervical spine causes a distortion of body position awareness which means that your body is not in the exact place your brain thinks it is- and there is a different mismatch of the information on the left and right sides. Your autonomic nervous system is meant to stabilise your blood pressure,pulse and other basic functions so that they are appropriate to your posture. Equally the subtle imbalance caused by the problem causes stress responses as well.
      This video gives some demonstration of the problems involved when your balance system is not functioning well but you need to pay for a 1 month subscription to the site:

      Also of note- excessive curvature of the thoracic spine and forward head posture can be contributory. The thoracic spine issue is probably related to hyperstimulation of the sympathetic nerve chain – at the point where it crosses the base of the rib at its attachment to the spine.The sympathetic nerves at the level of the upper thoracic spine stimulate the heart.

      My chiropractor (Ian Niven- featured in the video) disagrees- but I do personally think that direct vagus nerve irritation can be a problem if there is forward head posture- and particlarly if one “leads with the head” when standing up. It used to cause me marked dizziness when I stood up too quickly. Alexander technique, Pilates or Feldenkrais can be very beneficial in correcting these habits.
      I personally have made great stides through QiGong (which has good evidence in improving balance and in falls reduction).
      The video is really excellent and Ian is very skilled at working with aberrant reflexes in a new branchof chiropractic called functional neurology. Looking at your blog I am sure you would find it valuable.

      • Thank you so much MindBody, this is very encouraging and enlightening. I have started some isometric neck exercises and things seem to be slightly improved. I do look forward to following up on all your leads and suggestions. Thanks again, best of wishes and health to you 🙂

    • JoAnn Buettner says:

      Just a note regarding the potentiality of a correlation to the vagus nerve. I too have this problem. I did discontinue any involvement with a chiropractor due to the severity of my symptoms following. I hope to resume again soon. I instead went with a physical therapist trained in facial release- due to the inability of the two sides of the body to work together. In addition to much of the information already note in varied posts, I found relief by ‘teaching’ my body alternative ways to stand, sit, etc. through the use of Kinesio tapping- something my PT introduced to me. Of course this is a but a step in the process of alignment coupled with subtle support exercises to help sustain alignment. My inflammation, body temperature alterations, gastric disturbances- to include heart palpitations, have improved dramatically. All else remains a work in progress, however relief of symptoms are always welcomed.

      • MindBody says:

        It is quite intriguing how well kinesiology can work in the hands of a skilled practitioner. Of course most of the Medical Profession thinks it is nonsense, but after all our profession is old, conservative, and holds entrenched power and influence.

        I do not think the conservatism is really primarily driven by economic factors- but it is certainly driven by information overload and the difficulty of learning and thinking within a new paradigm for most busy practitioners. I would love to learn some kinesiology- but am flat out doing what I am doing.

        The alignment exercises are most important. I am getting great benefit from doing QiGong.

        As I previously mentioned- it is likely that the mechanical traction on the vagus nerve is a lesser factor and the bigger problems relate to distorted input information into the brainstem and traction on the brainstem.

      • JoAnn Buettner says:

        I agree wholeheartedly, on all accounts. I am fortunate to have someone that not only knows what she is doing, but listens to me. She knows how well I know my own body. Lessoning the secondary issues have allowed us to remove some of those layers that were preventing me from recognizing indicators of greater concern- as opposed to prior practitioner Band-Aid measures. I had not looked into the exercises you use, and certainly will. After a great many years, my brain is beginning to recognize that my ‘normal’ isn’t … Such a process and I have found this blog to be most informative and validating- a most favorable combination.

  34. Roger says:

    Hi, Over the last nearly 6 years I’ve tried lots of things and still none of the wiser. I have contemplated suicide a few times due to my symptoms which are a tense masseter muscle on the right side, restricted neck mobility, intermittent ear tension ache, lethargy, lack of drive motivation, noise anxiety like ceiling fans computers, fridges, traffic noises, plumbing, intermittent head pressure and disorientation mild dizziness, impaired memory, upper arm pains, sharp tooth pains, weird dreams etc. A great many physios reackon it’s a c1 c2 issue which the muscles can also deviate the jaw position.

  35. Roger! Go get your atlas and cervical spine x-rayed and adjusted if needed. It sounds like this could solve your problems like it did mine in about an HOUR. I’ve been dealing with similar symptoms for years. YEARS!!! One hour. Worth a try.

    • Will says:

      Hello Sadie, Did you see a chiropractor or a charlatan atlas profalax therapist? Then again I suppose there are good chiros and not so good ones like hairdressers, builders etc. Are you UK based? I’ve seen chiros, one which supposedly used a atlas adjuster tool which at the best only gave me a few days relief, I’ve also tried IMS Intramuscular Stimulation etc, Bowen Therapy ‘a rip off’.

      • MindBody says:

        Will- comments like charlatan are offensive and only speak ill of the writer’s understanding and personal ethics.

        My son, who was very crooked and clumsy, had Atlas Profilax 6 years ago. Thanks to that treatment and some follow up chiropractic he is now so well aligned and fit that he has been competing in the Henley Rowing Regatta. That would not have happened without Atlas Profilax.
        AtlasProfilax is not perfect, but it is a great way of reducing a severe C)-1 malalignment.
        The issue is that it does not address other levels and sometimes the atlas is unstable. The Atlas Profilax team are ironing out their presentation of their valid and helpful technique. If I see any further comment of this sort I will be forwarding it to their legal team. It is slander and should be addreesed in a court of law. I am sure that as my site is based in Australia that our defamation laws apply.

    • qunk says:

      Hi there,
      I have been suffering horrendous symptoms as above for 10 years including terrible brain fog and ear problems. A had Labyrinthitis 10 years ago which is where my symptoms became obvious and I’m still battling with deafness, balance, anxiety, headaches, high heart rate, depression etc. but my gp has pretty much passed it off as depression the whole time.

      I have just seen someone and they say I do have atlas and cervical spine problems after an x ray! So a glimmer of hope!
      The problem is, I’ve been told it will take 6 months to a year to fix with 10 minute appointments twice a week each costing 40 pounds.

      Obviously hearing people have sorted this in a matter of hours has gotten me thinking. Do you think I’m being taken for a ride and should I seek help elsewhere?

      If so, does anyone have any advice on where to go in the uk?

      Any advice would be greatly appreciated!

      Many thanks

      • MindBody says:

        One of the big problems with Atlas Profilax is the idea that a single treatment will be enough and that a quick fix is possible.

        Quick fixes are possible in infants and in childhood- but not later.
        That is clear from Biedermann’s work.

        This You Tube clip shows just such a quick fix in an infant:

        As a rule the older we are and the longer we have been out of posture and operating a crooked body, the more engrained our problems with spinal alignment are. By adulthood most of us have malalignments at multiple levels and aberrant movement patterns adapted to moving that crooked body.The movement patterns tend to re-displace us back into old postures and we are back where we started.
        When you get into your 30s or 40s there will be addtional issues with secondary osteoarthritis- so everything feeds back.

        I would agree that for most people an extended period of treatment will be needed and the course of progress is not even- there are setbacks and leaps forward.

        Progress is much faster if you are able to commit to a regular exercise program with a variety of different activities, plenty of emphasis on coordination and balance and to also work with continuous mindfulness of posture– correcting any forwards head posture or upper and/or lower crossed syndromes.

        It is worth the effort though.

    • anja says:

      Who did your one hour treatment

  36. Hi Guys, I want to share some information which I hope helps you!

    I posted here a while ago, pretty lengthy post somewhere up there. Anyway, I’ve found a great exercise to restore head posture (which is what I think the reason for my sublaxation was) Here’s a link:

    Some of the videos I posted above helped me but ultimately this one has done it for me. It restores thoracic extension. Back in the day as hunter gatherers climbing, running etc this was never ever a problem but obviously these days many of us sit down at desks all day so certain muscle groups tighten so in my mind some kind of maintenance is essential.

    Since I’ve been doing this multiple times a day I’ve noticed I’m just so much more relaxed as it’s helped release my problem neck muscels / trigger points, my head rotation is pretty much back to normal (symmetrical at least) but the main thing is my mood, my anxiety has gone and my mind is settled and I can process thoughts properly again, it’s weird everything seems relaxed, I feel my mind to body connection is much better plus a whole load of other stuff but I won’t list them here now. I also workout and do cardio which also helps loads.

    Basically (for me at least) this exercise helped release the tense muscles on the left side of my neck so I think my sublaxtion was caused by tight neck muscles pulling my head of centre so ultimately this exercise has allowed thoracic extension so I could go ahead and do stretches on my neck which before I just couldn’t do because they were SO tight and was actually making them tighter.

    Now, my head is aligned how it should be, I look better – not so hunched up even my walk is better, still working on it as there is still much improvement to be made, lucky for I’m young I guess so it came easy.

    Prior to my own research, nothing the doctor said ever helped, he didn’t even see a problem with my head / body posture CRAZY it seems to me doctors aren’t educated in the right way for the modern world at least for these types of issues! maybe I should have just seen an osteopath from the start! but self help is the best help if you prefer!

    BTW I would also recommend researching rounded shoulders, pec minor stretches etc, but remember EVERY bone has muscles EACH side so in order to retain balance you must keep things symmetrical.

    Don’t take my advice as gospel I’m just a 28 year old web developer who had all the symptoms of atlas sublaxation. This blog has helped me loads btw so thanks!

    Live long, live strong!

    • MindBody says:

      Hi John, thanks, but you forgot to post the link!
      I have been doing the exercises you previously recommended and am very pleased with the results.
      I have just added in a couple of “Chin tuck” exercises – one unresisted and one with a Theraband, to help increase extensor strength in the neck muscles.It appears to me that one of the big issues we face is related to anterior slippage of the atlas on the skull when in forward head posture- so increased strength in the neck extensors is essential. This is an example of a chin tuck exercise:
      The obvious qualifier is always not to force through pain, and to seek proper qualified review if not progressing well or if there are any unusual or troublesome symptoms.

      Incidentally, I agree with you 100% that the medical profession is inexcusably ignorant in this area. We spend way too much time listening to and being influenced by drug reps and going to education events hosted by pharmaceutical companies. Sometimes it seems to me that we have forgotten about any forms of treatment other than drugs and surgery.

  37. BTW to you veggies, (if anyone cares) on my quest to become healthier and fitter before you decide to give up meat altogether you should know that, in a nut shell, animal protein is essential for the breakdown or excretion of estrogen in the liver, basically high amounts of estrogen left in the liver is extremely toxic and is one of the main causes of some of the deadliest cancers there are. It’s to do with hormone metabolism (sorry admin off topic but none the less a bit more useful information that was in my head for some reason.)

    • MindBody says:

      Thanks John,
      We probably do need to eat meat to function in a healthy way.
      I would recommend you read “Go Wild” by Dr John Ratey.
      The basic issue is that our upright posture requires a trim waistline in order to maintain the strength of the core muscles, which, in turn, maintain upright posture and that in turn keeps the atlanto-occipital joint in correct alignment.

      So- a trim waistline requires a short gut- and that means we struggle to maintain sufficient energy input unless we eat meat, or high density carbohydrate. High density carbohydrate, however, is not part of our ancestral diet and predisposes to insulin resistance and all its associates illnesses.

      In addition the movement patterns associated with upright posture are far less mechanically efficient than the postures associated with 4 legged gait- and that also increases our energy input requirement.

  38. qunk says:

    Hi there,

    I won’t bore you with details but after a bad case of Labyrinthitis 10 years ago I have been suffering with many if the above issues horrendously including balance and ear problems and severe brain fog.

    I have just seen someone and they say I do have a misaligned atlas and cervical problems but it will take 6 months to a year of 10 minute appointments twice a week at 40 pounds a session to potentially sort it.

    After reading some people have it fixed in a matter of hours I am now concerned and confused. I’m desperate to sort this and sort it properly. Am I being taken for a ride?

    I am based in the uk. Should I see someone else?
    Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

    • MindBody says:

      THe issue is not easy to resolve if multiple spinal levels are involved.
      Atlas Profilax, in my experience, works well in Children and if only one level is involved. In people with worse posture, multi level maalignments or TMJ problems or flat feed there are multiple different feedback loops involved and the problem is more difficult to manage.
      I have requires atlas profilax, standard chiropractic and neurological rehabilitation.

  39. qunk says:

    Hi there,

    I won’t bore you with details but after a bad case of Labyrinthitis 10 years ago I have been suffering with many if the above issues horrendously including balance and ear problems and severe brain fog.

    I have just seen someone and they say I do have a misaligned atlas and cervical problems but it will take 6 months to a year of 10 minute appointments twice a week at 40 pounds a session to potentially sort it.

    After reading some people have it fixed in a matter of hours I am now concerned and confused. I’m desperate to sort this and sort it properly. Am I being taken for a ride?

    I am based in the uk. Should I see someone else?
    Any advice would be greatly appreciated!

  40. qunk says:

    Hi again,
    Thank you for the reply regarding regular treatment. However, I read a lot of people saying they can ‘fix’ the initial problem within an hour. Do you think it is advisable to go for one or 2 longer sessions to correct the misalignment and then go for regular checkups to insure everything is staying corrected?

    My concern is that 10 minute appointments twice a week at £40 seems a lot for not a lot of work. I have been to 3 appointments and they use a ‘electric hammer’ type device to massage around the spine but they use the device for merely a matter of minutes.

    Obviously, if slow and steady is the best way to do it I ok with that but I don’t want to wasting any more time and money if I can get it sorted quicker.

    On a separate matter, a couple of years ago, I had my mandibular jaw broken and it healed slightly wrong. I have been having a few issues with this and my ear, balance and hearing has gotten worse that side (whereas it was mainly bad the other side before). Will this break mean that I cannot get fully better with re-alignment of my C1, C2 etc?

    Many thanks

  41. peace says:

    Who can hel me solved this c1 and c2 misalignment problem at asap? Because this is affecting my life 100%. Plus my doctor told meticulous stay away completely from Chiropractics because they can cause a big problem for my health now who Because I went to.see.xhir

    • MindBody says:

      Well, as a doctor, that was the advice I used to give my patients. However- now I see two chiropractors- one is a specialist.. These problems are hard to fix though- so relief asap is not as simple as it sounds.

      The trouble with any neck adjustment is that they cause a shift in the information coming into your brain. That causes a period of confusion and feeling worse.

      Equally- just as there are good and bad doctors- there are good and bad chiropractors– I have always found the best way to work with any practitioner is to keep on bringing my complaints to them until they can either sort me out or have he sense to ask for a second opinion.

  42. peace says:

    No my question is this who can help me eminently I don’t want to keep on going to Cara practor and its just going to cost me money after money after money this situation happened to me when I went and visited dentist I go one of my tooth my wisdom tooth pulled I was on the chair for a long time after a month and after a month and have Sorry for any typos because I’m using a speaker from Glu go to speak I cannot type that much so I think some of the words are going to be different I apologize because I cannot type I can read my headed and I just give me really tired when I meet I’m not able to type so some of the words are coming back really bad I went to see Cara practor know it was a dentist Yeah I went to see a dentist the dentist you to send me to an oral surgeon but she did not you pull up one of my wisdom tooth it was a long she was struggling and then a month after later I stop feeling really sick and that is when the whole thing started feeling really sick and I have been it into numerous emergency my family took me I went to see New York just special Sorry finally they find out that it is my C one is the most sold the high pull me I don’t want to go to chiropractor I don’t want to go to chiropractor I’m scared of them I’m scared of them can anybody else help me without a Cara practor I don’t want the concept of Cara practor I don’t like do you approach undestan go forever I just want my life back can any medical doctor real Because all the symptoms on my symptoms and the effect my whole body I can work I cannot do anything who is the medical doctor that can help me you said and Cara practor I don’t want to go to chiropractor I don’t want to go to chiropractor my whole body is for it I cannot sleep I cannot sleep I cannot sleep I struggle all night my neck cannot find a better position can anybody help me This is just a f*** to my whole life I cannot work I have been home since last year I need my life back and now I’m gaining weight I’m gaining weight I’m getting tremendous K a lot of weight my weight gain is scary for me I’m gaining so much weight right now I just don’t know what to do can anybody please help me lord I pray I put in anybody’s please help me please I’m in Canada I’m in Toronto Yeah I am in Canada especially the help me can anybody really really help me I’m in Canada GTA Ontario can anybody help me beside Cara practor is because I don’t believe in going back and forth back and forth getting a just man and jeopardizing my C spine I don’t want to jeopardize my C spine I don’t want to play with my spine They are just me since yesterday I am still terrified I am still scared I am terrified I’m frightened that I just meant it’s going to make me get stroke disabled I am scared of characters

    • MindBody says:

      You know I know very few medical doctors who even understand the gravity of the problem you are suffering, and I suffered.
      Dr Heiner Biedermann in Germany is one of the few MDs I know who works with this problem- though no doubt there are other European ones who can do so.
      Re risk of stroke– this is extraordinarily rare- and the risk of a serious complication due to a medical treatment is vastly more likely.

      I will comment that there are techniques in QI GONG ( a bit like Tai Chi) that can help unknot these neck problems- but these take time to learn.I have been working with Qi Gong for 9 months now- and it really helps the effect of the chiropractic work that i have been having.

  43. Juda says:

    Hello. What are your thoughts on prolotherapy in conjunct with atlas adjustments and spinal manipulation? Have you ever tried prolotherapy?

    • MindBody says:

      I have not had any patients have prolotherapy.
      I note that it can be of value in sacroiliac joint dysfunction – so it may have a place.
      The recovery from the postural distortions associated with a spinal malalignment is often complicate by local tendinous pain- so, logically it could well have a place. You would need to discuss it with someone adept in the therapy.

  44. It’s nearly impossible to find knowledgeable people in this particular subject, however, you
    seem like you know what you’re talking about!

    • MindBody says:

      Personal experience counts for a lot- especially when combined with an education that allows one to process the information.
      I guess that I was fortunate in that my own medical care was so stuffed up by my fellow doctors that I have learned that the rule is
      “Make your own observations and your own formulations– or die”.
      Do not rely on authority- or the opinion of specialists- especially not clowns like Harriet Hall or Stephen Novella.
      If I had not become so disrespectful of medical authority I would already be 6 feet under.

  45. Fleur says:

    thank you for writing about this, I am in tears! I have been having many of the symptoms above with the worst being the dizziness, fatigue, tinnitus for 3 months now. After multiple doctors visits and blood tests coming up blank, and many hours of my time spent online trying to diagnose myself I finally, just last week, decided to visit a chiropractor because I had had various levels of neck pain for about 2 and a half months and I figured you never know it could be related. This was a type of neck pain I’ve had on and off for over a decade. So my follow up apt included sitting and looking at the xrays of my spine we had taken, and there it was an obvious loss of the curve in my neck from the side (plus one shoulder higher, uneven hips, etc). I began to have some hope finally that I was on to something and it is all related but didn’t want to have too much hope. Then I read this! While I still feel like rubbish I am hopeful that the chiropractor I am seeing and his colleagues can help me to start to feel better 🙂 Thank you again.

    • MindBody says:

      I am glad that I have been useful. The pain that this condition has caused me has been horrific. I would hate, through my inaction, to have anyone else suffer the same problem.
      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.
      You need staying power and you need to be determined to get well. You have got this far, so that is a very good sign.

      • Fleur says:

        Thank you for your fast reply! I have, of course, been assessing things like my posture in the back of my mind since the apt 3 days ago, and had started wondering how much else I should be doing to support the work with the chiropractor – like dealing with the tight neck muscles. So this has helped to confirm the sorts of other things I can be adding to the mix. After my apt and first adjustment the other day I could move my neck through the full range and without pain for at least a few hours which was wonderful, but as things felt like they were tightening up again it pointed out to me that there is that interplay between the vertebrae and muscles for sure. And I have been well aware that meditation is probably something I need to do far more regularly than I have been, so this all confirms that it’s definitely time for a holistic, multi-pronged approach to this! I may still feel like rubbish but finally it seems like there is actual progress towards remedying that. Thank you again, I may check in with questions or (hopefully) progress reports if that’s ok.

  46. Atlas Subluxations (Atlas laterality) can be the result of dysfunction proprioceptive signals being generated in the feet (Ascending Postural Distorsional Patterns).
    Professor Rothbart

    • MindBody says:

      I fully agree. The interplay between the occipitocervical region, the sacroiliac joints, the TMJ and the feet is enormous.
      In any adult patient with acquired upper cervical birth trauma we will probably not get a good stable result until all levels have been identified.
      In fact I never walk any distance in shoes without my foot levellers. I have well learned that lesson.

      However, in terms of primary causation there is an acknowledged issue in getting babies born with the combination of a small enough head and a brain sufficiently mature to sustain life, even with an attentive mother. This is a true evolutionary bottleneck.
      In addition the rate of trauma to the upper cervical spine at birth is acknowledged to be high by those obstetricians who have looked seriously at the problem.(See Manual Therapy In Children ed Heiner Biedermann).

      I am familiar with your work and the abnormalities you have described. However, I doubt that these are primary abnormalities- as they are too common. In evolutionary terms it makes no sense for a primary inherited tendancy to a problem that causes such pathology to be as prevalent in the population as you have observed.

      However, when one considers the neurological disruption caused by an acquired birth injury to the upper cervical spine (starting with the inappropriate persistence of multiple primitive reflexes including the Asymmetric Tonic Neck Reflex) the idea of the abnormalities you are describing as secondary deformities due to abnormal descending nerve tone (ie a soft neurological lesion) causing foot distortion seems more plausible.

  47. Chris ellis says:

    I think I have this issue. I’ve been searching for months trying to find an answer to my symptoms ! I woke up with a crick in my neck it caused cracking in the shoulder joint upper back pain a feeling of instability I’m having a tough time sleeping lots of anxiety I’ve been this way for 7 months now without a proper diagnosis. The clunking and grinding in the shoulder is killing me. I can feel a muscle/ tendon right under my collar bone that extends into my shoulder that is rock hard as well as the neck with a lot of pain. I have lost feeling in my right trap. I have no idea what is going on with me.

    • MindBody says:

      From what you are saying that sounds very probable.
      This is a tricky problem, as it is clear that the malalignment in the upper neck causes a distortion in proprioceptive data entering the brainstem. This leaves us in a position where it is extremely tricky to manage our body movement. The end result– we do not know where we are in space- and our body clicks, crunches and grinds. It is clear to me that the full resolution of this problem requires not only skilled chiropractic treatment but a commitment to learn a movement mindfulness technique. The one that has worked for me has been QiGong- where Pilates and Yoga failed.

      Now – re anxiety– the real problem here is that when our upper cervical spine is malaligned we suffer from disturbed balance and from difficulty in achieving the upright posture that is required to ensure adequate brain perfusion. Both the imbalance and the low blood flow to the brain bombard our brains with threat signals. It is a very common mistake to call these threat signals “anxiety”. Through my meditation practice I have learned to appreciate that my thought is biassed by the body based stress state- and that I have to learn to not take my anxious thoughts about the outcomes of real situations seriously. If one can learn to recognise the body based symptoms of anxiety as a simple stress state, and then understand that every single unconfident or negative thought that one has while in that state is very likely to be at least an overreaction– then one gains enormous freedom– and “anxiety” ceases to exist as a real force. That is not medicine– that is entry level Buddhism.

    • Teresa Zweber says:

      Oh boy! sorry to hear about your pain. 7 months is a long time. Massage therapy in conjunction with Upper Cervical care is a must. I live in Minnesota US and dare not to move to warmer lands due I would loose my caregivers, that is what they have become as I have been in as bad shape as you.

  48. Debbie Allen says:

    Hello and thank you for your blog !!

    I am ALWAYS in search mode to heal my birth injury (Suction Cup) and associated symptoms, which rather unsurprisingly get worse with every passing year.. (I am currently 45)… I started complaining about headaches and tension at around 10 years old, my well intentioned Mother took me to the local GP, who had me look side to side and announced that there was “No more investigation to be done!”… even at 10 years old I was insulted and puzzled by the lack of interest the doctor showed.
    I’ve been getting weekly chiropractic adjustments for about 20 years, which last me about 2 days before I’m back to locked up, dizzy, nauseous, digestive issues, and generally foggy headed and yucky…my nemesis does seem to be C1 and C2.. Always out !!! .. and my neck and shoulders are very tight…. it is a time consuming, frustrating, exhausting and expensive past-time, and sometimes I frankly can’t imagine hitting 60 years old..
    I’ve also done cranial sacral therapy with better but still limited results, massage, applied kinesiology (still going!), and a whole host of other modalities… Also a big fan of Bikram (hot) Yoga which seems to peel back a layer of tension, but can’t get there more than once a week… I am very curious about the AtlasProFilax and have found a practitioner fairly close to my parents in England so will go ASAP! I currently live in Florida and there is nobody !
    Any more progress to report? Doing better?
    I think we have very similar injuries by the sounds of it
    Thanks again for putting yourself “out there” !!
    Best wishe
    Debbie Allen

    • MindBody says:

      I think “putting myself out there” was one of the best things I have ever done.
      Honestly– the improvement I had from Atlas Profilax was so dramatic- that not being open about it would be unethical, even though being open was, and remains, risky.

      There is much more progress to report.
      Over the last 12 months I have done 2 rhythm meditation workshops (Ta Ke Ti Na) and lots of Qi Gong. Both of these involve very intense body awareness while moving- and both have produced ongoing improvements.
      The issue is that with an upper cervical malalignment there is distortion of body position information, and disruption of balance- so the trick is to get it all straight then do enough mindful movement work to train our minds that this is the correct way to hold our bodies.

      Re the neck and shoulders- I often see jam ups in the thoracic spine and the joints involving the ribs as driving these. They need specific work to help them.

  49. Debbie Allen says:

    Glad to hear you’re improving !!
    For yours and others interest.. this is Dr Ross McCulloch (UK).. I’ve only had a handful of treatments with him as we live on different continents but plan to go back for more.. he is too interesting for me NOT to interview !!

  50. Debbie Allen says:

    Ps: He’s from Scotland !!

  51. Emma Coppin says:

    Been worrying and trying to self diagnose for the last 3 years! any bloods or X-rays I’ve had (very few on UK NHS) come back clear, but have experienced literally all off the above symptoms and more, all down my right side, literally could draw a line and right side of body is in pain and ready for the scrap heap, left side feels perfectly healthy! Could this problem be caused by hypermobile joint syndrome rather than an injury?
    I’ve always been rather bendy and that’s the only reason I’ve ever been given for my pains. A physio said my head is too far forward and I have a slight curve at the top of my spine. When I look in the mirror I see my right shoulder is slightly lower than left and my right hip is slightly higher. Some days I just have to lie on a heat massage pad to get through the day.
    I would like to go private to have some tests and scans done etc does anyone have any recommendations for Midlands UK?

    • MindBody says:

      I am beginning to think that the problem may be predisposed to by an inherited tendency towards generalised joint hypermobility- that is later masked by stiffening up of injured joints.

      The hip and shoulder posture you describe is the typical postural adjustment to an atlas malalignment- it has been documented in numerous books.
      The forwards head posture that you describe is also typical- a review of the literature clarifies that chronic hyperextension occurs in the upper cervical spine and that a compensatory forward head posture then develops as reflexes ensure that the gaze remains in the horizontal plane.

      As for therapy in England- I have no connections there.

  52. joyce says:

    i have similar symptoms and luckily i started going to an osteopath for cranial readjustment. It has been about 2 weeks, the tightness in my head (tension headaches) are still bad but i can feel that my head is straighter and not slanted towards one side. what else should i do to relieve the tightness in my muscles? there are knots in my muscles (upper back especially, shoulders and neck).

    • MindBody says:

      The first thing to do is get back to your treating practitioner for suggestions.

      This website is very helpful:
      as is the parent site:

      as is this book:
      The Trigger Point Therapy Workbook- by Clair Davies

      All valuable sources of self help information.
      Additionally, balance is very important- as it helps inform the body how to hold itself.
      It has taken me a long time to really make headway on those issues- but i have found the balance training provided by Tai Chi to be the source of the greatest improvement long term- and various forms of trigger point therapy the best for short term relief.

      • Joyce says:

        I used to think that taichi is only for older people so the taichi that you’re doing is similar to those that they are doing?

        I’ve told my practitioner about it and he just told me to do some stretches. I’m only 22 years old and I’ve been experiencing constant pain/tensions since 17 years old. it has affected me so much in every aspects of my life. regarding the anxiety part, i experience occasional speeding up of everything, I don’t really know how to explain this feeling, like everything starts speeding up. it’s a really weird feeling and I just wonder if it’s linked to this condition.

        thanks so much for your help and reply. it’s horrible to suffer from this for so long.

    • Teresa Zweber says:

      Hello Joyce,
      I started a most needed Massage therapy regiment to alleviate the muscle tightness that was even pulling my jaw and back ear muscles, also shoulders and arms. The massage therapist said that I did not have muscles but bricks. The pain has been improving by now but it has been almost 7 months with once a week treatment. I must denied myself of many things to be able to afford massage care. It was something my chiropractor had me do as the adjustments were not keeping and I was there continuously. Now my adjustments are not as frequent. Both chiropractor and massage professional are taking to each other to help me recover as I almost went into disability due to pain and other ramifications like vision blurriness, poor concentration, hopelessness; just to mention a few. I am on a wellness path thanks to God and this professionals.
      I would highly recommend it even though seems something only for the elite, it has made a huge difference!

  53. Petrus says:

    Thank you for the info. I have been in a motorcycle accident early 1992 and after the accident my right leg was 1 inch shorter (functional short leg) and to this day I have to adjust my upper cervical vertebrae’s I believe C1, C2 on a daily basis, my sensory function had been affected from my chest down and I also have a twisted pelvis and a right drop foot or shall I say drop foot like right foot. I truly feel buckled when I walk. Do you perhaps know of a doctor in South Africa who could help me in this regard? Have you heard of Atlantotec? Regards, Petrus.

    • MindBody says:

      I don’t know any health professionals at all in South Africa. As a rule conventional doctors are not educated in this area (and by and large have the blinkered and non evidence based view that the problem does not exist). Heiner Biedermann’s team in Germany and other European nations are the only medical practitioners I am aware of who have studied the problem in detail. I have reviewed Biedermann’s book “Manual Therapy in Children” elsewhere on this blog.
      The only reason I am is due to the failings of my own doctors in working out what was going on with me.

      Re Atlantotec, I understand it is virtually the same as Atlas Profilax, and was developed by a group of Atlas Profilax practitioners who were dissatisfied with the failure of the Atlas Profilax organisation to produce enough research and market their technique in a scientific enough manner.

      As I have said elsewhere- I cannot give specific medical advice- so maybe the best thing to do is reflect on my own personal experience – and you can consider those observations in the light of your own experience.

      Your situation sounds very similar to mine- and I found that with the degree of functional leg shortening and twist on my rib cage I had I ultimately got the best result from a long course of care from chiropractors who specialise in “sacro-occipital technique”. They also had me get proprioceptive insoles- to correct the pronation and flattening of the feet associated with a long term “atlas posture”. That was expensive, but worthwhile.

      Re instability- that degree of instability at C0-1-2 is similar to what I am still working with. It is responding slowly but surely to ongoing postural correction via sitting meditation and QiGong, and by extensive movement retraining via QiGong/Tai Chi.

      It seems to me that the big triggers for re-displacing an unstable C0-1-2 area are related to forward head posture- so I work towards maintaining an upright posture (similar to formal meditation posture) when at the computer, and I have had to learn to train myself out of any gestures that project my head forwards- ie if emphasising a point or if acutely anxious/angry. As you can see- that is a big undertaking- and since I grasped what was really needed it has taken me about 2 years to get near the results I am wanting. I am approaching being painfree and in good posture maybe 3/4 of the time, and the improvements are ongoing.

  54. Carley says:

    I broke my c2 in October had two weeks in hospital and 6 weeks in hard collar, two weeks in soft collar. Am now getting sore tingle in my shoulders bad headaches etc . What now?

    • MindBody says:

      You are lucky to have survived a C2 fracture. They are very high risk. Stick strictly to the advice of your treating practitioner on this one- he/she is the only one who has access to all the radiology etc. It is quite frankly impossible for anyone not in that position to comment.

  55. anja says:

    mindbody…..can you possible email me at …..I would love to email you with some questions. all the best. your site is awesome. anja

  56. Rebecca Cooke says:

    Something to check out for those of us suffering from M.S. or even Chronic Fatigue, or serious neck related headaches, life changing behavioral problems, it just seems to explain a lot of symptoms I suffer, and I’ve always said to everyone, ” I swear this is all related to my neck”. Still as of today, haven’t located a chiropractor who will do the manipulation for me, my kaiser Dr wont. So I am searching as of NOW. Any help or suggestions would be appreciated. My pain level is immeasurable. Thanks

    • MindBody says:

      Rebecca – if you are looking for people who might know a suitable practitioner, it might help to give some details re approximately where you live.
      Given that you mention Kaiser- I would guess you are in the USA.
      That would suggest that the website might be a good place to start looking.

  57. Joyce says:

    hi! can I know more about what kind of qigong do you practise? currently, I’m looking into qigong as well and realized that there are several kinds? which is better for such condition?

    thank you!

    • MindBody says:

      I have to say I am not sure as to what the different kinds are.
      My teacher is a recently qualified TCM practitioner who is an old friend of my partner.
      As a rule – look for someone who has had formal training in China.

  58. Katia says:

    I suffered trauma at birth and no one ever knew. Was in chronic pain with all of the symptoms listed. Massage and yoga helped some. Saw many chiropractors and None caught this until finally one did figured it all out with no fancy machines. Got my atlas back to about 80% alignment. Felt less dizzy instantly. Lived that way for two years then a woman experienced in all sorts if body modalities got it back to what feels like 100% on. It feels like a rebirth. Pain is all gone. Still working out alignment of rest of body with yoga it takes time. But I can finally relax for the first time in my life and talk and sing with ease. I am 35 and feel like my life has just begun. Keep searching until you find someone who knows what they are doing. Most don’t. The two that actually helped me I saw informally in my own home.

    • MindBody says:

      I think your observations are very valuable.
      This is a difficult problem to settle completely- it impacts on many levels.
      However if the body does get into correct alignment it can do remarkably well at learning and adapting to the new alignment. I would be interested to know of the professional background of the woman who was so helpful for you.

  59. rhea says:

    Hello! I stumbled upon this article after doing some research about back spasms. I am a ballet dancer that has struggled with ankle problems that should not have taken as long to heal as they have. I fell on the right side of my pelvis last fall and since then, my pelvis has been shifting in and out of place, along with muscles in the right side of my hip and back tightening with pain and at times grinding in the joint. Two days ago my left foot and calf muscle began twitching involuntarily. Today, my right hip began to grind and seize up and then my back followed to the point of hardly being able to move my right arm and feeling a tingly, burning sensation in the right side of my neck. I have noticed that my jaw has been out of place for a few weeks and I have been grinding my teeth in my sleep. I also have days where I wake up and have such a hard time focusing, it’s as if my brain is in a fog. Yesterday was actually one of those days! There are a couple more similarities I’ve noticed, but for courtesy of your time I will end there! I very much appreciate anything you have to offer in response, I’m currently in western New York, and have always been told my head tilts to the right when I turn in ballet class! Thank you!

    • MindBody says:

      Hi Rhea,

      the ankle issues suggest that you have had an alignment issue for some time. The fall sounds like it displaced the sacroiliac joint and the lastest events suggest an increased shift in the upper cervical spine.
      The “brain fog” is what many ADHD people have to endure for decades. Mine is all gone now. The Jaw joint and tooth grinding thing relate to the upper cervical malalignment. A chiropractor friend of mine has told me that the driving mechanism there is probably irritation of the trigeminal ganglion– which lies in a very vulnerable position and is easily compromised by minimal shifts in the relations of the cranial bones.
      The foot and calf twitching is interesting- and I am still asking as to the specific mechanism, but when my atlas comes out of alignment I get restless leg syndrome- which settles when the alignment is corrected.
      The ankle injuries may relate to either a mild pelvic tilt (functional leg length anomaly that occurs due to the unilateral muscle spasm that occurs on the side of the misalignment) or to impaired balance.
      I not myself that misalignment on the right upper cervical spine translates to imbalance and difficulty standing upright on the LEFT foot. Often that imbalance is accompanied by the sensation of pain in the lateral ligament of the left ankle.
      It is of note that that tenderness switches off as soon as my atlas is back in alignment. The abrupt switching on and off of the tenderness is most intriguing.

      I have had to work for years to get the level of symptom control I now have and needed a long run of sacro-occiptal chiropractic work. The professional groups I am noting are good with this are craniosacral osteopaths or physiotherapists and chiropractors with an interest in upper cervical work. I have noted that many chiropractors are not persistent enough at achieving really good realignment at the atlanto occiptal joint.
      The big issue is that the alignment needs to be corrected at multiple levels ( TMJ, upper cervical, sacroiliac and sometimes the feet, and in worse cases thoracic spine). Then the alignment needs to be maintained long enough for your body to learn (or re-learn) that that is normal.

  60. rhea says:

    Thank you so much! I am definitely going to be looking for a provider that practices this. The lateral ligament in my left ankle is what has been giving me the most trouble since I fell. And since having ankle problems from the summer, my brain is so used to compensating to one side for that period of time. I’ve been seeing a great physical therapist who has been focusing on how the brain remembers trauma and retraining the body to feel safe so it may work properly. However, that focus has still been on my ankle and lower body and not the complete alignment of my spine. I’ve always believed that everything is interconnected, but have never found something that has made so much sense to everything happening in my body, from my left ankle to my right hip to my jaw grinding, having trouble focusing, and even just not feeling like myself. As for the twitching, my muscles have been contracting in my toes And the left side of my calf, possibly the soleus muscle. I wonder if it has something to do with the tightness in my front left hip the past couple of days. The contractions are worse when my hip is in a more contracted position, like sitting.

  61. LMS says:

    Can a C1 subluxation cause a horizontal nystagmus in forward flexion of the cervical spine. Non BPPV gravitational dependent?

  62. Diana Schwartz says:

    I was diagnosed with this problem in 1975. As a cop I had a lot of neck and head turning. Ended up out of law enforcement due to numerous physical problems. Now am 67 and have bad discs up and down. Diabetes and most of symptoms. Way worse as I have wheelchair now. Yikes.wish I had known more then.

    • MindBody says:

      I agree.
      What truly angers me about this is the way in which the medical profession has evaded the evidence provided by the chiropractic profession.
      The evidence is there.
      However, the Medical Profession has acted to preserve its monopoly rights as the premier source of reliable information.
      The role of one Dr Morris Fischbein, the former editor of the JAMA (Journal of the American Medical Association) in coordinating this anti- competitive campaign was pivotal and is well documented in the book “The Medical War Against Chiropractic”.
      You need to be aware that your current state of disability could have been prevented if my profession had been more honest and even handed in its dealings with other professions.

      This attitude continues in the dishonest and anticompetetive activities of organisations such as the paradoxically named “Friends of Science in Medicine” in Australia and the crew of organised pseudoskeptics on sites like “Quackwatch”.

      It still boggles my mind when I understand how much pain and distress I could have been spared (and the rest of my family) if my mother had known to take me to a chiropractor after my traumatic birth.

      Unfortunately too many heads in the medical profession are still ruled by love of prestige and money.

  63. Susie says:

    thank you much for this blog. ive been reading for some time now. another blog led me to yours and it truly opened my eyes for other alternative treatments. though western doctors and insurances are not in the same page.
    At first I only had a mild pain behind the left ear. i thought it was ear infection. Later I learned it was TMJ. Then came emotional issues with symptoms like anxiety, insomnia, depression, panic attacks at night and day. then, food allergies, intolerance for coffee, gluten intolerance, fatigue, constant neck pain, mainly on the left side, back of the eyes pain, brain fog.
    i decided to change my eating habits. cut coffee, cut most gluten, eat clean, exercise more, get therapy, spiritual help. I saw improvement, but still had some symptoms, specially constant neck pain and back of the eyes pain.
    i tried NEAT, chiro treatment, meditation, acupucture, adjustments, biofeedback, neurofeedback. they all helped with many symptoms, but still, stomach discomfort, neck and eyes pain and TMJ never left me.
    because of this blog, i went after a upper cervical care specialist (It was interesting that when searching the web, upper cervical care rarely popped up, and they have quite a few options in America). I discovered I have a misalignment on my atlas and axis as well as btw my C4 and C5 and btw C6 and C7.
    not sure when this happened but i am sure all of the above was triggered by stress and bad posture working with computer all day. i still remeber the evening a few years ago when i really felt the pain in the neck which never went away til this day.
    I decided to try NUCCA since there was a doctor close by. I went for 2 months and I felt no change. Doctor saw measured changes in my hip, neck and leg. But I felt no change. Doctor wanted me to go see a TMJ dentist specialist since I still had neck pain, eyes pain, TMJ. That’s when I decided to stop going there. I guess since he mentioned in the beginning that i would really feel improvement on the first visits (and my regular chiro also said that) and I didn’t see changes, i felt discouraged to continue the treatment. not sure if I should seek another technique or just go to his dentist friend and continue with him since i already paid the package (of course it is extra $ to go see the dentist). also because i am not done with my own aligner treatment with another dentist whom I brought the TMJ issue up and didn’t see that it is a dental issue at the moment.
    i really dont know what I should do next.
    my question would also be, will the misalignment on c4 5 and 6 7 also cause pressure in the medula, right? would them also cause all the other symptoms or only from C1 and C2?
    another question: Do you think it is possible to “reshape” back the”C” curvature on ones cervical thru PT and exercise or even upper cervical treatment? thank you for your post and time.

    • MindBody says:

      This is a problem that may exist at a number of levels.
      There is feedback between the subocciptal,region, the TMJ, the thoracic spine the sacroiliac joints and the feet.
      Once we are past late adolescence – all need separate attention except for people who have acquired the injury late in life.
      Then there is the subtle re-moulding of brain function that drives us back into those harmful postures. The best defence is to learn to sit straight in the 7 point meditation posture– but choose a strict master- who will hit you if you slouch.

  64. Charles Cramer says:

    I have a question Are red spots down both sides of the neck starting from the ears down . Is that a sign of this?

  65. Susie says:

    I still continue to do my search and I came across trigeminal nerve which might have some relationship with the Atlas?!?

    • MindBody says:

      Yes- in some cases
      Thee are big interactions at the levels of the trigeminal ganglin, the TMJ. the upper cervical spine, the SI joint and the feet.

  66. englishapples says:

    I’ve just had Atlas Profilax, and I think it’s repositioned my Atlas completely. After twenty years of damage and daily disability that I learned to get on with and hardly bothered to tell anyone about as it’s so misunderstood and long to explain, I found this flyer claiming to fix Atlas subluxation permanently in literally two sessions: there’s a fixed price that internationally all practitioners charge, which is affordable, inthe UK it was £160… my practitioner Maria was amazing, the session really, really hurt because I was so nervous – like a little padded hammer pummelling – but since then two days ago I have people coming up to me asking what’s changed, because I look and feel a million times more alive, I’ve slept less but because my mind was awake, my life’s falling more into place, I feel wiser, I look hotter because of blood flow to my face and my cheeks, I have sparkle back in my eyes like other people do, I can laugh for longer without the muscles making me stop, I have energy, I have memory, I can focus on things I am thinking about for a longer panoramic time, I can literally feel how stable my head is with my body because I can suddenly do old gymnastics moves, use my biceps and forearm muscles, and my voice is higher. I’ll still need restorative dentistry to put back the teeth that were taken out of me in plastic surgery when I was younger ‘to make me prettier’, but it’s left me feeling 100% on track. Gradual recovery’s about a year. According to the practitioners and school, once it’s back in place, it cannot go back out of place and sublux again. I can’t rave about this enough, I spend thousands on nucca and craniosacral stopgaps and was not going to have a bar put into my spine by the NHS. i’m taking a lot of random 5,10 minute naps in the last couple of days like my body’s resetting something (apparently that’s normal). I wake up feeling alert and clear. And NORMAL.My own therapist had a personal expression involving healing elements and explained things also with chakra explanations, this helped me enormously, and if you’re closed to this I recommend you let go and give it a nonprejudiced look. What’s there to lose. My mind is awake my body feels strong and it’s only been days. If they’re right and it’s a permanent fix, I want you all to know about it. It was called Atlas Profilax – all practitioners have be trained by the guy in Switzerland. GOOD LUCK and please go nvestigate this xxxxxxx

    • MindBody says:

      Sorry for the late reply!
      It sounds like you have had a great result.
      All of the improvements you mention are consistent with the physiology of the problem.
      My overall feel is that Atlas Profilax is a very effective way to adjust the atlas- and, it seems more effective than many other approaches.
      It is also a very non invasive approach and my feeling is that it is is likely to be safer than other approaches for that reason.
      However, from my perspective, I have seen many Atlas Profilax adjustments which have not held.

      My comment as a health professional is that the marketing material from Atlas Profilax that claims that it never re-displaces is simply wrong.
      That is a bad commercial decision and it undermines the credibility of a valuable treatment.

      I have seen no follow up research from Atlas Profilax which checks the rate of re-displacement, and at least in Australia, Atlas Profs have no systematic way of checking the validity of this claim– they need to have routine 12 and 24 month reviews and they need to have the findings documented and published.
      My suspicion is that if the malalignment was a major problem in early childhood, then the atlas will be more unstable.

      The other big problems that I think can drive instability relate to lifestyle: if your day to day work has you sitting in front of a computer in a head forward posture (or if there is a lot of hostility or anxiety in your life (both of which drive forward head posture) then the atlas is likely to re-displace.

      The most important things post treatment are to stay relaxed and positive and to work with body mindfulness techniques (Yoga, Qi Gong) to ensure that your posture is as upright as it can be.

      Re Chakras– not something a Medical Practitioner can safely discuss without being labelled as too abnormal to practice. I am making no comment here re the validity or usefulness of the model– just on the practical politics around it.

  67. englishapples says:

    My ear circles track over my shoulder points. It was two days ago. I’m 2inches taller. Before the treatment that I had, my ears tracked about 3 1/2 inches forward of my shoulders, my Atlas was between a third and halfway down my neck and sticking out on the right side, my shoulder blade on the right was enormous, my left shoulder dropped, my left leg was shorter, my hips couldn’t line up. If I stood up straight I’d have photos taken and realise my head was flopping onto one side. And I always had to turn left on my bike ffs.

  68. LM says:

    Hello this site is seeming very interesting with hoping to be helpful in my case,and of course anyone else reading this forum.. below is my story.
    I had spine surgery, diseconomy at L-5 S-1 in 2012 , 8 months later I decided that spine health was important and decided to follow up with chiropractic with adjusting the thoratic and cervical only since I’ve already had surgery at the lumber spine I did not want any manual twisting in that area, after the 6 ajustment I had a ton of pain SYMPTOMS “right side only” that included –

    NECK- tightness while upright, and laying down on a pillow was extremely painful ,blow drying hair was difficult,could not bend head/neck downward forward without a large amount of pain in cervical spine.
    ARM- pain down arm ,forearm,wrist, palm of hands ,fingers,and tips.


    FACE- face pain that included TEETH, SINUS ,under EYE,above EYEBROW, TEMPLES , JAW pain ,I started to clench teeth at night and through out the day ,NOSE pain – nostril would whistle while breathing in left nostril only, right nasal drainage for no apparent reason,just when ever it felt like it.Scan found a deviated sacrum,not sure how a whistle and nose pain can come from a chiropractic manual ajustment? also Neck throat pain,

    EYE watering at times for no reason except while pain levels were high “inflammation”?

    Theoretic pain into shoulder blades, and up back of neck into brainstem , remember this is right side only

    HIP- Poping at Hip right side , right foot cracking while getting out of bed in the morning
    pain at right foot that seems to be stemming from lumber hip area.

    Now my sinuses are clogged for the past 2 monthes , a month ago my ear became plugged,clogged so I went to the doc, she said a upper respiratory infection and sent me off with the Zpac my ear is not clogged anymore but my sinuses are with clear mucus at the top of nose.
    one test Ive had showed mucasal thickening with a possible cyst at the maxilery sinus which my doctor threw out the window stating many people have this and it would not be causing my symtoms

    I had spine surgery on left side from left side sciatica,all my pain is on the right since that adjustment, Ive been afraid to see another chiro but have recently looked in to NUCCA thinking this could help except for I have not found any ratings Dr. Marshall Dickholtz Jr. certified NUCCA professional,because of this I have not followed up with the doc to get my first adjustment he does not except insurence and consultation fees are 600.00 .

    Im 36 and for the past 2 years my focus has been to figure out what broke, with also my family suffering from My injuries since I’m always in pain and focus on fixing the cause of all this, it sucks 😦
    Seeing this site,and what I’ve been able to take in , I’m tossed to try out the NUCCA or Atlas Orthogonal Board Certified doctor.
    Ive spent a fortune trying to figure it all out so far seeing countless amount of doctors,test,MRI’s,CATS, with also seeing chiropractors but not receiving adjustments only for consultations since I’m afraid for anyone to munipulate my spine since the first time didn’t turn out very well.
    I did have one chiro talk me into it though, he is a Neuro Chiro , 3rd chiro seen after the bad adjustment, but after he ajusted me I was Nauseous so I never had another chiro adjust me.

    I was pain free after my sergery until the adjustment,but because I have so much face symptoms including my teeth,which I did have a root canal on a tooth that looked good on X-ray but because of the sensitivity / pain I was in , I decided to go forward with the canal with no change .

    I did have one chiro talk me into it though, he is a Neuro Chiro , 3rd chiro seen after the bad adjustment, but after he ajusted me I was Nauseous so I never had another chiro adjust me.

    Any advise , and do my symptoms seem to match the atlas misalighnment ?
    Is it possible a chiropractor can cause the misalignment from the first place?

    I hope this post isn’t too much, if you have any sort of advise that you think could help please please share and thank you so much!

    • MindBody says:

      Hi it is a big post.
      Most of the symptoms are consistent with Atlas malalignment with multiple secondary issues with other unstable and probably arthritic joints from the chronic posture carried as a result of the postural correction to compensate for the original malalignment.
      This is well covered in KerkErikssen’s Book Upper Cervical Subluxation complex.

      I would be extremely surprised if a chiropractor caused the subluxation. Mind you I have seen surgeons cause much more serious problems- like amputating the wrong leg or causing serious complications through grossly incompetent surgery..I have seen good and bad practitioners in every discipline.

      As a rule the incidence of serious adverse effects from any of the modalities known as complementary medicine in the West is about 10-100 times less than the risk of common medical or surgical therapies.

      Re Chiropractors and their alleged lack of criedibility.
      Firstly- I have seen good and bad practi
      It is of note that in Germany and the USSR- allied health practitioners such as chiropractors start with an MD- then do their subspecialisation. It is also worth observing that the smear campaign against chiropractors started not long after World War One when they were accused of practicing medicine without a licence when it was noted that their patients were dying of the Spanish FLu at about 1/10 the rate of conventional doctors. That campaign was initiated by the then Editor of the JAMA ( journal of the AMA) Morris Fischbein- a man who championed the advertising of cigarettes in the USA. The final result in the US was a substantial loss in court for the AMA.
      Wilk et al,Vs AMA et al:Trial 1 1976, appeal and then final retrial in 1983
      This was run as an antitrust suit and was a serious loss for the AMA.
      It is of note that the concluding remarks on the Chiropractic side commented thatthe AMA had confused their trade union resonsibilities with their responsibilty to healthcare.That is undeniably true.

      It is not zero.

      Nausea after an upper cervical adjustment is a common, expected side effect. It should not persist and if it does you should return to the treating practitioner.
      That is the same what ever sort of health professional you see. Also common is being very over-emotional for a few days.
      If I were doing adjustments I would give a patient an information sheet about it and instructions about what to do if it was an issue and make sure that that was recorded in my notes.

      It is also common for the pain to swap sides as the body shifts and weight distribution changes with each improvement in alignment.

      So to answer the broader direction of your questions- it is best to refer to my own experience.
      The issue is that when this problem has become entrenched we have to not only correct the alignment at the top of the neck, we have to make major changes to our sitting and standing posture and to our gait. We have to overcome tight muscles, stretched muscles and loose ligaments and learn to live with joints that may be anatomically damaged so that they may never be stable without extreme mindfulness of our posture and gait right through the whole day.
      Following a major L5 S1 disc prolapse at age 23, and 2 years of relentless low back pain and right sciatica- I gradually progressed to chronic low back pain at night, then increasing neck stiffness, with worsening alertness and visual clarity. I had some spinal pain issues pretty much every day from about age 32- to a peak at 47- when I had the first atlas adjustment.
      Folowing that I tried Pialtes to correct my posture and after time I have found that I do best when use as the backbone of my management Sacro- occiptal chiropractic and functional neurological rehabilitation ( A field developed by a remarkable chiropractor Prof Ted Carrick). It has needed expensive orthotics, and intervention from physiotherapists and myotherapists. It has also required me to become proficient at meditation- so I can remain mindful of posture. However the biggest single thing that has helped tie all this together is adding Qi Gong/Tai chi into this mix.
      So now- 5 and 1/2 years later I am rapidly approaching a stable state in which I expect to be flexible and probably nearly pain free in the next few months.

      This problem should have been prevented by chiropractic intervention at birth- but my profession suppressed the chiropractic profession.
      It could probably have been resolved within 18 months of the first intervantion, but the greedo f my profession has kept from public view the key information that should make accessing integrated and informed care possible.

      • Laura says:

        Hi Again , Sorry for the late reply here, I would like to give all an update ,after my original post ….

        I went ahead to a upper cervical chiro and I actually think it could be working. Most of my facial pain went away , my eye stopped watering ,sinus pain for the most part around the eye and above the eye brow has gone away. I still have back shoulder pain that runs up the back of the neck with also my SCM still tightening but the pain is not constant anymore, I do not wake up with the pain like I have for the past 2 years AFTER, the adjustment from the original chiro that that caused this pain from the beginning – manipulating my neck forcefully .

        The upper cervical chiro ive been going to went on vacation for 2 weeks with a total of me not seeing her for a month ,the 4th week my jaw cracked out of place and also neck clicked out of place,when this happened the facial pain came back along with temple pain etc.. . That week, I went back to her and yes, I was out of alignment, she adjusted me, and once again I am feeling better 🙂

        The adjustment is very light I will admit when I first went to her it seemed like a scam because the adjustment is so light it seems ridiculous this sort of manipulation would even do anything , but instantly when I walked off I felt like I was walking strait, and lighter for some reason.
        Im not saying Im completely pain free but for about 2 weeks I was after seeing her for about a month & 1/2, now I am back on schedule with a every 2 week adjustment.

        one thing I disagree with your reply post is that I strongly believe the first chiro that manipulated my neck forcefully damaged something either it was a whiplash syndrome stretching my muscles further then they should have been stretched forcefully ,or actually structurally screwing something up with my vertebra , remember I was diagnosed with chiropractic whiplash syndrome, as the expert explained … by him stretching my legs toward the floor on the table he pulled a muscle doing so , when I went back to him 2 days later my spine muscles were in protect mode so when he manipulated my neck forcefully it threw out something , either muscles or spine , as I do have bulging disc in the lumber and neck after that adjustment that previously was not there .

        bottom line with my post is …. its worth trying out a upper cervical chiropractor that will not forcefully manipulate your neck since I strongly believe they can do damage, it happened to me I had ZERO pain when I walked in that office I only went to him mainly for my daughter complaining about neck pain and after my surgery I believed in spine heath. It took going to a upper cervical chiro that lightly adjusted my atlas to start to be pain free again,

      • MindBody says:

        As I have said elsewhere I am not a fan of forceful adjustments of the upper neck.
        Your original post discussed nausea following an adjustment– and this can potentially be an issue from any acute shift in upper cervical alignment. the mechanism is not local though– it relates to a shift in the relationship of sensory inputs into the vestibular system causing an acute mismatch between proprioception, inner ear vestibular end organ information and visual information and an issue with re- integrating the sensory inputs.
        It is known to occur even after interventions like Atlas Profilax- which is most definitely not a high velocity thrust technique.

        I do not think that there is actually a diagnosis called “chiropractic whiplash syndrome”. I certainly have not been able to find it through searching- not even on Google Scholar.

        However the upper cervical chiropractors certainly use low force and low amplitude techniques

      • Anja says:

        Hi there, I think you finally explained what happens after I get my Blair upper cervical adjustments….sometimes my ears and eyes are off… the best way to describe it. Then it seems to settle and readjust. I’m thinking this may lessen over time as I continue to get better. Thank you so much for the explanation!

      • MindBody says:

        A good acount of this mechanismcan be found in this recently published paper:

        Determine the e ect of neck muscle fatigue on dynamic visual acuity in healthy young adults
        Amer A. Al Saif1), Samira Al Senany2)*
        1) Department of Physical Therapy, Faculty of Applied Medical Sciences, King Abdulaziz University, Saudi Arabia
        2) Department of Public Heath, Faculty of Nursing, King Abdulaziz University: Jeddah, Saudi Arabia

        J. Phys. Ther. Sci. 27: 259–263, 2015

        The hearing issue is not discussedin this paper, but that has been observed elsewhere, and my own observation is that it is common for patients with upper cervical malalignments to have impaired acoustic orientation on one side– usually the side opposite to the atlas malaligment in the cases where I ave tested this.
        Certainly my own observation has been of transient tinnitus on the affected side when I get irritation and impaction involving C2.

        The visual issue is also discussed here:
        J Manipulative Physiol Ther. 1997 Oct;20(8):529-45.
        Changes in brain function after manipulation of the cervical spine.
        Carrick FR.

        J Manipulative Physiol Ther 1998 May;21(4):304.

        The main thing is to expect a settling in period after any upper neck work.

  69. LM says:

    Oh, I forgot to mention right chest pain as well around the first rib area. my docs thought at first a Carotid artery dissection but that test came back normal.

  70. tan32 says:

    The pain I have in my head and neck is worrying me a mother of four 32yr old.It started with a deep pain in my lower back on my right side.staping sharp pain.then my shoulder.and now my neck and head.its getting worst now im getting heart pain.its getting worst everyday clicking u havent heard clicking like this in ur my head I feel like ive been tip upside down for hours and my eyes are going to pop out my head.I feel like sumthings going hearts doing sum crazy a ex dancer I no what musgler pain feels like.and now I feel very light headed.ive suffer from anxiety from the age of 17.but this feels so doctors are a waste of time.that I dnt want to go anymore.I have a over retracting thiarod e.I feel like im dieing im take codaine.paracetamol.ibrufine.more now what I kids need I need them.I really feel like im dieing.plz tell me what u think this is.ive never felt so ill in all my life.I

    • MindBody says:

      That all sounds consistent with an atlas malalignment- including the previous anxiety.
      I am very well familiar with the clicking and grinding symptoms in the head.
      You need to find a chiropractor or similar manual therapist who can work with the upper neck without needing to do forceful manipulations, and then work with neurological rehabilitations to train the neck to hold in good position.

      It is often necessary to work specifically with posture, with neck proprioception, with reflexes coordinating head movement and eye movement and with improving the balance system in itself.

      The problem has been going for years, so it is unlikely to be a quick, simple fix, but it should start to improve reasonably quickly with good care. Very few doctors can deal with this sort of problem though.

  71. Paul says:

    I was rear-ended last year (late March 2014) while waiting at a traffic light and suffered mild whiplash. The car that hit me was only traveling five to ten miles per hour, but because of the position my head was in, down and to the left, as I was eating a biscuit, my head was launched forward in this position. It only lasted a half second, but during the impact I felt an electrical like current move from the top of my neck/bottom of my head area into the center of my head.

    I was more upset at the time about being rear-ended so I did not focus on the current that I had felt? After all, despite a little post-collision grogginess, I felt fine. As such, I did not believe that I had sustained any
    injuries. After all, there was no damage to my car.

    Ten or eleven days following the accident, I was sitting on my couch with my laptop, looking down, when all of a sudden I felt an electrical vibration in the center of my head. It
    lasted for roughly three or four seconds, and it caused me concern. At the time I did not connect the vibrations with the current felt during the accident because it had been a week and a half and I had largely forgotten the incident.
    I did, however, think to myself that if the vibration happens again that I was going to see the doctor.

    It did happen again, three days later. I was sitting
    at the back of my classroom stapling packets for my students. I was looking down while performing this task when, out of the blue, an electrical current moves from the top of my neck into the center of my head. One it reached the center of my head, the current changed into an electrical vibration. The vibration lasted about seven or eight seconds and nearly brought me to my knees. I almost blacked out, but the vibration stopped just before I blacked out and I was able to stand and walk to my desk chair.

    Following the vibration, I felt sick. I was so light-headed and disoriented. I felt so out of it, spacey. I knew that I needed to go home.

    When I got home, I scheduled an appointment with my general
    practitioner for the following day. I still felt light-headed and it did not seem to let up.

    The next day I go to the doctor, have a number of tests done, and I am basically told that there is nothing wrong with me. I figure that perhaps this will let up on its own since I have been told that everything is fine.

    Over the next week I continued feeling light-headed. I felt like I was going to pass out when on my feet for an extended period of time. I became so concerned that I made a couple more trips to the the doctor. My blood was tested
    revealing a low vitamin d count, like the previous year, but nothing else abnormal. Upon my second visit which I went to following a very hard day in the classroom, in which I thought I might be having a stroke or an aneurism, I was laughed at by my doctor and told by him in a jokingly manner, ” I can tell you this, you’re not going to die today”. I left feeling as though he felt it was psychological. It upset me, though it did comfort me for a few hours that I wasn’t dying.

    All in all, over a twenty two day span I felt normal for only five days. Then, at the end of twenty two days, I broke out of it and felt normal, minus a slight intolerance to the fluorescent lights in the school, but that was minimal. I had developed a strong dizziness to the lights through the disoriented days.

    Over the next two months (late April-late June), I felt
    normal. Then while on our road trip while driving over a long bumpy concrete stretch with thumps between each concrete section, I developed such a headache and light-headed ness. These episodes did not last as long, only about eight days, but it was significant enough to put a damper on about eighty percent of our visit with the in-laws, as I was consigned to the bed or couch, doing very
    little walking or interacting with the family.

    After the episode ended, I had a month and a half of normalcy (early July-late August 2014).

    However, in late August while standing in the cafeteria and watching my students, my peripheral vision went away and the room began to spin. Knowing that I was going to pass out, I quickly found a table and sat down. This prevented me from passing out, but I was left with light-headedness again.

    For the next week or so I was very light-headed. I decided to see a neurologist. She chalked it up to migraine and dismissed my questions as to whether these issues were the
    result of the accident. She said the spinning was due to dehydration. She prescribed sumatriptan for migraine and that was it. I took the sumatriptan and found it did nothing for the headaches or light-headedness. In fact, ibuprofen at least helped minimize symptoms, if only a little. Sumatriptan did nothing. I might as well been given a placebo sugar tablet, it would have done the same.

    After the week of light-headedness, I felt normal at all times, except under the fluorescent lights while working and in Walmart and grocery stores. However, the intolerance and light-headedness that the lights brought on were
    not as bad as the week before. It was tolerable and I could easily work, standing lots in front of the classroom, writing on the white board, and teaching the kids. This period of “normalcy minus slight disorientation under
    lights” lasted nearly three months from late august to mid November 2014.

    Starting in mid-November, I began to notice hearing problems, in which it seemed like I lost fifteen percent of my hearing. However, the intolerance to the fluorescent lights completely vanished. I found myself turning up the volume for the radio in my car, as well as turning up the volume on the tv. My wife kept telling me that it was too loud. I found that background noise prevented me from hearing all words in conversations when around large crowds.This period of normalcy with slight hearing loss lasted from mid November 2014-early February 2015. During this period I truly thought my light headed issues were behind me as I went nearly three months without the problems. The neurologist pretty much declared “resolution” to the migraines when I visited her in early December.

    This is where the symptoms came back, starting in early February. Not only that, they’ve become chronic and worse.

    In early February while teaching, I, all of a sudden, felt clammy and faint. I began sweating and became disoriented. Me eyes couldn’t fixate on the walls of the classroom. I think my heart rate was elevated. I quickly sat down. I tried to teach but I could not do it, I felt as though I was going to pass out. I was so light headed. I had to
    leave work.

    Ever since, I have had a strong intolerance to fluorescent
    lighting. I have been light-headed about every day. During February-April
    migraines were a regular occurrence. My eyes have increasingly gotten where I feel as though one eye is viewing from a different level than the other. One good thing happening is that with this onset all of my hearing returned, yet the rest has been brutal.

    Light-headedness under fluorescent lighting and while
    standing got so bad that I consulted another neurologist. I also went to an ENT doctor to rule out an inner ear infection, given the dizziness and earlier loss of hearing. The ENT doctor ruled out an inner ear issue through the use of an ENG test. The new neurologist spotted a problem after viewing my MRI, MRA, and CT scan images do my head and neck from my previous doctor and emergency room visits. Never mind that two times I had gone to the emergency room I was almost treated with contempt, told nothing was wrong with me, as though I was making it up, and quickly dismissed.

    All this said, the neurologist, from viewing the CT scan noticed my atlas bone at the top of my vertebral column was out of place. He asked me if I had been in an accident. I tol him yes, about ten or so days before I first started having symptoms. He said that I had likely displaced my atlas in the accident which was the cause of dizziness, electrical currents I had begun to have along my scalp starting in February or March, as well as the cause of migraines. He also said that my peripheral nerves were likely stretched in the accident. He gave me a prescription for noratriptalin for dizziness/lightheadedness and told me to see an ortogonal chiropractor to reset the atlas bone.

    My symptoms did improve while taking noratriptalin. Although I was still light-headed it became more tolerable where my eyes seemed to be on a more even plane with each other.

    Chiropractic has helped, although it took three
    or four neck adjustments for the atlas to stay. This has eliminated most scalp tenderness, migraines, and electrical currents on my scalp, yet disorientation,light-headedness and now issues with accelerated heart rate, which could have been a problem all along, are noticeable.

    Things I have found helpful is staying hydrated, eating
    regularly, getting lots of sleep. Without much sleep, symptoms are horrible. I also noticed back in February, after drinking Gatorade, that it helped with the headaches. Laying down helps, but sitting is better than standing. When teaching, I found it helpful to regularly sit down on a stool. If I felt like I was going to pass out, I would immediately sit down or drink water or Gatorade and my symptoms would improve. I also found it easier to teach by turning the lights out and using the wall mounted projector instead of the white board. The only thing that has made me feel completely normal, and only for one day since February, was a steroid given to me by the neurologist.

    Are all of my symptoms the result of an atlas subluxation, or do I have other issues from the accident?


    • MindBody says:

      Yes- all these symptoms can relate to atlas malalignment and to other malalignments that arise secondary to the postural compensation patterns that arise.
      I have found myself that issues at C2/3 (which are more hypomobility and impaction of the C3 facet into the angle of the C2 facet- and often are driven by the counterrotation necessary to keep the head straight with a crooked atlas)), cause profound problems. These are being dersribed as ‘Cerebellar Cognitive Affective Syndrome” ( See wikipedia for a brief description- unfortunately the evidence for the excellent work being done by chiropractors specialising in Functional Neurology is being systematically removed from Wikipedia by zealots who describe themselves as “skeptics”:
      It is also common to get a compensatory rotation in the chest- which leaves one of the upper ribs out of place and causing segmental stimulation to the sympathetics to the heart. My heart rate goes up 20 bpm every time that damn 4th right rib gets jammed.

      I have a couple of comments about the care you have recieved:
      The next day I go to the doctor, have a number of tests done, and I am basically told that there is nothing wrong with me.
      This is a common experience of many people who have atlas subluxations. The symptoms are intermittent and subtle, and they also impair our ability to describe them They are impossible to correct unless you are aware of the root cause and knowledge about atlas malalignment has been systematically excluded from mainstream medicine. This is inexcusable.
      Addressing the corrupting effect of the system of medical licensure on our access to proper health care is a bigger task, but I will say one thing here. You presented to your doctor with serious symptoms and were told to go away and that there was nothing wrong with you. Your subsequent course proves him wrong. What that doctor did fits in every way the definition of malpractice. I work as a GP myself and I know that when I am stuck with a patient who has serious symptoms it is my responsibility to persevere until they are resolved- not to dismiss and ignore complaints of a serious nature.
      Getting satisfaction with complaints about this sort of thing is almost impossible- but I would at least write to him tell him what happened and tell him off for being so dismissive. He needs to know that his practice is substandard. Pushing it further will probably just cause unnecessary paperwork and stress and make your condition worse.

      The neurologist who diagnosed your condition as migraine was technically correct but did not understand that spasm of the subocciptal muscles secondary to an atlas malalignment is a (probably THE) major driver of migraines.

      I am delighted to hear that there was one neurologist who recognised the problem AND referred you in the right direction.
      Almost NO doctors understand the existence of this problem, let alone its gravity.
      Write him a letter too and thank him.

      Now my experience is that this sort of problem is hard to fix permanently,as the secondary malalignments, the loss of proprioception, the mental dullness
      the pain, and the forgetfulness all combine together to produce one hell of a mess.

      I am going to write more on this soon, as I am getting a better grip on a holistic approach to dealing with the problem.

      However the broad appraoch must have the following elements

      1) Work to maintain correct alignment at all levels long enough for the new alignments to be learned as normal.
      2) Work to develop perfect posture both at rest and while active. ( I use the combination of sitting meditation and TaiChi- and find that hard to beat).
      3) Neurological rehabilitation to restore normal reflexes in the brainstem, normal regulation of eye movements, and restoration of healthy cerebellar and basal ganglia function. The Carrick Intitute is the premium source of information on this approach in my experience:
      4) Commitment to a healthy and balanced way of life with plenty of exercise and healthy food and enough sleep.
      5) Development of emotional equanimity: when angry or fearful most of us will instinctively hunch and thrust our chin forwards.This can re-displace the atlas r other facet joints.
      6) Enhancement of awareness of physical sensation.
      I have found that dedicated meditation practice, with major focii of practice being stability of attention, bodily awareness and compassion and equanimity has been the one indispensable tool that has allowed me to tie all this together.

  72. Marianne says:

    Cervical thrust manipulation ruined my life. One, there is no such thing as fixing a subluxation with manipulation. Physically impossible. I went to a chiropractor for low back pain and after 4 visits I had my world turned upside down. A herniated disc at C6-7 with associated annular tear and damage to all cervical nerves from a stretch injury, as well as damage to the arteries. Luckily I didn’t have a stroke but the nightmare that followed was indescribable. Please educate yourself before allowing anyone to turn your head and then pull on it. If you start having pain at the base of your head, the worst headache you have ever experienced accompanied by severe nausea, or numbness and tingling down arms, and a general ill feeling, seek medical help immediately. High velocity thrust manipulations should Never be performed under any circumstance.

    • MindBody says:

      Actually I agree that high velocity thrust manipulations should be avoided unless you are sure you have a very skilled practitioner. Strictly speaking they are not necessary.
      There are a range of different approaches that an be used- and all the best ones are gentle.
      While I have disagree that Atlas Profilax produces a once only cure (and have seen many cases where the correction has not held) the reason I chose it was that it is a gentle approach emphasising mobilisation of tight muscles. Equally I have seen extremely impressive results produced by chiropractors using activitor techniques and by a physiotherapist using a simple massage technique derived from craniosacral therapy. I have not directly seen any results from Atlas Orthogonal- but it is clearly not a high velocity thrust.

      There are some significant confounding factors in managing upper cervical malalignments. The big ones are the marked muscle spasm that sets in at the subocciptal region and the impairment of proprioception and vestibular/cerebellar function that confuses our system and causes recurrent malalignments.

      I am very clear though that a persisting upper cervical malalignment will cause ongoing compromise to health through a diverse range of mechanisms.
      The confounding factors in managing

      • anja says:

        I’m having good results with blair upper cervical…..but it’s taken time and patience. It’s not high velocity at all. Gentle adjustmebadjustment using drop table. No cracking or twisting.

  73. Painsurvivor says:

    Great information. I have suffered through chronic neck and back since 1992. Some of the recent symptoms I have been experiencing can be attributed to what you stated here. Thank you

  74. ZG says:


    I really hope you can give me a bit of insight.

    My understanding is that atlas subluxation is essentially when the atlas is subluxed (jarred) out of alignment; where re-alignment might permanently correct the issue.

    I seem to have constant atlas instability (barre-lieou) from lax ligaments or other weakened supporting structures in that area where constant shifting is occurring. I literally have every single one of the symptoms you’ve listed in each category (mechanical, sympathetic overactivation, nerve & blood vessel compromise), along with other obscure ones like chronic hair loss/scalp peeling, burning of the eyes, facial swelling and vision issues (that worsen in sunlight), aching ankles that occur only when other symptoms flair up, and a whole lot more from this neck issue.

    From what I can tell the physical reaction to my instability seems to be a lot worse than I’ve found on the internet and here. For example, the base of my skull will make grating sounds and sensations continuously upon rotation of skull, or when even the slightest of rotation occurs (head on pillow-lying on back for example). In addition, static posture of any kind, after some time, will inevitably lead to snapping and popping at base of skull, well above and into the occipital areas, and even spanning as far left or right to where the ears are inline.

    Also, I never really see this mentioned with much emphasis; but the overactivation of sympathetic nervous system in combination with a severe decline in cognition is probably the worst of all of this for me (which exacerbates based on the severity/frequency of snapping/popping/grating at base of skull). Daily life is pretty much a constant mental fog, where it’s extremely hard to think, read, and interpret new information, along with short term memory loss. Also, when things are bad the body goes into a very sensory-impaired-sedated-like-state where head is full, heavy, and buzzing along with the rest of the body.Resulting in subsequent weakness, nausea, achiness, mood swings, excessive anxiety/fear, and drop in libido, etc — basically a lot of what you mentioned.

    Last year the instability was actually so bad I had times where it felt as if my skull was literally slipping and scraping — to what felt like an inch — between the base of skull and neck. Making me just about puke and pass out at the same time. Was falling asleep throughout the day while sitting up, and sleeping for 16 hrs straight as well which was very unpleasant.

    Now long before I had these neck issues I had these physical instability symptoms in my scapular thoracic area. At that time I had no neck instability whatsoever and none of the nervous system, blood vessel compromise, or cognition issues either — just ton of scapula, thoracic, and rib pain from ligament laxity in that area. With that said, I find incredibly coincidental that you mention that the symptoms of this condition cause one side of the body to be generally inhibited, shoulder raised higher than other and having it pulled back and out, as well as same side rib protrusion. This is EXACTLY what I’ve always had going on before my neck became an issue for years, and it still persists to this day.

    I was always under the impression this was from the thoracic-scapular instability at the time causing nearby muscles to be recruited to take over the job that the ligaments could no longer handle, and essentially tensing and warping that area of the body into that bad posture. As well as inhibiting the serratus and lower traps ability to pull down on the shoulder.

    I’ve seen a physio for addressing scapular winging that’s marginally helped to depress the shoulder, but posture always seems to erode back to previously described. However, no matter what I try (cervical retraction/chin tucks, light neck curls, etc) absolutely nothing seems to permanently alleviate neck instability and subsequent symptoms besides time, which after a certain point has diminishing returns. And any stimuli to the neck just flairs all the symptoms up worse.

    As this has progressed I’ve noticed that my sacroilliac-area out of no where started to shift and snaps a lot about six months ago. And the whole left side of my body (where the shoulder, scapula, and rib issues are) also seems to be inhibited and atrophied all the way down to the feet. Even walking now produces a lot of tension and favors the right side as the left glute is shut down and legs feel uneven.

    In my specific case where it seemingly started from a thoracic-scapular ligament laxity injury before eventually spreading and progressing to full blown cervical and barrie-lieou/c0-c1-occipital instability, hip snapping and entire left side inhibition — do you have any possible insight or recommendations on how to fix this?

    Is there no way to just keep the atlas in alignment in the hopes that the body just corrects itself permanently? While chiropractors and osteopaths acknowledge this condition their answer is always the same — to manipulate the body. I’ve had enough of these guys crack me to objectively determine that it actually worsens things by contributing further to that instability.

    Sorry for the long post, but you are pretty much the only professional in the world I’ve found who seems to understand this condition from a vary full circle philosophy.

    Are we screwed for life here? I’m in my early 20’s and can’t live like this forever. Used to be really athletic and lift weights and now just sit all day on the couch.

    • MindBody says:

      As I battle with this problem I am progressively getting a better grip of what is happening here.
      I have yet to post formally on this as my understanding is still evolving.

      Ligamentous stretching and instability is actually much less of a problem than we might think- as the truth is that most of joint stability is maintained by muscular activity driven by information from stretch receptors within the muscles of the upper neck and from a global understanding of body position and movement that results from the summation (in the brainstem) of the mix of body position, balance organ, visual and auditory inputs received by the brain.

      So- here is the catch- atlas malalignment leads to
      1) Chronic muscle spasm, more one side than the other That upsets the balance of cerebellar function and gives a false impression of where the body is in space.
      2) one sided cerebellar underactivity leads to a cascade of underfunction in the opposite cerebral hemisphere and failure of the brake on the stress system– hence your sympathetic symptoms (and mine). Those symptoms include blurred vision btw.
      3) Atlas malalignment radically reduces body awareness. ( trust me– just ask anyone with a malalignment to copy you when you do a specific move such as a basic QiGong routine- the attempts of the malaligned person to copy you are frighteningly bad.
      4) postural compensations for the atlas malalignment and for the disrupted sense of balance cause derangements in the thoracic spine around the shoulder, in the sacro-iliac joints and in the feet and the jaw joint. Any one of these problems can feed back on and re-displace the upper neck.
      (Fun, isn’t it– all these fedback loops?).

      So- how to fix it? Not easy. It needs determination and ingenuity.
      1)Manipulations can get you out of an acute jam up- but usually do not give a long term fix. Don’t reject them, but see them as one tool in your armamentarium.
      2) Self massage techniques to unlock stiff muscles are a core part of the approach.
      This site is good:
      3) Neuro-rehabilitation (ie Carrick style functional neurological rehabilitation) is immensely helpful.
      Good practitioners are worth their weight in gold- far more valuable than conventional medical practitioners.
      4) Train rigorously in body awareness and balance/co-ordination skills. Befriend your bodyand learn to value fluid and elegant movement.
      Sitting meditation, tai chi, anything else that puts a premium on fluidity, elegance and fully embodied comfort in movement will helpyou master the problem.

      You are in your 20s. I am nearing 54-and I am aware of closing in on the target of being more comfortable and more aware in my body than I ever thought possible.

      You ask

      Are we screwed for life here? I’m in my early 20’s and can’t live like this forever

      Just posing the question that way creates the danger of a self fulfilling prophecy.

      Remember that in mastering aproblem such as you face, you will lead the way to help many others in the same, ugly situation. Do not give up.

    • Heather says:

      During my not yet completed journey to fix my pain/structural problems, a chiropractor told me that the atlas is the great compensator. He realized after many years of practice that you can put it back in place, but it will move again if it is compensating for something else wrong in the body. In my case, it is structural problems with my feet (see Prof Brian Rothbart’s website) and my bite/skull (from cervical headgear worn as a child). You may want to consider what your atlas might be compensating for, and then you might be able to find the root of the problem.

      • MindBody says:

        It is not so much a matter of a “root cause” as it is a matter of multiple problems (which co-arose in the context of a longstanding injury to the upper neck) that are now mutually re-inforcing each other. The foot and TMJ problems are all common complications of the primary neck issue.
        However if the atlas is rotated and jammed it will cause so much neurological chaos that it will need attention in its own right.

      • Heather says:

        Was ZG perfectly aligned to begin with, then injured his/her neck? If so, then a proper re-alignment should eventually hold?? Or was ZG not structurally sound to begin with, and over time this caused his/her neck to deteriorate and now produce such horrible symptoms? ZG mentions having structural issues long before the neck problems. So maybe ZG was unstructurally sound to begin with, and if he/she worked on the neck it wouldn’t hold until the cause of the original unsound structure (that caused the thoracic/scapular symptoms) is found.

      • MindBody says:

        Again I would reference Manual Therapy in Children (ed Dr Heiner Biedermann MD).

        The thoracic deformity is a development that occurs secondary to the reflex changes caused by the upper neck malalignment.

        By adulthood though, the thoracic deformity can re-activate the upper neck malalignment, by putting the neck into an awkward take off angle.

        Most of these malalignments start at birth, but they may be pushed into becoming more symptomatic by a secondary injury.

  75. Sarah says:

    ZG have you been checked for small hemipelvis and Leg length differences while the Atlas is in?

  76. ANGELA says:

    I had total hip replacement 19 months ago, religiously been doing all the exercises etc, but from the beginning felt one side shorter than the other and walking became increasingly more difficult. Surgeon told me to walk as much as possible which I did, soon realized I was getting worse not better. Finally found a Upper Cervical Sublaxation practioner who diagnosed I was 1″ short on one side. Been having treatment of my Atlas once a week for over a year but it keeps popping out. I’ve been told to swim & cycle which I do daily, but at this point not sure how to resolve this. Does anyone have any ideas? Would not even consider surgery after the hip, but so much pain in the spine, neck and skull.

    • MindBody says:

      Was it a question of a true leg length discrepancy or an apparent one caused by asymmetrical muscle tension?

      I am finding that instability in the neck can be driven by problems with balance and head position awareness- which can cause the atlas to re-displace.
      This needs work that works on rehabilitation of balance, Vestibulo-ocular reflexes and body position awareness.
      The area to look at is being called “functional neurology” or “evidence based neuroscience” and it is being practiced by some chiropractors and also increasingly, other health practitioners as well. It seems to be making quite an appearance in exercise physiology.

  77. Mary Shibley says:

    Excellent article. Firs to a tee, unfortunately. The only thing that helps is Atlas Orgthonal treatments. Non invasive. To keep it simple once your atlas is aligned then special myelofascial massage treatments are important. Going gluton free also helps my gut while dealing with compressed nerves and racing heart and burning. Seriously if your Atlas is not aligned then it’s impisdible to feel better. Chiropractic adjustments make it worse for the Atlas area. Google Atlas Orthognal treatments. Hard to find but a life saver.

    • MindBody says:

      I would disagree that Atlas Orthogonal is the only thing that helps- however they do have many enthusiastic adherents.
      I direct your attention to the initial dramatic improvement I got from Atlas Profilax.
      I do see many patients who have had chiropractic treatment and not had it hold.

      I suspect that the release of muscle tension inherent in Atlas Profilax has the effect of temporarily turning off the many muscles that may pull the atlas bock out.

      However, I do agree that if there is a major malalignment then getting any progress is difficult without dealing with that.

      Any neck pain issue is going to need ongoing attention to correction of posture and release of tension in other neck and back muscles which may re-destabilise the upper neck.

  78. Patrick says:

    Hi everyone. This condition has also ruined my life from the day it began. I was drying my hair with a towel one morning in a huge rush during high school. I quickly and forcefully brushed it up the back of my head jarring my head forward and to the right violently. From there I immediately experienced an electric shock feel, anxiety, fogginess, vision problems, tinnitus, etc. In addition I immediately felt my body shift. My neck seemed to pull to one side, my thoracic spine shifted and grew very tight, my right hip shifted noticeably forward and possibly up, etc. My whole body was out of whack in less than 20 seconds. I was terrified and so struck with anxiety I had no idea how to react. As time went on, I learned to live with this and accepted it. I was anxious, depressed, and in pain.

    It wasn’t until a very odd experience a few years later until I remembered what it felt like to be normal. I remember sitting down one day and attempting to even out my hips as I sat. I manipulated and manipulated until I could finally hold them in place. In a few seconds, I felt my lower back relax, I gained more strength in my left scapular region and arm, and then my entire thoracic and neck relaxed. I was 100% feeling normal just like that. I couldn’t believe what I felt. I actually asked other people if it had gotten brighter outside or if it had gotten quieter (obviously it hadn’t and these were symptoms disappearing). Unfortunately, this did not last and my situation soon deteriorated into a horrible state again. Over the last 10 years I have experienced this maybe around 5 times, all after a very focused attempt at what I call “evening” my entire body. I make it sound easy, but it is anything but. For years, I have attempted day in and day out to replicate this. I have been to multiple chiros, orthos, general practitioners, physical therapists, etc. I have yet to find the cure.

    This has ruined my quality of life and has left me with anxiety, depression, hopelessness, and fear of never getting back to my life. I absolutely must fix this to get back to a life I love and enjoy. I have spent hours a week for years trying to find answers online and this forum is the best/ most relatable thing I have found so far. Please lend me any advice and encouragement you may have, as I feel very hopeless at times. I am a 23 year old male, felt I may need to include that. Thank you in advance, may we all find relief in the near future.

    • MindBody says:

      Hi Patrick,
      this problem can be incredibly furstrating, as once destabilised the system then develops multiple unstable points – namely jaw,upper neck,thoracic spine, sacro-iliac joint and feet.

      Equally our muscles also lock into position- and multiple tense muscles create further feedback loops that maintain the problem.

      It is now perfectly clear that once the upper neck muscles go into spasm we lose accurate awareness of our body’s position in space and that has knock on effects that impact on the balance system, the cerebellum and on eye co-ordination.
      Kristjansson E, Treleaven J: Sensorimotor function and dizziness in neck pain: implications for assessment and management. J Orthop Sports Phys Ther, 2009, 39: 364–377.
      Schieppati M, Nardone A, Schmid M: Neck muscle fatigue affects postural control in man. Neuroscience, 2003, 121: 277–285. [Medline] [CrossRef]
      Pinsault N, Vuillerme N: Degradation of cervical joint position sense fol- lowing muscular fatigue in humans. Spine, 2010, 35: 294–297

      The thing to remember is that it is the upper neck muscles (Skull to C3) that create the biggest problem as most “somatosensory body position information ” comes from those muscles.

      This is information we can work with as there are a range of simple techniques that we can learn to help keep these muscles relaxed- such as Muscle Energy Techniques and trigger point massage.

      However, we may also need specific work with a practitioner trained in vestibular/neurological rehabilitation. ( Some physio therapists and chiropractors trained in functional neurology.

      Equally, learning body awareness techniques such as Tai Chi, and formal sitting meditation (in correct posture) is immensely helpful.

      This is a problem we can overcome– but only if we acknowledge that malalignment at this level is aserious problem with consequences far more far reaching than most Medical Practitioners understand.

      • Patrick says:

        Thank you so much for your prompt response! I truly appreciate it. I am checking in to the various methods of recovery you have mentioned. Another question I have has to do with my neck muscles. I have noticed drastic imbalance in the feel and appearance in my neck muscles and have wondered whether I could have permanently damaged a muscle or ligament near my atlas that could make my condition uncurable. This is a scary thought and I am attempting to rule it out and remain hopeful.

      • Patrick says:

        I say this because I have discovered the Alar ligament in some of my research and I am worried it could have been due to the abrupt forward and twisting motion I experienced in my accident. “The alar ligaments could be irreversibly overstretched or ruptured when the head is rotated and bent by the impact of whiplash trauma.” The website I have referenced is

  79. MindBody says:

    I have discussed this at great length with my chiropractor. I was considering prolotherapy to tighten up some loose ligaments.

    However Ian explained to me that the problem was that I had lost the knowledge of how to coordinate the movement of my head relative to my neck.

    We have done some very careful retraining of both head on neck movements and eye movements relative to head- and over the past 10 weeks the problem is finally resolving after 53 years.

    You need to have confidence that this problem is something that you can overcome, and even turn to your advantage. I am a Buddhist, and I understand know that at least I have a real experiential basis to ounderstand the suffering of others. I am a doctor, so that is areal advantage.

    Now the issue is that I cannot give specific medical advice online. I can’t examine you, soIcan’t give sensible advice.

    However, I now have a very solid model for working with this problem, and in the next few weeks this will all be up on this blog and it will be easy to work with.

    So for now, please do not catastrophise– this problem can be mastered.

    You are lucky– you are young and you have not accumulated arthritis over 53 years of stumping around this planet with a crooked body as I have.

    Despite all of my accumulated damage, I am more pain free than I have ever been.

    • Anja says:

      Thanks so much for your helpful information. My atlas and c2 which are my main point of injury have been holding more with Blair upper cervical. However I feel I need to do work with my eyes and brain and re coordinating them. Could this be possible? Someone said I should be totally healed. However I think this seems like a process of steps in healing and everyone’s time frame is different. Do you agree? I try to be positive that I will heal because I feel negative thoughts will be a detriment to the process. Thank you!

    • Patrick says:

      I’m really happy to hear of your success and appreciate the encouragement. It is very easy to catastrophise as you have said, especially on bad days. I am very excited to keep working to solve this problem especially with the new model you are working on providing. Also, I too have encountered a great deal of eye adjustment on my good days, almost as if I am looking sideways usually. Again, thank you, this blog has brought me a great deal of relief not yet physically but mentally for the validation of my symptoms and theories on my condition.

  80. MindBody says:

    Yes, negative thoughts will cause you to tense up – and as the upper body comes into flexion the risk of re-displacing the neck becomes higher.

    There will be a very strong neurological connection between the “out of alignment posture” and feelings of pain, and anxiety- so the odds are that anything that stresses you will be likely to trigger you back out of place.

    The malalignment is held by muscle tension, and that muscle tension is driven as a response to a lack of balance and body awareness (Tai Chi really helps this).

    Depending on your individual circumstances it will usually be one particular eye movement, head movement or eye- head movement combination, that will trigger an acute episode of loss of balance. The sense of instability is so subtle and chronic that most of us are not even aware of it until we are challenged. Walking heel- toe in a straight line with your eyes shut, with your feet in a straight line [tandem gait] will usually make it obvious, and most people with an issue will have an observable sway when we stand with eyes closed especially one foot in front of the other to create a narrow base.[Romberg Test].

    Also some food reactions can trigger episodes. ie Tyramine (red wine, cheese) has a transient effect on neurotransmitters- and often causes headaches. Also– MSG- monosodium glutamate.
    Glutamate is an excitatory neurotransmitter and can set episodes off as well. There are many more, but they vary from person to person, and are often dose dependant.

    So part of the process involves learning to hold a relaxed and upright posture with the spine as straight as possible and the head drawn up , off the shoulders.
    Sitting meditation in the formal seven point Buddhist posture, or the basic spinal posture used for Qi Gong and Tai Chi are both correct, and both of these practices help re-inforce that posture and ensure that it becomes “the new normal”- your new default posture.

    The malalignment is held by muscle tension, and that muscle tension is driven as a response to a lack of balance and body awareness (Tai Chi really helps this). Though a really bad malalingment can be difficult to correct spontaneously, and can need professional help, I find that as my neck becomes more relaxed it is easier for my system to re-correct just through relaxing the muscles and opening the joint up by flexing the neck laterally away from the tender side. I still have multiple episodes where it slips out each day, but I can usually settle them straight away and with no force.

    In terms of practitioners– look for chiropractors certified in functional neurology. Some physiotherapists also have special training in vestibular rehabilitation – especially if they specialise in whiplash injuries.

  81. MindBody says:

    I will put up some links to functional neurology groups soon.

    • Dorothy Easterly says:

      Hello from Indianapolis, Indiana USA. I have some questions for you. I am a 73 year old retired school teacher. Many years ago I suffered a whiplash injury in a rear-end collision. Since the accident, I have had a sore or tender spot on the right side of my neck beneath my ears and in line with my jaw. Some years later I was diagnosed with Meniere’s Disease. I have severe to profound hearing loss, and my hearing diminishes every time I have an attack. I am thankful that I’ve had only a few severe attacks and occasional dizziness. I have suffered much of the past twenty years or so with tinnitus. A year ago I began hearing music in my ear that has no external source. I am not psychotic, and I have no other health issues. I take no medication. I have never had much pain except a few years ago I had adhesive capsulitis in both shoulders…that hurt! I have read that Meniere’s may be caused by an old whiplash injury. My questions are thus:
      1. Is my history consistent with your knowledge of a subluxation in my upper cervical neck?
      2. Have you had any experience with musical hallucinations in any of your patients?
      3. If you have had experience with the music, has there been any course of treatment to bring about a resolution.

      • MindBody says:

        Hi, Yes your history is certainly consistent with an atlas subluxation/ malalignment.

        Please look at this webpage to a link to three studies discussing the association between Upper Cervical Subluxations and Meniers disease.:
        Here are some more papers to link to:Boneva D. Two Case Studies: Meniere’s Disease and Cervical Spine Trauma Post Upper Cervical Specific Chiropractic Care. 15th Annual Upper Cervical Spine Conference, Life University, Marietta, GA, November 21-22, 1998.

        Burcon MT. Upper Cervical Protocol for Ten Meniere’s Patients. 9th Annual Vertebral Subluxation Research Conference, Sherman College of Straight Chiropractic, Spartanburg, SC, October 13-14, 2001.

        Burcon M. Upper Cervical Protocol to Reduce Vertebral Subluxation in Ten Subjects with Menieres: A Case Series. J Vertebral Subluxation Res, June 2, 2008:1-8.

        Burcon M. Cervical Specific Protocol and Results for One Hundred and Thirty Nine Meniere’s Patients. 2008 International Research and Philosophy Symposium, Sponsored by Sherman College of Straight Chiropractic, Spartanburg, South Carolina, October 17-19, 2008.

        Burcon MT. Upper Cervical Specific Protocol and Results for 139 Patients with Medically Diagnosed Meniere’s Disease. J Vertebral Subluxation Res, November 14, 2010:1-10.

        Burcon MT. Cervical Specific Protocol and Results for 300 Meniere’s Patients Over Three Years. 8th Annual International Research and Philosophy Symposium, Sherman College of Chiropractic Spartanburg, South Carolina, October 22-23, 2011.

        Jones MA, Salminen BJ. Meniere’s Disease Symptomatology Resolution with Specific Upper Cervical Care. J Upper Cervical Chiropr Res, March 29, 2012:31-9.

        Re the musical hallucinations– I have not heard of this before– it the music recognisable as something you have heard before? IE I wonder if there may be a mechanism that is bringing old memories of heard music to light and simply producing a memory so vivid that it is indistinguishable from the real experience of the music. In any case I do suspect that the symptom could be manageable from a functional neurology approach.

  82. Dorothy Easterly says:

    Thank you for your quick response. I have been in correspondence with Dr. Burcon and have read his research reports. He told me that he has had two patients who had musical hallucinations. I was just curious if you had experience with it. If you research musical tinnitus, musical hallucinations, and/or musical ear syndrome you will see some material. Some doctors believe it happens because I can no longer physically hear music so the brain supplies it for me. It is rather debilitating! At first, I thought I was going crazy! My music began with Christmas carols, then came hymns and patriotic songs, and then children songs. The music began with full orchestration and beautiful singing voices. The music has been there my every waking moment, 24/7 for over a year. Perhaps you know that music is somewhat distorted for those of us with hearing impairment….but not the music I hear in my ears. It is perfect. One doctor in Switzerland calls the music a complex tinnitus, and after reading that information I researched tinnitus and found Dr. Burcon. As a result, I started seeing an upper cervical chiropractor and his treatment has had some dramatic effect. I no longer hear full pieces of music, and that much quieter than before; often it is just one phrase from a known piece of music that loops over and over. I have had a few days at a time without music, but then it comes back. As I continue treatment, I am hoping the intervals without music will become longer. The treatment has had other positive benefits….I hear better. I had fallen for the bad publicity medical doctors give chiropractors….but I have become a “believer.”

  83. MindBody says:

    I did see a summary of that research piece covering the 139 Meniere’s patients- the results were very substantially positive. When you consider the anatomy of the exact placement of the cochlea in the skull, and the fact that we now know that movement between skull bones is a reality it is not too hard to see that an abnormal posture may well load the skull in a way that might cause the endolymphatic hydrops that is the proximate cause of the Meniere’s disease.

    As for the musical hallucination, it may well be being maintained by your conscious attention. This might respond very well to meditation of the “Shamatha” style- aka “calm abiding meditation”.

    This technique consists of simply placing the attention on a target like the breath and bringing it back to the target any time you find your attention has shifted.

    It works perfectly well for thoughts, and it is rather enjoyable having a previously frantically busy mind settling into periods of stillness. After all, this musical tinnitus/ hallucination is really just a particular type of thought.

    Incidentally- when you describe this experience you are describing it as something you recognise as abnormal and you do not believe it has a real existence that other people can perceive.
    Technically speaking that is not a hallucination, it is an illusion.

    I have seen schizophrenic patients who totally believe in their hallucinations and cannot believe that I can’t seethe aliens in tiny spacecraft buzzing round their heads. That is a true hallucination.
    However if you use the word hallucination for your experience you may end up convincing yourself you have a bigger problem than you really do.

    • Dorothy Easterly says:

      Thanks for that word of warning. I typically call it Musicsl Ear Syndrome, a term coined by Dr. Neil Bauman. I only used that term because it is sometimes referred to as Non-psychotic music hallucinations and I thought perhaps you might know it more by that name. I have communicated with Dr. Bauman and he says MES may be more common than we know because people are afraid to say they have it. He has a list of 2000 names of people who have it. I have tried a number of behavior techniques to no avail, but will admit to you that it is hard to not focus on the
      constant barrage. I read a lot and that helps, and I have ten grandchildren to spend lots of fun times with. Plus I have excellent support from my husband and children. Thanks again for your words of wisdom.

  84. MindBody says:

    Meditation techniques such as ‘Settling The Mind In Its Natural State, or “Awareness of Awareness” are well suited to this sort of problem. The meditation teacher B Alan Wallace is very skilled at teaching these- and it s not too hard to track down some training recordings of his.

  85. Kirstin says:

    Hi. I have an Atlas Subluxation, a herniation in my neck, a bulging disc in my neck, straightening if the C curve and cervical degeneration. I suffer from so many seeming non-related health issues, primarilynautoimmune in nature, however looking at your list, I have many of the symptoms. I have been sick for so long and nothing seems to work to get me well. I am wondering if my neck is the reason why. I suspect also that my neck is causing intercranial hypertension. Can you touch a bit on any connection between neck issues and how it can affect the immune system? Thanks.

    • MindBody says:

      The issue is that with the atlas subluxation, there is derangement of autonomic nervous system regulation, and that, leads to sympathetic dominance, part of which involves suppression of immune function to maximise resources available for fleeing acute threat.

      In addition gut motility is badly disorganised and the sympathetic dominance actually favours gut dysbiosis, which can lead to issues with intestinal microflora that can cause autoimune disorders in themselves.

      And yes- intracranial hypertension is part of the picture.

  86. Kirstin says:

    Oh also, intense pressure in my ears. I cannot lay flat at night as the pressure gets worse. Standing makes the pressure so bad I actually lose my hearing for a few seconds.

  87. Scott says:

    Hi, I just found your blog and am wondering if this is my problem. In 2011 I suffered a blow to the back of the head that gave me a concussion. My symptoms never went away (light/noise sensitivity, daily headaches, ear ringing, sleep disturbances and depression) and since it was a work comp case, very little got done for a very long time. After 15 months I was sent to a physical therapist for vestibular therapy and they determined that my c1 was out of alignment. They “corrected” it with an old school chiropractic move, laying me down on a table and twisting my head really fast. It seemed to work, I felt really good that day but the concussion symptoms have continued. I am on a cocktail of heavy drugs that do a little to help the pain but I still get a headache every day and am still very sensitive to light and noise. My current neurologist says it’s a migraine situation and I’m basically living with the “aura” of a migraine attack 24/7. They are now fighting over botox injections, my lawyer and the work comp people that is. But I am wondering if some brain stem damage might be involved.

    Twice since this happened I had a really bad problem with nerve pain in my back, between my shoulder blades and running down one arm. It took steroids to get rid of it, and even that only after 2 weeks of steroids. Early on in my “treatment” by work comp, I went without any medication for 3 months and wound up in the emergency room with a severe pain in my neck and facial drooping on one side. My 7th nerve was being pinched and again I needed steroids to reduce the swelling in my neck, and by the time that was over I was back with a neuro and getting medicine (norotriptyline, gabapentin and indomethacin) which prevented it from happening again.

    Does any/all of this sound familiar, and do you think Atlas subluxation could be behind it? What are the chances that some kind of permanent damage was done to nerves, my brain stem or blood vessels happened because of the subluxation being missed for over a year after a blow to the back of my head?

    Thank you for your blog, it’s easy to trust someone who is not advertising for patients!

    • MindBody says:

      I’m glad that it has helped. It has been of great value to me, and of great valu to me to be able to correspond with other people who have the same problem.

      And- yes I do think that all the other problems tie in- but that is a much longer story and I will need time, and access to a keyboard to do that.

  88. gucks says:

    I think I have this as I have most of the symptoms like one leg longer, cracking sound at the base of my left skull with dull pain radiating to my left temple and shoulder as well as low back pain especially when I work long periods of time hunched while I’m painting and after that I usually get bad episodes of vertigo. I was diagnosed to have BPPV four years ago and I also had this neck pain since, is it possible that the vertigo was caused by the subluxation? Thanks for putting up this informative blog as I would have not known how to identify this condition I have.

  89. gucks says:

    I have most of the symptoms; grating sound at the base of my left skull with pain radiating to my left temple and shoulder, lower back pain and one leg longer. And I feel these symptoms mostly when I’m hunched doing painting for long periods of time that would eventually lead to an episode of vertigo. I was diagnosed to have BPPV four years ago but I had this pain as well, is it possible that my vertigo is associated with atlas subluxation? Thanks

    • MindBody says:

      Yes- all are connected.

      • gucks says:

        Just want to update you that I indeed have a subluxation according to a NUCCA chiropractor I consulted with. I had four adjustments so far and I’m set to have 10 although I still can’t hold the alignment as my neck muscles had been tight. I also still have neck pain and vertigo as I think are part of retracing? or maybe due to muscle tightness? I learned and read about trigger points, is it ok to do this? especially in the suboccipital muscles? do you have any massages or exercises I can do to safely relax the muscles on my neck? Is it ok to undergo myotherapy (myofascial release whilst having an adjustment) Thanks a bunch 🙂

  90. Nikki says:

    I have just been told I have this very issue….along with congenital anomalies of c1 with absence of the neural arch. I have one doctor telling me it is a surgical issue and my chiropractor saying surgery would be the last resort. Any advice? I am 34 years old and have 2 small children and would really rather avoid such an intense surgery at any cost. I see my chiropractor weekly for now and the headaches were getting less but now have returned. Any words of wisdom would be much appreciated! Thank you

  91. lucky says:

    My c1 and c7 are out I have been depressed have lots of discomfort I snap and get defensive a lot in so much pain my neck grinds my vertebrae is swollen

    • MindBody says:

      These are complex problems. I find myself that once one level goes out the destabilisation becomes multi- level as my body twists around trying to compensate for the problem at one level. In addition there are issues involving our perception of threat, which alters posture as well.
      As the problem progresses the matter is worsened by ongoing suppression of vestibular function and cerebellar function- and these often need additional treatment (mor e so in chronic than in short term problems).

    • LS says:

      Check into advanced upper cervical Chiropractor of Orthospinology for atlas and axis.. C-1 C-2.. I’m going to!!

  92. susi says:

    Have you heard of Advanced Biostructural Correction? Any thoughts on that treatment?

  93. fleur says:

    Hi, just want to ask if what could possibly happen if one can’t continue with NUCCA? I had 8 but it had been so costly that I could not put up with it anymore. I still have some neck tightness and some imbalance/vertigo but it’s tolerable than before. I do trigger point massages on my neck and back too and the doctor gave me cervical standing traction exercises to do everyday. Is it possible that it could get better on its own or can I have adjustments even once a month? Thanks

    • MindBody says:

      This is something you would need to take up with your practitioner. Without clinical assessment and direct knowledge of your progress it is really impossible to make a meaningful comment to this sort of question. Most practitioners will be interested in discussing cost benefit questions with patients though. I would suggest you start by discussing this with your own practitioner.

  94. Ally says:

    I have had fusions of c5-6-7, then 3 years later after all treatments available had c1-2 fusion. Since then 2012 and multiple severe pain in base of skull thru and over top of head and forehead, was determined that I had no cushion separating left side of c1 and skull. And that’s why I have been in pain since. Last year I had x-ray and different surgeon said skull and c1 had now fused on its own and there is nothing left to do. I am female age 63 and as active as I am able – walk at least 2 miles a day, am on pain patch plus Percocet and gabapentin to try to make my life bearable. If there are any further studies or help feel free to contact me.

    • MindBody says:

      A problem involving multiple fusions is outside the scope of his blog. As previously mentioned it is also not possible to offer medical advice via a blog, however I will leave your comment up for public view and comment.

  95. Christine Ross says:

    I am an active 46 year old female and have had a chronic atlas (Well C1, C2 and C7) subluxation for years and am now talking with those who do the NUCCA Procedure and other less invasive procedures to hopefully permanently find a solution to this debilitating issue. My questions to those who have the same is if you enjoy working out what movements should you avoid to not trigger the C1 or C2 taking into consideration weight workouts and general movements, yogo etc. Thank you.

  96. Ina says:

    I have a cone be test ordered by my dentist to check if I had a jaw infection. Actually, I asked for the test but in the report from the dental lab, it says my C1-C5 show signs of degeneration!
    My dentist is sending me to a dental surgeon to check on the rest of the report and they suggested I take a drug for osteoporosis mostly because of what they think is bone loss under an extracted tooth.
    I am searching natural solution on my own and planning to get a dental splint supposed to help with posture.
    I want to ask if you think having a bad posture could be the reason for the degeneration. Or if you think it is because I am not getting any calcium from food or supplements. I supplemented calcium all my life but stopped a year and half ago because of the toxicity and problem it can cause to the heart. I don’t get calcium from food because of an allergy.
    Please give me your insights.
    Thank you.

    • MindBody says:

      Osteoporosis and degeneration ( osteoarthritis) are 2 different things. As a rule though malalignment and consequent poor posture can incorrectly load the neck and lead to degeneration.

      The point I am making here is that the cause of the poor posture needs to be considered. Too often poor posture is put down to “laziness” when, in reality it is a compensation for bad boney alignment (which itself often has causes in the brainstem and vestibular system). The bad alignment can make correct posture difficult to maintain because it feels unnatural and requires continuous monitoring ( which is next to impossible) to maintain it.

      • McGrath Robert says:

        Hi MindBody; I have just come across this information and am wondering if there an experienced practitioner I could contact in Sydney to discuss further about Atlas Sub. I can post further details; but in short, 25 yr history of chronic head and neck pain; successfully treated for about 8 years with radio frequency ablation. Everything is going fine, and I have a gym accident; 15 moths ago. Followed by excruciating pain ever since, mainly at base of head/top of neck..& rapid deterioration of QOL. Many testes with original doctors who say its unrelated to original….. I see you are based in Australia, and to might be able to direct me to someone here.
        Thanks Robert

      • MindBody says:

        Hi Robert,
        I am not in a position to direct you personally to a specific individual- as that would be effectively providing treatment.
        However it might be worth your while looking at some of the links on my blog. The linked blog “” is probably most suitable.

  97. Grace says:


  98. Christine Ross says:

    I am currently researching AtlasPROFilax treatment as I have almost all of the symptoms listed above has anyone received this treatment?

  99. Anja says:

    Hi, I’ve been receiving blIr upper cervical with some improvement. However I’m wondering if vestibular training can help with dizziness. My eyes don’t seem to match up with my brain! Any advice on this?

    • MindBody says:

      Anja, the upper cervical subluxations produce a sensory mismatch between the information being fed into the brainstem and the actual position of the head. This can produce quite severe distortions in vestibular system function and in eye co-ordination.
      There is a new area in Chiropractic that specialises in these sort of problems- called chiropractic neurology ( aka Functional Neurology or evidence based neuroscience).
      Many problems of this kind can be addressed by simple ( but targetted and personalised exercises.
      Here is a link to one talk on the underlying brain stem anatomy and its relationship to eye function:

      • Anja archer says:

        Thanks so much!!! I have trouble driving in highways…it causes anxiety and panic attacks because my brain can’t process it all. I’ve also had other weird eye..dizziness symptoms so I am hoping this is vestibular in nature
        I’ll watch this video. Thanks for all of your help!!!! Healing is a slow process for me…..but I do have very good days when I’m holding well!!! I still feel there are.multiple pices to the puzzle.

  100. Fascinating to find others have similar problems. Variation on a theme. My C1 goes lone way, C2 goes the other. Excruciatingly painful. Causes migraines, stabbing pain down left side of my head, waves of pain around occipital bones , ear ache, head being crushed. Symptoms of both subluxations. Lots of brain fog, confusion, at times can barely breath, pain so severe I feel like I’ve been hung, wish I could die, but won’t. Only relief is adjustments. My chiropractor uses an activator, very precise. Biggest trigger is barometric pressure drop, storm systems. Unstable weather conditions, add high winds and my body goes crazy. I can be woken from a sound sleep when a front comes through.

  101. Robert McGrath says:

    Hi Mind Body!! I have just stumbled on this info about the altas and C2…and am very interested to know where I can talk to a very experienced practitioner to see if what Im suffering from is related to this. I am in Sydney, which is where I suspect you are located, so I assume you may know the local scene.
    I can post more details but in short.. 25 yrs of chronic pain; successfully treated for 10 years with radio frequency ablation at C3-5.. Then.. wham.. a gym accident 15 months ago and ongoing chronic pain at base of skull. visits to neurologists, neurosurgeons, physios.. etc.. avoiding surgery
    Thanks.. look for some guidance…

    • Danielle A Smitj says:

      Hi It’s nice to see I’m not the only one going through this. I was in a car accident in 2012 and walked away with why I thought was no injuries as the ER told me so. A year later I was under a lot of stress and had a dislocated vertebrae in my neck. 3 sessions after I felt great. Fast forward to 1 month ago…I had a whiplash movement and a stiff neck for a week. I went to a chiropractor who said my spine was curving along with my neck slightly tilting one way and a loss of my cervical curve. He adjusted me and a day later I was in the ER with brain fog, unable to form my words, dizziness. An EKG, CTA scan later I was told I was dehydrated. Not so! I found an upper cervical doctor who informed me my c1 is out of place due to the whiplash which has caused my spine to curve and in turn the loss of my cervical curve. After 2 adjustments, my nervous system is going crazy. I’d like to help gkeep my atlas in line but it’s hard to do anything right now. I’m hoping that once I start restoring my curve and holding my adjustments I can focus on posture corrections. The headaches are crazy, sweatiness, increased heart rate upon standing and walking although it calms itself down after awhile. I think based on suggestions above I will try functional neurology perhaps once my adjustments start holding for longer?

  102. Ann says:

    Saw the Wellness Chiropractor. I have atlas subluxation my axis is 3.4 to the Right, and my atlas is 3.4 to the Left. He also said my neck was curved from the side… Did an adjustment… My pelvis is crooked as well!!! Hopefully relief will come soon!! 😊

  103. Helen says:

    My doctor told me that I had a subluxation of my c-1 n c-2 of my cervical spine…about 7 centimeters off….i do drop things often I have brain fog and mild headaches in the base of my skull and sometimes I the sides of my head…Sinuses if awful some balance problems trouble sleeping….

  104. Amy says:

    Hi there,
    I, too, fit the bill and am thankful to have found this site. My symptoms weren’t incredibly obvious until an injury at work nearly 2 years ago, which left me with neck and back pain, severe dizziness, facial numbness and nerve pain, numbness and tingling in my arms and legs, mental fog, a “pulsing” sensation in areas of my spine, hypertension, scoliosis and a few more. I’ve been seeing a nucca chiropractor since a few months after my injury (discovered the specialists after dozens of google searches of my symptoms!). I’ve had significant improvement from nucca…however my adjustments have never held more than a few weeks and in the past few months, they’ve hardly held at all and I’ve had a significant return of my symptoms. I requested a new x-ray and it turns out my alignment has changed, thus my atlas correction has needed to be updated (apparently my atlas is slightly more twisted and my entire neck is starting to lean off to one side?). I’ve had one adjustment since then, which held for 1 day. That was two days ago. Now, once more, I’m in nearly unbearable pain as the pressure in my neck (one-sided) feels as though someone is trying to push my skull off its perch and my arms and legs have been throbbing and partly numb. Last night I even had some difficulty breathing and felt faint (and add some other of my old symptoms, to boot). I plan to go back once my nucca opens (he’s closed the next 3 days). I nearly went to the ER except I have doubts that they would be able to assist me (I had similar symptoms directly after my daughter was born 8 months ago and was in and out of the ER as a result, with no real help).
    I’m curious about your current treatment plan – do you see a nucca chiropractor currently, even after your atlasprofilax treatment years ago? And does the regular, non-nucca chiropractor you see adjust your neck, but not your atlas? I’m wanting to somehow formulate a plan of wellness for myself. My nucca chiropractor is unhelpful in offering suggestions or advice, but is unfortunately always very rushed.
    Thanks for any help or advice you can give. I’m in BC, Canada.

    • healthyme says:

      Hi Amy, your situation sounded somewhat similar to mine with all those issues.. I’ve switched from my NUCCA to a Blair doctor though and hoping this will help me… *crossing fingers* I hiope you can find a good plan for your treatment.

  105. Judy Eldridge says:

    Where do u go for treatment in Az?

  106. Zara says:

    I have a lot of these symptoms but my doctors are stumped and can’t figure out what is wrong with me. How do I get treatment? What does the treatment entail?

    • Michael Young says:

      Ok you have my attention,i have medicare A,B,D,and NC Medicaid as well as being a USMC VETERAN,I NEED HELP!!!!,My contact number is 910-849-8478,please contact me on the 3rd of jan,2017

  107. My name is michael young,i got hit at the base of the skull hard enough that i almost passed out,since the injury my head jerks to the left about 15 degrees and my head feels like its barely attached to C1, with sharp tearing pain in the ocipital region of the brain,im afraid if unattended paralysis will occur,what should i do about it?.

  108. Mary says:

    I’ve had a lot of the symptoms listed here and would like to share my story as well. I started having numbness in my right fingers and arms early in January and then in March, took a really bad fall on my face that twisted my neck as well. Nonetheless, I got up thinking it wasn’t anything major. Shortly after, my eyes started to become very dry and I started to experience lots of floaters. The next three months, I had a lot of visual disturbances and bounced around from eye doctors to eye specialists. During that time, I also developed headaches, head/ear pressure, and eye pain as well. My GP had me take a CT scan to rule out tumors and it turned out I had a sinus congestion. I thought I had found the answer but after two rounds of antibiotics, nothing improved and my neck started to hurt. My GP then referred me to a neurologist which booked out two months…and my neck pain got so bad that I ended up seeing a knee chest upper cervical doctor who diagnosed me with a subluxation of my C1 and C2 rotating in the same direction to the right and said that was one reason why my vision had been affected. She helped a little bit but I mostly ended up with a lot of pain and never holding longer than a few days. By the end of 8 weeks, I had more problems than I came in with and I had complained of feeling twisted, unsteady, and lopsided but she insisted I only had to work on my core.

    When she stopped listening to my concerns, I switched over to a NUCCA doctor instead. He took xrays and said that my C1 and C2 were out of alignment, my neck was straight and my head was tilted to the right, causing a rather complex subluxation. The first adjustment was fantastic. Immediately after I stood up, I no longer felt uneven or twisted. I thought that this was it. I’m finally going to heal and be able to be more active with my family again. The 2nd adjustment went well. The 3rd one, my speculation only, drained my congested sinus as my nose was running like CRAZY and I was actually pretty excited about it. I was feeling great except for some minor aches. Then something went wrong on the 4th adjustment. I noticed that he had pressed a little bit harder than usual and he said that something was resistant. That night, my eye pains that had been gone for a few weeks returned immediately and my focus was off. I told him about this and from adjustments 4-11, things went downhill as I had some of my old symptoms along with new symptoms… My neck had started to click, grate and grind and shortly after, my back started to make a lot of cracking sounds as well. My body started to feel twisted again as well. He told me that the back cracking is because my body was adjusting to the new position of the atlas and should go away in time. The neck clicking/grinding, he wasn’t so sure and didn’t say much. The pressure in my head and ears are now in full force and my hearing has been muffled for over 3 weeks. By the 11th adjustment, I said this wasn’t working out and would like another set of xrays, which he agreed to and that he’d refer me to a craniopath to see if that would help with the pressure and congestion. Now, from adjustment 12-14 after the new xrays, I’ve noticed only subtle improvements but cannot hold long as my body keeps reverting back to twisting, indicating my C1 or C2 is misaligned and causing my body to do this. I’ve been adjusted at all 14 visits as well even though I’ve been told that with NUCCA that sometimes there might not be any adjustments needed. It seems there’s no stability with my neck now. I’m feeling really disappointed after having so much hope in healing but now feeling as though I’m going down a rabbit hole. I started with neck pain on my right start and now I have a whole slew more of problems with my neck and back than I ever had…

    I actually called another NUCCA doctor for a consult/2nd opinion and she said that she knows my NUCCA doctor as generally a good one and to maybe stick with him for a couple more weeks with the new adjustment angles and see the craniopath as well. Any insights on my situation and whether this NUCCA treatment seems “normal”? Thanks for reading this much. Hope all of you can find the healing you need… This surely has been a rough year for me and my young kids having to deal with my sudden change in health…

  109. Anja archer says:

    Hi there,

    I wanted to ask if anyone has seen a functional neurologistto enhance healing? I feel like I need to reconnect my eyes and brain even though my sublixation is healing. any advice would be great. thank you!

    • Mary says:

      Hi Anja, sorry, I don’t know much about functional neurologists but I’ve been following this post and noticed that you have tried both NUCCA and Blair. I’m currently doing NUCCA and not sure it is helping more than causing some other issues (ie twisting of pelvis, clicking/grating/grinding of neck, SCM issues). I am thinking about Blair and would love to know how that has helped you.. I also have sinus issues accompanied by ear/hearing issues as well that I had ONLY after my fall early this year. Can I email you more about Blair and also why you decided to change from NUCCA? I’m still apprehensive about trying any new upper cervical as I know that it depends on the skill of the practitioner and adjusting the atlas/axis can do wonders or cause damage. Thank you……… Hoping and praying for healing in the coming year.

  110. Ed Selby says:

    I was told that I suffered from this years ago, I had a severe head injury and was taken to osu hospital in columbus ohio, where they did a flouroscope x-ray?? on me and thought at first that they had found a brain tumor, after running it again the said that the atlas had kicked forward and it was what they were seeing, I am in the VA system now and awaiting my first back surgery because of severe nerve damage . Just trying to get something done. its been almost 40 yrs.of pain Thanks.

  111. Lifechanger says:

    I had this for 8months. Went to a normal chiropractor and the first adjustmemt felt amazing. Two days later it was bad and thw more i went to him the worst i got. I researched and found put about ATLAS ORTHOGONAL CHIROPRACTOR. They only work on c1. They take 3 xrays in different angles and determime the angle the c1 is out. With this they calculate a vector and use an insturment that uses precussion (fraction of a second) to re align your c1. Your short leg will immediatly drop and it is 100 percent painless and they DO NOT twist or pop you neck ( very sensitive area with nerves and veins so it is safer) go on you tube and watch atlas orthogonal montell williams video. Amazing and life saving.

  112. AH says:

    I’m reading these symptoms in shock. I’ve spent the last year and a half of my life in bed with ALL of these symptoms – down to the stomach and almost fainting – going from neurologist to neurologist to no avail; having MRIs of brain and spine to no avail; heart tests; you name it.

    I even have an appointment with a rheumatologist next week despite my tons of blood work being normal because I was thinking I have an underlying autoimmune issue (tingling in forearms, body fatigue, loss of strength in one hip, etc.) I still intend to go, of course, to be sure.

    This explains every morning waking up with migraines in my neck (that I never had before). No pillow being comfortable without pain. The neck crunching sound when I turn it back and forth. Sitting with my head forward and to a tilt. And the extreme jaw tightness that is temporarily relieved when I press on what I think is my C1 at the base of my skull.

    Thank you so much for this article. I seriously thought I was going crazy. I have wanted to give up so many times. You may have saved my life.

    I can’t possibly say it enough: thank you, thank you, thank you.

  113. Merri Carpenter says:

    I’m in still in the shock stage here. I have ever symptom listed and more.
    I was in an auto accident over 30 years ago. I was in so much pain after I couldn’t walk on my heals, I walked on my toes so that the shooting pain would be so bad. The pain was so god awful I felt I was going crazy. Wow! 10 years to the day, that pain subsided and I could feel good again little did I know 2 years later I was once again in horrible pain. To this day I’m in PT for the same pain I had many years ago. I have been DX with many things and the number increases each year.
    This one ring me to my knees. I just recovered from adrenal insufficiency, which for 2 1/2 years no dr could tell me what was wrong with me. My BP would be very high then drop with in minutes to 50’/40’s yes I was passing out, walking sideways, walking into things felt I was going to die and made peace with God so many times I can’t count. Then Cleveland clinic found it on the first day!!! Went back so they could stimulate it.. took me about. 11/2 to be ok still trying to busy my energy level.
    I have burning, sting, discoloration of the feet, gray color. My hands arnt as bad but they are losing the of feeling.
    I have gastroparisis, interstitial cystitis, my right knee has been under the knife 3 times that now it’s bone on bone and I’m starting to feel it’s going bad again. There much much more.
    My doctor said something to do with a anxiety problem. I was shocked I didn’t know I was.
    Granted I haven’t had a CT yet but my pain dr DX it as this after I complained of grinding painful in head and popping noise with pain. Damn I wish I could catch a break ….you know.
    My accident was a little old lady with seeing problems broad sided my car pushing it 2 lanes. She was on her way to pick up a birthday cake for her husband. She had caterac in both eyes. I was 22 I’m 54 now.
    Each DX I get pissed then I’m the life of the party . I don’t want Pitty, I do want some kind of life. I’m
    Not done here yet! I’m full of life still and I’m not going down without a fight!!! 😁

  114. healthyme says:

    I have a question about atlas adjustments. Is it true that if you adjust only the atlas, the rest of the vertebrae will fall into place? I was told this by my Blair chiro and am concerned that my C2, which has a history of not staying in place, will not fall into place. I have a C1/C2 subluxation with C2 being my primary sub according to a previous chiro. I believe many of my problems (sinus, vision, hearing issues) have come mainly from my C2 misalignments. Thanks.

  115. Karen Ristau says:

    For over 15 years, I have had my esophogus pushing downward, difficult to eat ,drink, take any type of pill, talking is hoarse, I sound like a man. I broke the C-4,5,6,7,8 developed osteophyte Rheumatoid Arthritis, Fibrroma)agia, spinal stenosis of spine and presently, depression and anger at all the medical people I trusted to fix. My airway is being compromised. My diet consists of cream of wheat, yogurt, and sou poo. It has been 18 months since last cat scan that proves what I am saying is the truth. If these doctors would listen to me or at least look at mri, cat scan they could avoid a mess.

  116. Mousta says:

    Hi i had a c1 fracture the bone is heal but i have a c1 lateral subluxation of 6 mm in the boot sides.
    Can this lead to an inflammation of the joint between c1 and c2 ?
    thank you

    • Mousta says:

      I mean that the laterals masses of c1 are dislocated on c2 all the doctors says this is stable situation but my big question if that can lead to a inflammation in the future ?
      Thank you again

  117. says:

    Hello , Great to have found this site. Have history of 3 car accidents. year after accident started having facial skull tingling, dizzy, legs felt like I had no control, equilibrium issues. All docs said nothing is wrong with me. The issue got worse with more activity. Became bed ridden, equilibiurm worse, brain fog anxiety. Tried atlas orthogonal which going 2x weekly for 3 months has gotten me 50% better, was found to have congential defect. abnormal movement of c1 c2 causing pannus which has pushed brainstem back. I have heard of atlas profilax, do you think this wold have a more long lasting effect and get me back to when I was normal. Not feel like I am walking on a ship.

  118. Jen says:

    I have successfully been through treatment for a misaligned atlas, mine has stayed in place for almost 6 months. Not all chiropractors retrain the nerves which is essential for most people. Feel free to email if you have questions.

    • Anja Archer says:

      hi jen,

      what is the method you used to get healed in 6 months? I’d love to hear your experience. thanks! anja

      • Jen says:

        Hey Anja, sorry it;s taken me a bit to get back to you. I went through approx. 40 treatments through my upper cervical chiro to get my atlas to stay in place. First they will set the atlas and verify it’s set correctly and then you start retraining all of the nerves. Nerve retraining usually takes 3 treatments for each nerve, optical, cranial, vagus, etc. The chiro has you do a set of motions, then will check your bodies reaction and then uses this laser to run over the nerves. I was always laying face down when this was done, so I can’t really tell you exactly what and where he was doing with the laser, but it would feel warm. During the course of treatment, my atlas popped back about about 5 times, which is pretty normal for treatment, everyone is different though. After 40 treatments, I had 2 other instance that it popped out but I noticed the motion I was doing that was causing it to pop out (lifting anything of weight with my right arm over my head). So for the next month I was really careful with that action and it’s now been 6 months and mine hasn’t misaligned. I can lift over my head and no problems. The nerve retraining was called desensitizations.

      • Anja Archer says:

        hey jen, wheye is the chiropracter that youu saw? So glad it’s helping you. Awesome. I’d love to read the website. thanks for getting back to me!

        Best Anja

      • YAJNAS says:

        I too have a massive c1 subluxation. Been a year of total misery. My c1 is tipped up left 8 degrees and rotated 7 degrees. I have done 30 atlas adjustments and gotten 50-60% better. Brain fog, dizziness, equilbirum issues, leg spacticity, anxiety, I have it all. Hoping to have permanent relief. I would like to find out more about that nerve relief.

      • Georgette says:


        Can you please email me and tell me a little more about your doctor that you went to?

      • Jen says:

        I am in Greenville, SC USA, my chiro’s name was Dr. Wentworth with Advanced Chiropractic of South Carolina. He is one of very few chiro’s on the east coast that do the nerve retraining. Alot of chiro’s simply set the atlas using the atlas orthogonal machine and send their patients on their way. For some people that works fine (I think it depends on how long the atlas has been misaligned), the atlas will stay, but for most the atlas will just misalign again and they have to have it reset. I believe mine has been out for over 30 years, so it took quite a bit of retraining to get my body back to a new normal.

      • Yajnas says:

        Hi jen , is vestibular training similiar. I have been suffering over a year. My biggest issues are equilibrium, feel like walking on a ship and everytime I do something in normal speed my arms and legs burn. Not to mention anxiety, brain fog , etc. My atlas is rotated 7 degrees and tipped up 8deg. May I ask how bad you were?. I was need rdden and in hard collar for 3 months. Started atlas orthogonal and have gotten to 50% better ask free 25 adjustment. Thanks

      • Georgette says:


        Was it just a laser that was used in the process? It has been 2 yrs for me and I can’t seem to find a chiropractor that understand my situation.

  119. Yuvraj singh says:

    I have same problem .feeling tinglingin whole body mistly u in left portion and over chest and and abdomen.unable to slip .doctor told that your atlas and axis is installed and fix.i am facing this problem since last four suggest for surgery but what they will do they don’t know.should I go for surgery or not?or go for yoga or exercise .plz tell I m suffering a lot

    • Mary says:

      Exhaust all options before surgery. Look at your body as a whole. Strengthen mentally and physically. Reduce all forms of inflammation. Research. Breath.

  120. CC says:

    Ok, I have a chiro that has been helping me for 2+ years with much relief. But there was always something “missing”. I came across the C1 / Atlas issue and viola, I knew I hit the missing puzzle piece. My vertigo and random anxiety and heavy head being pulled down by gravity seemingly were out of control. For decades I was always instinctively pushing hard into the left side of my neck *exactly* where I now know is the atlas bone. I would let my massage chair POUND that bone, again, instinctively feeling like “if it would only give me a huge crack or adjustment right now…”

    My chiro didn’t have the exact tool so we experimented, with my concent, with one of those air gun things. The one attached to the big floor unit that basically feels like a small hammer but it’s strong air pressure.

    We knocked that sucker until it felt in place. Soon after I realized I could actually rest my chin on my chest!p. It was such a foreign feeling to me! I didn’t even know the head was supposed to go that far forward, ha ha! Because I did research, I wasn’t too concerned when I felt effects the next day of exhaustion, tension in neck, and the rest. We have done this treatment numerous times now because it slips back (I am a huge mess and have to crack my neck sometimes as it relieves nausea at work, etc). My neck cracking doesn’t make it slip back anymore though. It stayed longer last time. We knocked it a tiny bit more just per my instincts and sure enough I felt even better. I felt like my neck was “lubricated” when I turned it. Amazing.

    25 years ago I was in a 5 car accident.. I was car number two which means I got hit 6x in a row (read ended then thrown into the car in front of me x3).

    I have noticed the atlas affects my jaw popping as well. When the atlas is in place, I feel no need to pop my neck every 30 seconds. Yes, it’s bad. Like I said my spine is a big mess with deteriating and arthritis,etc.

    As a side story, very recently I told someone who had Ménière’s disease about it and sent her the article I read. She said on the very first visit her decades-long vertigo “ended”, as did her tinnitus, and she is “in a better mood” and no longer feels like she has “a steel rod in her neck”.

    How’s that for awesome!

    • Jen says:

      CC, my jaw popping was what finally led me to see a chiro for what I thought was TMJ. Nope just C1 misaligned for what I think has been over 20 years. I did 4 months of nerve retraining in order to keep atlas permanently in place. Been good for over a year now.

      • Anja archer says:

        Jen where did you get the nerve retraining done? Anja

      • Jen says:

        Hey Anja, I had mine done at Advanced Chiropratic, in Greenville SC. It was around 50 treatments. Each nerve is retrained 3 times until old juck is cleared out. My vegas nerve was the most difficult to retrain. After the first pass on the vegas nerve, by that night, I was a nervous wreck, couldnt wait to get back the next day. Dr. could immediately tell I was “wound up”, after the second pass it was much better, then by 3rd, I was all cleared.

      • Anja says:

        Thank you for the quick response. My blair doctor has totally helped me. I just want the adjustments to hold longer! What is your doctors name there? Happy Thanksgiving!

      • Jen says:

        I understand totally, I wouldn’t have been able to stand having the vertebrae slip back out multiple times, I can tell immediately when it does(or I could when I was going through treatment). My shoulders cinch up, fists clench, pain in the area of the vertabrae. My head will tilt to the right and I can feel the difference in my hips of being out of alignment. Dr’s name was Wentworth.

      • Holly says:

        Can you describe what nerve retraining entails? I’m not familiar with it. Thanks.

      • Jen says:

        They call it nerve desensitization. SInce the C1 has been out for so long the central nervous system has changed to accommodate the misalignment, so they use a laser to work with the specific nerves to retrain and clear all of the old “junk” out. With out it, my C1 would never have stayed in the correct position. I describe it like braces. You can have the teeth adjusted, by like our nerves the teeth have memory and will attempt to go back to their misaligned state unless they are taught the new positioning which is the retainer you have to wear once braces come off. Having the C1 properly aligned is the braces and the nerve retraining is the retainer.

  121. healthyme says:

    Hi, I’ve been receiving Blair upper cervical care for the past 3.5 months for a bad fall I had last year (after a bad 3 months with a NUCCA doctor) and have seen some improvements though some side effects along the way that seem to be subsiding. My Blair chiro told me that these adjustments will hold longer and longer as I heal and my muscles adjusts to the proper position. I do understand that everyone has different experiences of healing and how quickly they heal BUT I would like to know what people’s experiences are regarding the frequency of needing to be adjusted. Theoretically, the number of adjustments I’d need should get less and less over time with this type of chiropractic care and I would be ok if I “had” to go in a few times a year for tune ups but so far, I’m needing adjustments every week or other week. My biggest concern is that my body will be dependent on these adjustments to stay pain/symptom free. I want to be in charge of my health and not have to rely on adjustments (or chiropractic intervention) regularly just to stay fit/healthy, much rather be healthy by eating healthy and being active with sport or exercise etc. Also, if you are holding your upper cervical adjustments long, what things have you done to facilitate this? Good posture? Yoga? Other forms of alternative therapies?

    Any comments appreciated. Thank you!

    • Yajnas says:

      I use atlas orthogonal method. Have a serious atals subluxation 7 degrees, huge life changing impact was miserable. I was going 2x a week for 12 weeks and now am managing with 1x a week. I still think it wI’ll take a year to get totally right. Muscles and ligaments needs to retrained to hold it right.

    • Yajsan says:

      Can atlas profilax help a bio mechanical issue. Abnormal c1 c2 movement?

      • MindBody says:

        Al Atlas Profilax can do is adjust a malaligned atlas. It is claimed to have a high rate of permanent success, but that was not my experience.
        Certainly it is good at relaxing the local muscles, but they will tend to rebound to old tension levels, and if the problem is longstanding there will also be muscle wasting on one side.

        Many people carry this injury from childhood only to have it worsened by a fall or whiplash later on- and logically those cases would be expected to be worse.

        Something like an abnormal C1C2 movement will have to be driven by the relevant muscles, which in turn will be driven by an incorrect perception of body position made by your brain on the basis of incoming information.
        Once again I reference this paper:

        I quote:
        The proprioceptive system of the cervical spine, in particular, is extremely well developed, as reflected by an abundance of mechanoreceptors, especially from the gamma-muscle spindles in the deep segmental upper cervical muscles.73,76,122 The gamma-muscle spindle system serves as the final common pathway for the regulation of the muscle stiffness required for various neuromuscular performances.

        I suspect that what is going on is that the tense muscles input false information via the gamma spindle receptors. That false information makes it difficult to hold and move the head- and will lead to awkward movement of one bone against the other, cause pain and more spasm.

        It has been my assumption all along that reducing the amount of muscle spasm is highly desirable. Ask your therapist about it.

  122. Yajnas says:

    Has anyone been successful with anything other than atlas orthogonal or atlas profilax.anyone been adjusted rotationally or lateral to medial and has success or with activator technique. I have been dealing with this for over a year, got 50 to 60% better with AO, vestibular therapy is really helping me get my balance back

    • MindBody says:

      It is my best guess that some sort of vestibular or proprioceptive therapy will be needed for most cases (acute injury excepted). The trouble is that information about this topic is scattered all over the place according to the different disciplines treating/researching it, so what I am saying here is an educated guess.

      This paper is interesting:
      There is a good deal of interest at the moment in using head mounted lasers to retrain positional awareness in the neck.

      What sort of vestibular therapy are you doing?

      • Anja says:

        I just started vestibular therapy….was wondering of sometimes you feel worse before better? I am using a dr who trained under dr carrick. Im hoping it will help my blair adjustments to hold better. Anything else that can help adjustments hold better? Anja

      • MindBody says:

        I have recently started using a head mounted laser for proprioceptive re-training. Also mindful movement like Tai Chi or Yoga- but must be done with precision. Additionally sitting meditation is very helpful in training in to an upright posture. Often the posture of the upper chest can be critical in destabilising the neck. I would recommend that you ask your doctor about all these.

        these 2 papers are of value in explaining some of the underlying issues:

  123. Modessa Kennon says:

    Does anyone know if how misline atlas fixed after having a fusion in disc 56 and 7?

  124. Angela T says:

    Abundant Life Chiropractic
    Dr Chris Zaino in The Woodlands, TX (North Houston)
    Corrective Chiropractic Care….. the best in the city. There are affliates that are in other cities as I have refered freinds and family. You can call the office and they can tell you who they have a sister office and what city/zipcode. I was living in pain, could not sit, stand, or laydown for long. I thank God I found this office.

  125. Tina says:

    Neurologists chiropractic care therapy have all missed mine!
    What treatments does one do for this?
    I have slight torticollis I know my Atlas is off it shows in x-rays no one is picking up on this what do I do?

  126. Anja says:

    Thanks for all the great information on this site. I have Ben seeing lots of hood results from Blair upper cervical. However lately my vestibular system seems to be getting worse. I don’t know if I should be doing vestibular rehab work or Ho to an ent or its related to adjustments. Anyone who can offer de thoughts? Thank you so mch!


  127. Holly says:

    This is a very informative blog. I’m glad I came across it.

    I just discovered that my atlas is tilted to the left and my neck is straight. I’ve known I had mild scoliosis and that my right leg was bit shorter than the left since childhood. Here are my symptoms that it may be related to my neck being out of wack. They’ve been with me for over a decade, but since the pain was dull, I just learned to live with it.

    Tight neck/shoulder muscles. Mostly right side.
    Tight Jaw. Mostly right side.
    Dull pain/uncomfortable in based of skull
    Upper right back tight
    Right hip pain
    Feeling out of it time to time
    Ear congestion. I have to constantly pop my ears, especially after eating.
    Tinnitus, both ears. The most annoying. Started in right ear move to include left a month later, the sound is a bit higher than left. The pitch goes up when pressing on back lower head, moving jaw forward, and biting.
    Right ear pain, like something is pulling on it.
    Neck/upper back cracks from basic movements
    Uncomfortable to rest back of head sometimes

    Four months ago, I developed a high pitched intermittent ring in my right ear. My tinnitus is low grade, it’s most like hissing/static in both that I grew accustomed to, so this is in addition to that. Sometimes, depending on the room I’m in, the noise sounds more like a hum. I even wear earplugs when sleeping and can tolerate quite places! But, back 13 years ago when it came on, I got really depressed. I went to 5 ENTS that found nothing wrong with my ears and hearing was fine, tried acupuncture, massage, regular chiropractic, bite guard. Nothing changed. When I asked one ENT if it could be related to TMD, he said no. The chiro never took x-rays. Since my 20s I’ve had slight jaw/neck/shoulder pain that I chalked-up to stress. This brought my attention to my tight muscles, but still not figuring out how it all connected. Just learned to live with it.

    So, this bout got me to researching my issues again, as I felt that my right SCM got much tighter and was causing the ring and ear pain. I did PT for a couple of months, which relaxed my right SCM a bit, and I think helped to remove the intermittent ring and pain. I found a cutting-edge dental procedure, Disclusion Time Reduction therapy (DTR) that helps muscular TMD. It measures the force and time of disclusion with technology. Then, the dentist fixes your bite based on the precise readings, as opposed to carbon paper that is the standard, which is <20% accurate. My back teeth were hitting too hard and long. I had this done a month ago and there was immediate relaxation of my masseters and a bit in my neck, also got rid of the lingering pain in left hip from bursitis months ago. But, as my neck and back of head was still so tight, I explored more. Someone who got DTR with Meniere's mentioned that NUCCA helped too. So, here I am.

    I went to a NUCCA chiro in NYC 2 weeks ago. My atlas it tilted to the left. My neck is straight and my placets are not optimal. My right leg is half inch shorter than left. He has a few reviews that mention him as condescending. I find that to be true, so don't feel quite confident to continue with him. I feel like I'll get yelled at. I also heard him tell the front desk staff to shut-up. He's cocky. He's done 3 adjustments. The first was okay, I felt 'different', perhaps more centered, but nothing substantial. The most effective was the 2nd. I felt more balanced, my neck relaxed a bit, and I swear my ear noise reduced a bit for the following day or two. I did feel a bit sore on my left side where he did the adjustment. My 3rd adjustment wasn't as good. More sore in that spot, and more balanced I guess. I had a consult with an Atlas Orthagonist in CT who I like better and has a great reputation. I would have chosen him first, hesitating only because of distance. I will need to take a 45 min train ride and then cab to his office. But, I think I need to go to him instead and give it a try. He just took history and felt my neck, saying I was out of alignment. The next visit would be full eval and x-rays and then 2x/week for 5 weeks to see how things go.

    A few years ago I went to a Network Chiro, also light touch. It was very metaphysical to me, which I'm fine with, as I do metaphysical practices, but I wasn't feeling it was right for me. My x-rays came back as neck curve fine, placets fine, and mild scoliosis. In looking at them today, I think my neck curve doesn't have the total C that is healthy. So, wonder how skilled the radiologist was. I'll ask the CT chiro to review. I recall that chiro mentioned something about an issue with the C3. I only went to him a few times.

    Someone here mentioned feeling a hard mass on one side below the ear. I feel that on my right side, that I don't feel on my left, and have for some time. Now, I think that since my head tilts to the left, I'm felling the right side Atlas jutted up more. One mystery solved. My massage therapist had no clue.

    In researching all of this, it's upsetting that not ONE doctor over 10 years ago suggested to get my neck x-rayed or refer me to a spine Dr. or any of the sort. Dismissing my ear symptoms. I KNOW it's not noised induced. Back then, there wasn't as much info online either. I'm now learning how misalignment affects your nervous system, and all my issues are making a lot more sense. It makes complete sense that when you are aligned, it will relieve nerves on your spine, get your spinal fluid flowing as it should, that eliminates or reduces symptoms. I'm hoping this happens for me. Since I noticed positive change after the 2nd adjustment, if I can just hold the alignment, it seems that over time with this, stretching, yoga, etc., my body will adjust the way it should and I'll feel better.

    This is a long post, but if anyone has insight or advice, I would love to hear it.

    • MindBody says:

      I share your frustration with the lack of information around this problem.
      Much of the older material on this site is limited by the limited access I had to good information at that stage. However I think that one of the biggest causes of symptoms is the slight scrambling of body position information coming especially from the upper neck.
      It is important to consider that this becomes a whole spine problem and the problem is not over until it has been ironed out and stabilised at all levels.
      Increasingly tinnitus is being seen in most cases as an information processing problem rather than ear damage.
      It has been associated with sternomastoid trigger points (and also jaw muscle).
      This book may interest you:
      Theres also a Kindle version at Amazon.

      • Holly says:

        Thank you. It certainly makes sense that these issues stem from the neck and being out of alignment. I have the Davies trigger point therapy book and am familiar with the SCM trigger points. A massage therapist did massage it recently and it did loosen my neck and removed the right ear ring, but it didn’t last. Probably since I’m out of alignment and not getting to the core issue.

      • Mary says:

        Thank you so much. It has been a rough 6 years since my accident. I receive Atlas orthogonal treatments weekly and if my Atlas is off my symptoms are so crazy it makes you feel nuts. I’m sorry to hear others are suffering as well but it’s a comfort to not be alone and your information is extremely valuable. Thank you. The first thing to do for anything is to rid your body of inflammation. Even a blood test to illuminate foods that cause your individual body inflammation. Especially living with chronic pain. I cannot take any NAIDS for pain relief because of a rare disease HHT. No blood thinners if any kind! It’s a vascular condition that also causes anemia which causes muscle fatigue. I have two kinds of days. Either my Atlas is completely out and I am experiencing neurological pain and symptoms on my head and face, (pain, tinnitus, jaw pain, cognitive issues, extreme pain the base of my skull and a full cold feeling) or left shoulder pain, neck pain, memory issues and gate problems. I go to my orthotic doctor and he know uses the drill on my neck and jaw because the non invasive technique stopped working. He does extracts every few months. I feel your pain and know that each person is different and doing to little or to much can be devastating. I am never out of pain. I take a low dose of Vicodin, and the dose hasn’t changed for 6 years but takes the edge of pain off but nothing can relieve Atlas issues but treatment and staying still and no one can do that. The Atlas is mission control for your body along with your stomach. All you can do is try and stop the inflammation, ice and find a good orthogonal doctor that treats you individually.

      • MindBody says:

        These problems throw your nervous system- especially balance and autonomic, well out of balance.
        Cognitive issues, gait problems, L shoulder and neck pain can all represent a system struggling to maintain blood flow to the brain when upright.
        Ive had a lot of functional neurology treatment, and I also look for signs like feeling lightheaded on standing up, having an unduly fast pulse or being sweaty or fidgety. See the last para for more detail on this.

        I have also come to understand what it is that pulls my neck out of alignment;
        acute emotional stressors will pull the neck one way. Getting tired, and low blood pressure, and slumping pulls in another way.

        I found that by getting a decent anatomy app for my iPad (I use 3D 4 Medical Muscle system Pro) I was able to pin down exactly which muscle was pulling my neck out of place (It turned out to be cervicocostalis on the right) and that was amazingly helpful- as I can now do targetted trigger point releases on it when it is misbehaving.

        This has been a slow process, but I take the attitude that my neck has been out of alignment for 50+ years and it needs to gradually get used to finding and holding correct position.

        Heaven knows if that is neurologically correct, but it is a narrative that helps me work with my symptoms and difficult position and not lose hope. It is now clearly working though.

        The other area that I am only just learning about is the role of gut dysfunction in maintaining symptoms and inflammation.That is all downstream of the nervous system chaos though.

        One other comment I would make is that many of us, myself included, talk of the vertebrae “slipping out of place again”. To some extent I guess that is true— I mean given the instability in my spine oveer the past 55 years there has to be some wear and tear predisposing to things slipping outof place.

        However as a rule it is more complex than that.
        The functional neurology work I have done has demonstrated issues such as a tendency to rotate to the left- because my acoustic attention reflexes are neglected on the right. We have corrected that and it is no longer a problem. I would recommend my recent post “ADHD as a model of functional disorders” for some review of functional neurology. It applies as much to atlas problems as to ADHD.

        Secondly, a problem in one part of the spine can cause trouble elsewhere– ie for myself- pain in the right mid thoracic will cause tension in the cervicocostalis muscle, and THAT will cause reactivation of some of the subluxations in my neck ( the muscle attaches to the rear of the transverse processes of C3/4/5 and the net pull caused bowstringing of the cervical spine and a tendency to anterior subluxations at C6/7 and C7/T1).

        Thirdly, and I have only just nailed this one: like many ADHD and atlas subluxation people I have a tendency to have difficulty regulating my blood pressure. This often translates to having a lower cerebral blood pressure when sitting and being on the edge of a fight or flight response (orthostatic intolerance). However,the wrong stimulus (ie getting too hot and sweaty on a thundery day yesterday for instance, can trigger a collapse- where blood pressure drops and I feel a little sweaty and vague. I usually feel back pain with this-and “coathanger pain in the upper neck or back” is well known as a symptom of orthostatic intolerance.

        This time, however, the outcome was obvious, as I had had my back nicely lined up and no pain- then the collapse re-activated all the currently troublesome subluxations and it took me 30 minutes to disentangle them.

        So I do not think the vertebrae just randomly drop out of place- there has to be a trigger of some sort.

    • Holly says:

      It’s been a few weeks since I started seeing my AO Dr. I had 3 adjustments. My last appt. was a couple of days ago and I wasn’t adjusted because he said that I appear to be holding it well. I’m only scheduled to see him once a week. It’s good news to me that I’ve held my last adjustment for over a week. The one before that, I was only a bit off. This tells me that my muscles in that area are adjusting to the proper position of my head.

      But, I still feel sore around my neck and upper back, especially on my right side, which has always been my more problematic side. My right jaw is especially sensitive which affects my ear noise. Since these adjustments, even when I had NUCCA a few times before this, I have noticed “changes” in my head such as muscle twitching, soreness in other muscles, changing in my ear noise. I’m hoping that this is because my body is adjusting and muscles are being used that weren’t before. Basically, I can literally hear my nervous system going through something. I’ve told my AO Dr. this and he agrees that my body is adjusting. He also always says that it take 60-90 days for nerves to heal, he doesn’t care who you are. This make sense to me. I think he means this time from when you hold the adjustment, not sure. I want to believe that I’m going through a transition period and that eventually, soon, I’ll really feel a difference. I didn’t expect immediate relief, despite the testimonials all over the internet of instant relief for AO. Since my body has been out of whack for over a decade, it makes sense that it will take time for my body to adjust. In the last appointment the Dr. used a vibrating machine over my back and cracked it. He talked about the muscle issues in my upper back suggesting massage and showing exercises to strengthen the upper back between shoulder blades. I went through PT for this a couple of months ago and admit that I have not done the exercises as I should. But, will now. I understand the importance of exercises and strengthening weak muscles.

      So, I’m curious about anybody else’s experience with time of relief and symptoms. I know everyone’s healing process is different and read that you may have progress but also setbacks, i.e., feel worse. Is this true? The soreness of other muscles I consider a setback, I guess. When people experience these changes that aren’t relief, I understand why they quit. I’m not ready to do that yet. I’m also going to a specialist at a spine hospital that my GP recommended. I’m curious to see what he tells me. I’m interested in neurological exercises as well.

      • MindBody says:

        I think that the sorenesss of the other muscles is caused by alterations in posture- so your body needs to re-adjust. Exercise is important, both from the pint of view of stretching and moibilising, and from the point of stimulating the vestibular system, which is responsible (among other things) for keeping track of where all your body parts are and keeping them upright in the right order. I have found Tai Chi and Meditation (in correct posture) very helpful (need to do more) but exercise should be discussed with your practitioner- who is on the ground and will know best what you are ready for.

        The worst mistake I have made personally has been to over guard sore areas- and make the problem worse through immobile.

  128. Holly says:

    I forgot to mentioned that my left jaw clicks. I can say that after DTR it was less so, and also after adjustments. It’s never hurt and not very loud. But before, I could feel the popping while chewing, and it’s very light now.

    Also, I split my chin open twice, at 6 yo and 23 yo, which may have contributed to my issues.

    I’m most uncomfortable and tight in the upper neck muscles around my ears/jaw.

  129. Mary says:

    So what do you do? How do you get help?

  130. Mary says:

    So what do you do? How do you get help?

    • Mary says:

      You find a chiropractor that does orthogonal non invasive treatments. That chiropractors that have extended education. They will do an extant that is looking at the Atlas. They do it in office. They adjust you with a machine that actually uses a puff of air but you don’t feel it it. They educate you before the treatment. Google Orthogonal Atlas treatments, non invasive. This saved my life!

  131. Barbara says:

    I have every symptom. Can this cause my frequent nodding off without tiredness and not sleepy. I wake up when I hit the floor or face in my plate etc?

    • Barbara says:

      I have every symptom. Can this cause my frequent nodding off without tiredness and not sleepy. I wake up when I hit the floor or face in my plate etc?

      Also constant occipital pain sometimes severe.

      CT shows severe C-spine issues but not mention C1, C2 nor occiput area.

      • Barbara says:

        I have every symptom. Can this cause my frequent nodding off without tiredness and not sleepy. I wake up when I hit the floor or face in my plate etc?

        Also constant occipital pain sometimes severe and up temporal, parietal area around ear.

        CT shows severe C-spine issues but not mention C1, C2 nor occiput area.

      • Barbara says:

        Sorry, I forgot…
        In 1982—I had Vitek TMJ Implant bilaterally (R worse than L). It had 100% failure rate. Numerous surgeries R. FBGCR..they were not able to remove all microscopic particles.

      • MindBody says:

        Often TMJ and upper neck issues feed back on each other- apparently through the trigeminal nerve.I’m not sure what interventions are being used– it probably falls under functional neurology.

      • MindBody says:

        Also constant occipital pain sometimes severe– that is common

        CT shows severe C-spine issues but not mention C1, C2 nor occiput area.– medical radiologists often miss these C0/1/2 issues. It clashes with their training and the anti chiropractic prejudices in the medical profession.
        In fact Ive had a couple get quite cross with me when I have pointed out what they have missed,

        The same film might be interpreted very differently by a chiropractor.

    • MindBody says:

      You seem to be describing narcolepsy. Alternatively fainting/ syncope. The latter can certainly be related. As for the former- I dont think that has been described- but the sleep doctors who make that diagnosis seem unaware of upper cervical problems- so I guess it may be possible.

  132. Christine Bilyea says:

    Have you considered the possible role cerebellar tonsillar ectopia (the other CTE) (Brain Injury, July 2010; 24(7–8): 988-994) may be playing in many of these cases. I am a physiotherapist and see many “whiplash” patients who I believe are suffering from this. I believe it often goes undiagnosed/misdiagnosed as there is limited access to upright MRI in Canada (only 1 in Kamloops, B.C.) and the position of the cerebellar tonsils is gravity dependent (i.e. in recumbent position cerebellar descent is not evident unless the patient has Chiari II or worse). I have seen numerous patients go on to be diagnosed with fibrolmyalgia and some who have later been diagnosed with neurodegenerative disease (MS, Parkinson’s).

    • MindBody says:

      Yes- I have. It is covered in this link- which is on my links page:
      He also covers neurodegenerative disorders.
      I am sure it will be one mechanism leading to the causation of symptoms, but I suspect that the real cause of it is dural traction from the upper cervical malalignment.
      However, I would bet that the cause of the neurodegenerative disorders would often be the suppression of vagal tone caused by the secondary issues around the malalignment. Vagal tone is necessary to regulate the immune response:

      Long but worthwhile

      • Christine Bilyea says:

        Thank you for your response. I concur that subluxation of the atlas can be the triggering event for many conditions.

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