Atlas Orthogonal is a specialized chiropractic technique and system. It is used by straight chiropractors.
What is Atlas Orthogonal?
Atlas Orthogonal is a system that allows balance to be restored in the body so that the body can heal itself. It falls under the philosophy of straight chiropractic, which stresses “vitalism, “innate intelligence” and spinal adjustments, considering “vertebral subluxations” to be the cause of all disease.”1 Atlas Orthogonists are Doctors of Chiropractic (DC), with over 6 years of education, as well as specialized training in not only light-force methods of adjusting the spine, but extra education in using the orthogonal percussion instrument. This instrument is safe and painless. Its goal is to restore “body balance without forceful movements or twisting of the neck or back”.2 The inventor of the Atlas Orthogonal Procedure was Dr. Roy Sweat, and he devised a method of using a “percussion wave, which is a vibration to re-position the atlas vertebra”. He believed that less force was needed to align the spine.3
How Misalignment Happens
The atlas vertebra in the body is right under the head, and it (at only 2 ounces) is meant to carry that 9+ pound weight of the head. If the atlas is doing its job, it supports the weight of the head in the orthogonal (neutral) position. If there is misalignment, such as from stress, strain, or trauma (whether from a fall, accident, or even lifting or sleeping incorrectly), the body will try to compensate. The spine tries to adapt to keep the head over the feet, but then it can become misaligned. When this happens, muscles contract, and one leg can even appear shorter than the other. Nerve pressure and inflammation can follow, and this leads to headaches, facial, and neck pain.4
What to Expect in Treatment
The Atlas Orthogonal (AO) Percussion Adjusting Instrument provides a precisely directed sound vibration, that only lasts a split-second. It is applied just behind the ear. The spring-loaded solenoid taps the stylus and creates only about 3 pounds of force on the skin surface. The atlas is then moved through that sound vibration. The pinpoint adjustments are created just for the individual. Patients will feel the stylus and hear the click. AO is performed over a series of treatments.5 Treatment is painless, without jerking movements. Patients may experience symptoms or changes during the treatment process, which can demonstrate that healing is occurring. Patients may feel their symptoms decrease, or they may have more tiredness or stiffness. Pain during recovery is meant to signal that the body is healing itself.6 The chiropractor will take x-rays pre-and post-adjustment so that patients can see changes taking place.7
Uses of Atlas Orthogonal
The Atlas Subluxation Complex is a “misalignment of the bone structure of the head and neck”. When this happens, patients experience tension, pain, and stress. Many conditions can be treated with Atlas Orthogonal, including migraines, multiple sclerosis, arthritis, chronic fatigue and fibromyalgia, allergies, repetitive stress and athletic injuries, sciatica and scoliosis, and more.8