Our approach starts with the upper cervical spine.

Our approach to chiropractic is that the upper cervical spine, regardless of symptomatic presentation, is the most important area of consideration.  It is located in a very key area, right where the brainstem and spinal cord meet each other, a place of significant neurologic interference, both upstream and downstream.

All autonomic function may be affected here, as well as balance and coordination.  The vagus nerve may be affected by an upper cervical subluxation, which could result in dysfunction of nearly any autonomic function, including heart and respiratory function, digestion, immune, emotions, etc.

I also believe an upper cervical subluxation may adversely affect the subtle energies and structures of the body, such as meridians and energy centers (some call chakras).  The body is infintely more complex than we will ever imagine, but as chiropractors, we have identified that one key area of the spine which can negatively (or positively, if corrected) affect every aspect of our being.  This is why we start with checking, and clearing, an Atlas subluxation, first and foremost.

Our approach to caring for the Atlas was strongly influenced by the work of Dr. Paul Blumsack of Marietta, GA.  He teaches a procedure called Dynamic Upper Cervical Analysis.  We have found it to be a very accurate analysis, suggesting what line of drive to apply our adjustive force.  Our adjustment is either accomplished with a toggle recoil thrust, using a drop headpiece, or a sustained contact is taken, to apply a force that the intelligence of the body can use to make a correction.  It is a very specific and gentle procedure, either way.

If a force is applied, in the form of a (extremely gentle) toggle recoil adjustment, to the Atlas, the patient rests for 2-5 minutes before proceeding.  The next step is to see if any forceful adjustment (using a Palmer Thompson-type drop mechanism) is applied to sacrum or pelvis.  If necessary, this is typically the end of our adjusting with a dynamic thrust.  Most if not all further adjusting is done with a light, sustained contact.

Our adjusting procedure has two primary components, structural and tonal.  After the structural component is complete, the patient moves to the tonal table for additional clearing of the entire system.  We typically start with the Atlas, because once it is clear, there is far less chaos, and further, tonal adjusting necessary.