• Dr. Mark Freund

Is Atlas Adjustment Safe?


If you've been searching for a treatment for neck pain, jaw pain, shoulder stiffness, dizziness, or migraines, you might have stumbled on the atlas adjustment. The atlas is the first bone in the upper cervical spine and leads to imbalances throughout the body.


The first cervical vertebra can be malrotated from birth in most people. Bad posture, whiplash, slips and falls, sports or work injuries, car accidents, and other trauma can push the atlas out of alignment, causing many health problems.


You may be wondering, "is atlas adjustment safe?" An atlas adjustment is the process of moving the atlas bone back into its original position. Since the atlas is tucked away, it can be difficult for manual manipulation to occur. Most chiropractors recommend a specialized atlas adjustment called atlas orthogonal treatment. This is a precise and gentle method to correct the atlas misalignment using a special percussion instrument. The technique is very safe and painless since it only applies gentle force. Furthermore, the specialized chiropractor calculates the angle needed to apply the gentle force, accurately targeting the atlas.


In this article, we'll cover the atlas adjustment benefits, risks, and side effects, so you know what to expect.


Atlas Adjustment Risks

Chiropractic adjustments, including an atlas adjustment, are generally safe when performed by someone licensed and trained to deliver chiropractic care. Although risks and complications associated with an atlas adjustment are rare. Here are possible atlas adjustment risks:



One study analyzed over 250 medical articles and looked at specific benign or adverse effects from chiropractic care. Serious adverse effects accounted for one out of every two million spinal manipulations, including upper cervical care. This amounts to about 13 per 10,000 patients. It's important to note that the side effects of atlas adjustments and other forms of chiropractic adjustments are slightly more frequent, including stiffness, headache, and pain. However, most are resolved within 24 hours.


However, patients with spine cancer, osteoporosis, spine deformities, and must have an increased risk of stroke do not receive chiropractic care. That's because spinal manipulation can end up doing more harm than good.


Always do your research beforehand. Ask for referrals from your healthcare provider and look for patient reviews of the chiropractic. Meet with the chiropractor to discuss atlas treatment options and ask them about potential adverse effects associated with the treatment.


If you decide chiropractic care isn't for you, another alternative is to see an osteopathic doctor. Osteopaths are fully trained and licensed doctors who practice all areas of medicine. They have been trained on the musculoskeletal system, including myofascial release, manual re-adjustments, and other physical manipulation of the muscle tissues and bones.


Healing Time After Adjustment

Generally, the healing time after an atlas adjustment can vary significantly. Some may feel the symptoms gone immediately, while others take weeks to heal.


Immediately following the atlas orthogonal adjustment, people will vary in the sensations they feel. However, nearly all patients will feel a sense of relief. That's because they'll notice that their head feels much lighter, and they'll have an increased range of motion. This means they'll be able to rotate their head in both directions without pain or dizziness. Others may notice that they can have better posture and balance while also breathing more deeply. Many will experience fewer symptoms, such as less shoulder, neck, and back pain, and their headaches may disappear.


If your pain or symptoms don't completely go away after the Atlas adjustment, it's important not to panic or worry. It's possible that your body can have some negative reactions after the treatment; however, it's important to realize that these reactions are only temporary.

explaining atlas orthogonal risks

Now that the need for compensation is gone, the posture has to readjust. This means weights need to be redistributed for proper alignment, and muscles that had experienced spasms must de-contract. Furthermore, the muscles that were atrophied will need to start working again.


Your body may undergo a "healing crisis" where the body may react negatively for some time. Fortunately, once this phase of chemical and postural balance adjustment is restored, the body will no longer have the reaction. Furthermore, the symptoms will disappear, and your energy will be back to normal.


A few days after the treatment, patients may notice an increased need for sleep, acute tiredness, muscle stiffness and pain in the back, neck, and lumbar region, pain in the hip joints and knee. The pain might be due to the sudden change in weight redistribution.


Atlas Adjustment Benefits

Although adjusting the atlas has proven beneficial to many patients, it's important to consult with a doctor before any treatment plan. Here are several benefits of an atlas chiropractic adjustment:


Improves Joint Movement

Any upper cervical spinal alignment puts pressure on the entire body. For example, let's say your car tires are misaligned.


You can still drive a car, but it takes more effort. The car pulls left and right, so you have to work to keep it straight constantly. If alignment is not achieved, the wheels will wear unevenly. This further reduces performance.


Similarly, when your vertebrae are in the wrong position, they move the muscles around them. These muscles stress other muscles, which puts pressure on the joints. Your joints work harder due to increased stress. This increases your chances of developing repetitive stress injuries, such as carpal tunnel.


Chiropractic brings the spine back into the correct position. This reduces pressure on the muscles, which reduces stress on the joints. Reducing pressure can improve joint mobility.


Helps Reduce Stress

Pain can quickly wear you down both physically and mentally, and that's where Atlas Chiropractic can help you regain your health. Working when you are in pain requires psychological effort. You need to focus on completing the task at hand and ignoring the pain.


At the same time, the pain interferes with normal sleep, and poor sleep slows healing and makes it difficult to think clearly. Add it all together, and your productivity often suffers. It also makes social activities more difficult or even impossible.


Let's assume that you usually run to get rid of frustration. If you hurt your back, you are in pain and cannot burn your frustration.


If one of your main social activities also involves exercise, like cycling or playing basketball with friends, that's also out of the ordinary. You are cut off from your social network. This further increases the stress level.


An Atlas chiropractic setting can reduce stress levels simply by reducing pain. Less pain, better sleep. This will improve mental clarity and speed up recovery. Your work will not suffer much, so your stress will be reduced on that front. You will return to your social routine faster and enjoy the mental benefits of these activities.


Non-Prescription Pain Management

About 85 million Americans prescribed medications for pain management. Some use it for joint and back pain, while others use it for disease-related pain. Unfortunately, developing a reliance on opioids can be dangerous, especially when it's abused.


Atlas chiropractic adjusts one path to pain reduction without the use of medications. The severity of the pain can also affect the opioid dosage. A severe neck or back pain would require the use of a fairly high-powered pain killer. Increasing doses can be problematic and lead to potential side effects. However, an atlas adjustment can reduce the pain, and over-the-counter medication can be used to manage minor pain after the treatment.


Treats the Root Cause and Symptoms Caused by the Misalignment

When people think of atlas corrections, they usually imagine muscle aches and stiffness, back pain, or neck pain. However, that's just part of the benefits. The atlas correction is designed to heal the entire body and promote better function. It addresses both the root causes and the symptoms.


Upper cervical chiropractors are committed to repairing the atlas subluxation and the atlas bone structure misalignment within the head and neck. This specific misalignment blocks the proper transmission of the fluids and signals between the brain and body. Consequently, it causes a lot of tension, pain, and stress. This pressure can damage many muscle tissues and joints within the doy. Through the years, the atlas adjustment can help people that suffer from these symptoms:

chiropractic atlas orthogonal treatment


Effectiveness of Atlas Orthogonal Adjustment

If you are wondering, "is atlas adjustment dangerous" we want to put that to rest. The Atlas orthogonal adjustment is a very precise and gentle method that corrects the upper cervical misalignment using a specialized atlas orthogonal percussion instrument. It is both a painless and safe form of care.


The procedure involves the use of x-rays along with other diagnostic scanners to measure the precise angle of the atlas misalignment accurately. In addition, adjustments are customized to each patient's needs. The customization and accuracy of the treatment allow for greater effectiveness.


Importance of certified orthogonal adjustments

At Natural Care Chiropractic, we value the importance of your care and want to give you the safest treatment possible. Diagnostics imagine a crucial first step in providing you with a tailored treatment plan that ensures every treatment is highly effective.


The high-frequency digital x-ray technology enables accuracy when determining the atlas misalignment. This process starts with four images; two from the front, one from the side, and one from the back of the bed. These detailed images are analyzed using a special computer program that provides a unique blueprint of the exact locations of where the misalignments are. Performing the certified atlas orthogonal treatment would be impossible without these x-ray images.


One concern that many patients have when visiting a chiropractor is safety. Often, people are fearful because they get the wrong idea of what the treatment will be like.


Atlas orthogonal adjustments are incredibly precise and safe. That's because the adjustment is delivered by a thin stylus that uses just three pounds of force. It employs a unique approach that only focuses on spinal adjustments and won't involve cracking or twisting, making it safe for even those with severe fear of being manipulated.


Patients typically will feel little to no discomfort during the process as they only feel minimal pressure from their spine without any manipulation techniques. On the contrary, most chiropractors will pop the joints back or adjust the neck using rotational motions. However, this form of treatment is much more gentle but can only be performed by a specialized upper cervical chiropractor training in atlas adjustments.


Board Certified Atlas Orthogonal Chiropractic

The atlas orthogonal chiropractic isn't a part of the main curriculum at most chiropractic colleges. However, it exists as a separate specialty that requires established doctors to develop competencies and learn outside of the basic chiropractic education. There are currently fewer than 250 worldwide doctors that have achieved this advanced certification.



The primary difference between traditional chiropractors and upper cervical chiropractic specialists is that the traditional chiropractor will make adjustments on the patient without x-rays.


what to expect after atlas adjustment

Conversely, upper cervical chiropractors will use x-rays and detailed imaging to make precise calculations. The atlas orthogonal technique can only be performed by chiropractors who have received postgraduate training specifically using the percussion instrument. The training involves:


  • Accurately measuring the angle of the atlas vertebrae

  • Utilizing a technique for very gentle corrections with a high precision

  • Accurately using the orthogonal medical instrument


Dr. Mark Fruend is one of the few practitioners with extensive Atlas orthogonal experience and is specifically trained in the carnival manipulation protocol. He's studied both in the United States and Internationally to acquire a breadth of knowledge in this area. Additionally, Dr. Friend has worked in tandem with dental professionals to treat TMJ problems and other related symptoms successfully.


At Natural Care Chiropractic, we want to help restore your body and put you back on track to good health. Book an appointment and talk with our specialized practitioners to see whether atlas orthogonal treatment is right for you.


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