Orthospinology is a niche technique in the chiropractic field. Upper cervical chiropractors are focus on the upper cervical spine (the area of the neck that is just under the skull). They use diagnostics like x-rays from multiple angles to analyze the alignment of the top two vertebrae in the spine. If a misalignment is discovered, they use a gentle and precise technique to correct the misalignment.
Orthospinology has been practiced since the 1970’s, utilizing decades of research from chiropractic pioneers like Dr. Grostic, and expanding upon that research in further decades. This large body of research demonstrates the effectiveness of correcting and maintaining proper alignment of the upper cervical spine.
Why is the upper cervical spine special?
The top two vertebrae in the spine are called the atlas and the axis. These are the only two vertebrae that are named, and they are responsible for the majority of the head’s mobility. But that’s not all. These two vertebrae have the unique position of supporting the heavy head and protecting the brainstem.
Due to their great mobility, the atlas and the axis can also shift out of alignment more easily than the other vertebrae. While the vertebrae that are below the atlas and axis have interlocking features, the atlas and axis do not. If the atlas and axis become misaligned, they can pinch or put pressure on the brainstem and hinder the function of the central nervous system.
Getting to the Root of the Pain
People who are experiencing pain due to injury or illness often turn to pain medicine for quick relief. Their relief is only temporary, however, if they do not get to the root cause of their condition. Upper cervical chiropractic care gets to one of the root factors affecting many people’s health conditions: a misaligned atlas.
What can cause a misaligned atlas?
Many people assume that injuries like concussions from contact sports or whiplash from car accidents are the only ways that someone could sustain a neck injury. But there are many daily habits or common occurrences that can lead to the atlas becoming misaligned. Things like sleeping on your stomach, lying on your side while watching TV and propping your head up with your hand, having poor posture while at work, or holding the phone with your shoulder can cause the atlas to move out of place. Singular events that do not seem too serious at the time can also cause the atlas to shift. Stumbling and falling, children colliding on the playground, and failed attempts at doing tricks on a trampoline could be just enough force to cause an atlas misalignment.
Teaming Up with an Orthospinologist
Orthospinologists use advanced imaging technology to calculate the angle of misalignment and develop a treatment strategy that involves administering an adjustment at a precise angle. The adjustment is surprisingly gentle. It can be so gentle because every adjustment is specifically tailored to each patient. In fact, children and infants can be treated using this technique. There are no forceful motions involved with this method of care. The orthospinologist administers the adjustment using a special adjustment instrument or his or her hands.
You and your chiropractor can form a successful team in the quest for achieving and maintaining excellent health. Your role is to manage areas of your life that you have control over, such as posture, food consumption, a positive attitude, and scheduling enough time to rejuvenate and exercise. Your chiropractor’s role is to assess your body structure and provide corrections if needed. Together you can make a successful team!
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