top of page

Atlas Orthogonal
Specialized care for the upper cervical spine


Atlas Care FAQ

What is the atlas and why does it matter?

Atlas Orthogonal (AO) is a gentle, effective chiropractic technique based on precise analysis of x-rays and a specific, light adjustment in order to restore health and function without manipulation or discomfort. 

The atlas (or C1)  is the top vertebra in the neck that the head rests upon. The head weighs between 9 and 14lbs and balancing this on a delicate spinal column is extremely important!

atlas misalignment.gif

It is critical that this vertebra be aligned properly because it sits at the craniocervical junction. This affects:

  • Muscles and nerves of the head and face

  • Brainstem and parts of the brain that connect to organs

  • Posture and muscle balance

  • Connection and communication between the brain and body

  • Biomechanics of the entire body

Can my atlas affect my lower back? My hips? My shoulders?

Yes! The body compensates for atlas misalignment by shifting out of balance, placing additional stress on the shoulders, mid and lower back, hips, knees and feet.  These compensations are made in an effort to keep the head centered over the feet, but it leads to an unbalanced frame and poor biomechanics

skeletal misalignment.gif

What is it like to receive Atlas Orthogonal care?

Your AO doctor will perform an exam to determine if you are a candidate for atlas care. If so, all necessary x-ray views will be taken and analyzed in depth to obtain the exact measurements needed to make a correction to the misaligned joints. The adjustment is a gentle, specific correction made using an instrument to be as precise as possible, and there is no twisting, popping, or forceful manipulation of the neck. 

What education does an AO doctor have?

Chiropractors are educated in a 4-year doctoral program with a strong focus in neuroanatomy. A residency is built-in to this program to allow hands-on clinical experience. AO doctors are chiropractors who have undergone an additional board certification and 2-year course of study specifically on the upper cervical region of the spine. Continuing education is required annually to build upon the doctor's knowledge and skill.

Signs of upper cervical dysfunction:

  • Head tilt

  • Unbalanced shoulders or hips

  • Too much curve in the spine

  • Not enough curve in the spine

  • Muscle tension or spasm

  • Jaw problems

  • Sleep disturbances

  • Headaches

  • Pain in the back, knees, hips, or feet


Atlas Orthogonal care may be helpful for you! You should consult with an Atlas Orthogonal doctor to determine if you would benefit from this type of care. Come to Peak Health Chiropractic and see if AO care may be right for you! 

If you are suffering from:

  • Headaches including migraines

  • Popping or grinding in your neck

  • Neck pain

  • Radiating pain, tingling or numbness in the arms

  • Back pain

  • Hip, knee or foot pain

  • Sciatica

  • Organ dysfunction

  • Vertigo or dizziness

  • Chronic pain or fibromyalgia

  • Scoliosis

  • Poor balance and lack of coordination

  • Difficulty sleeping

  • Chronic fatigue

bottom of page