The Orthospinology chiropractic technique, is a specialty within atlas-xray-200-300the field of chiropractic that focuses of the upper cervical region. Even more specifically, practitioners of the Orthospinology (previously Grostic technique, though often still spoken of by this name) concentrate on the Atlas vertebrae – the very first bone in the neck. Their goal is to make the Atlas bone orthogonal (or exactly perpendicular) to the skull and the Axis (the second bone from the top of the spine).
The premise behind Orthospinology (www.orthospinlogy.org) is that the first bone – the atlas – is central to the alignment of the remainder of the column. Imagine a marching band where the first member is out of position. All the other band members position themselves relative to the first member. When the first member is out of place, the entire band is out of formation. This is a crude analogy to explain the critical role played by the atlas in directing the alignment of the other vertebrae.
And, it’s not hard to imagine how the atlas may be out of alignment. The rather light atlas (it weighs about 2 ounces) supports the weight of the human head (which weighs about 9 to 17 pounds). Imagine the head as a golf ball and the atlas as the top of a golf tee. The small tee is best able to support the weight of the golf ball on top when it is straight up and down. The atlas can become misaligned as a result of chronic poor standing or sitting posture, an awkward sleeping position or improper lifting. These are all examples of gradual processes. The atlas can also be jarred out of alignment by an auto accident, bad fall, or a blow to the head.
When the atlas is out-of-alignment (non-orthogonal), the body will compensate in other ways to keep the heavy head centered over your feet. The other spinal vertebrae and the muscles in your neck, torso and lower back will alter their normal position and function in response (just like the marching band reacting to the position of the first member). Now you’ve created a situation where there may be excessive pressure on certain nerves, muscle spasms and tissue inflammation which can cause pain and dysfunction in other areas of the body. Research shows an atlas subluxation puts torque on the brain stem and will also adversely alter cerebrospinal fluid flow around the nervous system.
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