What is upper cervical care?

Within chiropractic care, there are a variety of treatment methods and specialties. Upper cervical care is one of these specialties that focuses on the neck. It assesses specific problems of the neck and the well-being of the patient. Upper cervical is a term describing the top part of your neck. This includes the skull, the first vertebra (C1 or the Atlas), and the second vertebra (C2 or the Axis). The upper cervical region is very unique. The movement, neurology, and vertebral structures are different than the rest of the spine. The upper cervical area has the most rotation, flexion, and extension. The neurology is special because at this level of the spine the spinal cord is still brain stem. The brain stem is a part of the brain where important functions are being processed. Their unique shape protects the brain stem. The shape allows for the great range of motion that happens in the upper neck. Here at Cascade Chiropractic and Wellness, we choose the Atlas Orthogonal upper cervical technique to assess and treat our patients.

Why Atlas Orthogonal?

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We have found the Atlas Orthogonal technique to very valuable. The technique starts with an in-depth history and exam. Understanding the patient’s history and pain experience helps to understand the problem. Part of our interview is also searching for the goals of the patient. This makes it so doctor and patient can have a target to focus on. It also makes it so communication stays clear throughout the treatment process. The exam consists of postural, structural, neurological, and orthopedic tests. We take x-rays to measure the exact position of the cervical spine. Special focus is on the Atlas vertebra. Any misalignment can cause a huge variety of symptoms. Symptoms can range from a mild head pressure or neck soreness to severe headaches, dizziness, nausea, and neck pain. Atlas Orthogonal upper cervical technique does a fantastic job of resolving these symptoms. It does this by restoring proper function and alignment.

 How is upper cervical care different than typical chiropractic care?

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Upper cervical techniques are different in the way they focus on specific details of the neck. The adjustments are different as well. Typical chiropractic adjustments are done with turning motions of the neck. Then a small push motion helps to improve the joint movement. In Atlas Orthogonal technique the doctor adjusts the atlas bone with a special tool and adjusting table. Placing the stylus behind the ear allows for the adjustment. Measurements from specific x-rays calculate the angles to make the adjustment accurate. There are no twisting or popping sounds that happen. As this adjustment sets, changes can sometimes be felt throughout the body.

Why do we like Atlas Orthogonal so much?

At Cascade Chiropractic and Wellness doctors Dr. Chirs Cooper and Dr. Tyrel Johnson enjoy working with the Atlas Orthogonal technique. This is because it offers a better solution for many patients. Some patients come to our office having seen other doctors and not had their symptoms fully resolved. We then use the Atlas Orthogonal exam to see if it is appropriate for an adjustment. In most cases, we can proceed to adjustments for them. They improve and can live happier pain and symptom feel lives. “After seeing patients with severe headaches, migraines, vertigo, dizziness, neck pain, post-concussion syndrome, trigeminal neuralgia, and many other conditions drastically improve, I use this technique every chance I get.” – Dr. Johnson.