How Did I Get This Way?
The Atlas Subluxation Complex (ASC) most frequently occurs from an accident or injury. More often than not, many injuries have occurred over time and lifestyle factors have compounded the damage. Examples of common injuries which can cause the ASC include:
- a long, stressful labor
- a difficult birth; use of forceps or suction
- a cesarean birth
- childhood falls, bumps, bruises
- placing the head and neck in extreme positions
- sports injuries
- bike accidents
- motor vehicle accidents
- a thousand other events too numerous to list
Lifestyle factors that contribute to and worsen subluxation damage include:
- poor eating habits
- too little activity
- overuse of drugs, whether over the counter, prescribed, or illegal
- overuse of chemicals - nicotine, alcohol, caffeine, cleaning agents, etc.
- physical and/or mental stress
The accidents and injuries that we all experience can damage the muscles and ligaments that hold the uppermost vertebra (the atlas) in place. The atlas shifts out of place ever so slightly and presses upon, stretches, or otherwise impinges on the nerves of the brain stem. This causes interference in the nerve flow between the brain and body and most commonly affects the muscles along the spine, typically tightening the muscles along one side. This muscle tightening pulls one hip up higher than the other, which pulls the leg up also and causes what appears to be a short leg. To compensate for the muscle tightening, the entire spine shifts or twists out of place in order to try and stabilize and remain upright against the force of gravity. This structural imbalance leads to structural degeneration--arthritis, bone spurs, pinched nerves, bulging discs. The neurological imbalance leads to mal-function within body systems.
In 1981, Dr. Roger Sperry won the Nobel Prize in Physiology/Medicine when he discovered that 90% of the brain’s activity is used to balance our body within the gravitational field of the earth. He found that if our body is mechanically distorted (off-balance) it begins to affect the 10% of the brain’s activity that controls all other body functions, such as breathing, circulation, digestion, hormone production, etc.
A vertebra that impinges upon or otherwise engages upon a nerve is called a Subluxation. Neurologically, a subluxated vertebra interferes with the electro-chemical information that flows along that nerve. When nerve flow is compromised from the brain in some way, the function of the tissue, gland, muscle or organ that was to receive that nerve information is altered or diminished. Likewise, nerve flow from that tissue, gland, muscle, or organ back to the brain is also altered. Imagine if a nerve that goes to the heart is only receiving 70% of the brain’s message. Would that heart work properly?
In 2007, A Chicago-area study of 50 individuals with a misaligned Atlas vertebra and high blood pressure showed that after a specialized chiropractic adjustment [a NUCCA Correction], blood pressure decreased significantly. The decrease was equal to taking two blood-pressure drugs at once. The results are published in the online March 2 issue of the Journal of Human Hypertension.*
In 1921, Dr. H. Windsor of the University of Pennsylvania dissected a total of 75 human cadavers and 72 cat cadavers to determine if there was a relationship between the shape of the spine (alignment) and the health of the internal organs (presence or absence of disease). His results revealed a nearly 100% correlation between “minor curvatures” of the spine and diseases of the internal organs. Let’s examine some of these disease categories**:
All 20 cases with heart and pericardium conditions had the upper five thoracic vertebrae misaligned (T1-5).
All 26 cases of lung disease had spinal misalignments in the upper thoracic area.
All nine cases of spinal misalignment in the mid-thoracic (T5-9) area had stomach disease.
All 13 cases of liver disease had misalignments in the mid-thoracic area (T5-9).
Gall Bladder Disease
All five cases with gallstone disease had spinal misalignments in the mid-thoracic area (T5-9).
All three cases with pancreas disease had spinal misalignments in the mid-thoracic area (T5-9).
All 11 cases with spleen disease had spinal misalignments in the mid-thoracic area (T5-9).
All 17 cases with kidney disease were out of alignment in the lower thoracic area (T10-12).
Prostate and Bladder Disease
All eight cases with prostate and bladder disease had the lumbar vertebrae misaligned (L1-3).
The two cases with uterine conditions had the second lumbar vertebra misaligned.
Dr. Winsor's results were published in The Medical Times. Other researchers have confirmed his discovery. Today’s medical literature frequently contains research which proves Chiropractic’s theory and effectiveness.
The take home message is that the structure of the body directly affects the function of the body. And the everyday minor and significant stresses and injuries we experience are enough to compromise the health and well-being of our body. When the spine is imbalanced and the nervous system is compromised, body systems do not work properly. Ultimately, this causes or contributes to symptoms, health decline, and illness.
"Having lived with severe neck pain for most of forty years, my life had been one long search for pain relief. Through the years, I saw countless specialists, some at prestigious clinics; had periods of intense physical therapy, treatment at three pain clinics, nerve blocks, traction, MRIs, used the whole gamut of drugs and traditional chiropractic treatment. Help was very limited and most made my condition worse. I met Dr. Mike at a support meeting and, feeling I had nothing to lose and that I had tried everything else, I started care. My problem was readily identified on the precision x-rays he took and after a series of corrections I am pain free and optimistic about the future. I'm thankful I found this kind, caring professional, someone who got to the source of my problem and didn't just treat the symptoms. I no longer get up in the morning and wonder how I am going to get through another day. I am so glad he chose Charlottesville for his practice."
**All quotes taken from: Winsor, H. Sympathetic segmental disturbances-II. The evidence of the association, in dissected cadavers, of visceral disease with vertebrae deformities of the same sympathetic segments. Medical Times, Nov. 1921, 49, pp. 267-271.