Atlas Orthogonal (AO) is a specialty technique of chiropractics that concentrates specifically on the first and second vertebrae of the spinal column. However to be precise and in order to define this fully, firstly we must look at the individual words. Orthogonal pertains to or involves right angles or perpendiculars ie an orthogonal projection. Secondly the atlas also known as the C1 bone is the uppermost vertebra bone positioned atop of the spine to which is connected the skull. Named after the Greek God `Atlas' whom carried the weight of the world upon his shoulders.
So to does the C1 balance the weight of the head upon the spine. This is an interesting point as the human head weighs approx 4.5 - 5kg and constituting on average 8% of our total body mass. This is a substantial amount and is akin to the weight of a bowling ball! The perfect and correct positioning of the C1 therefore should be orthogonally aligned to keep the body straight and in total equilibrium. This precarious positioning relies heavily upon the numerous muscle and ligament matrix to keep it positioned correctly. A point worthy of mention is that it is the C1 vertebra that allows the head free movement within it's vertical and horizontal range of motions.
What happens when things go wrong?
An unaligned C1 bone can have an extreme ramification on the skeletal system, which will then consequently result in an unbalance in equilibrium as the spine twists and curves to compensate the heads new position in an effort to maintain its centre of gravity. This compensation then brings about uneven weight distribution on either side of the body causing many problems such as a shift in the once orthogonal horizontal and vertical or perpendicular axis of the shoulder blade, pelvic bone and creating stress upon the muscles,ligaments. In turn effecting the central nervous and myofascia inter connective tissue systems. Naturally enough any compression of nerves exiting along the length of the spinal column can cause adverse pain in the process.
Diagnostically patients are treated individually based upon assessment of medical history and present injuries and symptoms, this of which includes a precise x-ray taken of the spine and neck from varying angles to ascertain the present position of the atlas, then post x-rays are taken after the treatment to analyse once correct orthogonal re-alignment has been achieved. The rest of the procedure is to use a percussive instrument a tool that is uses a gentle vibrational force to re-position the atlas vertebra. The atlas orthogonal procedure method of treatment was developed by Dr Roy Sweat who followed in the footsteps of the pioneering clinic studies carried out by Dr B.J. Palmer in the early 1900's when discovering that it was the atlas vertebra that controlled the position of the head and the subsequent positioning of the spine.
For more educational content and video's regarding the Atlas Orthogonal treatment I highly recommend checking out the website
About Atlas Orthogonal.
Professional profile of Dr Darren Scheuner DC BCAO
Chiropractic specialist Darren Scheuner is fully accredited and is Atlas Orthogonal Board Certified. Darren carries out treatment from within his clinic Atlas Chiropractics in Burleigh Heads, Queensland which is fully equipped with x ray, table instrument and AO Australia portable instruments.