What is the atlas subluxation complex?

An Atlas Subluxation Complex (ASC) occurs when the top bones in your neck, also known as your upper cervical vertebrae, become stuck and don’t move the way they are supposed to. The brain sends information to the rest of the body through the brainstem which travels through these top vertebrae, atlas (C1) and axis (C2). So when the atlas and axis are stuck or not moving properly, sensory information can not be properly relayed to and from the brain. As a result, all sorts of issues and symptoms can arise. The atlas (C1) is one of the most important joints in the entire body. You can think of this area as your brain’s major communication highway, or main circuit breaker. After the information passes through the main circuit breaker, there are other fuses and smaller communication pathways that follow. In your house, you may blow specific fuses. This means there is one area of the house that the electricity is not going to reach. However, if you blow the main circuit breaker, there is going to be an electricity issue in the entire house. Since the upper cervical area is the main circuit breaker, if this area of your neck is not functioning properly, there will be problems with function throughout your entire body. This is known as the atlas subluxation complex. The most common issues caused by an Atlas subluxation complex are: neck pain, vertigo, headaches, migraines, sleep issues, and other chronic or neurological conditions.

How does the atlas subluxation occur

To narrow it down to one word, atlas subluxation is caused by trauma. There are 3 types of trauma that our bodies are exposed to, and we have to adapt and respond to them: physical, emotional, and chemical. Most people can remember a physical trauma like a car accident, ski fall, or sport injury. Most people heal from their initial injury, but never get their neck checked out to see if they have dysfunction in their vertebrae. Over time, this loss of function can lead to major symptoms and neurological health problems. Emotional and chemical trauma can also lead to physical dysfunctions. If you are constantly stressed and your brain has been in a fight or flight state for an extended period of time, this affects the way your brain functions and can cause issues in the upper cervical region of your neck.

What issues could present if you have ASC?

  • Pain in the neck
  • Reduced range of motion in the neck
  • Headaches and migraines
  • Sleep issues and fatigue
  • Extreme muscle stiffness and reduced shoulder movement
  • Back pain
  • Vertigo and dizziness

How do you find out if you have ASC?

Only a chiropractic examination can detect an ASC, and only a precise chiropractic adjustment can reduce its negative effect on your nervous system.

The first test that needs to be performed is a computerized infrared thermography test. This allows the doctor to see if there is nervous system dysfunction. Once there is confirmation that there is nervous system dysfunction, then orthopedic tests, palpation and motion x-rays are performed to know exactly where the problem is in the neck.

At Atlas Chiropractic of Boulder we have been taking care of people with Atlas subluxation complex for over 15 years. We have seen it all. Our doctors will listen to you and create an individualized plan for you. We are experts in the detection of atlas subluxations and correcting this dysfunction to get you back to living your normal, pain-free live.

If you have been told you “just have to live with it” or that there is nothing that can be done, this office is perfect for you. The great majority of our patients have found that there IS a solution, you do NOT have to live with your pain and suffering, and there is a safe and natural way to get your life back! Read one of our many Google reviews to see what kinds of issues have been resolved from our care.

Please call us to set up a complimentary 15 minute consultation with one of our expert doctors. Call the office at 303-442-5911 or simply fill out the webform below.