For those that don't know me, I have suffered from chronic neck pain over the last 11 years after a biking accident in San Diego requiring stitches and a long night in the ER. Shortly after the accident I started to notice frequent neck pain that over the years intensified in frequency and length of pain days.
I have seen every type of practitioner including primary care physicians, osteopathic doctors, neurologists, physical therapists, acupuncturists, massage therapists, reiki practitioners, and chiropractors. I should also mention during this time I was diagnosed with a herniated disc on my C7 cervical vertebra. I've received cortisone shots and have been on pain management yet still experienced pain flares that occurred 3-4 times a month lasting 3 days at a time. This means I have been in serious pain 9-12 days a month with every flare leading to a full blown migraine. Yeah, I know...sounds terrible doesn't it?
For someone who takes very good care of her mind and body, this chronic pain has humbled me into accepting that I need to rely on medication to get through those pain days which has been an extremely tough order to digest. However, 2 months ago a friend who has been experiencing significant health challenges including pain and seizures, told me about an interesting chiropractic procedure she had been receiving and how much it has helped her reduce her symptoms.
Since I am extremely cautious about introducing more damage and pain to my condition, I inquired about the procedure and told her that my previous Chiropractic adjustments had been really rough and had caused ringing in my ears and no lasting pain reduction. She told me that this type of Chiropractic called Atlas Orthogonal is the opposite of rough and uses a non invasive mechanical impulse to naturally adjust the Atlas which is the top bone of the spine, the vertebrae that the head sits on. Orthogonal means at right angles, or square.
In a nutshell, the Atlas should be sitting level, or square, on the cervical spine (neck), and the head should be square on the Atlas. People with chronic neck pain may essentially not have their head on straight!
I decided to give this a try and I am extremely happy to say that I have seen a significant reduction in pain days since receiving 2 months of treatments. What is this treatment all about you wonder??
The Atlas Orthogonal (A.O.) Technique utilizes an adjusting instrument developed by Dr. Roy W. Sweat with the aid of engineers at Georgia Tech University. The precision of the A.O. instrument allows for a gentle adjustment that requires a very light force that straightens the Atlas and reduces pain. No forceful manipulations needed. Hallelujah!!
A study in the Journal of the Canadian Chiropractic Association looked at the impact of upper cervical low-force (UCLF) chiropractic procedure in the management of neck pain and disability and concluded that the atlas alignment following the first adjustment was associated with a better outcome in 2-weeks for disability from neck pain.
Although this procedure may not be for everyone, it has significantly reduced my pain days and I will continue to participate in this gentle, pain reducing treatment. I will remain cautiously optimistic!
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