Atlas Orthogonal

Atlas Chiropractic of Asheville

Where precision technology meets clinical expertise

“It is entirely possible that a recent or previous neck injury, if unaddressed, can be the underlying cause of your health concern.”
—Dr. David Nygaard

Your health issues are not imaginary. They’re not “all in your head,” or something you “just have to learn to live with.”

In many cases, chronic pain is rendered ‘untreatable’ by physicians, specialists, and even other chiropractors.

Patients are left feeling hopeless, frustrated, and discouraged as they contemplate living the rest of their lives with the discomfort and limited functionality caused by their condition.

But it doesn’t have to be this way.

What is Atlas Orthogonal?

The Most Specific & Gentle Adjustment in Chiropractic

Orthogonal is an engineering term which means 90º. A properly aligned atlas should be perpendicular (90º) to the center of the head and neck.

To restore proper head and neck position, we must correct the upper cervical misalignment, which requires advanced technology and analysis.

Asheville Atlas Orthogonal - How it WorksThis specialized technique is known as Atlas Orthogonal, and there are fewer than 250 Board Certified doctors practicing it worldwide.

Dr. David Nygaard is one of those practitioners.

The Atlas Orthogonal adjustment is administered using a table-mounted instrument. It was  designed and perfected by Dr. Roy Sweat, the founder of Atlas Orthogonal and a close mentor of Dr. Nygaard’s.

In the adjusting head of the instrument, there is a solenoid that strikes a stylus. The stylus does not move, but creates a percussional sound wave that is transmitted through its tip.

The tip is placed over the side of the atlas vertebra, just behind the ear, and the percussive force gently moves the atlas in the desired direction, based on precise specifications and using only a 3 pound force.

Correction Without Popping or Cracking – Experience the Difference

Digital X-Rays - Atlas OrthogonalThese specifications are determined using advanced imaging and analysis. Digital X-rays are taken and computer analyzed to determine the specific misalignment present. These calculations determine the vectors of the Atlas Orthogonal adjustment.

For more than two decades, Dr. David Nygaard has been the only Atlas Orthogonal clinician in WNC. He was the first chiropractor in the Asheville area to offer in-office digital x-rays.

Your health concern may be the result of compromised brain function, resulting from a misalignment of the atlas.


Your brain controls and regulates every cell, tissue, organ, and system of the body.

The spinal cord  is like a bundle of phone cables going back and forth to the brain, telling the body what to do.

The brain stem, which is at the level of the atlas vertebrae, is your body’s “Grand Central Station.” It is a vital junction box, where nerve impulses converge and are relayed to the body.

Brain Stem Issues Caused by Atlas Misalignment

Brain Stem Issues Caused by Atlas Misalignment
Aligned vs Misaligned Atlas - Atlas Orthogonal

Body Imbalance Caused by Misalignment

The relationship of your atlas (first cervical vertebra) to your head and cervical spine contributes to the overall tension and balance of your entire muscular system.

When the weight of the head (10-14 lbs.) is shifted off-center at the top of the neck, and held in a misaligned position by the muscles of the neck, the body becomes imbalanced.

Muscle, joint, and disc pain in the body are an indication of body imbalance.

In an effort to keep your head over the center of the neck, the spine and pelvis will twist, causing one leg to shorten, which in turn causes body imbalance.

Body imbalance affects body structure, and many of the functions controlled or regulated by the nervous system.

Body Imbalanced vs Body Balanced
Misalignment Imbalances - Atlas Orthogonal

Common Signs of an Upper Cervical Problem

  • Muscle or joint tenderness / stiffness
  • While lying down, one of your legs is longer than the other
  • Standing up, one of your hips is higher and one lower.
  • Your head moves farther to one side than the other.
  • Muscle imbalances
  • Pain with normal movement
  • Having to pop and crack your back or neck

Have you been in an auto accident?

Did you know that with proper diagnostics, you can be adjusted with the light force atlas instrument just hours after a traumatic whiplash or head injury? If you’ve been in an accident, please call us so we can begin treatment as soon as possible.