The restoration of your health is our top priority, and the Atlas Orthogonal procedure can help you get there. As most chiropractic techniques focus on the spine, Dr. Nygaard’s focus is the brain. To understand the importance of the procedure, it is important to first look at the connections between the upper cervical spine and the function of the brain.

The brain controls and coordinates every function of the body. It is able to make changes in the body by sending signals down nerves in the spinal cord, passing through the bottom of the skull, through the atlas bone, and down the rest of the spine before the major nerves start branching to various areas of the body. The nerves that travel through the atlas need to be free of any interference that could alter or block nerve signals from getting through clearly.

Although not considered in many medical or chiropractic procedures, an atlas misalignment (also called a craniocervical junction misalignment) can be one of the most destructive problems to compromise health. There are some significant features of the atlas bone that make it the primary focus of the Atlas Orthogonal procedure. The atlas bone is the first moveable bone through which the nerves from the brain pass to the entire body. The craniocervical junction (the joint between the skull and the atlas) is much less stable than the rest of the spine due to smaller supporting ligaments and flatter bone structure. This design allows for greater movement of the head in every direction, but leaves that joint less stable and much more susceptible to injury or misalignment with falls, concussions, head injuries and accidents. Due to its unstable nature, atlas bone can sometimes misalign from a smaller and seemingly insignificant event.


This atlas misalignment can have a significant impact on the function of the body. The primary problem associated with an atlas misalignment is interference in nerve signals coming through the atlas bone in an area called the brain-stem.

Along with its impact on the function of the nerves, the atlas bone has direct contact with blood vessels that bring blood to and from the brain. The muscles of the upper neck are among the most sensitive in the entire body for controlling body orientation. This upper cervical region is also the junction point for the flow of cerebral spinal fluid between the brain and the spinal cord. These associated structures can become compromised by an atlas misalignment.

If an individual has a misalignment of the upper cervical spine, the symptoms may vary greatly. Some people have subtle symptoms like slight posture changes, difficulty sleeping, or mild headaches. Others may have severe conditions develop over long periods of time such as migraines, seizures, and scoliosis. Even though symptoms vary person to person, there are consistent functional changes that occur with the misalignment including:

misaligned atlas Atlas Chiropractic Asheville NC
  • Direct nerve pressure causing altered nerve signals
  • Spinal cord tension caused by supporting ligament structures
  • Diminished blood flow through the vertebral artery
  • Backed up blood flow from compression of the jugular and vertebral vein
  • Turbulent flow of cerebral spinal fluid
  • Imbalanced body to brain signals that alter posture control
  • Your nerve system goes into a fight-or-flight state
  • Connections between the muscles and the covering of the spinal cord causing pain

Each one of these individual or combined changes can produce a variety of problems with the function of the body. Some of the conditions that can be cause by these changes include:

  • Migraines
  • Tension Headaches
  • Seizure Disorders
  • Trigeminal Neuraligia
  • Bell’s Palsy
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Disequilibrum
  • Meniere’s Disease
  • Tinnitus
  • Vertigo and Dizziness
  • Post-Concussive Syndrome
  • Post-Whiplash Syndrome
  • Arnold Chiari
  • Back Pain
  • Neck Pain

Often, these functional changes will be diagnosed and treated without defining the root cause of the problem. It is our firm belief that in order to make the most substantial change in your health, we must first trace the problem back to the root.

The Atlas Orthogonal Procedure

Atlas Orthogonal Atlas Chiropractic Asheville NCCarefully evaluating and correcting a misalignment of the upper cervical spine can make profound changes in your health. The primary procedure used at Atlas Chiropractic of Ashville is called the Atlas Orthogonal technique. If an atlas misalignment is identified and it is causing interference on the nerve or other structures in the upper cervical spine, Dr. Nygaard is able to correct the misalignment using the Atlas Orthogonal procedure.

The Atlas Orthogonal procedure involves careful measurement of the bone structures taken from X-rays of the upper cervical spine. Once the atlas misalignment has been identified and measured, a specific and calculated correction can be made.

The adjustment itself is done by an Atlas Orthogonal Instrument. This instrument is designed to make a very precise correction using specific angles calculated by Dr. Nygaard from the X-rays taken of the upper neck. The instrument uses a percussion sound wave, meaning there is no twisting, cracking, or popping. The Atlas Orthogonal procedure is one of the most gentle chiropractic procedures in the world.

Following the adjustment, a reassessment is performed and post X-rays are taken to ensure the atlas misalignment has been corrected and the body is beginning to respond. When the misalignment is corrected, it allows signals between the brain and the body to be restored, and significant changes occur such as:

  • Muscles relax
  • Blood flow improves
  • The body begins to heal
  • The immune function improves
  • Cognitive function improves

As Dr. Nygaard guides you through this restoration process, he will be monitoring your health and response to the care. If necessary, additional corrections may be made or spinal disc decompression may be necessary to maximize your health and recovery.



In order to properly determine if the Atlas Orthogonal procedure is right for you, a thorough evaluation of the spine and the function of the nerves must be made. X-rays will also be taken and analyzed to determine the position of the bones of the spine and the effect they are having on the body.

Call Dr. Nygaard’s Office Today!

The relationship of your atlas (first cervical vertebra) to your head and cervical spine contributes to the overall tension and balance of your entire spine. Body imbalance affects body structure and many of the functions controlled or regulated by your nervous system.

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

Muscle or joint pains in the body are an indication of body imbalance.


Contact us today to learn about Atlas Chiropractic of Asheville and the many conditions we treat. 828-253-0700