Atlas Orthogonal vs. Traditional Chiropractic

How is Atlas Orthogonal chiropractic treatment different from traditional chiropractic treatment?

Training and Credentials

Atlas Orthogonal chiropractic is not a part of the core curriculum at most chiropractor colleges, but it does exist as an entirely separate specialty that requires students or established doctors to learn and develop competencies outside of basic chiropractic education.

Dr. David Nygaard is board certificated in advanced upper cervical care; Atlas Orthogonality. There are currently less than 250 worldwide doctors that has achieved this advanced certification.

Imaging & Technology

A major difference between upper cervical chiropractic specialists and traditional chiropractors is that the doctor will not adjust the patient without x-rays.
Dr. David Nygaard relies on detailed imaging and precise calculations. At Atlas Brain and Body we understand the importance of your care. Diagnostic imaging is an important first step in providing you with a tailored treatment plan that will ensure that every treatment is effective.

The high frequency digital x-ray technology allows for precision and accuracy when determining your misalignment. The reason that your Atlas adjustment is so precise is because of these very specific x-ray imaging. Getting started requires 4 images; 1 from the side, one from the back of your head and 2 from the front. These images are the analyzed with a unique computer program providing a unique blueprint of where your misalignments are.

Atlas Orthogonal treatment would be impossible without these images.

Specialized Care

Upper cervical chiropractors specialize in the most important part of your nervous system – the brain stem. Think of the brain stem as the junction box for your communication between the brain and the rest of your body.

Misalignment at the base of your skull can interfere with this communication. The most critical area to have properly aligned in your body is the vertebrae that are located below the skull (known as the atlas and axis – the first and second cervical vertebrae).

The upper cervical misalignment is the most complex and difficult region of the spine to align, but when correction is achieved the results can be simply amazing.

Specialized specific care also means that fewer adjustments will be needed.

Focus on head to neck balance

The focus of upper cervical chiropractic is to establish the proper relation between the skull and the top vertebrae called the atlas. This removes any interference to the nervous system that may be present as a result of an atlas misalignment.

As the correction in the upper neck is achieved the entire body is brought back into balance as stress on posture nerves feeding the brain stem is relieved. This is why people with problems even in the lower part of their body respond well to the Atlas Orthogonal correction.

Patients notice changes throughout their entire body as normal alignment and posture is restored.

Atlas adjustments have full body consequences, while traditional chiropractic mobilizes stuck joints. This single segment focus has less of a full body affect.

Atlas adjustments help to restore your brain to body communication.

Measure effectiveness after each adjustment

After your Atlas adjustment, your doctor will check to evaluate your nerve pressure to feel that it has been relieved and that the top vertebrae are now in proper alignment.

You will be also asked if there is any tenderness or soreness present.

Your doctor will also measure and validate that your body is in a state of balance and that your leg length analysis shows the legs are even.

Gentle and pain free

The Atlas Orthogonal procedure is one of the most gentle chiropractic treatments in the world. It employs a unique approach that focuses solely on spinal adjustments and never involves twisting or cracking, which makes it safe for even those with severe fear of being manipulated.

Patients feel little to no discomfort during treatment as they are only feeling light pressure from their spine being adjusted without any other manipulation techniques used by more traditional chiropractors like popping joints back into place or adjusting them using rotational motions often seen in many forms of manual therapy.


One concern people have when thinking about visiting a chiropractor is safety. People often are scared because they have the wrong idea of what treatment will actually be like.

Because Atlas Orthogonal treatments are so precise these adjustments are extremely safe. The adjustment is delivered by an instrument that uses just 3 pounds of force.

Watch a Patient Describe Her First Atlas Adjustment

Contact us today to learn about Atlas Brain and Body and the many conditions we treat. 828-253-0700.

Dr. David Nygaard, MS, MBA
Board Certified Atlas Orthogonist
Atlas Brain and Body
(828) 253-0700
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Imagine you’re an early human in ancient times, sitting around a bonfire next to a river, grilling meat with the family. The sun is setting and it’s quiet.

Suddenly, an ancient alligator comes flying out of the river on the attack!

What happens in your body?

First, you get a shot of adrenaline. Your muscles clench, your heart starts racing, you’re instantly sweating, you get tunnel vision, and blood rushes to your vital organs.

Your emergency survival mode has been activated, giving you the energy you need to scoop up your family and run to safety.

We survived as a species thanks to our complex stress response.

Upper Chiropractic Care for Stress
Photo by Anthony Tran on Unsplash

In the perilous existence of early humans, our fight-or-flight response was extremely helpful when we were being attacked.

Nowadays, we face a different set of potential dangers. Modern-day threats are usually not as life-threatening as they were for our ancient counterparts. 

But our stress response is the same.

When our boss gives us unwelcome feedback or we discover an expensive parking ticket on our windshield, the switch can flip. Our ancient survival system can get triggered even when it’s not really needed.

While you may not actually be running for your life, many stressful situations can feel like an emergency. 

Unfortunately, our body’s response to what feels like a series of ongoing emergencies can be debilitating.

As you ruminate on life’s day-to-day stressors, you may develop pain or discomfort. Stress causes your muscles to stay contracted, which can result in tight shoulders, headaches, and lower back pain. 

Your body is trying to keep you in a ready position to fight off a wooly mammoth or sprinting leopard at a moment’s notice!

When your body holds its clenched position, awkward angles can create new stressors as the body works against itself, trying to avoid pain and maintain equilibrium. This only adds to the original stressors by creating new stress and pain in the body.

In a nutshell, our stress response can cause problems that can spiral, and the long-term effects of stress on our bodies can lead to serious illness.

Luckily, we have many tools for managing stress!

Some of us gravitate toward some not-so-healthy tools that bring temporary relief but ultimately do more harm than good. We might not even be aware that we’re avoiding exercise or reaching for an extra glass of wine every night to numb or avoid pain.

Ultimately, when we set the intention to reduce the stress in our lives and optimize our body to manage stress, we can feel empowered to make some healthy changes that will make a huge difference.

We’re fortunate in that we have a great understanding of how the stress response works.

Have you thought about getting some professional help in this department?

Tools for Managing Stress
Photo by bruce mars on Unsplash

Dr. David Nygaard at Atlas Chiropractic in Asheville can help you create a personalized plan for reducing and managing stress.

You may think of the chiropractor as someone who simply restores balance when the body gets out of whack. 

Of course they do! And you should seek treatment for misalignment that’s causing problems, for all the reasons mentioned above.

But you may not realize that a chiropractor can also work with you to address the causes of your body going out of whack in the first place.

They can do an assessment and then work with you on a holistic plan to address your:

With more tools in your toolkit, you will better manage the specific stress of your life in your specific body.

Which will reduce your stress and spark a positive chain of events!

Ultimately, you may not have actual predators chasing you (we hope not)! No matter what is stressing you out, we recommend working with a chiropractor to integrate stress management techniques.

Leading you to better health and a happier life.

Contact us today to learn about Atlas Brain and Body and the many conditions we treat. 828-253-0700

Dr. David Nygaard, MS, MBA
Board Certified Atlas Orthogonist
Atlas Brain and Body
(828) 253-0700
Follow me on Facebook

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Are you suffering? Is your body telling you something is wrong and isn’t working correctly? Explore a different approach to maintaining health.
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you feel for the rest of your life. Find long-lasting pain relief and restore brain-body balance at the only atlas orthogonal clinic in Asheville.


190 Broadway #205,
Asheville, NC 28801



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Wednesday – 8:00 am – 5:45 pm
Thursday –8:00 am – 5:45 pm
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