Upper Cervical Care

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.

This 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.

Atlas Orthogonal Dr. Nygaard

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.

Dr. David Nygaard Digital X-rays

Correction Without Popping or Cracking – Experience the Difference

These 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.

Brain Stem Issues Caused by Atlas Misalignment

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.

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

Things You Need to Know About Atlas Orthogonal Spinal Adjustments

Do you still have doubts about the atlas orthogonal technique? Like most patients seeking a new alternative remedy, you must have a long list of questions and concerns about atlas orthogonal. Let us help you ease your worries by discussing the most vital information about this upper cervical procedure. 

#1. Atlas orthogonal is safe and effective

Without a doubt, atlas orthogonal is a safe remedy for chronic pain. It uses well-calculated measurements to adjust the C1 bone, eliminate signal interferences and neurovascular compression. While the adjustment instrument might look a bit overwhelming and scary, you can be confident that it works well in alleviating pain and fixing postural imbalances. 

#2. The adjustment tool uses low-force vibrations to fix the neck alignment

The instrument used in the procedure uses the vectors obtained in the initial assessment to apply just enough vibrations on the neck. The tool comes with a magnetic solenoid that regulates the pulsing movements of the stylus. 

On average, the force applied by the stylus ranges from 1.8 to 3 lbs, so you can barely feel the adjustments done during the procedure. You can, however, notice a significant change in your neck muscles and joints thanks to the changes made to your atlas bone. 

Many patients who receive atlas orthogonal spinal correction can attest to the procedure’s gentle approach. They also share inspiring stories of healing and recovery. 

#3. Your neck bone alignment can affect every body part – including your hips and legs

Some people disregard their atlas alignment until they start experiencing worrying concerns like persistent neck pain, chronic vertigo attacks, sensory sensitivity, fatigue, and impaired cognition. Studies explain that these problems often happen because of neurovascular compression and the sudden changes in the spine’s alignment. 

 When the spine no longer follows proper alignment, the rest of your body parts have to compensate. That’s why many patients with cervical subluxation have unleveled shoulders or legs. Additionally, the off-centered atlas bone can impinge on nearby tissues like the brainstem and vertebral artery. Consequently, this chain of events leads to poor communication between the brain and your body and disrupted blood flow to your brain and brainstem. 

It's crucial to restore balance in your C1 and head as soon as possible so you can cancel out the adverse effects and protect your body from further damage.  

#4. The sooner you address your C1 alignment, the faster you can heal and recover

We strongly suggest seeing an atlas orthogonal practitioner if you previously hurt your head or neck because of a sports accident, car collision, poor posture, or work-related tasks. This way, you can get C1 bone adjusted and prevent it from causing other health mishaps. The faster you resolve the issue, the sooner your body can recuperate. 

Call Our Atlas Orthogonal Practitioner Today

Indeed, atlas orthogonal aims to provide hope for patients suffering from chronic health problems. Whether you complain about chronic headaches, persistent neck pain, fibromyalgia or other issues, atlas correction presents a viable solution that you can readily tap into. 

All you need is to get your atlas bone checked to determine how far it shifted from its position. After that, your upper cervical doctor can provide the required adjustment to restore your off-centered atlas bone.

Are you ready to try atlas orthogonal and experience a different approach to healing? Call Atlas chiropractic of Asheville today to schedule your first appointment with Dr. Nygaard.

Book an Appointment Now!

Are you suffering? Is your body telling you something is wrong and isn’t working correctly? Explore a different approach to maintaining health.
This doesn't have to be the way
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



Office Hours

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