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Who Should Adjust your Atlas? Chiropractors, Osteopathic Physicians, Physical Therapists, Massage Therapists

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Question:  Dr Chan, do you only recommend a NUCCA type chiro for doing atlas adjustments? I have a regular chiro who says I need mine adjusted and I’m afraid it’ll mess up my jaw.


Answer: Dr. Chan – I recognize and value any modality that assists in aligning the various mal-aligned body parts. I have worked with certified and well trained NUCCA chiropractors as well as Atlas Orthogonist (AO) chiropractors (another branch of skilled chiro’s who focus with objective measurements on the atlas. Osteopathic physicians are very gentle and can be effective for others with underlying distortions at various levels of the body. Even skilled massage and or physical therapists (PT) well experienced and trained are also good. I am not into high velocity, high force practitioners. No bone crackers, neck snappers, etc. I rather encourage my patients to seek those who are gentle and don’t need to twist or jerk you, especially if the TMD patient has history of temporomandibular joint derangement. Gentle, light force, sometimes a skilled controlled tap is all that is required to make alterations for the better.

Beware! Most chiropractors typically do not calibrate their manual manipulative adjustments in an objective measured way. Most of the adjustments are done by instinctive subjective experience and training. Many TMD patients have no real way to know if the adjustments are helping them or creating more problems, especially to their neck as it relates to their bite. If the patient is a highly detailed properioceptively aware person (sensitive) aggressive over adjustments to the cervical/ neck region could cause further occlusal instability, especially during the physiologically measured occlusal management stages of treatment.

Thank you for asking!

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