Atlas Subluxation Complex and the Chiropractic Benefits

Is constant neck pain and stiffness disrupting your daily activities? Are you also experiencing dizziness, poor balance, trouble hearing, or just generally not feeling your best?

If so, atlas subluxation complex is potentially to blame. When misaligned, your atlas, or C1 vertebra, not only causes discomfort in the affected area but also impacts the overall function of your nervous system.

Fortunately, it’s possible to realign the atlas through spinal re-engineering chiropractic care.

Ready to jumpstart the healing process? Here’s what you need to know about atlas subluxation complex and the chiropractic benefits.

What is Atlas Subluxation?

Atlas subluxation is the misalignment of the top neck bone, or the C1 vertebra. Perhaps better known as the atlas, this small bone directly supports your skull, yet remains freely moveable.

When pushed out of place, this bone puts pressure on the brain stem, negatively impacting the function of the central nervous system. The nerves end up irritated and unable to properly transmit impulses as a result.

The poor function of your nerves keeps your brain from properly controlling all the processes in your body. Physical symptoms arise most often, although you might also experience brain fog, have focus issues, and just generally feel out of sorts.


Symptoms that arise due to the misaligned vertebrae and resulting nerve damage include:

  • Pain throughout the neck
  • Neck stiffness
  • Back pain
  • Poor shoulder mobility
  • Pain in the jaw
  • Headaches
  • Muscle spasms
  • Numbness in the arms
  • Dizziness
  • Balance issues
  • Difficulty hearing
  • Tinnitus

The symptoms can change, too, in both type and severity. It all comes down to how much pressure the misaligned atlas puts on the nerves and surrounding tissues.


Atlas subluxation complex often arises due to physical trauma, like:

  • Car accidents
  • Slip and fall accidents
  • Contact sports

Even the birthing process can result in misalignment of the C1 vertebra.

Since the C1 vertebra is easily moveable and always under the weight of your skull, it doesn’t take much to end up with a misaligned atlas. The misalignment may not always cause symptoms right away either.

So, it’s often hard to pinpoint the exact cause of the misalignment – but that doesn’t impact your ability to get care.

How is Atlas Subluxation Addressed?

Atlas subluxation complex is best addressed through spinal re-engineering chiropractic care. Through that process, it’s possible to resolve the root cause of the problem using active release techniques, laser treatments, and other targeted procedures.

Upon restoring the alignment of your spine with help from your chiropractic sports medicine provider, you’ll learn about lifestyle changes and other techniques designed to reduce the risk of recurrence. The holistic approach to care promotes whole body healing and strengthening for improved wellness.

Initial Consultation Appointment

The atlas subluxation complex care process starts with the creation of a comprehensive care plan at the initial consultation appointment.

During that appointment, you will undergo a thorough exam and x-rays. Then, you’ll learn about the severity of the spinal misalignment before getting your first adjustment.

Before heading out the door, you will receive your care plan designed to fully resolve the root cause of your discomfort. Your personalized care plan will include all the treatments needed to realign your spine and promote healing.

Additional Visits for Care

At subsequent visits, you’ll receive all the care that the atlas needs to gradually move back into its ideal position. The treatments vary from patient to patient, depending on their unique needs.

For the most part, your chiropractor will perform precise adjustments that guide the atlas into alignment. The small adjustments center around the principles of biomechanics, reducing stress on your bodily structures one step at a time.

All along the way, you’ll have additional x-rays performed to confirm the progress made with each adjustment. You may then need additional treatments to further promote healing.

The two main treatments that help kickstart the body’s natural healing process include:

  • Active Release Technique: Key adjustments designed to break up scar tissue and bring healing blood flow to the affected area
  • Laser Therapy: Low-level laser treatments that reduce inflammation, decreases pain, and helps stimulate the regeneration of the nerves

The total amount of time it takes to resolve atlas subluxation complex largely depends on the severity of the misalignment. Complicating factors can extend the care process considerably, such as misaligned lower vertebrae.

If the C1 vertebra has been misaligned for a long period of time prior to treatment, that could lengthen the care process as well. Your body needs time for the affected soft tissues to slowly heal and strengthen, so they can better serve as a support for your realigned vertebra.

Benefits of Physical Therapy for Atlas Subluxation

Many treatments simply focus on relieving symptoms, which is only a temporary fix in the end. With physical therapy techniques, like spinal re-engineering, it’s possible to fully resolve the root cause of your symptoms.

You can then live free from the pain, discomfort, and other disruptive symptoms without worrying about them immediately starting up again. On top of that, your chiropractic care team will teach you how to support the ongoing health of your body to minimize the risk of subluxations.

Overall, the benefits of getting care for atlas subluxation complex include:

  • Pain relief
  • Range of motion increase
  • Restored nerve function
  • Elimination of all symptoms
  • Flexibility boost
  • Immune health improvements

Since the care techniques correct all of your joint biomechanics, the risk of injury decreases.

So, it just makes sense to give your body the support it needs to heal fully by getting spinal re-engineering chiropractic care. And at Team Chiropractic & Sports Medicine, we make it easy.

If you’d like to schedule your initial consultation appointment, all you have to do is give us a call at 919-788-8881 to reach our Raleigh office or 919-570-6160 for care in Wakefield. Please download our New Patient Offer before coming in to get a great deal on your first exam, x-rays, and adjustment. You’ll receive a Doctor’s Report at that visit, outlining your care plan from start to finish.


Raleigh Office

309 West Millbrook Road
Suite 199
Raleigh, NC 27609


Monday: 7:30AM–12PM & 3PM–6PM
Tuesday: 7:30AM–12PM & 3PM–6PM
Wednesday: 7:30AM–12PM
Thursday: 7:30–12PM & 3PM–6PM
Friday: 7:30AM–12PM
Saturday & Sunday: Closed

Wakefield Office

12740 Spruce Tree Way
Suite 103
Raleigh, NC 27614


Monday: 7:30AM–12PM & 3:30–5:45PM
Tuesday: 7:30AM–12PM
Wednesday: 7:30AM–12PM & 3:30–5:45PM
Thursday: 3:30–5:45PM
Friday: 7:30AM–12PM
Saturday & Sunday: Closed

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