Specific Upper Cervical Chiropractic may have a huge impact on your nervous system, brain function, and overall health. If you’re only thinking of chiropractic for pain, then you’re missing out on a potentially life changing experience. This past weekend, Dr. Scott Null and Dr. Logan Null attended Orthospinology‘s 41st Annual Symposium which covers things like research, x-ray and MRI analysis, and improved adjusting techniques. We’re going to look at some new research that’s showing how even a small misalignment of your atlas vertebra, called a subluxation, may negatively affect your health and how a specific upper cervical correction can restore proper function.

There have been numerous cases reported of Upper Cervical Chiropractic helping some patients with various neurologic conditions. Things like parkinson disease, multiple sclerosis, seizures, headachesmigraines, and blood pressure have improved for some patients under upper cervical chiropractic care [1]. Just this weekend, we saw a presentation where another upper cervical chiropractor had a patient with diabetes improve their blood sugar.

The anatomy and it’s problems

Many upper cervical chiropractors have been seeing effects like this, but you may be wondering how an adjustment could affect these things. Evidence is pointing to a few things that may be contributing to a number of these conditions.

The upper cervical region, also known as the craniocervical junction (CCJ), is a complex area between your head and your neck. It is made up of the occiput, base of the skull; the atlas, the top bone in your neck; and the axis, the second bone in the neck. It also houses the transition from the brain stem to the spinal cord with a multitude of small ligaments and muscles. This area is also crucial for the proper flow of blood and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) that supply the brain with nutrients and remove waste.

Atlas Misalignment Subluxation Orthospinology Chiropractic

Minor injuries can cause the atlas vertebra to become misaligned or subluxated. This may put pressure on neurological structures like the brain stem or restrict the flow of blood and cerebral spinal fluid.

Injuries can cause the atlas to become misaligned, especially when the ligaments are damaged, and result in abnormal flow of the blood, CSF, and nerve impulses. A recent study found that losing the natural curve in the neck decreases the output of the vertebral artery [2]. Poor circulation causes sub-par function in the tissues and in this case, brain and nervous tissue is affected. This is compounded by disruption in the CSF flow, which can be caused by misalignments or subluxations of the atlas. It can block the flow of CSF and blood trying to leave the skull creating a back-up of waste products and turbulent flow which have been indicted in several neurodegenerative diseases [3,4].

Beginning to get the answers

At the conference over the weekend, we were lucky to hear from Julie Mayer Hunt, DC, DICCP, FCCJP, who is at the cutting edge of research into the CCJ and upper cervical chiropractic. In addition to her study on upper cervical chiropractic and a patient with multiple sclerosis, she has also helped demonstrate the importance of upright MRIs in imaging the CCJ [5,6]. She and others are demonstrating through research how an upper cervical adjustment can realign the CCJ and help restore proper blood, CSF, and nervous system flow.

Because of the CCJ relation to the brain stem, adjustments of the atlas can have affects throughout the body, but this is only if the atlas is subluxated. A Doctor of Chiropractic is the only one who can check you for subluxations and be able to tell you if they can help you. See yours today! 

We hope to bring you more of the exciting new research that we heard at the conference in future posts. Please leave a comment or contact us if you want to know more about something we covered or if there’s a topic you were hoping we would cover but didn’t get a chance to do in this article.


  1. Woodfield H, York C, Rochester P, Bales S, Beebe M, Salminen B et al. Craniocervical chiropractic procedures – a précis of upper cervical chiropractic. J Can Chiropr Assoc [Internet]. 2018 [cited 25 June 2018];59(2):173-192. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4486989/
  2. Bulut M, Alpayci M, Şenköy E, Bora A, Yazmalar L, Yavuz A et al. Decreased Vertebral Artery Hemodynamics in Patients with Loss of Cervical Lordosis. Medical Science Monitor. 2016;22:495-500. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26876295
  3. Simon M, Iliff J. Regulation of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) flow in neurodegenerative, neurovascular and neuroinflammatory disease. Biochimica et Biophysica Acta (BBA) – Molecular Basis of Disease. 2016;1862(3):442-451. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26499397
  4. Flanagan M. The Role of the Craniocervical Junction in Craniospinal Hydrodynamics and Neurodegenerative Conditions. Neurology Research International. 2015;2015:1-20. Available from: https://www.hindawi.com/journals/nri/2015/794829/
  5. Hunt J. Upper Cervical Chiropractic Care: Case Study of a Patient with Loss of Ambulation and Debilitating Pain. Michigan Association of Chiropractors [Internet]. 2016. Available from: https://chiromi.com/aws/MAC/pt/sd/news_article/120625/_PARENT/layout_details/false
  6. Hunt J. Observations at the Craniocervical Junction Using Upright MRI. [Internet]. 2018. Available from: https://mayerchiropractic.com/research/

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