Diagnosis of an atlas malposition
A detailed anamnesis discussion, as a basic diagnostic measure, can confirm the suspicion of an atlas malposition and exclude other clinical pictures. A preliminary finding can be made by palpation. If there is any suspicion of an atlas malalignment, the best way to clearly prove it is by means of computer tomography (CT).
The high radiation exposure that occurs in comparison to a classical X-ray image must be pointed out. However, unambiguous evidence can only be provided by computed tomography. In this case, magnetic resonance tomography is rather unsuitable.
Treatment / Therapy
The treatment usually takes place in one session. It is a gentle and painless treatment, without invasive or chiropractic methods. There are no manoeuvres such as dislocation by turning the head, stretching or bending.
Only the muscles in the area of the first and second cervical vertebrae and in the area of the skull are loosened by shock wave therapy. The fact that the muscles supporting the atlas are not directly accessible makes shock wave therapy necessary. If the muscles are released from their hardening by vibration of a vibrating device, the atlas can be corrected by means of massage technique.
This improves the usually reduced range of movement of the head. The aim of the therapy is to restore the “blocked”/”dislocated” neck joints to their intended anatomical position. By restoring the physiological position, incorrect posture of the entire body can be reduced.
The success of the treatment varies from patient to patient and can be accompanied by a direct therapeutic success directly after the treatment or continue for several weeks afterwards. Atlas correction is no guarantee for freedom from symptoms. On the one hand, this means that an improvement does not necessarily occur in every case after the treatment.
On the other hand, complaints can occur again even after a successful treatment. Side effects are known above all in the area of the locomotor system. Painful conditions can occur especially in the short period after the therapy.
These manifest themselves in the form of muscular lesions (sore muscles), which occur more frequently after excessive strain on the muscle, as well as fatigue/exhaustion symptoms. In the context of healed injuries in the neck and neck area, pain can be caused again. In the case of pre-existing damage to bones, ligaments and strained muscle tendons, an atlas correction can cause further side effects.
With regard to the bones, spontaneous fractures and dyspositioning cannot be excluded. This means that atlas correction itself can also cause unphysiological positions. Torn ligaments or painful soft tissue injuries of the muscle tendons can also fall into the spectrum of side effects.
For chronic muscle diseases such as Becker or Duchenne muscular dystrophy, atlas correction is clearly not recommended. Within the scope of atlas correction, increasing tensions, up to severe muscle pain, can be recorded for the first time after treatment. Patients report that dizziness and nausea may also occur in the course of the tensions. The number of cases of the mentioned aggravations is not known exactly. According to experience reports, the spectrum drifts far apart, from immediate improvement to severe muscle pain.