Atlas Subluxation?? Please help!

Hi everyone, my name is Ken and I am a 34 year old in Dallas. I used to be a fitness trainer and enjoying any and all sports regularly. In late June of 2016, I had a bad fall at the pool and hit my head with a swift whiplash motion. About two to four weeks after that, I started having issues with dizziness (not vertigo), vision issues, high blood pressure spikes, heart rate issues, sweating, anxiety, headaches, extreme neck pains, cracking in the base of my skull at the C1/C2, rib pains, free falling feelings, etc. I have spent an insane amount of money seeing many different specialist trying to identify what was causing all of these symptoms. It has taken its toll on me from a physical and personality aspect. Physically I have gain about 30-40 pounds, and my personality went from a fun, likable, always having a good time, to now a hermit thats pretty bitter most of the time. Mainly because I'm always in pain and in fear that something more severe might happen. I have seen my PCP which is a DO, a Cardiologist, Neurologist, Pulmonologist, Gastroenterologist, Chiropractors, NeuroSpine, ENT, and Orthopedic Spine Surgeon. I have had many tests ran such as EEG, EKG, Stress Test, Full Panel Allergy Test, Endoscopy, Blood Test for any diseases, STDs, Cancers, etc., Echocardiogram, CT's, MRIs, name it, I have probably done it. All in all, this has cost me upwards of $30,000 out of my pocket. EVERYTHING WAS CLEAR! They all wanted to put me on pills to treat the symptoms because no one could find the cause of the symptoms. I was put on Blood Pressure medication, Xanax for anxiety, and some other things but I refuse to take that stuff. I know its something else. I have no family history of high blood pressure or any kind of anxiety issues. The last CT I did showed "Cervical Spine Instabilities in the C1, C2 Vertebrae". I have been seeing a chiropractor since then and I definitely get relief but it only last a day or two. I started searching through the web trying to find someone with these same symptoms and came across Atlas Subluxation. I true believe this is it. Symptoms are spot on. Has anyone in here been diagnosed with this? How did they confirm it and what treatments are there? Please help get back to the man I was before. I am truly desperate. My relationship is struggling, I'm in sales so with my personality changes, it has definitely effected my work. Everyday is a struggle. Some are better than others but haven't had a normal day in over a year. PLEASE HELP ME!!!



  • Hi Ken,

    My problem was disks but I looked into atlas instability because I had hit my head (more than once).

    You could have a bunch of things going on, but if the CT showed instability did your Doc say what to do about it? Do a search for " Delayed diagnosis of alar ligament rupture." Read it and if you think it might help take it to your Doc.

    Good luck,


  • CaseyAlbertCCaseyAlbert Posts: 1
    edited 12/27/2018 - 12:46 AM

    Hi Ken;  Take a look at [edit].  I found this information after nearly five years of neck pain following a skiing accident, which I likened very much to "whiplash."  When I look up "whiplash," I notice I either have had, or recently had all of the symptoms related to such an injury.  After several MRI's, CT scans, epidurals, PT, chiropractors, acupuncture, etc, I visited a NUCCA certified chiropractor after a friend recommended it.  I had just previously visited a neurosurgeon that deemed more PT appropriate.  I was looking for a solution to my symptoms, and I was fairly certain that simple PT was not going to solve it.  I contacted the NUCCA chiropractor and went for my appointment, not really knowing what to expect, but after five years, I was willing to try just about anything.  After listening to my list of symptoms, taking some measurements and taking two xrays, he asked if I was interested in the procedure.  The "atlas subluxation" correction procedure took about a minute.  During this procedure, I felt absolutely nothing and heard only a light clicking sound which I though was him snapping his fingers together.  I was beginning to think this was a joke!  When I stood up, I knew that something had occurred as the tightness in my left trap which had been present for this entire five year period was gone.  I asked him if all of my symptoms would be gone when I woke up the next morning.  He said, unfortunately not as the subluxation had been present for that five years and my nerves would take time to heal.  I have to tell you that I do feel dramatically better than I have in five years.  I still have tinnitus in my left ear, but am optimistic that this too shall pass.  I can tell you that this extremely simple procedure has changed my life for the better, and I can o

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  • Ken, please feel free to contact me directly.  I can pass along more information.


    Casey Albert

  • Please please please check into NUCCA or Upper Cervical Chiropractic!!!! I had the same symptoms as you and it has helped me immensely.

  • I had whiplash for my 1997 car accident and had the nausea and vertigo that came and went. I also had to move my head slowly. I was in PT and seeing a chiropractor friend, we work on a cash deal. He was able to do a few atlas adjustments and this helped. He will grab your head way down towards your neck, check the atlas position with one finger, then make the adjustment. Which is quick and mine was always audible. Chiropractors who are sharp will at least check the atlas position if you have had a whiplash injury. 

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  • kclayton, how were they able to see c spine instabilities from a CT? I have the exact same issues you've listed, and done the same searching and searching from dr to dr and test to test. I have read and have been told that you need a motion xray to find instablility or a tesla 3 with specific slice width to see if the ligament or any instability exists. 

    I've gone down so many paths, including nucca and upper cervical specialist chiropractors, the closest I've gotten to resolution was neuromuscular in nature. the relationship between the scm, suboccipitals, paraspinals, and overall cervical muscles. ive been cleared for vestibular as everyone loves to say it's vestibular or inner ear. I've gotten travell's book on trigger points and it's probably the best resources i've had. 

    i'd be curious what you find. nucca helped slightly, but didn't cure it. i've found the longest remission of symptoms from manual therapy from a good PT (this is after seeing a dozen bad PT's). 

    hell i even built my own search platform to help me keep track of my endless searching online. hahaha. now thats pretty desperate! 

  • 5monkeys55monkeys Posts: 4
    edited 06/19/2019 - 11:33 AM

    CaseyAlbert and AnnaisDizzy,

    How long have you been receiving Nucca care?  I am receiving care through a regular chiropractor for my atlas for about 4 months now.  Even though I've made some progress I feel that I've got aways to go. 

    In August, I woke up from sleeping on my stomach and had a stiff neck.  Soon after is when all of these symptoms started.  I did not make the connection at the time. Had an MRi and severval dr. appts but had no answers.  Then In October I started having real bad pain at the base of my skull that led me to a chiropractor.  This is where she diagnosed me with an atlas subluxation.  Here were some of my symptoms:

    Dizziness, pressure in ears, head and between eyes, ear pain, blurry vision, I can't visually focus on things, ringing in ears, anxiety, tingling in hands and legs.

    Warning: Before you try any supplement, herb, over the counter item, exercise program, mechanical aid, brace, etc always consult with your doctor to make sure you get their approval. Some of these products may be very effective, but no two individuals or medical conditions are alike. What works for one, may cause trouble for another.. 

    Liz, Spine-health Moderator

  • 5monkeys;  I wrote what I believe is a PM to you.  If you don't get it, I'll summarize here.

    You need to visit a NUCCA certified chiropractor.  If it is "Atlas Subluxation Complex" that is causing your issues, you should get nearly instant relief from some of your symptoms.  I still have tinnitus in one ear, that I am hoping will subside.  Other issues will take time to heal as your nerves heal where they have been damaged by being constrained or displaced.

    Best wishes!

  • Casey Albert ,

    can you please tell my what state you found that chiro?i live in florida ..dont have much trust in chiro .. i work with them... 

  • Joe43JJoe43 Posts: 23
    edited 12/03/2019 - 3:52 PM

    I also have atlanto/axial subluxation. I have had debilitating symptoms for twenty years. I know exactly how you feel. I have written a case study of my craniovertebral junction instability, "Craniovertebral Junction Instability Caused by a Ruptured Alar Ligament: A Patient's Perspective.  Joseph R. Starr  July 31, 2016", (83 pages). The case study covers: the lengthy discovery period of the diagnosis, the medical communities lack of knowledge and care of this condition, how I figured out how to minimize the symptoms, a good description of the mechanics of the upper cervical spine, references for further information, and how to live with the condition. You will have hope after reading this paper, you will understand, you will get your life back. 


  • HI everyone.

    I have exact symptoms of what is mentioned. I had strained my neck this spring due to some major stress events, and poor posture slaving over the laptop preparing for some key events. I then had surgery for another ailment  2mponths into this issue and when I awoke, I was instantly anxious and dizzy, many other symptoms arose as well like mentioned above. I believe/wonder if the 3 hours of intubation ( and my head/neck held elevated due to my request due to neck pain) caused a subluxation on top of existing neck inflamation I had going into the surgery.  It is now 8 months later and no improvment in dizziness, and anxiety is getting worse.

    i am fortunate that there is a NUCCA chiropractor literally 1 mile from my work ( not many in the country) and am just 3 weeks into it. but no improvement yet and my anxiety is getting out of control. I do need some hope as I am becoming hopeless/helpless thinking I am stuck with this for life.......



  • can anyone desccribe their anxiety: I find mine shows up at random times. My mind instantly tries to correlate with what i was thinking or what I was doing at the time......... and now I think these made up correlations are triggering new episodes of anxiety. Does this make sense?

    I am trying to determine if my stress/anxiety caused all my neck issues, or my neck issues caused my anxiety........

    anyone have comments on their anxiety and triggers? much appreciated


  • I had the same symptoms for a year. It started after getting teeth extractions for adult braces. I was debilitated to the point that I couldn't leave my home. I had brain fog, vision issues, confusion, constant dizziness, sensitivity to lights/ food and everything else.... my symptoms list goes on. The anxiety and depression was at a level 15 (on a 1 to10 scale- It was UNBEARABLE). After dozens of doctors I found a chiropractic neurologist also called functional neurologist. My treatment plan consists of neck adjustments 3x a week for a few months, plus cold laser therapy, etc. 2 weeks into treatment and I was able to leave my house, drive, grocery shop and just live life again. I'm 2 months into treatment and while I'm not 100% yet, I'm so grateful to be alive and functioning again! Some days I wake up with a return of my symptoms and my dr would make his neck and spine adjustments and I feel normal again within an hour or two. [edit]

    Edited by ~Liz Veritas-Health Forum Moderator to comply with the Code of Conduct

  • kclayton...have you resolved your issues?  What treatments have you had?

  • LizLiz Posts: 2,041


    kclayton has not been on the forum  for a very long time so you may not get a response.

    ~Liz Veritas-Health Forum Moderator

  • Hi.  I have had this for 3 years.  It has ruined my life to the point where some days are really dark. Has anyone gotten better or got an answer? 

  • LizLiz Posts: 2,041
    edited 01/07/2020 - 4:48 AM


    This is a very old discussion

    kclayton has not been on the forum  for a very long time so you may not get a response.

    ~Liz Veritas-Health Forum Moderator

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