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Chiropractors/my neck keeps slipping out of place


Dr. G,
I am a runner and was having lower back pain due to all the pounding on the pavement.  The pain ran up my left leg and was sciatic nerve related.
I went to an Atlas Chiropractor without doing a lot of research.  I was desperate for a solution that did not involve surgery.
The chiropractor, after several xrays, determined that my neck was not aligned properly with my spine.  She thus did several weeks of adjustments to get my neck aligned.  I felt severe exhaustion during this period. She said this was due to all the energy my body was using to get used to living with my neck straight.
The exhaustion subsided, and I felt great.  However, whenever I do anything fairly active or strenuous, my neck "slips out of place," causing me severe pain.  The pain is so bad that it wakes me up at night.  This last time I was playing raquetball, and I felt the moment that my neck slipped out.  Once I go to the chiropractor, and she realigns my neck, I feel fine again.  
I really regret ever having my neck aligned, because now I feel like I am dependent on the chiropractor.  I feel like I can't do anything active without my neck slipping out.
Is this normal?

Hi Ashley,

I'd bet that your neck is still not aligned.  Conversely, I bet I could take 10 x-rays of your neck and get 10 different alignment measurements; And, I bet your x-rays can be read by 10 different chiropractors and you'll get 10 different opinions about what is aligned or not.    The entire premise of the upper-cervical-specific "atlas" chiropractor is not valid any more than bloodletting to release evil spirits.   X-rays to look for misalignment is not a valid procedure.    The procedure the chiropractor performs does not "re-align" the neck.    If so, why didn't it realign the neck on the first visit?    Get out of that outdated, dogmatic, "doctor-centered" instead of "patient-centered" office!!     There is a whole world of other options for you.  Find a modern, evidence-guided, patient-centered chiropractor that takes a more logical, reasonable approach to your care.     You might need soft tissue therapy procedures.   You might need strengthening exercises to do in the office and/or at home.   Did your Atlas chiropractor discuss anything like this?     It's not unusual to feel like you have to go to the chiropractor often, but you should also feel like you have some level of stability, some instruction on self care, and not a feeling of dependence.    If you have a snag or knot in your muscles, the chiropractic joint manipulation will not unsnag it.   Look at:  or to see what I'm talking about.     Find a DC on those sites.   It will be a totally different experience.   See if you can find a DACBSP on this site:      You'll be in good hands if you do.   

'Hope this was helpful.   Feel free to send your Atlas chiropractor a copy of this exchange.

Dr. G'  


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Scott F. Gillman, DC, DACBSP


21 Years in practice: I can answer any question regarding chiropractic and sports medicine treatment. Mostly, I can help the unknowing public understand what is safe, valid, reasonable and evidence-based, and what kinds of unscrupulous chiropractors and fraudulent methods to stay away from. I have an advanced specialty degree in Chiropractic Sports Medicine. I have experience treating elite and Olympic athletes.



Publications: Education/Credentials:

Doctor of Chiropractic Diplomate: American Chiropractic Board of Sports Physicians International Chiropractic Sports Science Diploma

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