Physiotherapist Fairbanks - The Blair chiropractic technique uses several ways, like for example neurological tests, heat sensitive instrumentation, and adjustments, to be able to treat and detect vertebral subluxations. A subluxation happens when a misaligned vertebra interferes with nerve tissue. A subluxation may or may not lead to pain or various indications, but if left untreated could cause different conditions, illnesses, and ill health in general.
The Blair chiropractic adjustment is used just when nerve pressure has been detected. X-rays of the upper cervical area are taken to supply a clear image of the misaligned vertebrae so that a specific adjustment may be tailored and administered to the person. The Blair chiropractic technique concentrates on the upper cervical vertebrae of the spinal column, specially the first two cervical vertebrae because they are the ones most frequently misaligned and are the most freely movable vertebrae within the spine. These two vertebrae, known as the axis and atlas, can misalign to the extent that they interfere with the brain stem and spine. Extra attention is given to the way that the spinal cord and brain stem exit through the floor of the skull and into the neural canal.
The well-known doctor of chiropractic, Dr. B.J. Palmer, spent years researching different chiropractic techniques and through this research he realized that the base of the skull is the only place where interference to the nervous system can really take place. There are no intervertebral discs in the upper cervical area, even if most movement of the neck and head take place there. Along the rest of the spine the joint surfaces move on a vertical plane, but in the upper cervical part, the atlas and axis vertebrae move on more of a horizontal plane. There is an absence of the supporting ligaments which help protect other sections of the spinal column. These unique characteristics of the cervical spine render it vulnerable to traumas such as car accidents, falls, and even the process of birth itself.
B.J. Palmer's study on cadavers in Germany proved that the medulla, or brain stem, extended into the neural canal down to the level of the lamina of the second cervical vertebrae. After that the medulla becomes the spinal cord and extends downward. The brain stem is the control and command center of the body, the seat of nerve cell centers in charge of major bodily functions which we don't need to deliberately think about, such as heart beat, respiration, cooling and heating, digestion, elimination, muscle coordination, and many more. The brain stem level is therefore a very vital part of the body.
According to Gray's Anatomy, "the nervous system is the master system of the body coordinating and controlling all bodily functions and connecting the individual to his environment." There are ten billion nerve fibers which are accumulated in small bundles known as nerve tracts, at the level of the atlas vertebrae. Nerve fibers send two-way communication through the spinal cord to the body's cell and back again to the brain. The nerve tracts control either motor or sensory functions. The sensory nerves enable the human form to steer throughout its environment, via the musculoskeletal system, without needing to think about the function of the organs and various systems.
The vertebrae located nearest the brain stem are the axis and atlas vertebrae. When these are not aligned correctly, the pressure put on the brain stem and/or spinal cord interfere with the two-way messages transmitted between the brain, spinal cord, and the body. This explains why a patient may undergo, for instance, burning, numbness or tingling in the left hand when a misaligned atlas vertebra is putting pressure on the part of the cord that transmits messages to that hand. More disturbing signs could result from impinging vertebrae on nerve tracts at the brain stem level. Palpitations, high blood pressure and irregular heartbeat can be experienced. Since practically all of the nerves need to pass through the brain stem previous to reaching the section of the body they control, any part of the body could be affected when there is misalignment resulting in pressure on the spinal cord or brain stem.