Spinal problems can lead to some surprising health concerns
Dr Jeff Finnigan has recently arrived in Dubai from Seattle to establish the Atlas Spinal Center. He’s a certified atlas orthogonist, a type of chiropractic specialist that focuses on correcting problems with the atlas vertebra: the uppermost bone in the spine, directly below the skull, forming the joint that connects the two. Experience has taught him that there are a number of common health problems connected to this part of the spine.
‘The atlas is the top bone that sits under the skull, and it’s supposed to protect the spinal cord and the brain stem,’ explains Dr Finnigan. ‘But if it’s twisted, it’s my job to delicately and precisely realign and balance it. After a consultation, I’ll achieve that using a floor-mounted instrument, which sends out a percussion wave similar to an ultrasonic pulse. There’s no pain associated with the procedure, and most of the time patients don’t initially think anything has happened.’ Here, he talks us through the sometimes surprising areas of your health that can be affected by the atlas.
High blood pressure ‘You wouldn’t think that the neck or the spine has anything to do with high blood pressure, yet this is the leading cause of death in industrialised nations. It’s more lethal than cancer. High blood pressure is directly related to your neural system, as is everything in your body. The purpose of the brain and spinal cord is to control and regulate all the tissues, organs and systems of the body. A study carried out by the University of Chicago Medical School two years ago demonstrated that correcting an atlas displacement reduces ones blood pressure safely and more effectively than the two leading blood pressure medications on the market.’
Digestive problems ‘I’ve seen scores of patients who come to see me for a neck problem, and after we correct that problem they say, “Is there any chance this helps with my digestion? I’ve had heartburn/constipation/upset stomachs for years, but after you corrected my neck, I don’t have it any more.” We have been put to sleep by pharmaceutical companies who say that any time we have a pain, we should take their pill. We have been led to believe we have no power over our health, and nothing could be further from the truth. Clearly we need to start investigating the causes of pain more.’
Chronic fatigue ‘I’ve never had a case where someone didn’t tell me they felt more energised and lighter in their step after we’ve done a correction. The problem is that their body is distorted and they’re wasting energy. Your head weighs about 8kg – imagine it like a bowling ball. Your body is constantly fighting against gravity, so if you’re not in an orthogonal [correct] position, you’re wasting energy.’
Migraines and headaches ‘If the atlas is distorted even a little bit, one of the biggest things we see is migraines and chronic headaches. In my book Life Beyond Headaches, I coined the term ‘Atlas Neurovascular Syndrome’ – ANVS for short – which is when the atlas gets distorted in a particular fashion. It will short-circuit not just the neurological integrity between brain and body, but also the blood flow, which can cause recurrent headaches. Also, the same distortion in one person can cause something totally different in another.’
Fertility ‘I’ve seen people who couldn’t get pregnant, and we open up the nerve channels and reconnect the brain to the body. I had a lady a while ago who couldn’t conceive, and the only thing they could come up with was that her husband had a low sperm count. He had some slight back and neck problems, and so we brought him in, I adjusted him two or three times, and they had a baby within about 10 or 11 months. One day I was in a grocery store and this lady said, “Mum! There’s Dr Finnigan – he’s the one that got me pregnant!” I asked her not to ever say that again! I can’t promise you’re going to get pregnant, but if you think about it, you’re making the body more efficient and more whole.’
Atlas Spinal Center is offering a free consultation and examination (worth Dhs350) for Time Out readers, with no obligations, until October 31. Call for an appointment. Al Razi Building, Block E, Dubai Healthcare City (04 451 8877).