[rt_heading style=”style-7″ size=”h6″ font_color_type=”” font=”” custom_font_size=”” link=”” link_open=”_self”]by Dr. Roy Sweat[/rt_heading]

Children of all ages should have a chiropractic examination, and those needing chiropractic care should be X-rayed and adjusted. All children over age 3 need a controlled exercise and fitness program.

In the Atlas Orthogonal program, the patient must have three pre-cervical X-rays immediately before the first adjustment in the cervical area. With typical subluxations, two post X-rays are necessary immediately following the adjustment. When there are other areas of the body involved, they must be X-rayed in addition to the five cervical orthogonal X-rays. Pre X-rays are a vital part of the chiropractic examination. Post X-rays are important to document the efficacy of the chiropractic care plan.(1)

Most chiropractic malpractice insurance companies state: “No X-rays, no defense.”(2)

Atlas Orthogonality is a chiropractic program to find and correct spinal subluxations based on scientific and biomechanical procedures. The Atlas Orthogonal chiropractor completes a graduate study in all chiropractic techniques and postgraduate studies in Atlas Orthogonal programs. They will have scientific X-ray equipment and precision atlas adjusting instruments in their offices. The spine should always be treated as a single unit, regardless of where the chiropractic adjusting program is performed.

John H. Bland, M.D., states, “We tend to divide the examination of the spine into regions: cervical, thoracic and lumbar spine clinical studies. This is a mistake. The three units are closely interrelated structurally and functionally – a whole person with a whole spine. The cervical spine may be symptomatic because of a thoracic or lumbar spine abnormality, or vice versa! Sometimes treating the lumbar spine will relieve a cervical spine syndrome, or proper management of cervical spine will relieve low backache.”(3)

Patients are categorized according to severity of injury and care plan protocol.

Radiculopathy, for example, involves “more profound neural disorder of the limbs.”(4) Usually, there is a disc involvement, and the patient is a candidate for spinal surgery.(5)

Patients who enter the office with peripheral nerve involvement (i.e., numbness, tingling and/or pain radiating down the arm into the fingers) will take longer to heal than a patient who enters the office complaining of neck, shoulder or back pain only.

C.H. Suh, Ph.D., states that “it takes approximately 97 days for the peripheral nerves to heal.”(6)

Dr. Ken Knott, a medical physiatrist, states, “The surgical removal of supportive structures from the spine is very detrimental and all conservative treatment should be performed first.”(7)

The patient should be referred if they show no improvement after four weeks or if they continue to deteriorate after three visits. The patient must be referred to another specialty in chiropractic, a medical doctor or a doctor of osteopathy.

If the patient has a severe reaction to the Atlas Orthogonal program, the adjustment should not be repeated and must be changed to a different adjustment or the care plan must be discontinued.


Care programs and fees should be explained to the patient prior to care. The Atlas Orthogonal objective is quality care with patient selection.

The most effective chiropractic technique will be the one that can render the fastest, most effective results, last the longest, be rendered at a reasonable cost and ensure the least amount of risk.

About the authors:
Roy W. Sweat, D.C., a 1950 Palmer College of Chiropractic graduate, is board certified in Atlas Orthogonality and has authored four books and lead seminars on its methods. He has designed an Atlas Orthogonal computerized X-ray analysis program, a chiropractic adjustment instrument and X-ray equipment. Matthew H. Sweat, D.C., a 1989 Life College graduate, is board certified in Atlas Orthogonality and delivers lectures on the program. For more information, write to them at Sweat Chiropractic Clinic, 3274 Buckeye Road, N.E., Atlanta, GA 30341; or call (404) 457-4430.


  1. “Guidelines for Pre and Post Radiographs for Care Documentation,” Today’s Chiropractic, March/April 1995, pp. 58-61.
  2. OUM, Olympic Underwriting Managers Group, Bellevue, Washington.
  3. Bland, John H., Disorders of the Cervical Spine Diagnosis and Medical Management, 1987, p. 84.
  4. Dorland’s Illustrated Medical Dictionary, 27th Edition, 1988, p. 1405.
  5. Macnab, Ian, Panjabi, Manohar, and White, Augustus A.D., Clinical Biomechanics of the Spine, 1978, p. xi.
  6. Suh, C.H., “Peripheral Nerve Response to Experimental Damage,” International Review of Chiropractic, July 1976, pp. 18-21 and 26-27.
  7. Knott, Ken, Medical Physiatrist, lecturer at the Atlas Orthogonal Seminars.