After a thorough history and examination, the doctor inspects the spine for subluxations. This is done by looking for the key components of subluxations, which are tenderness, tightness in the muscles, signs of inflammation, and diminished range of motion. The doctor also carefully measures the patient’s leg length. In most cases one leg is not actually shorter than the other, but is drawn short due to the body’s compensation for a displaced atlas. Subluxation of the atlas causes the body to alter its structure in such a way that the muscles of the spine contract, which causes the pelvis to distort to one side or another.
The human body is balanced when the head is positioned between the center of the feet. When the atlas is out of alignment, it causes the head to tilt. When the head tilts, the spine shifts under the head to support it. This causes misalignment in the other areas of the spine. The doctor also inspects the atlas by feeling the back of the neck. When the atlas is misaligned, those nerves and soft tissues of the neck become inflamed and tender to the touch. The muscles in this region also become tense and can also spasm. The sensitive fingers of the doctor can feel the problem, and the patient can usually feel the pain or tenderness.