Why Your Spinal Health
is a Critical Part of
the Wellness Equation
By Dr. Donald Liebell
For many, the temptation to blame every ache and pain on the effects of Lyme disease is irresistible. It is however, a dreadful mistake, which misdirects focus of treatment and causes needless suffering. One’s history of injuries, personal stresses, genetic predispositions, and various other factors determine the course of tick-triggered illness and for that matter, health in general. Each person’s unique weaknesses and strength are ultimately what determines the outcome.
Lyme Borrelia or any other infection may also function as a secondary condition that exacerbates or magnifies multiple existing health conditions. This appears to be the case even after antibiotic treatment appears to have successfully cleared active infection. Perhaps this is the truth behind many cases of “chronic Lyme disease” or “post-treatment Lyme disease syndrome.” Viewing Lyme disease through this lens makes it clear that its symptoms may be either primary or secondary conditions. The axiom, a chain is only as strong as its weakest link is highly relevant.
The spine is without a doubt, a part of the body that needs considerable attention, and can often be the “weak link in the chain.” Any area of the body that has been previously stressed, damaged, or diseased may maintain lowered tissue resistance. This means it is more susceptible to any stress than stronger and healthier body structures or systems. Lyme infection is but one such potential hazard in an infinite sea of microbes and other substances that may infiltrate the human body.
Detection and correction of structural blockages
to healing must be considered too. A bio-mechanical
problem in the spine can cause a bio-energetic disturbance:
interference to conduction of nerve signal transmission.
Nerves are just like wires that send electrical signals
to tell the body what to do. The nervous system is the
body’s master system. The spine, which houses and
protects the spinal cord is like the “circuit breaker”
to the entire body.
Self-Healing vs. Self-Correcting
Ultimately, it is still energy that breathes life into physical
structures, in a similar manner to how electricity powers
machines. The difference is that living bodies are not machines.
A machine cannot heal itself by regenerating and repairing its
own physical parts. The human body does so in an awe-inspiring
manner—provided nothing blocks the natural process.
The human body is self-healing—but it is not always self-correcting.
There’s a big difference between the two.
Broken bones and dislocations are obvious and extreme examples. The human spine at times, cannot correct itself from mechanical problems. It is a magnificent and complex structure composed of individual bones (vertebrae), which interlock to form joints. These joints function together as one cohesive synchronized unit. Each individual bone/joint needs to move properly, and has a normal range of motion.
However, the joints of the spine can get stuck—like rusty hinges. There are circumstances where the muscles cannot physically unlock them. This can result in various consequences, including local inflammation, nerve interference, and abnormal mechanics of other joints of the body. This in turn, can cause many medical problems, which are given different names (secondary diagnoses).
Neck and back pain barely scratch the surface of what can go wrong. When spinal joints are stuck—they must be physically corrected so the body can heal itself. This is not a muscle problem for which physical therapy, exercises, or massage would be effective.
The human body can indeed heal itself from many problems when mechanical and neurological blockages are reduced. Manual treatment of the spine dates back to ancient Greece, Egypt, China, Native America, and elsewhere. Doctors of chiropractic have long been the experts specifically trained to address this aspect of human health. Treatment is accomplished through various hand or instrument-delivered techniques. It is referred to as chiropractic adjustment.
Electrochemical signals are transmitted from the brain, down the spinal cord, and out through openings in the spine to the entire body. These nerve impulses return to the brain via the same route. Proper nerve signal transmission is essential to the function of all organs and tissues. Anything that interferes with this process creates a blockage to normal function, and thus can impair healing.
Consider a machine’s electrical system being compromised by a faulty mechanical system.
If the wires cannot properly conduct electricity because a mechanical problem is interfering with the wires—the machine will not function properly. Nerves are the human “wires,” which if interfered with can result in various symptoms and illness.
Chiropractic adjustments are not for bones… they are for nerves! This has always been the case since the profession’s formal introduction in 1895 (Davenport, Iowa). A doctor of chiropractic adjusts the spine to clear the structural blockage to nerve impulse transmission.
Doctors of Chiropractic (D.C.) are primary health care providers licensed in all 50 U.S. states. Chiropractic is extremely safe and highly effective to support natural healing of many problems. Obviously the benefits of chiropractic treatment are scientifically acknowledged, since these methods are covered by federal government-contracted health insurance policies (Medicare, Blue Cross/Blue Shield, Mail handlers).
It is sad-but-true that the majority of conventional medical doctors still seldom prescribe chiropractic care instead of, or in addition to drugs and surgery. Like homeopathy, chiropractic was not invented by members of the American Medical Association (AMA). It does not fit into their lucrative business model of drug and surgery-based health care. In 1987, a U.S. Federal court found the AMA guilty of conspiracy to destroy the chiropractic profession!
My family and the patients I have treated since 1992 are grateful for chiropractic, homeopathy, and acupuncture—three magnificent holistic healing arts which the AMA has ruthlessly tried to destroy. Despite chiropractic’s impeccable track record for safety and effectiveness, it has been treated as a threat to the financial interests of the pharmaceutical and surgery industry. Many great books and articles have been written exposing this and other dastardly indiscretions and the cutthroat business tactics of mainstream medicine, so I will not elaborate further.
In a more civilized and caring medical system, chiropractic would be heavily promoted as an effective and necessary treatment option—part of the complete “tool box” of health care.
There’s a time and a place for all kinds of medical treatment. No one type of doctor is qualified to do everything. It is foolish to seek out a general physician for dental problems. Dentists are the teeth experts. A cardiologist would be the wrong doctor to call upon for eye problems. A chiropractor would be the wrong choice for heart surgery, but should be the first choice for non-surgical spine-related problems.
No other type of doctor studies about and attends to the spine like a chiropractor. All health care professionals should at least be aware of the various specialties and treatment options for their patients. Like homeopathy and acupuncture, chiropractic is not a direct treatment for any disease in the conventional medical sense. Doctors of chiropractic have been the American pioneers and leaders of the holistic health movement since 1895. We have always been the advocates of treating the body as a whole—emphasizing diet, exercise, and prevention, in addition to maintaining spinal health. Today, we see various conventional medical doctors proclaiming these principles as if they were new ideas.
Tick Infection and Neck Inspection
It is an undisputed scientific fact that spinal problems can have far-reaching health consequences. Many symptoms exist because of mechanical and neurological problems in the spine—the upper neck, in particular. Tick-borne infection may indeed intensify the effects of such, even if not the primary cause.
I have consistently found that tiny imbalances in the upper neck are responsible for many of the neurological, joint, and muscular symptoms for which Lyme disease had inaccurately been implicated as the sole cause.
In my experience, those who are afflicted by chronic tick-triggered illness respond better when expertly administered chiropractic treatment is part of the equation—with particular emphasis on the upper neck.
The greatest concentration of nerve connections in the human body is at the junction where the brain extends out through the base of skull, continuing down as the brain stem and spinal cord. The medical term for this region is the upper cervical spine, which includes the top two bones of the neck called the atlas and axis vertebrae.
What Goes Wrong with the Upper Neck?
Upper Cervical Stenosis (UCS) is an extremely common problem that is rarely considered by mainstream medicine. Unless one has a fracture, dislocation, gross deformity, or abnormal growth the upper cervical spine is rarely given a thought. However, it has been verified that a nearly imperceptible narrowing of the spinal canal caused by mechanical imbalance between the top two vertebrae and the skull, can silently “choke” the spinal cord—leading to nerve interference, which can potentially affect any area of the body. It may be present as early as at birth, but various painful symptoms may take years, or even decades to develop before nerve compression becomes severe enough, due to age-related spinal degeneration or specifically, spinal trauma.
Like Lyme disease, UCS can be the primary cause of many symptoms for which people receive a wide variety of secondary diagnoses. Nerve interference at the base of one’s skull can produce many of the symptoms erroneously assumed to be due to Lyme disease! UCS can exist at the same time as Lyme, creating a devastating “one-two punch.”
In my clinical experience, many people develop neurological, joint, and muscular symptoms because their already existing spinal problems become severely magnified as the result of tick-borne infection and/or its post-treatment residual effects.
An old neck injury can be a hidden primary condition that can be worsened by tick-borne infection. A study published in the Journal of Whiplash and Related Disordersreported that neck injuries commonly cause significant problems, long-term complications, and disabilities which are largely unresponsive to treatment from many medical disciplines.
For example, many auto accident victims eventually develop symptoms ultimately diagnosed as fibromyalgia. They are doomed and destined to a lifetime of prescription medications to manage the symptoms that were caused by shamefully unconsidered and untreated upper neck injury. Millions of Americans have been diagnosed with fibromyalgia. “Authorities” say its causes are either “unknown” or “unclear.” I beg to differ!
Fibromyalgia is a diagnosis very familiar to many victims of tick-triggered illness. In my clinical experience, upper cervical stenosis and tick-borne infection (or past history of it) are the two most important considerations for those afflicted with symptoms associated with fibromyalgia.
Many people are completely unaware of any injury or strain to the upper neck, or they simply do not remember such an occurrence. Neglecting to consider one of the most significant neurological regions of the body is unconscionable. Yet, most people only receive spinal treatment later in life, once there is significant pain or visible degeneration. Even worse, treatment for neck problems comes mostly in the form of arthritis drugs, futile exercises, and surgery.
Fortunately, there is a solution…
Upper Cervical Care
Upper cervical chiropractors are the world’s only doctors licensed, trained, and qualified in the specific, non-surgical treatment of the atlas and axis vertebrae. They receive additional certification beyond the general licensure of doctor of chiropractic (D.C.), through accredited and recognized professional institutions. Medical doctors (MD) are not qualified unless they also have additionally earned a doctoral degree in chiropractic, plus upper cervical certification. There are several different outstanding upper cervical techniques practiced around the world. They are all outstanding, and I wholeheartedly endorse any of them.
Upper cervical care has been my area of specialty since 1992, with an emphasis on helping people diagnosed by other physicians with fibromyalgia. I have proudly helped people with many unresolved chronic ailments by focusing on the upper neck with an extraordinary procedure called Atlas Orthogonal. It was introduced in 1970 by the ingenious Dr. Roy W. Sweat of Atlanta, Georgia. Its basis is the groundbreaking work of Dr. B.J. Palmer (1881-1961) in Iowa.
Atlas Orthogonal is a marvel of science, technology, skill, experience, and love. It is a cutting-edge, mathematically-based, rehabilitative treatment performed with a safe and delicate sound wave instrument. Each person’s treatment is as unique as a fingerprint. A sophisticated mathematical x-ray analysis is performed to determine each individual’s specific treatment. In mathematics, orthogonal refers to the relation of two lines at right angles to one another (perpendicular). With the Atlas Orthogonal analysis, we are measuring (to a fraction of a degree) the position of the skull in relation to the atlas vertebra and the rest of the neck. The mathematical analysis enables the doctor to precisely adjust the atlas vertebra back towards normal (orthogonal) position.
The Atlas Orthogonal procedure re-aligns the bones of the upper neck with the skull. This reduces the stenosis (narrowing) of the spinal canal. This in turn, reduces the pressure on the spinal cord/brain stem region, the meninges, as well as blood vessels, to restore normal function.
Treating structural problems of the upper neck with Atlas Orthogonal improves nerve function. This can directly result in elimination of pain. It is not a “quick fix,” but rather a rehabilitative regimen. Nevertheless, results are often rapid and dramatic. This completely painless procedure has unparalleled safety.
I am proud to be among the relatively few doctors in the world who specialize in this astonishing non-surgical corrective treatment for the upper cervical spine. It is without a doubt the most underutilized procedure and “best-kept secret” in all of health care. This is why my original website is called necksecret.com!
The Upper Neck and Chronic Headaches
Many victims of Lyme disease and other tick-borne infection blame their chronic headaches solely on infection. While this can certainly be the case, dysfunction of the upper cervical spine is an extremely common cause, which must always be considered.
Yet it rarely is medically, despite the publicized conclusions of several highly-respected researchers.
Nikolai Bogduk, MD, PhD, has served as Professor of Anatomy at the university in Newcastle, Australia. He is a world-renowned research scientist, who supports the neck-based approach to headaches. He has expressed his outrage that those in control of the headache treatment field will not recognize or act upon the knowledge that the neck-based model of headaches is the best evolved one for a high percentage of headaches. Years ago, another medical researcher and anesthesiologist, Peter Rothbart, M.D., came to the same conclusion, declaring in the Toronto Star newspaper that doctors of chiropractic had been correct all along regarding headaches.
I am certain that chiropractic specialists in upper cervical spine are eminently qualified to be the leaders in the field of correcting the cause of chronic headaches for millions of people worldwide.
Upper Cervical Chiropractic Resources:
(Patient Advocate-Created international Website
with largest international directory of upper cervical specialists)
(Journal of Upper Cervical Research)
(Patient Advocate Created Website)
(The Liebell Clinic website)
(Official Website of Atlas Orthogonal method)
(Upper Cervical Centers of America)
(Official Website of Blair Method)
(Official Website of Orthospinology Method)
"The doctor of the future
will give no medicine but will interest his patients in the
care of the human frame,
in diet and in the cause and prevention of disease."
- Thomas Edison
"Look to the nervous system as
the key to maximum health."
- Claudius Galen (130-202 AD) “Prince of Physicians”
"Get knowledge of the spine,
for this is the requisite
for many diseases."
– Hippocrates, the Father of Modern Medicine
"If you would seek health,
look first to the spine."
- Socrates (469-399 BC)
The Liebell Clinic: Chronic Pain
& Wellness Solutions
Donald K. Liebell, D.C., B.C.A.O
477 Viking Drive Suite 170
Virginia Beach VA 23452
8:30AM - 6:30PM M,W,F,
(and by Special Appointment)
No Side Effects...
Just Help for People
Who Suffer the
of Lyme Disease
& Other Tick-Triggered Illness (After All Else Has Failed)
"It's The Greatest Thing
That's Ever Happened to Me"
"I suffer from MS, I have extreme neuralgic pain in the lower extremities, I'm in pain 24 hours a day seven days a week 365 days a year, and then I go to see this doctor... I've had pain in my feet, I've struggled with my balance... I am walking differently, my pain is less, I have already regained strength in my left leg... it's the most amazing thing that has ever happened to me…”
- Montel Williams 2008
"I've gone through the last
three seasons feeling the
best I've ever felt"
"I've been coming to atlas orthogonal for the last three years since 1998... Before I came to atlas orthogonal -- a lot of headaches... If I can come in and continue to have these treatments, and they can continue to help me the way they've helped me, maybe I can continue to last for another eight years."
- Michael Strahan,
New York Giants 2001
"It was magic... A Miracle"
"I had an accident where I was hit in the head with something and I was having a lot of neck and shoulder pain. A friend of mine told me about atlas orthogonal.... It was magic. A miracle. Truly, I'd been living with a certain amount of pain every day for about ten years and suddenly I walked out of the office with not a speck of pain. Big difference going ... The pain was completely gone immediately.
- Eva LaRue - Emmy Award Nominated Actress, "CSI-Miami"
"You have literally
saved my life!"
"I was at a point where, after 18 years of pain and suffering, there was no point in continuing to try to live with unbearable pain, which only got worse as I got older. I had run the whole gamut of doctors who would not listen to my symptoms and offered no help except drugs, that made me even sicker... Without Dr. Liebell I would never have found so much help…my neck and back, thanks to his treatments are nearly 100 percent better.
Lois Haynes, Photographer,
I believe this integrated
system will take its place
among the greatest medical breakthroughs of our time
“As a dentist specializing in TMJ, head, neck and facial pain, I have come to realize the importance of integrating the Atlas Orthogonal Technique in the treatment of patients with structural distortions…"
- Dr. Gerald Smith,
Author, "Alternative Treatments for Conquering Chronic Pain
Founder, the International Center for Nutritional Research
"Praise the Lord;
I can actually go to sleep!"
"One of the worst problems was the pain in my neck. A surgeon told me to take hot showers, that I had arthritis and nothing could be done. That was 9 years ago... A sports doctor put me on Paxil and I was taking Voltarin for “arthritis.” He sent me to physical therapy, but it never took the pain away. By the second week of treatment [with Atlas Orthogonal] I was flying high—I felt wonderful. I guess for the last 4 or 5 years, I didn’t know what it was like to sleep the whole night through."
- Joyce White. Virginia Beach 2000
“I whole-heartedly endorse this diagnostic and treatment method"
"As a medical doctor with thirty-five years of clinical experience, I feel that most patients with acute and chronic neck pain or headaches should be considered for Atlas Orthogonal treatment."
- Dr. Stanley H. Block, MD., Author - "Come to Your Senses - Demystifying the Mind Body Connection"
"I am astonished with
the help I have gotten
with Atlas Orthogonal."
- Dr. Betty Gessel, M.D., Internist,
Vice President, New York Academy of Medicine
Now I can get up in the
morning without neck pain,
and I rarely get headaches!
"For many years my neck bothered me almost every morning. When I'd look up, tilting my head back, my hearing would mysteriously cut out. I also had headaches every single day. As a professional ballet instructor, I was unable to demonstrate properly because of the pain...
Now, thanks to Dr. Liebell and Atlas correction, I'm finally out of pain.
My life is so much better. I sleep better than ever. Now I know how
important your nervous system
and spinal alignment is.
My hearing problem is gone too,
as a result of atlas corrections!
- Michael Kaiser,
Governor's School for the Arts
This Treatment is Wonderful!
"When I began I could not raise my arm very far or even put it behind my back. It is very wonderful to have full mobility and strength in my arm, neck and shoulders.
Dr. Liebell is a loving and delightful human being as are his two knowledgeable ladies who work with him. They each one take time to personalize the patients’ care and needs! You must call and make an appointment. Do not wait any longer."
- Mary Ann Hartsock, Virginia Beach
My life was changed in
about 2/3 of a second
"It was the first time in twelve years that I was not in pain... But the best part is that I'm up and around seven days a week now and going back to the normal life that I enjoyed twelve years ago -
something I haven't really seen
in over a decade
- Jay Glazer,
You Gave Me My Life Back!
"My mind and body had been on such a roller coaster ride for three years... I started to have severe pain in my neck and at the base of my head. I lived in silence for about a year until it became unbearable... I went to pain management and was given steroid injections...I was so discouraged and felt that my only option was to take pain pills... I truly could not do anything. I could not even hold my new grandson...
After the first treatment [Atlas Orthogonal] I walked out of the office and felt a big difference... I highly recommend Dr. Liebell and would like to thank him for giving me back my life.
- Barbara Captain,
"We want every single patient we have under care to have their spine examined by an Atlas Orthogonist"
"I am saddened by the thousands, and probably millions, of patients that have problems that could be helped by Atlas Orthogonal, but don’t know that it exists. If the alignment is wrong, the nerve system is not going to work well no matter how good their nutrition is, they are not going to be able to assimilate that nutrition sufficiently. The majority of cancer cases we see have overt cervical spinal problems, even the ones who don’t have a history of spinal trauma."
- Dr. Nicholas Gonzales, MD,
Immunologist, Cancer Specialist
This is the type of work that is going on out there that the medical profession does not know is going on, and they have to be made aware of it."
- Dr. Coulter Rule, M.D.,
Internal Medicine, Psychiatrist & New York State Medical Board Examiner, Ret.
Copyright 2014-2018© Dr. Donald Liebell. All rights reserved.
The information and statements contained in this website have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration, and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. The contents of this website are for informational purposes only are is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Your reliance on any information provided by Dr. Liebell’s website, any referenced parties is solely at your own risk. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard medical advice, or delay seeking medical advice or treatment, because of information contained in this website. This website expresses Dr. Liebell's health care views, and describes wellness-based, natural treatment methods, and must not be misconstrued as direct treatment advice—it is information only. Dr. Liebell does NOT treat infectious disease, nor does he claim to have a cure for "post-treatment Lyme disease syndrome" or chronic Lyme disease; he provides natural, drug-free, wellness-promoting treatments from which patients have cited recovery.