Conservative Treatment of Craniocervical Instability

Conservative treatment of Craniocervical Instability can consist of correcting cervical misalignment, improving overall posture and training muscles that are compensating for lax ligaments. It depends on each patients’ situation and underlying cause which treatment he or she needs. Which results a patient can achieve with a certain treatment method depends on the situation as well. Below you can find some of the options for conservative treatment. 

Atlas Orthogonal (AO)

AO is an upper cervical specific chiropractic technique that utilises a gentle, calibrated instrument to correct misalignments of the atlas (C1), relative to the skull base (occipital bone). X-rays of the head and cervical spine are used to make mathematical measurements and evaluation of the misalignment.


NUCCA, National Upper Cervical Chiropractic Association, is a treatment method that focuses on correcting misalignment of the upper cervical spine.  Like AO, X-ray views are used to make mathematical measurements and to see how the cervical spine is misaligned.

Chiropractic Biophysics (CBP)

Many patients with CCI have a so-called “reversed curve” due to instability. The primary goal of CBP is optimal posture, spinal alignment and curve correction. In the same time, improvement and pain and functionality is another desired outcome. Wearing a Cervigard can help the process of curve correction.

Physical Therapy

It can be useful for patients with CCI to retrain muscle balance in order to gain more stability. Muldowney Protocol is a Physical Therapy method that focuses on patients with EDS. It is important to search for a Physical Therapist who is experienced with CCI.

Sacro Occipital Techique (SOT)

In SOT, spinal subluxations and postural distortions in the body are assessed and corrected. The most significant pattern is the relationship between the sacrum (Sacro) and occiput (Occipital). Normal structure and function of the musculoskeletal body, brain and spinal cord will be restored. 

Neck collar treatment

Wearing a neck collar can help some patients managing their symptoms and support the other treatments they are doing. Most patients wear a neck collar around 3 times a day for 20 to 30 minutes.