Why Chiropractic


The ATLAS is the very top vertebra of the spine, also known as the first cervical vertebra. The skull, also known as the head, sits on the atlas. The atlas surrounds a lower extension of the brain, referred to as the brainstem. If the atlas is out of place, or misaligned, it may pinch off nerve supply that is trying to go from the brain to every part of the body or pinch nerves that are coming from the body into the head (see Diagram 1 ). Many have heard about the powerful Vagus Nerve that is the key to RELAXING the body (muscles, heart, breathing, etc) and this nerve goes right through the atlas area. These pinched nerves may create SYMPTOMS and disease, such as digestive problems, heartbeat irregularity, difficult breathing, or muscles spasms.

If the ATLAS displaces, tilts, or misaligns, it creates a domino effect throughout the rest of the spine (see diagram 3). The second cervical vertebra, also known as the AXIS, tilts with the third, the fourth, the fifth, and so on. This puts a twist or curve in the whole spine, which creates imbalanced and unlevel hips, shoulders, and legs; pinching nerves along the spine. This can create symptoms throughout the whole spine.

When the atlas is level, the second vertebra is level then the third, and fourth and on down the spine. The shoulders, hips, and legs will become level- as you will visualize by observing the comparisons on diagram 3. This is how getting the atlas adjusted & brought to level can make the lower back and other areas feel better. The adjustment just works its way down the spine correcting other areas in the process. The spine on the left of diagram 3 suffers spinal misalignment which may pinch nerves and lead to various symptoms. The spine on the right, with the atlas level, is straight which means no pinched nerves and less chance of symptoms. It's that simple!

Diagram 3

"I find it difficult to explain depression to someone who has never suffered with this affliction. Depression, for me, was like a dense fog, never lifting so I could see the sun. Medication only helped me to get through the day. I shut myself off from my family, my friends, and my co-workers. Every moment of every day was a struggle. I knew I wasn't the person I could be. My psychiatrist continued to increase my medications, hoping to help me to overcome my depression, but I continued to barely make it through each day.

After treatment by Dr. Osenbaugh, I felt my life return to me. I am free of all medications and look forward to the morning. I feel free now, cured, something I was sure would never happen. I know that I need never experience the darkness again. I encourage anyone who feels the weight of depression to seek out Dr. Osenbaugh and her special touch."

K. Sargent
Storm Lake, IA.


Diagram 1

Chiropractic is an all natural, conservative approach to health. Our main objective is that every NERVE of your body is working at 100%. Each NERVE in your body has a purpose. One nerve makes your eyes see. Another lets your fingers work. Another makes your heart beat. Another makes your stomach digest, and so on. EVERYTHING in your body works because of the nerve supply to it.

The BRAIN is the "control center" for your body. It sends messages through the brainstem down your spine and out each individual nerve to make your nose, thyroid, lungs, liver, stomach, legs, and so on work correctly. If, at any place along the spine, there is a vertebra (bone of the spine) out of place, then the bone can pinch a nerve cutting off nerve supply to the inner ear, the sinuses, the gallbladder, the pancreas, the kidneys or any other organ in the body. If any piece of the body is not getting 100% of its nerve supply, or energy, then that part of the body will not work at 100%. Its maximum potential will then be compromised. It's that simple. See Diagram 1.

Compare the wiring in your home to the wiring in your body. If there is a worn electrical wire or an overloaded circuit in the wiring of your home, then one or more of the items in your home may not work correctly. The actual electrical problem could be at the main source of electrical power or even at the breaker box, but you might see the problem further away in the home when your coffee maker, blow dryer, and vacuum wouldn't work. You might check to make sure that the appliance didn't break, then check the wall outlet, but if they're O.K., then the breaker box that all wires and electrical currents must go through needs to be checked out and possibly reset or turned on.

The same is true with the body in Diagram 1. The brain controls EVERYTHING in the body. The brain does this by sending "messages" down the spine through the brainstem, and out through the nerves to everything in the body. Compare this to the electrical example. If something in the body is hurting or not working correctly, there are several options as to what's causing the problem. Is the problem in the actual organ, skin or muscle? Is the problem at the outlet of the spine (vertebra) where the nerve comes out of the spine to that organ, skin, or muscle? Or is the problem at the top of the spinal cord where all the nerves come down from the brain through the atlas bone? All nerves must go through the ATLAS before they reach any other area of the body. So, instead of "treating symptoms in all areas of the body"... Why not treat the cause?

Are you experiencing irritable bowel because there is something wrong with the actual bowel tract or because an abnormal supply of nerve flow to the bowel is creating bowel tract spasm or contractures?

Are you experiencing headaches due to a lack of aspirin or because of an inadequate amount of nerve flow between your brain and your body?

Are you having sciatic pain down the back of your leg because there is a muscle spasm in your back or because there's a bone out of place putting pressure on your sciatic nerve... creating muscle spasm in your back as well as the excruciating and sharp sciatic pain down the back of your thigh, knee or into your foot?

See the chart of effects of spinal misalignment to see all the results of pinched nerves at all levels of the spine.

Do you want to spend the rest of your life treating and chasing symptoms... or eliminate the cause of the problem NOW, so you can begin living life without the fear of the pain returning when the pain medication wears off.


Body Imbalance vs. Body Balance

When a patient comes in for their initial consultation, two tests are done to determine if the doctor thinks they are a candidate for our care. These are actually two tests you could do at home to see if a family member of yours needs chiropractic care.

TEST 1: Check the patients balance and posture. We take a look at shoulder height, hip height, and leg length (see diagram 3). The shoulders and hips should be level from left to right, when the patient is standing. When the patient is lying on their back, on a flat and hard surface, the legs should be the same length. It's not that one leg grew shorter than the other, but if there is a hip that is higher than the other, that high hip will pull the leg up making the patients leg length unlevel.

TEST 2: We check the nerves at the base of the skull by gently pressing into the nerve roots and muscles at the base of the skull (head) . This is the area at the very top of the neck and spine. There should be no pain experienced or "bumps" felt in that area if there is no nerve interference in the upper cervical spine (neck). If you sense any pain or discomfort or the doctor locates tender bumps upon feeling at the base of the skull, a spinal misalignment (subluxation) has been discovered. This misalignment at the top of the spine works down the spine creating other misalignments in the spine like dominoes as you can see in diagram 3.

If these two tests indicate an imbalance in the spine and nerve interference, the next logical step is taking X-rays.


X-rays to a Doctor of Chiropractic are like the blueprints necessary to a contractor. It's just not possible to give you the best possible healthcare without those "blueprints" of your spine. Advancement in technology has made X-ray exposure and dosage very minimal. Without X-rays, we would be guessing about your health - which we will not do.

The X-rays we take of the cervical spine are specialized for the specialty that we do. Three specific X-rays on your neck are taken to get a three-dimensional view of YOUR specific misalignment. With the specific work we do, everyone's adjustment is tailored specifically to each patient. The more specific the adjustment, the longer the patient will hold their adjustment, and the sooner the patient will feel better.


Initially, your chiropractic care will be more intense and frequent. When we start working with patients, it's a muscle training process. The muscles have held the vertebra in the wrong place for a period of time and it's going to take time to teach the muscles the new position.

As the body starts to hold the adjustment and the patient starts to heal, the visits become less frequent. Some patients choose to discontinue care when the symptoms subside, but most patients realize that stopping care could put them back where they started. Maintaining your chiropractic care by getting checked on a regular basis is much more cost and time effective. If you wait for the symptoms to reach their maximum pain or discomfort again, that intensive care program would have to be done all over again. Patients who maintain their chiropractic care often have more energy, sleep better, get sick less often, and feel better all over. Chiropractic isn't just about "getting out of pain" or "not hurting", it's about BEING HEALTHY and learning your full health and performance potential!

Diagram 4

Diagram 4 shows that, after a patient gets adjusted, it takes time for the body to heal and that there are ups and downs in the healing process.

The straight line across the top shows how a healthy, well-adjusted person goes through life feeling great, but may have a day now and then of not feeling great due to lack of sleep or irregularities in diet. Overall though, chiropractic maintenance keeps a person feeling great!

The crooked line going down from the left shows a persons life without chiropractic care. Health begins to decline and symptoms come about. Occasionally the person has a better day due to certain exercises or medications, but since the problem does not get fixed, overall health continues to decline over the years.

Then you can see where chiropractic care begins to improve on bottom of diagram 4. There are ups and downs along the way as the muscles of the body learn to hold the spine in the new position. As you can see, it is not an overnight fix, but the period of healing is not as long as the period of declining health was before chiropractic care began.

Acute accidents (towards the middle) don't usually take as long to heal as chronic problems. Acute accidents include recent auto accidents or falls. Healing also occurs quicker the younger the patient is when they begin care.

Look at diagram 4 and see where you are at in your life. Could you benefit from chiropractic care?


Before symptoms ever begin, the body begins the deterioration process. It takes time for damage to occur internally before the symptoms start. The difference between medicine and chiropractic is in what these two doctors do once the symptoms begin.

Medical Approach: ALLOPATHIC 
"Parts Focused" 
3 Options: Drugs, Physical Therapy, or Surgery to treat symptoms

  1. Doctor gives patient a drug to treat symptoms
  2. Cause, which still exists, worsens-sometimes without symptoms
  3. More medications are given to reduce or eliminate symptoms of a worsened problem or side effects
  4. Overall health declines

Chiropractic Approach: Holistic 
"Whole Body Focused" 
Conservative Gentle Approach to Treat the Causes

  1. Doctor adjusts patient to remove nerve pressure to eliminate the cause of the problem.
  2. Nerve flow through the body is reaching maximum potential, eventually 100%
  3. Symptoms subside, overall function of all systems within the body improve in function
  4. Overall health improves and increased resistance to disease is reached by restoring proper neurological communication system-wide

Have you ever wondered about the education your Doctor of Chiropractic has received? Look at these basic educational requirements for graduates of both medical and chiropractic colleges. Each has its own specialties, but the hours of classroom instruction are quite similar.

456 Anatomy/Embryology 215
243 Physiology 174
296 Pathology** 507
161 Chemistry 100
145 Microbiology 145
408 Diagnosis*** 113
149 Neurology 171
271 X-ray 13
56 Psychology/Psychiatry 323
66 Obstetrics/Gynecology 284
168 Orthopedics 2
2,419 TOTAL HOURS 2,047

*The class hours for basic science comparisons were compiled and averaged following a review of curricula of 18 chiropractic colleges and 22 medical schools, based on the 1988-89 Association of American Medical College Curriculum Directory (AAMC), Vickie Ahari, Editor, and the Chiropractic College Admissions and Curriculum Directory 1988-89, K. Magarian and K. McNamee, editors.

**Pathology includes Geriatrics and Pediatrics

***Includes EENT and Dermatology


ANKENY, IA 50021
PHONE: 515.965.7835