East Cobb Chiropractor – Structural Correction Chiropractor


Is it a Primary or Secondary Condition?

This morning I took a progress Structural Evaluation (below) on a guy not much older than me.  He found his way into my office after having stabbing pain in his low back and sciatica down his leg for over a year.  Now, we first must determine is the low back pain and sciatica the root cause of the problem?  Or is it merely the “symptom” of something deeper?  Should I work on the muscles in the low back that are in spasm, or attempt to find WHY they are this way?

You see, in my office, I always look to get to the root cause, which  is the Primary Condition.  Anything that occurs as a result of the Primary Condition, are what we call Secondary Conditions (aka symptoms such as low back pain or sciatica).   Simple, right?  Good!

In this man’s case, the Primary Condition was a Structural Shift in his pelvis and lower spine.  As a result of this, Secondary Conditions slowly crept in (symptoms).  You see, the muscles in his low back were not the problem, but simply the result of the structural shift.  (the Primary Condition).

By comparing the normal structural to his structure (far left), you will see the obvious differences.  Over the course of several weeks you’ll see the progress (moving to the right), which has him nearly back to normal.  And it just so happens his Secondary Conditions (low back pain and sciatica) are nearly 100% improved as well.  But that’s what we should see.

So the next time you have an issue, you may want to consider, am I really addressing the Primary Condition?


In the examples below, you’ll notice the normal spine has the center of the pelvis (blue) in alignment with the center of the pelvis and low back (red).  In the example showing progression, you’ll see it begins to the left.  As the Structural Shift is corrected it gets closer and closer to normal as time progresses (blue and red lines should be in alignment).


Berner Chiropractic Extravaganza!

As you may have already heard, our upcoming Pumpkin Extravaganza is just around the corner!

This is going to be an exciting event for our patients and their families.  At Berner Family Chiropractic, our idea of an extravaganza is just a big party to say “thanks” to our patients.  It will be held at Berry Patch Farms in Woodstock on Sunday, October 7th from 10AM to 3PM.  There will be pumpkin picking, hay rides, a petting zoo, and face painting for the little ones.   There will also be plenty of food and beverages on hand.  The entire event is complimentary  (including pumpkins, parking, food, beverages, etc).

Why are we doing this?

This is our way of extending our appreciation for our relationship, as well as saying “thank you” for your referrals, and of course, all your kind words.

There will be no chiropractic presentations – just fun!

If you need any additional details, feel free to ask us when you visit the office for your appointment or simply give Christina a call.

How Do You Know When I’m Progressing?

I often talk with others who’ve seen chiropractors in the past, and they usually have the same sort of questions.  They’ll first tell me they’ve seen a chiropractor for a few visits here and there in the past.  Then they proceed to ask…

“I felt a little better, but how could I really be sure I was improving?.   There wasn’t any way to really measure it.  They took an initial x-ray, but no follow up.   Could it be that I’d probably get a little better on my own?”

I hear these types of questions often and that’s why I think it’s important to understand how we can measure progression.  There is subjective (which is opinion) and objective (which is based on some form of measurement).  I  find patients enjoy objective measurements because they can actually see the progression.  For example, when I sit down with a patient for a consultation, I very thoroughly explain what normal looks like on our 3 objective tests (structural thermographic scans, structural video x-ray, and structural radiographs).  Once they understand normal, I explain there are several indicators we look for to determine if a structural issue is present, or not.  I make this VERY clear and they will easily be able to identify this with their own eyes, without me pointing out where the issue lies.

Now, if we do find any structural issues, I also let them know a progress evaluation will be done in the future to measure, objectively, how things are improving.  Patients enjoying visually seeing the structural correction and an improvement on the indicators. If we are using logic (and we are), and we find indicators of any issues, shouldn’t we use these same indicators in the future to measure the progress?  I think so, yet many will find an initial x-ray was taken, but no follow up.  In these cases people are often left asking the same questions I mentioned above (How can I tell if I’m progressing)

Below you’ll find one example of our objective measurements, video x-ray.  This let’s you see normal, and exactly where vertebral locking is present.  In this example, we are looking at a side view of the neck, with the jaw to the right and the back of the head on the left.  Normal should appear as the head approaching the shoulders.  In the “before”, you’ll see this is not the case.  In the “after” you’ll see a complete change as the head approaches the shoulders.  This is one example of an objective measurement used in our office so that you can actually see the changes with your own eyes, and won’t be left asking “how do I know if I’m progressing?”

Why “Disc Problems” May be a Sign of Something More Serious

It’s not uncommon for patients to have an MRI showing a bulging disc in their back.  But the bigger question remains, what’s causing it and how do you correct it?  Unless there is a major accident, disc problems don’t arise overnight, and in nearly all cases, they are simply a secondary condition.

So what do I mean by secondary condition?  The spine is built with a specific structure that has certain curves to act as a “shock absorber”.  When structural shifts occur in the spine, it’s no longer able to handle the normal stress load that’s required.  When this happens the stress is then transferred to the disc in a specific area and over time it begins to wear out and may become a “bulging disc” or “herniated disc” (or any of the common terms for this condition).  These often create an assortment of secondary conditions (ie pain, tight muscles, sciatica, muscle spasms, etc).

While many patients choose surgery, and some get good results, others are left with additional problems down the road.  If we take a closer look, you’ll realize that when a structural shift occurs, much of the stress is transferred to a specific area of the spine.  As discussed previously, when something is shifted out of place, the weight on the spine is no longer distributed evenly and becomes concentrated in one specific area.  This will be the area where the “disc problem” occurs.  Most surgeons will go in a fuse the two vertebra together, the ones above and below the disc.  The only problem with this approach is it simply transfers the specific stress area up or down 1 segment of the spine.  While relief may occur initially, it’s common to see the same problem begin to develop at this new stress point, a year or two down the road.  Why is this?  It’s simply because the disc issue is secondary in nature, it’s compensating for a structural issue in the spine.  What’s happened is they’ve created a new stress point that will suffer the same degenerative effects as the first one.

The better option for many people is to take care of the primary issue.  Correct the structural shift in the spine, and you’ll see the secondary conditions (the disc) alleviate itself in many cases.

In the photo below you’ll see the spine on the left has a lumbar curve towards the front (the left of the photo).  On the right you’ll see the curve is structural shifted to the right, reducing the curve, making the spine straighter.  In this case it’s lost the normal curve and the extra stress is being applied, causing the disc issue (apparent in the red circle).  This shift will result in many secondary conditions such as pain, sciatica, muscle spasms, etc.

Advanced Health Talk

Just a reminder that our complimentary Advanced Health Talk is held on the 1st and 3rd Tuesday and 2nd and 4th Thursday of each month at 6:15PM

No gimmicks or high pressure sales pitches.  We’ll simply be covering what most traditional chiropractors goals are and give some insight into Structural Corrective Care we offer using our specialized video x-ray system.  Anyone is welcome to attend.  If you’d like more information on our process simply visit our website at www.bernerchiro.com

As always, have a great day!
Dr Nate

But I Just Want to Talk FIRST!

Have you been to a chiropractic office in the past where a “consultation” suddenly turned into an examination with x-rays, followed by a second visit Report of Findings to discuss your options?  Only to find it was nothing more than a high pressure sales pitch, even questioning  the seriousness of your health (if you didn’t sign on the dotted line).  If that’s the case, I can assure you we do things very differently!

In fact, you are in for a rare treat when you schedule a complimentary consultation in our office; you actually sit down for a consultation with Dr. Berner. You see, at Berner Family Chiropractic, a consultation is a conversation, not an examination, and certainly not a high-pressure sales-like experience common in the chiropractic profession.

When you visit our practice, two things will happen:

  1. We will get to know you
  2. You will get to know Berner Family Chiropractic, and how we may be able to help you achieve a better level of health.

We will provide you with an overview of chiropractic and then explain how our focus –Structural Corrective Chiropractic– and the unique technology we utilize at Berner Family Chiropractic is quite different than traditional chiropractic, and how that difference will be your gateway to optimal health.

Following your consultation with Dr. Berner, you are more than welcome to proceed on that day, or on a future date, with a complete Patient History, followed by a Structural Corrective Chiropractic examination, which will include:

  • Digital Structural Film
  • A Live Structural Video X-Ray Radiographic Analysis of your spine
  • A Structural Infrared Thermographic Evaluation

Once again, there is no charge for our consultation and there are no high-pressure sales gimmicks.

As always, HAVE A GREAT DAY!

Dr Nathan Berner

Seeing Is Believing

In my office I found people really enjoy the objective tools we use to measure progress as it relates to Structural Correction.  I’ve often joked the secondary conditions (symptoms) are by far the easiest to take care of, but the issue often returns over time if the primary issue (the underlying cause) is not taken care of.  With that said, patients love when you can show them visually the before and after structural correction of their spine.  Below I’d like to share a few visual examples  of how we show patients the  issue has been corrected.

To the left you will see normal Structural Thermographic Scan  and on the right you will see abnormal.  This instrument measures the heat patterns along the spine.  These temperatures should appear even from top to bottom and left to right.  When they are not equal, it will appear as bright red or blue and this is a reliable indicator there is a structural issue.

Below you will find a patient who had severe indicators of structural issues based on the Structural Thermographic Scans.  The top row shows her 1st 4 scans and the bottom row shows her last 4 scans as her care proceeded in our office.  As you can see in the bottom right picture, she had a near perfect scan on her last visit.  This makes it very clear the structural issues are improving.  Not only do patients love seeing this with their own eyes, but it’s one of the most valuable tools I use in my office.


What would you be thinking as a patient if you never had the opportunity to see how things were progressing and only went by the secondary conditions?  If a patient were to come in for several visits and I was unable to change the Structural Thermographic Scans should I continue to do the same thing over and over, or should I change directions and take a slightly different approach?  You see, without this tool,  I could never give the same quality of care because I simply wouldn’t have all the information.

Below you’ll find another example where the difference is obvious after Structural Correction Chiropractic Care.  The top picture shows a normal Structural Radiograph as it appears when we are looking at a side view of the neck.  The curved green line shows the normal curve of the spine and the vertical line gives us an indicator if the head is sitting properly over the top of the shoulders.  This line should touch or come extremely close to the front of the spine, as it appears below.

Below that  you will see a Structural Radiograph with obvious indicators  of a Structural shift in the spine.  The spine has shifted backwards and the curve is now in the opposite direction.  This causes stress on the muscles, ligaments, tendons, bones, and nerves in the spine and will lead to degeneration, as the arthritis and disc degeneration shows below.  Following a progress x-ray after Structural Corrective care you can see about 50% improvement towards “normal”.  Again, I’ve found patients enjoy the fact they can actually see the difference with their own eyes.

At the very bottom you will see the same patient below with a side view and a front to back view of the neck on video x-ray showing progress.  The normal motion of the spine is for the head to approximate the shoulders when you look up at the ceiling (looking back as far as possible).  In this example, the back of the head is on the upper left and the shoulders are at the bottom left of screen.  When a structural shift occurs, “Vertebral Locking” will become evident.  This simply means a vertebra is “locked” and loses it’s ability to move properly.  This is an extremely important indicator for a Structural Issue when present.  Following care you will the see dramatic increase in the motion as the patient looks up at the ceiling.

Special Event Announcement

Berner Family Chiropractic will be hosting a special event Tuesday, May 29 at our office at 6:30PM.

Let me first begin by telling you what I will NOT be doing.  I won’t be asking you to sign up for any special offers or pressure you to sign up for a “once in a lifetime special”.  I will simply be hosting a 20-30 minute Introduction Presentation  on Structural Chiropractic Care and how it differs from most traditional chiropractic approaches.  At the end of the presentation we’ll be handing out some nice “goodie bags”, which will include a t-shirt, a tote bag, the latest copy of our newsletter, and a gift certificate.  The door is open to anyone, and you are welcome to bring guests for a second set of eyes and ears.  Hope to see you there and have a great day!


Dr Nate

Is It Really That Easy To See?

It’s VERY simple.  There is a definite normal range when it comes to the spine, just as there is a normal range for blood pressure or heart rate.  You simply need to identify the indicators of a structural issue and your answer becomes very black and white.  Someone either has a structural issue or they don’t.  One of the most reliable indicators is the video x-ray, where we look for “vertebral locking” as a result of a structural shift in the spine.

The spine should be freely movable and create a smooth arc when looking up or down.  Anything that deviates from this is due to a structural shift.  Something has shifted out of it’s normal position and has become “locked” in the abnormal position.  Many traditional chiropractors are able to locate these through manual palpation (using hands) but the gold standard, across the entire medical profession, is video x-ray.  Studies show it’s simply the best tool for identifying which vertebra is “locked” and it’s not even close.  It’s simply the most accurate way of finding this condition.

When something has deviated from normal (a structural shift that has become locked) then it’s very common to experience secondary conditions.  Whether it be headaches, vertigo, back pain, disc problems, or any assortment of other things, these secondary conditions are caused by the structural shift.  Our goal is simply to correct the primary cause.  Below we are looking at a side view of the neck.  You will find  several examples of “vertebral locking” with normal on the left, and abnormal on the right.  Normal should create a smooth arc down the back of the spine.  Abnormal will appear as a “kink” or a “break” in this smooth curve and is very apparent when you follow the red dashed lines.

What Causes Tight Shoulders?

The normal structure of the neck will have the head sitting directly over the shoulders.  When a structural shift has occurred in the neck, the head will often move towards the front, which we call Anterior Head Syndrome.  When this shift occurs we’ll often find “vertebral locking” in the spine (http://tinyurl.com/c5ey6u2).  The combination of these two will cause the shoulder muscles to spasm, in attempt to support the extra weight caused by the structural shift.  The tight shoulder muscles are what we call “secondary conditions” because as you might have guessed, they are a result of the structural shift in the spine (the tight muscles are the symptom, not the true cause of the problem).

The secondary conditions  associated with this are often pain or numbness in the shoulders, neck, and sometimes into the hands.  It’s also common to find someone with tension headaches to have this condition.  This is most commonly found those who sit all day or are at a computer all day, but can be found in many others as well.  If left uncorrected for an extended period of time, spinal degeneration will often take place.

Let’s look at a real life example below.

In the picture you will notice normal on the left.  There is a banana shaped curve towards the front and the vertical blue line touches the front of the spine.  You will also notice the distance between the yellow line and the shoulders (the shoulders appear as the hazy white area below the yellow line).  On the right a structural shift has occurred and there are some very clear indicators of this.  The head has shifted forward (anterior head syndrome).  You will notice the lack of curve in addition to the space between the blue line and the front of the spine.  This indicates Anterior Head Syndrome is present and the shoulders will become “tight” or in “spasm” as a result (a secondary condition).  This is obvious when you look at the distance between the yellow line and the shoulders.  Since the shoulders are supporting extra weight, they become tense (think of raising your shoulders up towards your ears, instead of in the normal relaxed position).

There are many out there who will focus on the shoulders (the secondary condition) as the problem.  Although they always mean well, they usually aren’t addressing the primary source of the problem.    Our focus is on correcting the structural issue in the spine and the secondary issues will resolve themselves.

(click to enlarge)