IMPORTANT FYI: It should be noted that in 1984, when the following article was published, Dr. Craton was still trying to cause the chiropractic profession to raise it's standards. Since the chiropractors absolutely refused to follow his research by 1) refusing to teach his findings in the chiropractic colleges, and 2) refusing to embrace his methods by their boards, which are the two things that are required in order for the chiropractors to make a legitimate claim to the work, he officially turned his back on his profession in 1996 after having won the Texas Chiropractic College's Centennial Award in 1995. Basically, he was sick of their stunted paradigm and after realizing that he was not going to be allowed to affect the chiropractic standard he outright opposed them the last five years of his life and stood with me in spirit when I approached them back in 2001 in order to cause his research to be officially recognized as a separate field from chiropractic. If chiropractic will ever have the official scientific, moral, and yes even legal, right to claim Dr. Craton's research, then the chiropractic field must approach me personally in order for me to 1) educate them properly, and 2) authenticate their knowledge of his life's work. Any such request will be posted here at such time that such a request would exist. Until then, chiropractic is a fraud, and it's methodologies have been stolen from the osteopaths since D. D. Palmer, the founder of chiropractic, took everything he could from A. T. Still, the founder of osteopathy. The only reason why chiropractic has been able to establish itself apart from osteopathy is that Still referred to the 'abnormal' condition of the spine as lesions and Palmer referred to the same condition as vertebral subluxations. Today and historically, chiropractic's and osteopathy's primary focus is on the spine itself. Our primary focus is on the joints directly around the spine, and, we recognize the so-called 'abnormal' curvature of the spine to be a normal compensation for other mentioned causes.
Earl F. Craton D.C., Ph.C., graduated from Palmer College, March 1925. He practiced until 1945 in Enid, Oklahoma, then in Fort Worth, Texas. Dr. Craton has made an indepth study of the various concepts of upper cervical adjusting as pertaining to the factual biomechanics of the occipital-atlanto-axial articulations. Pre- and post- x-ray evaluation of the "Craton Series" of the head and cervical spine has documented the primary subluxation of this area as the misalignment of the occipital condyles on the glenoid grooves of the atlas.
Dr. Craton did not renew his license in '83. At present, he is making a video tape production concerning this subluxation and how to make the correction.
In my sixty years of study and practice of chiropractic, I have observed and used several techniques which have not faced up to the true biomechanics of the occipital, atlanto, axial articulations. Consequently, they have failed in many cases to resolve the problems which cause the neural insults common to this region of the spine.
In dissecting the upper cervical region of dogs, swine, sheep and cattle, I have found a tough, fibrous, elastic, hyaline, cartilage-like ligament that binds the inferior apex of the occipital condyles to a narrow space between the articulating facets of the superior surfaces of the atlas lateral masses. This space is known in anatomy as the paraglenoid groove. When all ligaments, membranes, tendons and muscles are severed on the outer surfaces of the occiput and atlas, the head remains firmly anchored to the atlas. By holding the carcass stationary and giving the head a sharp tug and twist, the head is usually separated from the atlas but, occasionally, it is necessary to cut some of the remains of this unrecognized, unnamed and unlisted ligament.
I have never had the opportunity to dissect a freshly deceased human body and I doubt if I ever will, but some day some pathologist will and I am positive he will find in the human body that which I have found in animals. When this happens there will be much "to-do", and honor will be bestowed upon him. Eventually, our anatomy books will include this new discovery.
I have been bold enough to postulate that this, the condyle-paraglenoid ligament, has been present and doing its "thing" in us humans for eons of time. I further postulate that this condyle-atlas anchor point is the "hinge" point for the head to flex and extend on the atlas.
Treating the foregoing postulations as fact, I have reasoned that a subluxation of the occiput/cervical articulation restrains the normal head "hinging" functions and creates an abnormal anterior to posterior or posterior to anterior slide of the condyles out of their matching glenoid grooves on the atlas facets. To reduce this subluxation, it makes more sense, from a mechanical standpoint, to adjust the head back onto the atlas glenoid grooves than to try to adjust the atlas into proper position under the condyles.
By paying strict attention to the direction of head-condyle subluxation on the atlas, a custom-directional occipital adjustment directs the condyles back upon their respective glenoid grooves. Thus, the normal functions of head flexion and extension on the atlas can again occur. It is my opinion the occiput and atlas are in good functional relationship if the normal movements of head flexion and extension are present.
Three lateral x-ray films of the head and cervical spine - neutral, flexed and extension - by measurements will determine spacing between the posterior arch of the atlas, the occiput and the axis spinous and whether there has been any degree of loss of these normal movements. It is possible to monitor the effects of an adjustive procedure by comparing the measurements of these spacings on pre- and post- x-ray films. By switching from atlas adjusting techniques to occipital condyle realignment on the atlas, my clinical results improved with at least 60% to 80% fewer adjustments.
Now I know there is much more to the practice of chiropractic than just realigning the occipital condyles on the atlas. In fact, neurological problems may arise from any area of the nerve tracts and cause reflex arc malfunction. When this is the case, our chiropractic services should be appropriate, but within the limits of legal privileges. However, if the neurological problem is basically a subluxated occiput/cervical subluxation, I think it should be approached with a sound mechanically-correctable procedure. This I have tried to do and, looking back on my batting average since I switched from atlas to occiput adjusting, I am convinced the switch was appropriate and justified!
Update: March 4, 1985.
Complete list of published articles
This page was first posted on January 14, 2003 and last revised on January 9, 2022.