​Donald K. Liebell, DC, BCAO

477 Viking Drive Suite 170

Virginia Beach VA 23452 
8:30AM - 6:30PM M,W,F 

(By Appointment Tu, Sat) 


The Liebell Clinic: Chronic Pain & Wellness Solutions

Natural & holistic, whole-person, wellness-based Healthcare - Drug-Free & Non-Surgical Pain Relief


​​​      I'm here to help, and I'll be glad to personally answer your questions.  Please type your first name in the box on the contact form.  Please check the box to receive email updates to give me permission to correspond with you by email, and type your question in the message box.  

   I respond to questions in the order I receive them, 

usually within 1-3 business days.  My responses are for

general information only, and must not be considered as

advice for specific medical treatment or diagnosis

.   For appointments, please call my office at: (757) 631-9799.  

     Your email address or other information is confidential; I will never share it with anyone, nor will it be used for any form of solicitation.   I look forward to your questions! 

"It is very possible that 20 to 25 percent of Fibromyalgia sufferers may, in fact have a problem emanating from the cervical

spinal cord... it may be caused by a

narrowing of the spinal canal..."

Dan Heffez, M.D.
Past Assistant Professor - Department of Neurosurgery, Johns Hopkins Hospital.  
Dr. Heffez served as Director of Cerebrovascular Surgery at the Chicago Institute of Neurosurgery and Neuroresearch and as Chief of Cerebrovascular

Surgery at Rush-Presbyterian-

St. Luke's Medical Center.

"It has always been my opinion that the major abnormality of most fibromyalgics is a compression neuropathy, typically involving the cervical spine.”  

Blair Lamb, M.D., C.C.F.P., O.P.P.A
- Specialist in treatment of myofascial pain and dysfunction focusing upon compression neuropathies affecting spine and joint pain

"It is likely that spinal disturbances

are responsible for the first manifestations of fibromyalgia"

-Dr. W. Muller, Institute for Rehabilitation Research in Sackingen, Germany
- Muller, Kelemen J., Stratz T.

Spinal function in generation of fibromyalgia syndrome. Z Rheunatol (Germany) 1998; 57 suppl 2: 36-42.  

Neck Injury the Most Likely

Cause of Fibromyalgia

"Compression of the brainstem (CNS) is a common result of whiplash-type traumas. In many cases this appears the likely cause of (FM) and related conditions... A concussion may occur here and result in the altered activity of the 'sleep center' resulting in abnormal sleep."   

Dr. David T. Ryan,
Past Medical Director,

USA Fibromyalgia Association

Fibromyalgia Treatment Breakthrough

"Research is beginning to support a strong connection between (FM) and brainstem (CNS) malfunction" 

National Fibromyalgia 
Research Association 

"Fibromyalgia is a well recognized symptom of whiplash injury..." 

Michael Melton

 Author, The Complete Guide to Whiplash

"Fibromyalgia seems to be a condition closely related to injury of the neck"

Buskila D., Neumann L., Vaisberg D., Alkalay D., Wolfe F. Increased rates of fibromyalgia following cervical spine injury: a controlled study of 161 cases of traumatic injury. Arthritis and Rheumatism 39: 446-452, 1997

The ONE Area of the Body

Every Fibromyalgia Sufferer

MUST Have Examined

   By Dr. Donald Liebell

   They call it the “Invisible Disease.”  Millions of Americans supposedly have it. Doctors are baffled by it.  Fibromyalgia is a mysterious, debilitating condition which renders the victim helpless to fight off constant pain, fatigue, and depression.  Victims are given few options beyond indefinite consumption of medications, and being advised to “learn to live with it.”  Many patients say their doctors don’t believe anything is physically wrong with them, because their tests all show up negative.  

   Their conclusion: “It’s all in your head.”  

   But this could dramatically change thanks to a stunning breakthrough: a small, but growing number of physicians and researchers say they’ve isolated one of the fundamental causes of many of the symptoms of fibromyalgia.  They’ve pinpointed a tiny structural imbalance between the skull and the UPPER NECK.  It can be caused by physical trauma 20 or more years prior to onset of the symptoms.  It is a nearly imperceptible narrowing of the spinal canal, which can silently choke the spinal cord—leading to pain throughout the body.  Unfortunately, few doctors seem to know to even consider it, let alone diagnose it — a nearly imperceptible narrowing of the spinal canal which can literally choke the spinal cord area. 

   It’s called Upper Cervical Stenosis (UCS).   

   It may be present as early as childhood, 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.

   A recent medical study published in the Journal of Whiplash and Related Disorders suggests that neck injuries commonly cause significant problems, long-term complications, and disabilities.  They are largely unresponsive to treatment from many different medical specialties. 

   According to one of the researchers, John Carleton, M.D., “Many of these patients do not return to their normal level of productivity for many years and a number of them later become permanently disabled.”  The pieces of this upper neck injury/Fibromyalgia puzzle seem to be fitting together.  If you have been diagnosed with fibromyalgia, or think you have symptoms of it; your neck may be a major cause factor.

   The greatest concentration of nerve connections in the human body is at the upper neck.
 Misalignment of the bones (Atlas and Axis vertebrae) can result in nerve compression, which can affect your entire nervous system, and therefore, your whole body.  Research has focused attention on neurological conditions involving compression of the brain stem or upper portion of the spinal cord.  

   The University of Kansas School of Medicine and Arthritis Research Center studied the relationship between neck injury and Fibromyalgi
a.  The conclusion of this study of 161 cases revealed...

   Fibromyalgia was 13 times more frequent following NECK INJURY, compared to other areas of the body! 

   I am among the few doctors who specialize in structural-neurological dysfunction of the upper neck.  The majority of patients consulting me (diagnosed with fibromyalgia by another physician) reported a history of neck injury, with no prior problems.  Many of these accident victims had no “fibromyalgia” symptoms prior to the neck injury.  Yet because they did not recover from their injuries in a timely manner, and developed more symptoms (and never received effective treatment); they were told “fibromyalgia” was the cause!   In many cases the trauma took place several decades prior to the onset of the mysterious symptoms labeled fibromyalgia.     

   Many researchers are embracing the Central Sensitization Theory.  This suggests that fibromyalgia victims have a lower pain tolerance because their brains have an increased sensitivity to pain signals.  Normal electrochemical signals must transmit through your nerves, like electricity through wires.

  However, not all fibromyalgia patients remember having a neck injury.  Nevertheless imbalances are routinely found.  In my clinical experience, this is the most common and significant aspect of fibromyalgia to consider.    

   Still, the major obstacle fibromyalgia sufferers face is TREATMENT.  

   The mere diagnosis is already enough of a controversial subject within medical circles.  There are needless to say, widely varying views on the treatment of the neck.  Sadly, despite this critical new focus on the upper neck, it seems the majority of doctors are STILL focused on the American medical tradition of drugs, surgery, and exercises.  

   Fortunately, a revolutionary non-surgical treatment option is available. Overjoyed patients have been raving about it, nationwide. It’s an extremely safe, painless, non-invasive procedure that reduces the “choking” effect on the spinal cord.  

   With the Atlas Orthogonal procedure (AO), minuscule physical imbalances between the skull and the upper neck vertebrae can be detected and corrected. Atlas Orthogonal is a sophisticated, mathematically-based, rehabilitative treatment performed with a safe and delicate sound wave instrument.   Atlas Orthogonal 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 process.  Nevertheless, results are often rapid and dramatic.  This completely painless procedure has unparalleled safety.  This has been medically published in the Journal of Whiplash and Related Disorders.  In this research study, Atlas Orthogonal was revealed effective for chronic pain sufferers for whom multiple medical treatments had failed

   Your neck is examined immediately before Atlas Orthogonal treatment, and seconds after.  You can feel that the pain from nerve pressure is reduced when your neck is re-examined. This means that healing messages can be better transmitted from your brain to your body, reducing a significant blockage to healing.  Elimination of nerve pressure and improved spinal mechanics helps enabling healing from within.  

   Since 1993, I have seen many dramatic recoveries from people diagnosed with fibromyalgia.  Some level of improvement is usually seen in just a few weeks. This is possible, even though we are treating a chronically dysfunctional neck, in many cases riddled with degenerative calcification and inflammation.  Bear in mind this is all being done non-surgically.  This is no small feat.  Atlas Orthogonal is a marvel of science and technology, skill and experience.  

   One must wonder, in the light of this knowledge of the connection between the upper neck and fibromyalgia... why aren't doctors telling people? 
 Do they even know about it themselves?  Have they read the medical journals, or investigated Atlas Orthogonal in person?  Do you think Lyrica, Cymbalta, or Savella can improve the mechanics of the joints of the upper neck?  Perhaps it's a rhetorical question, but why do you think these heavy-duty pharmaceutical drugs getting all the attention? 

   It is up to the public to decide who the most qualified doctors are, and what the most effective treatments are for fibromyalgia.  

   My patients and I can attest to the effectiveness of Atlas Orthogonal (and other drugless and non-surgical techniques I utilize).  Long before the term, fibromyalgia was ever used, doctors in this field of expertise were helping people with the symptoms of this so-called invisible disease.  Frankly, when both patient and doctor can measure and see distortion of the neck on x-ray... can we accurately call it invisible?      ​