The Liebell Clinic: Chronic Pain & Wellness Solutions

Will THIS Be America's New Posture? 
Discover How Manual Spinal Structural Correction Could Relieve Your Chronic Pain... and/or Prevent a Lifetime of Needless Suffering

By Dr. Donald Liebell

                                           From the moment we are put in a chair in kindergarten... we sit... and we sit...                                             and we sit.  Our arms are in front of our bodies, and our heads are hanging.  We                                               read and write, with our bodies curled into a position that has detrimental, and                                                 dysfunctional effects on us.  Yet it is rarely ever discussed or considered by                                                       mainstream health care.  

                                           The more education you have; the longer you sit with your head and neck pulled                                           forward.  If you are a high school graduate, that's a whopping 13 years of sitting,                                             bent over books, papers, and computers.  If we add college and graduate school to                                           the mix, it's a disastrous recipe for spinal problems.  It also seems that the more                                             education one has; the more likely it is to work in an occupation that requires even                                           more sitting and computer usage.

    Now, people are not only chained to desks... bent over computer keyboards, and doing paperwork... they are wrecking their posture and harming themselves everywhere they go.  "Smart" phones may be amazing, but spending countless hours with your neck bent forward can have damaging effects.  When symptoms like neck and upper back pain, headaches, or numbness and tingling in the fingers set in... no muscle relaxer or anti-inflammatory drug will correct the problem.  Exercises will NOT do the trick either.

   While the human body is at all times healing itself, there are often things that interfere with this natural inborn process.  If this were not the case; nobody would ever need a doctor.  There can be many types of blockages to healing, which prevent it from normal function. While the body is indeed self-healing… it is not always self-correcting. There’s a big difference between the two processes.  Consider the treatment of broken bones, which is perhaps the most illustrative example:

   If you broke your arm at the elbow joint, for example—it must be physically set and casted by a doctor in its proper functional position.  Otherwise, it would heal… but it would never work right again.  Permanent, chronic pain would be the likely result!  The body can’t set the bone in place, but it can certainly heal it.  It is critical to correct structural/mechanical problems that the body cannot correct itself.  

Once again, your body is self-healing… but often NOT self-correcting.  Think of a stream that has a dam blocking the water flow: removing the dam enables the water to flow… but it does not cause it to flow—it would naturally flow on its own, provided nothing blocked it.  Vertebrae (spinal bones) interlock with each other to form the spinal column.  Each individual bone needs to move properly, and has a normal range of motion.  The vertebrae can get stuck, and there are no muscles that can pull them to loosen up the joints.

When it comes to structural correction techniques, we use specific chiropractic procedures that restore normal motion to locked-up spinal joints and their related soft tissues.  This has a magnificent effect because poorly moving (and/or very slightly misaligned) vertebrae (spinal bones) cause inflammation, which results in interference to normal nerve function.  Physically correcting spinal mechanics is like “removing the dam from the river… enabling the water to flow.”  The body can heal itself better when mechanical and neurological blockages are reduced.  

    Consider once again, if the human body was able to always correct blockages itself; nobody would need a doctor. The spine is without a doubt, a part of the body that needs considerable help!  The intention of the methods I utilize is to reduce blockages or obstructions to natural and normal function and healing.  Improving upright posture has been long-proven to be important to our health.

    Why do our spines need so much help?

    From the moment we’re born, our spines are often traumatized. The birth process itself can cause disturbance to the baby’s neck. Even in a normal birth, it can be subjected to significant twisting and pulling forces that absolutely have consequences.  Research from Germany in 1987 revealed that babies suffered a wide range of health problems due to blocked nerve impulses caused by misalignment of the upper neck.  Unfortunately, evaluation for these subtle effects is not part of conventional medical care.  Most people only receive spinal treatment later in life, once there is visible spinal deterioration.  Sadly, it typically comes in the form of arthritis drugs, futile exercises, and surgery.
Forward Head Posture

    Forward head posture (also known as anterior head syndrome or forward head carriage) is an extremely common problem, especially with the awful postural habits associated with usage of “smart phones,” tablet computers, and other devices that keep people in a forward-bending neck posture for long periods of time.  General desk work, as well as television watching postures can be equally significant.  Forward head posture can also be the result of trauma from auto collisions, sports injuries, falls, and other sudden injuries to the neck.  Despite long-published scientific research, and a lot of “common sense,” logic—little attention is placed in conventional medicine to this extremely important problem with regards to actual treatment! 

      What ever happened to "an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure?"

   The point of this article is that forward head posture is something that can be helped through a well-designed and administered system of manual spinal structural correction, supplemented by improved postural habits.  Fortunately it is possible to help, even if there are degenerative changes.  Our goal is to improve spinal health and function, utilizing highly structured approaches, which can be reproduced with consistent results from patient to patient.  

    Why is it so important?

    Forward head posture has been reported to interfere with your brain’s ability to carry out many important bodily functions.  It’s much more than a matter of neck or back pain!  It can result in numbness or tingling sensations, headaches, degenerative disc and joint disease, “carpal tunnel syndrome,” dizziness, and many other problems.

    A Swedish neurosurgeon, Dr. Alf Breig suggested that loss of the normal “C” shaped curve of the neck, caused tension to the central nervous system, which resulted in many health problems. 
His focus was on the effect of abnormal neck curve and forward posture on structures called meninges.  These are the covering of the brain and spinal cord, which according to Dr. Breig, if distressed could cause disease.  Dr. Breig’s research work has sadly, been largely ignored in most medical circles.  Fortunately, a few doctors of chiropractic have paid attention to his findings, and adapted their methods towards this meninges hypothesis.   

   Primary vs. Secondary Conditions
    A primary condition is the deep-seated, underlying cause or causes of one’s symptoms. 
Secondary problems are the physical signs or symptoms that are caused by the primary problem.  These are typically obvious to doctors, and may be adequately treated through medications and other conventional means.  It is my observation that primary causes are not adequately considered or treated.  That’s why I treat so many people with chronic conditions.  Their previous treatments were like “patching a pothole” vs. repaving the road.  Again, it is common for forward head posture to be the primary cause of many secondary problems.

    It’s  NOT a Muscle Problem

   If you have forward head posture, it is absolutely not a muscle problem. 
You cannot massage or exercise it away.  It requires expertly-delivered, chiropractic manual structural correction.  Just like there are many types of medications and surgical techniques; there are dozens of chiropractic spinal treatment methods.  I utilize several in my practice.  The Atlas Orthogonal procedure (performed by instrument) has been the cornerstone of my practice throughout my career.  Its focus is on the upper neck.  Some patients require a different or additional approach.  I also employ a structural correction system of treatment, which is performed on the entire spine, as well as the hips and legs.   Its focus is forward head posture (posture in general).
    The structural correction system is done by hand.
  It consists of various postural tests, deep stretches (intended to break up scar tissue), and a series of hand-delivered chiropractic adjustments.  The stretches are performed only by the doctor, and may only be needed some of the time.  It appears that this aspect of spinal treatment is rarely considered medically, even by most chiropractors.   It is thought that these stretches break up scar tissue, and reduce abnormal tension of the coverings of the spine and brain—the meninges, suggested by the neurosurgeon, Dr. Alf Breig.  The stretches must be done before proceeding with spinal corrections.  Most of the treatment is done in the standing position.  

    Like the Rubik’s Cube, a series of systematic and order-dependent maneuvers are necessary to “solve the puzzle”—the “unwinding” of the joints and soft tissues of the spine. 
This is intended to decrease abnormal tension for the entire body.  During structural correction treatment, the doctor is constantly testing and re-testing your spine to determine what maneuvers are needed (and perhaps more importantly, not needed).  At the end of each treatment session with the manual structural correction system, the patient can noticeably and easily feel and observe the improvement in posture.  

                                                                     - Dr. Donald Liebell        

​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) 


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


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“Forward head posture leads to long term muscle strain,

isc herniations, arthritis and pinched nerves.”  
The Mayo Clinic, Nov. 3rd, 2000

“Loss of the cervical [neck] curve stretches the spinal cord 5-7 cm and causes Disease.” 

- Dr. Alf Breig, Neurosurgeon (Nobel Prize Recipient)

The Meninges are the Coverings of the Nervous System.  The dura mater, arachnoid,

and pia mater serve to protect the nerves.  It has been suggested by Dr. Breig

that abnormal tension on the meninges can cause various health problems.

“For every inch of forward head posture, it can increase the weight of the

head on the spine by an additional 10 pounds.

World-Renowned Researcher, A.I Kapandji, M.D. - Physiology of Joints, Vol 3.

“90% of the stimulation and nutrition to the brain is generated by the movement of the spine” 

Dr. Roger Sperry, (Nobel Prize Recipient for Brain Research)

Dr. Sperry's research revealed that 90% of the energy output of the brain is for dealing with POSTURE.  
Only 10% is for thinking, metabolism, and healing!

"The more mechanically distorted a person is, the less energy is available for thinking, metabolism, and healing."

Sperry, R. W. (1988) Roger Sperry’s brain research. Bulletin of The Theosophy Science Study Group

26(3-4), 27-28. Nerve Connections. Quart. Rev. Biol. 46, 198.

"Head in forward posture can add up to thirty pounds of abnormal leverage on the cervical spine. This can pull the entire spine out of alignment.  Forward head posture may result in the loss of 30% of vital lung capacity."
"The entire gastrointestinal system (particularly the large intestine) may become agitated from FHP resulting in sluggish bowel peristaltic function and evacuation."

 “Most attempts to correct posture are directed toward the spine, shoulders and pelvis. All are important, but, head position takes precedence over all others. The body follows the head. Therefore, the entire body is best aligned by first restoring proper functional alignment to the head”.  

Rene Cailli et M.D., Past director of the department of physical medicine

and rehabilitation at the University of Southern California  

“The beginning of the disease process starts with postural distortions.”
-Dr. Hans Seyle, Nobel Laureate

Dr. Donald Liebell

D.C., B.C.A.O.

Licensed by the  Virginia Board

of Medicine Since 1993