Quantum Spinal Mechanics (QSM3) is a progressive orthogonally based upper cervical chiropractic technique. Dr. Russell Friedman (Board certified in NUCCA and Orthospinology) has spent the past few years re-examining the basic concepts and procedures that encompass upper cervical work. Out of this intensive examination have come several new concepts and significant alterations of former procedures.

Biomechanics-using data from pelvis to skull

Biomechanics has always been focused entirely on the cervical spine and head in upper cervical techniques. This means that all data used to calculate adjusting vectors has been derived from this area. Gregory did refer to the spine as a kinetic chain. This presaged the more encompassing concept of tensegrity. As a full spine technique, it makes sense to examine data from the whole spine and pelvis. As a kinetic chain, rotation can often be complex. Since big mass rules small mass, adjusting to put the pelvis back in orthogonal position with the direct result of resolving the cranial adaptations diminishes transitional symptoms after adjustment and is plainly more efficient than trying to untorque the spinal kinetic chain from the atlas bone downward.


A tensegral array utilizes continuous tension in the myofascial envelope while using the bony skeleton to serve as placeholders for shape. Because bones do not touch, there cannot actually be fulcrums or lever arms. This tensional biomechanics differs from the traditional orthogonal articular biomechanics. QSM3 uses data from the entire spine and pelvis considering the importance of pelvic orientation in stability and reduction of misalignment. While adjustive contact remains in the upper cervical region, the vector which incorporates pelvic misalignment can more directly untorque the spine and return the pelvis to the gravity line and normal position in the standing posture. Using data from the whole spine and pelvis just makes sense considering the intent is to move these same structures.


Dr. Friedman also noted that aside from head tilt, laterality and rotation of the atlas, rotation of C2 and the subjacent cervical vertebrae in the frontal and transverse planes, there is also a compressive effect that can be seen as loss of lordosis on the lateral cervical film, rotation on the vertex and bowing of the lower angle on the Nasium that represents a major progressively degenerative force.  This ‘bow’ or compression is a function of the deleterious effects of gravity and has not been directly addressed in the past.  QSM3 protocols deal with this issue directly and effectively.

Measurement of a Projection

X-ray protocols have also been examined. The critical issue is to measure rotation in the plane that it occurs in. This means that the x-ray plate must be in the same plane as the rotation being measured.  Measurement of a projection is not accurate. This has changed the way films are taken.

Relative Zero

In addition, the tensegral model has diminished the critical nature of atlas laterality measurement (as a causal factor) and increased the importance of measuring the lower angle more accurately. Dr. Friedman is using lasers to accurately place patients in the chair beginning from their base and making sure the patient is vertical up to the fixed point (C7 or T1). Then the clamps have been modified so that they are not self-centering allowing the head to be clamped on the Nasium with the atlas excursion from the vertical axis accurately portrayed (instead of forcing it to the center of the film and distorting the lower angle). While some unequal magnification may take place due to the clamping of the head in its actual position in relation to the vertical axis, the lower angle is more accurately portrayed.

Newton’s 3rd Law –primary vs. compensatory

Newton’s 3rd law in a nutshell is a foundational principle in the QSM3 algorithm. Establishing the primary subluxation and subsequent misalignment is a level that improves the corrective care process. Upper Cervical has long maintained that the C1 and skull are primary and must be corrected at a primary level to zero. QSM3 differs considerably in the application of this protocol. Large structures of mass (pelvis to Vertebral prominence) are the causative large mass structures that breakdown, and under gravity’s pressure, collapse. The function and reactive balancers of the body maintain a horizontal visual field at all times. This is known as the righting reflex. This reflex and the anatomical structure of the double coupling at C0/C1/C2 present strong empirical evidence that the primary focus of corrective care is the BOX (QSMcircumference from pelvis to shoulder girdle) as the primary structural issue. Our clinical data supports this significantly.


The closed kinetic chain of the human body allows for energy to remove the resistance that locks the body in a non-orthogonal posture. The skull and C1 act as balancers for the human frame as long lever from the pelvis to optimize weight shift caused by spinal misalignment. The QSM3 procedure is an Upper Cervical procedure dedicated to correctorthogonalityfor the complete human frame. This opens a new territory and new possibilities for learning and growth that are based on the foundational principles of Palmer, Grostic, and Gregory.

Michael Thomas DC, Director of Research