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AF Association
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Further on Sleep Sitting Up

This is probably a random situation; but this is what we bring up on this site which makes the site so valuable to many of us. 

By accident, I noticed that if I slept on my back without a pillow, I did not have AF episodes and far less missed beats.  I used to only get AF an hour or so after I went to sleep. I wondered why.  Maybe in some way the vagus nerve is impacted.  I have a benign cyst on the back of my neck, which was removed once but has returned, so maybe something happens because of this.  If my heart attempts to enter into AF at night or during the day, I tried pressing, with the tips of my fingers, on the back of my neck next to the spine, for about 30 seconds.  This stops the AF almost immediately and keeps it at bay for this episode at least.

I went to a chiropractor to see if my upper spine may be an issue where the vagus nerve exits.   He said he was not knowledgeable on this but he did treat one patient for something else and it stopped his AF.  This person's AF has not returned after two years.  The chiropractor said that he would research AF and get back to me if he thought he could help.  I have not heard from him yet. I will post on what he tells me.  He said, being out of alignment, can have many health implications so there could be a reason to check this.

I will also talk to a plastic surgeon about the cyst.

I do not take medications so this could be a factor if you are on medications.

I was wondering if anyone else has had any experiences such as this.

10 Replies

I forgot to mention that I use my right hand and press on the right side of the spine just below the hairline.  Too bad we were not given a user and maintenance manual when we were born.  It would make life so much simpler.


I see a chiro regularly and have had adjustments which both put me into AF & when in episode - out of episode.  It had no long term effect.  From memory vagus nerve come through thoracic region - but I am not sure of that.  I have a chart somewhere but as have the builders in wouldn't be able to locate it.  Sleeping completely supine always helps me wholistically, especially when I know atlas is misaligned,

The area you speak of is C1,C2 is directly adjacent to the brain stem which comes down to C2 - I know because my atlas - C1 - often gets misaligned and when it does it effects my sleep, increases fatigue, gives me brain fog and exacerbates my Mg symptoms.  You need to know and trust a very experienced and well qualified Chiro to treat this area successfully and having had quite a few chiros, believe me I know!

There are many chiros working here who trained in US, their training is very different and in my humble opinion tend to treat atlas rather differently and mostly more effectively - although their methods are frowned upon by UK trained practioners.

I exercise I found helpful is to go one step further and hang my head over a bed for about 4-5 mins every day and exercise neck daily with stretches - this keeps atlas free. Being static - as in too long in one position or doing one job for more than 10-15 mins will always result in atlas getting stuck.


What is "atlas"?


C1 - the first vertebrae in the spinal column and the one that your head balances on and which is the pivot for your neck to move side to side and back and forth.


Interesting post and thank you for sharing. I'll certainly give it a try.


1 like

Interesting Engmac. Some random bits I have read about the Vagus Nerve and related is: like all parts we all do not have the same VG, some are more easily irritated (e.g. with food/cold drinks ) or impacted through lying down (e.g. on the left side) or helped through body pressure points/acupuncture/Mindfullness.

My guess in your case is that the AF stopped because the VN detected a new unusual lying position and that had a brain/heart result. It would be very interesting to see if you kept the AF at bay over a period of time with this position.

Good Luck.


Hi Engmac, 

Have a look at this diagram - it shows the links between the vertebrae and the parasympathetic nervous system - that's where the C1, C2 vertebrae come into the situation. (I know it's Wikipedia, but this one looks ok.)


I'd also suggest asking your chiropractor to look at what's happening with your T1 and T2 vertebrae as they are the ones that are directly linked to the heart via the sympathetic nervous system as in this diagram.


Depending on what type of AF you have, one or other of these two systems may well have something to do with it. One of my earlier posts contains an explanation of how the systems interact.



Here's the link to the post with the explanation.




Caroline and thanks for that, the chart is very difficult to read, I ask my chiro who will always give you one of theirs and they usually have models and diagrams displayed and often videos.

It was certainly adjustments to my thoracic area which directly affected my AF.

Sounds like we travelled a similar road after several car accidents - hospital consultant told me I would be in a neck brace with a fixed neck in 10 years - NO! I screamed so looked for alternatives, which led me to chiro and like you, I asked questions and researched as I do not like being passive as far as my own body is concerned.

I have found it just amazing the amount of knowledge we were NOT taught and have been rather saddened by the suspicion and antagonism and skepticsism of many people about the helpfulness of these therapies - just because the medical profession will not endorse these therapies because they are not evidence based - although if they used qualitive evidence it might be a different story.

1 like

Thank you for this.  Excellent information for us all.


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