Are You a Candidate for Specific Upper Cervical Care?
The spine has 24 moveable vertebra. They are separated into 3 different areas called the cervical, thoracic, and lumbar spine. The cervical spine (neck) consists of 7 moveable vertebra, the thoracic spine (midback) consists of 12 movable vertebra, and lumbar spine (low back) consist of 5 moveable vertebra. Each area of the spine, it’s biomechanics, and range of motion are unique to allow our body to move, bend, and function as locomotive human beings.
The top two bones in the neck are especially unique in their anatomy because unlike the rest of the vertebra in the spine, they do not have locking joints, which can cause them to be very susceptible to injury. The top two bones of the neck are called the Atlas and Axis, or C1 and C2, and are held together by very sensitive muscles and ligaments. These 2 bones account for 50% of the rotation in the neck and being that they do not have locking joints also make them the weakest part of the spine. The lower part of the brainstem, which is where the union between the brain and spinal cord sits, resides within the Atlas (C1), making it the most important and vital area in the body.
The sensitive muscles and ligaments that attach our Atlas and Axis to our skull are constantly monitoring and sending information back and forth from our brain to know where our head is in space. This is called the Righting Reflex. The Righting Reflex is a powerful reflex in our brain that is produced by the eyes striving to maintain equilibrium to the horizon.
If we have every suffered any type of head injury, neck injury, whiplash injury, sports injury, fall, or even a traumatic birth, there is a chance that the Atlas and Axis have shifted out of alignment. The brain will always do its best to Right the eyes to the horizon, but if the Atlas and Axis misalignment is never corrected, there can be compensations that occur throughout the rest of the spine. This can cause one ear to be higher than the other, one shoulder to be higher than the other, possibly one hip to be rotated forward or drawn up, and one leg to appear shorter than the other.
This can lead to musculoskeletal symptoms such as neck pain, shoulder pain, hip pain, low back pain, and knee pain. But more significantly is the effect that the misalignment is having on the brainstem. A misalignment of the Atlas or Axis can put pressure on the brainstem and lead to other challenges, such as problems with sleeping, energy levels, hormone balance, digestive problems, reflux and GERD, headaches and migraines, asthma and allergies, vertigo, neurodegenerative problems, and other unexplained chronic conditions.
During the first visit in our office, one of the best analysis to determine a misalignment component of the Atlas or Axis, is with our 3 dimensional upper cervical specific digital xrays. C1 and C2 can misalign 274 different ways, and this will give us an exact understanding down to the millimeter and degree if you have an upper cervical misalignment. In addition to the xrays, we will do some precise testing, utilizing Heart Rate Variability and Infrared Thermography studies, to evaluate the function of the nervous system. This will give us a clear understanding on 4 things:
- Do you have a misalignment of the Atlas and Axis?
- Is the misalignment affecting your nervous system and overall health?
- Are you a candidate for Specific Upper Cervical Care?
- How long it long it will take to correct?