What is Upper Cervical Chiropractic?
This specific chiropractic technique focuses on aligning the upper cervical spine. The spinal anatomy of this region is unique in many ways. There are only two vertebrae in the spine with common names - the Atlas and the Axis. The Atlas, or C1 vertebra, is the first and topmost vertebra in your body. Named through Greek Mythology, the Atlas held up the world, or in this case, the eight to twelve pound world you carry on your shoulders, your head. The second vertebrae under the Atlas is called the Axis, or C2 vertebra, because it is serves as the axis of rotation for your head and neck.
Together, this area of the spine is the most mobile and lacks interlocking joints; therefore, traumatic forces, such as falls, repetitive motions or motor vehicle accidents, can easily misalign the upper cervical spine.
What Happens When the Upper Cervical Spine Misaligns?
When a misalignment of the upper cervical spine occurs, stresses are placed on the nervous system in a variety of ways that can negatively impact your health.
Research from both the medical and chiropractic fields have drawn direct connections between the upper cervical spine and the cerebellum for postural control. Information sent from the upper cervical spine to the brain is constantly regulated by the position of the head and neck. This information is analyzed and conveyed back to the spine to facilitate proper muscle tone and joint control to enable the body to function appropriately in response to our spatial environment. Input to other areas of the brain, as well as Cranial Nerves, may also be affected by the malpositioned upper cervical spine. Without proper information into the spinal cord, cerebellum and brainstem, the body becomes structurally imbalanced leading to spinal dysfunction, premature degeneration and pain.
How Do We Detect and Correct the Cause?
Upper cervical doctors are trained to determine exactly how the upper cervical spine is misaligned, and the set-up and exact angle needed to correct it and return to a state of balance.
The doctor's role is to restore spinal integrity and body balance. Your role is to balance the other parts of your life - good nutrition, physical activity, enough rest, and a positive attitude!
*All information courtesy of The Society of Chiropractic Orthospinology*
The Society of Chiropractic Orthospinology. (2013). What is Orthospinology?.
The Society of Chiropractic Orthospinology.