Dr. Brandon J. Van Seters, DC
4 Essentials of Spinal Care: #1 Head and Neck Alignment
Updated: Jun 1, 2022
In our last post we went over the 4 essentials of spinal care.
Head and Neck Alignment
In this post we will dive into the details of the most important component of spinal care: Head and Neck Alignment
First off let's look at what makes the upper neck so special:
Unique anatomy and biomechanics
High neurological density
Cerebrospinal fluid hydrodynamics
Your upper cervical spine or upper neck is so special because it is the most complex and unique joint in the entire body. It is the junction between your skull and your spine. The upper cervical spine consists of the Atlas bone or C1, the axis bone or C2 and the skull. To ensure proper movement of this area your brain needs a lot of information. This information comes from many nerves in the area.
For more check out our most popular post which goes into each with more detail here.
How does a head and neck misalign?
Due to the unique anatomy and biomechanics of the upper cervical spine; it is especially vulnerable to misalignment. Unlike other spinal joints the upper cervical spine does not have discs or facet joints to keep it locked in place. The upper cervical spine is held together by small muscles and small ligaments. In addition to this your 10-12 pound head is sitting on your 1 ounce atlas bone.
Accident and injuries tear loose the connective tissue that holds the spine in a proper position. This creates a weakness allowing the spine to break down and lock into a stressed position. You can still move and get around but the stress is always there. Over time your anti-gravity muscles have to work harder to keep you upright. This causes your anti-gravity muscles to fatigue and leads to pain.
The longer your spine is misaligned in a stressed position the more it breaks down. This is due to repetitive abnormal forces acting on the spine. The spine is designed to work best it its proper aligned position.
How do I fix my head and neck alignment?
Unfortunately there is no stretch or exercise that can realign your head and neck. To fix the problem requires an upper cervical specific chiropractor. Specifically a NUCCA chiropractor. A NUCCA chiropractor takes specific x-rays to determine the exact misalignment of your head and neck. Based on those findings a light, gentle adjustment is made to the atlas bone. Post x-rays are required to determine future adjustments.
You can find a NUCCA chiropractor near you at nucca.org
If you are in the Orange county California area we offer free assessments to determine if you qualify for this type of care.
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