Why the Neck?
In any situation involving a significant impact to the body such as car accidents, sports injuries, falls, or bump to the head, the forces from the impact transfer to the body. During a car accident, the head and neck rapidly accelerate and decelerate causing a significant amount of force on the upper neck. Even if the damage to the vehicle is minimal, the body absorbs those forces from the impact. This type of an injury is often dismissed and neglected as a minor soft tissue. However, many people experience differently. It can lead to develop chronic health conditions such as headache, migraine, dizziness, loss of balance, chronic neck and back pain, arm and leg pain.
Atlas Subluxation Complex Syndrome
The upper cervical junction is the weakest region of the human spine. More than half of the head movements occur between the head and the top two cervical vertebrae (c1/c2). An injury to the head and neck can cause tearing of loose ligaments and tendons in complex ways, that the head will no longer stay aligned properly. Unless the head and neck alignment is properly evaluated, some parts of the body will not be able to communicate efficiently with the brain.
Trillions of nerve fibers from the brainstem travel through the small opening in the atlas (C1) and flow down into the spinal column. The slightest degree of upper cervical misalignment of the spine can cause body imbalance and brain stem compression. This can result in increased health problems throughout the entire body.
Body Imbalance and Chronic Pain
The shifting of the atlas (c1) causes stress and miscommunication to the brain. It affects posture control centers in the lower brainstem region. Posture muscles that run along one side of the spine pull harder than muscles on the other side. This can result postural distortion as the picture you see above.
You can notice the short leg on one side, uneven hips, high shoulder and head tilt. The body imbalance like the picture above has a very negative long-term effect on spinal discs. When the body weight is not distributed evenly across the discs, premature degenerative disc disease, herniation and even a closing down of spinal nerve canals can result. The body imbalance causes your spine to age quicker.
Reprinted with permission from Daniel O. Clark, D.C. Copyright 2022 www.uppercervicalillustrations.com
H. Charles Woodfield, D. Gordon Hasick, Werner J. Becker, Marianne S. Rose, James N. Scott, “Effect of Atlas Vertebrae Realignment in Subjects with Migraine: An Observational Pilot Study“, BioMed Research International, vol. 2015, Article ID 630472, 18 pages, 2015. https://doi.org/10.1155/2015/630472