When a car accident takes place, the whipping motion of the neck is nearly inevitable. Whiplash puts a lot of pressure and tension on the upper neck joints. This type of injury can cause tearing of the loose ligaments and tendons of the upper neck in very complex ways. During a car accident, the body is strapped to the car, but the head is able to fly around freely creating a whipping motion at the neck.
Because the ligaments are weaker in the upper neck joints, the whiplash injury is much more likely to misalign the upper neck than the lower neck. Unless the head and neck injury is properly evaluated, it can lead to long term upper cervical instability.
The head and neck misalignment affect health and body functions, which can lead to ongoing symptoms after an injury. Headaches are one of the most common symptoms following a head and neck injury. While the majority of standard protocols focus on evaluating the brain, many signs and symptoms are pointing directly to the upper neck involvements.
The atlas misalignment puts pressure or tension on the brainstem and spinal cord. Because there are many vital nerves and vessels that go through the atlas (C-1), the pressure on the upper neck can disrupt blood flow to and from the brain, the cerebrospinal fluid within the cranium, and nerve signals traveling to the brain.