Upper cervical chiropractic care also known as SPECIFIC CHIROPRACTIC is a little known health care system that has helped millions of people get their health and life back. This form of health care has been helping people with HEADACHES, NECK PAIN, SHOULDER PAIN, ARM PAIN, VERTIGO and BACK PAIN and other spinal related disorders for over 118 years now.
This form of health care was developed, practiced and researched by Dr. B.J. Palmer. There were other upper cervical chiropractic pioneers that made a tremendous contributions to upper cervical chiropractic as well such as: Dr. William G. Blair, Dr. John F. Grostic, Dr. Ralph Gregory, et.al.
What Does Upper Cervical Mean?
The term Upper Cervical refers to the top two bones in the neck. An Upper Cervical Chiropractor is someone that has specialized training and is different than a general Chiropractor and deals SPECIFICALLY with the upper two bones in the neck.
Very interesting and of note is the fact that the very top neck bones are called the ATLAS and AXIS. Atlas is derived from the Greek God ATLAS as he holds up your world i.e. your head. The second neck bone is called AXIS and ATLAS rests or stands on top of AXIS. It is not widely known to the general public that brain stem exits the floor of the skull and runs through these top two neck bones. The purpose of the spine is to protect the brain stem and the spinal cord which runs through the bones of the spine as well as provides a base of support for the body.
How Much Does The Human Head Weigh?
The human head weighs between 10-16 pounds which is very similar to the weight of a bowling ball. The actual weight of the human head is not fully appreciated until you have held a bowling ball in your own hands to get a sense of what we are describing. There are a series of muscles, ligaments, and tendons that hold the head up right to create stability.
Where Do We Get Our Range of Motion In The Neck?
The upper two neck bones provide the vast majority of your range of motion for the head and neck thus sacrificing mobility for stability. Also due to the nature and arrangement of the muscles, ligaments and tendons the upper neck is also one of the easiest areas of the spine to injure. All the bones beneath AXIS or the second neck bone on down have an interlocking nature limiting how far the bones can move. Again imagine putting a bowling ball on a stick and trying to keep it upright and centered, think of all the coordinated muscle effort that would take.
Many people also do not know that the top two neck bones play a tremendous role in the bodies overall posture. There are more sensors in the upper neck monitoring head position and making necessary changes below in the lower spine than any other area of the body.
If the upper two bones are in ALIGNMENT then the spine is very strong and stable. If they become MISALIGNED due to accident or injury then a weaknesses in the spine will develop. In addition the portion of the nervous system (brain stem) that runs through the top two neck bones ATLAS/AXIS can become compromised which can mimic many different types of health problems depending on your individual anatomy.
Why Is The Brain Stem So Important?
Neurologically speaking the brain stem is the most important area of the body because this is the fuse box area of the body. Ever area of the body must first connect to the brain stem before it can get to the brain. Thus a problem in the upper neck can cause many strange symptoms in addition to headaches, neck pain, and back pain.
The brain stem is also very important as this is the area of the body that controls body systems like circulation, digestions, respiration, hormones, consciousness, sleep/wake cycles, muscles, etc. etc. (pick a body process and it has a corresponding center in the brain stem)
A great way to understand the MISALIGNMENT of one of the upper two neck bones is to picture a rubber band around the brain stem squeezing down. This will alter or interfere with how the brain talks back and forth with the body. The bottom line is the body will not function as it should. The logical and simple understanding is that if your brain cannot properly communicate with all areas of your body then you cannot be 100% healthy.
What is The Concept of Upper Cervical Chiropractic Care?
The concept of Upper Cervical Care is that accidents and injuries can tear loose the connective tissues of of the upper cervical spine allowing the upper two neck bones to misalign and lock out into a stressed position. The weight of the head being 10-16 pounds is forced off center relative to the neck resulting in compensations in the spine below to counter balance the head being off center; then stress, pressure, and irritation will result in those areas that come under stress, thus causing a decrease in function in these corresponding areas of the body.