Most people have never heard of the Atlas Vertebrae. What is the Atlas and what does it do? The Atlas is the first vertical vertebra and also the most important one in the human body. It only weighs 15 grams/ halve an ounce, but it carries the human head which weighs at least between 5-7 kgs/ 11 lbs. This vertebra has a lot of influence on our body as it is responsible for not only our posture, but also our body movement, blood circulation, nerves, and many other functions that are all connected to the spine. You can only imagine what the effects would be if the Atlas vertebrae would be misaligned! People with a misaligned Atlas can experience the following symptoms:
- feelings of fatigue and heaviness in the back and neck,
- limited mobility of the head,
- the tilted pelvis,
- functional short leg, and correspondingly – back, hip, and knee pain,
- pain in the jaw
- vision problems
- atrofie in the face
- herniated disc,
- unexplainable pains,
The name Atlas sounds familiar
Yes, it does and that is because the name comes originally from Greek mythology. Atlas was a Titan that stood up to the god Zeus and because of his actions was condemned to hold up the celestial heavens on his shoulders. Atlas had to carry the heavens for all time and eternity. These heavens are often depicted as spheres in statues and pictures. Because the Atlas vertebrae is the first vertebrae and it holds our heads it was named after the Titan Atlas.
The mal-positioned Atlas
Dr. Henning Lose Busch has taken more than 2250 X-Rays and according to him, at least 90% of people suffer from the consequences of a mal-positioned Atlas. The majority of this group, 81,6% has a mal-positioning to the left. This mal-positioning can happen to anyone, including athletes who after exposure to falls or bumps to the head or neck may experience Atlas mal-positioned problems.
The Atlas has so many different functions. It has such a wide spectrum of usage.
You see the atlas connects the underbody with the head. It holds everything together. So, let’s say that the atlas is misaligned. Then we have several scenarios on what can get wrong.
The first thing is that if we know that in the middle of the Atlas we have a passage where all the blood supply goes through. That misalignment in the neck will cause less blood supply in the brain, less blood in the face. It can cause asymmetry in the face. How? Well, one side of the face will get less oxygen. That means fewer building rocks like minerals, vitamins.
When it comes to the brain, it will influence your moods, it will create a clouded mind. You could feel less present, sometimes even depressed. The activity of your brain will be lessened.
Once we know that vertebral arteries bring blood to the head from the lungs, and understand how important it is that this traffic between lungs and head is undisturbed, we will think about the atlas with more respect.
So, now we understand how blood flow influences the head.
We also need to realize that this vertebra brings all needed information to our organs, cells, tissues. From the organs through our nerves information goes upwards to the brain. It needs to pass our neck. If our neck is suffering, is mispositioned, then our brain will get the wrong information, or, late information, or half information, that is needed for the normal inter-reaction and processes in the body.
Everything is connected. Nothing can function without each other. We are the perfect cosmos in small. We are perfectly created!
Just the way we are living is making us less perfect!
Can you imagine what that flow of information does with our fluids, hormones, our normal ability to fall asleep, and wake up.
It controls our digestive system, blood pressure, heart rate…
Amazing body of ours!
The Atlas and Axis (top two bones in the neck) are uniquely shaped among the vertebrae. This is why the head has such a wide range of motion. The way the atlas meets the skull creates a joint that lets you nod your head forward and backward. The joint between the C1 and C2 is responsible for the left to right turns of the head. In short, more than half of the head’s range of motion is thanks to the unique position and shape of the atlas.
The Atlas is the first cervical vertebra (C1) and the topmost vertebra of your spine. It is also the principal component of your so-called head joints. This term covers the joint between the skull and the atlas – the atlantooccipital joint – and the joint between the atlas and the second cervical vertebra (C2) – the atlantoaxial joint.
In contrast to the rest of your spinal vertebrae, the atlas vertebra has no vertebral body. It consists of an anterior and a posterior arch, plus a thick bony mass connecting the two arches. A channel for the spinal cord runs through the middle and continues throughout your spine’s length. The atlas has so-called transverse processes on the front and the remains of a spinous process on the back. This is also where the numerous small muscles of the neck musculature are attached.
The atlas vertebra performs a similar task inside your body: it is the link between your head and the rest of your body, and at the same time, it acts as a support for your skeleton. This should ensure everything stays in the right place. But sometimes the atlas vertebra shifts a little bit, and the foundation of your skeleton thus becomes a little skewed. You can feel the effects of bad posture all over your body.
Listen to your body
Good posture feels effortless, which is why traditional ‘good posture’ suggestions like throwing your shoulders back and sticking out your chest may feel uncomfortable too. Instead, listen to your body. Make minor adjustments while standing and sitting. Which position feels the easiest and most graceful? In most cases, concentrating on other tasks (such as work) can direct attention away from any feelings of physical discomfort. Get into the habit of regularly tuning in to your body. If you feel muscle tension or fatigue, move into another position.
So, how did we get that far? Why do we have this misalignment anyways?
- Bad shoes
- To much sitting
- Looking down (phones)
- Daily habits
- Using your body in a “wrong” way
- Bad pillow
- Bad mattress
- Extra weight
- Weak or to tense muscles
Difference in posture
- POOR Posture: Slouching, rounded shoulders, hunchback, tilting the head forward, bent knees
- GOOD posture. Balanced upright posture, with a straight line from the ear to the shoulder to the hip
- POOR Posture. Shoulder blades excessively back, arching of the low back, locked knees, pot belly
Improve your general posture
- Remember the rule of ‘curve reversal’ – for example, if you’ve been leaning over your desk, stretch back the other way.
- Perform stretching exercises two or three times a week to boost muscle flexibility.
- Exercise regularly to improve muscle strength and tone.
- Stretch your neck muscles regularly by turning your head from one side to another.
- Your abdominal muscles support your lower back, so make sure they are in good condition. Do ‘abdominal crunches’ (lie on your back and curl your ribcage and pelvis as close together as possible) rather than straight-backed sit-ups (which exercise the muscles of the hips and thighs).
- Avoid standing on one foot for long periods of time.
- Cross your legs at the ankle, rather than the knee.
- Reduce inflammations, eat healthy,
- Get enough rest, i.e. sleep. Go to bed on time and get out on time,
- Make sure you drink adequate amounts of water!
Maintain good posture
- Avoid sitting in soft, squashy chairs.
- Use lumbar rolls to support your lower back when sitting in regular chairs or driving the car.
- Switch to ergonomic chairs in the office or for any activity that requires you to sit for long periods of time.
- Make sure your mattress is supportive enough to keep your spine straight when lying on your side.
- Use a pillow that supports your neck.
- Keep your back straight and use your thigh muscles when lifting heavy weights.
- Be active
Do you have one of these symptoms?
- Back Pain
- Neck Pain
- Vertigo and dizziness
- Chronic fatigue syndrome
- Migraines and other headaches
- Chronic pain or stress
- Athletic or sports injuries
- Vehicular accident injuries
- Herniated discs
- Carpal tunnel syndrome
- Leg and arm numbness
- Sinus problems
- Trigeminal Neuralgia
Then you should consider an Atlas correction.
Need more information before making a decision?
You may need just one examination and a few gentle adjustments away from greatly improving your quality of life. That does not mean that you don’t have to repeat these treatments. From helping with symptoms like headaches and vertigo to offering relief from chronic conditions like migraines and fibromyalgia, find out what atlas treatment can do for you.
Get your life back!
A life without pain!
Pain doesn’t need to be your friend.