While your entire spine and nervous system are essential for life, there are a few intriguing facts about the first 7 vertebrae in your neck, also known as the Cervical Spine, that you’re going to be glad to know about.
Your spine is made up of 24 freely movable vertebrae and is divided in to 4 sections: Cervical, Thoracic, Lumbar, and Sacral.
Unlike the rest of the sections, the vertebrae within the cervical spine contain special openings for your arteries. Your arteries are the blood vessels that have the very important job of carrying blood away from your heart and to your brain.
This section also contains two extraordinary vertebrae: The Atlas, and Axis which are designed specifically for the rotation of your neck.
The first vertebra, or the atlas, sits between your skull and the rest of your spine. It looks much different than all your other vertebrae and have two prominent masses on each side that contain the passageway for your arteries.
The axis, another very unique vertebra , has a bony knob called the odontoid process that perfectly fits into the atlas. Think of it like an aligned door hinge. When everything is in its proper place, your door can open and shut easily, and effortlessly. When the hinge is off, the door can’t shut properly, or can get stuck. The atlas and axis are responsible for the wide range of movements and smooth rotation of your head. Just like the door hinge, if misaligned, can cause a host of problems that you can feel and not feel, too.
When your head is unable to move the way you need it to, your neck becomes susceptible to stiffness, acute and chronic pain, and decreased range of motion. The functions of your arteries can also become encumbered. If left untreated, the degeneration process accelerates, causing more health problems beyond just the neck area.
When performing an adjustment, I am looking for signs of misalignment through a variety of testing, questions, overall health history, and patterns that are on automatic. The simple way to think of it is like the door hinge analogy. When the hinge is aligned, everything moves as it should. The same goes for your body and spine!
Your cervical spine offers your body a remarkable degree of mobility compared to other sections of your spine. Adjustments are necessary for optimum health. Like your heart, your spine is constantly engaged and working for you 24/7. Every activity affects your spine in some way so having it checked regularly assures better health, enduring strength, happiness, and longevity.
Yours in health,