Who's at risk for an Upper Neck Misalignment_

Why Are Neck Misalignments So Common? 

The top two neck bones (C1 and C2) are unique in their design and function. The purpose of their differences compared to the rest of the spine is to facilitate a larger range of motion that no other part of the spine is capable of. For example, C1 (top neck bone) is responsible for about half of your “up and down” mobility, whereas C2 provides about half of your “side to side” mobility. There are seven total bones in the neck, but the first TWO account for approximately HALF of all head movement. The flexibility here, and the ability to move more freely comes with a much greater susceptibility to injury. 



Causes of Neck Misalignment: 

#1– Birth

“The birth process, even under normal conditions, is frequently the first cause of spinal stress during birth, as the head of the child appears, the physician often times grabs the baby’s head and twists it around a figure-eight motion, lifting baby’s head up to receive the lower shoulder and then down for the upper shoulder. This creates significant stress on the spine of the newborn, an estimated 60-90 pounds of pressure is used in a normal delivery. Spinal corrections on infants and children are very gentle and do not require any bending, twisting or popping. Oftentimes babies even sleep through their appointment.” –Dr. Rachae Bell, DC, DCCJP


#2– Car Accidents and Whiplash

Car accidents often involve the head being thrown forward, then backward (and vice versa). Hyperextension from side to side can also occur. Either of these examples of trauma lead to atlas misalignment and whiplash, even in collisions as slow as 5 mph. Many of these injuries go undiagnosed. And even when whiplash is detected, it is commonly dismissed as “healed” after swelling goes down and range of motion returns. However, if a misalignment has occurred, more care is needed to place the vertebrae back into its neutral, natural position. Although ice, bed rest and time all reduce swelling; none of these realign the vertebrae to their correct or pre injury positions. Specialized Upper Cervical Care is necessary in these cases for long term return of neurological function and a full recovery, void of pain.


#3– Poor Posture and Text Neck

The entire weight of the head, about 10-12 pounds, balances atop the atlas. Think of what your atlas endures while trying to balance a bowling ball on top of a broom stick. A forward head position at a 60-degree angle increases the strain on the neck to 60 pounds. Leaning the neck forward all day long while sitting at a desk or using a mobile device causes tremendous strain on the vertebrae. The cumulative effect of these positions leading to misalignment is increasing in prevalence, but can be treated and reversed with the right care.  


#4– Sports Related Injury and Concussion

Contact sports frequently result in concussions. Since the atlas balances the head from the base of the skull, any type of head injury has a high probability of taking the upper cervical spine out of alignment. There are many sports in addition to contact sports that regularly lead to spinal injury such as horseback riding, skiing, board sports, etc. 


#5– Stress and Toxins

Stress leads to a tightening of the muscles in the neck. Toxins are a form of physiological stress, and therefore contribute to stress built up in the body. Toxins are difficult to avoid because of polluted air, altered food, chemical farming practices, impure water and pharmaceutical drug use. To relieve the built up pressure caused by stress, some people try to pop their own neck. Stressful thoughts, toxic overload and attempting self-adjustments all cause misalignments of the vertebrae. 


#6– Slips and Falls

Children fall down thousands of times during their childhood while learning to walk. Children fall and bump their heads while playing and learning to walk. These early misalignments build up in the body over a lifetime. “Getting your children checked by an Upper Cervical Chiropractor is critical for optimal growth and development. Protecting the brain / body connection in newborns through chiropractic care may be one of the most important leaps we can make in modern medicine.” –uppercervicalspine.com



The protection of the brainstem, optimum blood flow to the brain, and proper drainage of cerebrospinal fluid are all fully dependent on the function and alignment of the top two neck bones. Therefore, these critical functions of the brain and nervous system are compromised with a neck misalignment. This is why misalignments of the Upper Cervical Spine (upper neck) often lead to chronic health conditions such as migraines, fibromyalgia, asthma, MS, TMJ dysfunction and so much more. With the right care and education, we finally have a choice in how long we want to live this way. 


If you have symptoms of an Upper Cervical misalignment, suffered from head or neck trauma, use poor posture, been exposed to toxins or stress, it is best to have the delicate upper neck bones examined by an Upper Cervical Chiropractic Specialist. An Upper Cervical Chiropractor can determine if you have a neck misalignment in order to restore brain / body communication. 


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Source: Upper Cervical Spine