Table of Contents
The Atlas Vertebra
BalanceThe Atlas vertebrae’s role in maintaining balance is based on its ability to adjust to the weight of the head. The actual vertebra is wider than the other cervical vertebrae. This creates a center of gravity that is reinforced through proper posture. It distributes the weight of the head (10-12lb) evenly to centralize the weight and is supported by the natural curvature of the spine. If the center of gravity shifts, the Atlas vertebra will tilt in that direction as well. This creates instability in the cervical spine and can increase the amount of weight the spine is taking and trying to redistribute. This creates spinal issues and leads to everything from poor posture, overcompensation that leads to injury.
Shifting CausesDisruption to the vertebra and its ability to balance can come from a variety of causes and can occur as a result of chronic and acute conditions. Some include:
- Auto accidents, sports, work injuries can cause cervical soft tissue damage
- Dislocation of cervical vertebrae below the Atlas results in instability
- Poor posture/s make individuals overcompensate to one side of the body straining muscles, ligaments, tendons causing pain and other issues
- Herniated, bulging, and slipped discs
Unbalanced effectsSpinal issues range from simple neck pain and soreness to full-on chronic pain. Because the Atlas can alter the balance of the entire spine, combined with cranium support, issues can be localized and referred creating further complications. Addressing the root problems requires a comprehensive chiropractic approach. Chiropractic will assess the position of the spine and determine the degree to which Atlas has shifted out of place. An adjustment treatment plan makes it possible to undo the widespread damage.
Muscle LossIndividuals do not realize that muscle loss occurs throughout their lifetime. This is because muscles, like other tissues in the body, must go through cell turnover and protein synthesis. This means that the body is constantly breaking down protein in the muscles and rebuilding them. Skeletal muscle can be developed with proper nutrition and includes consuming a proper amount of protein to provide the necessary amino acids and from physical activity. The reverse is also true, if an individual becomes less physically active and/or their diet no longer supports the development of increased muscle tissue, the body enters a catabolic/tissue-reducing state known as muscle atrophy.
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ReferencesWoodfield, H Charles 3rd et al. â€œCraniocervical chiropractic procedures – a prÃ©cis of upper cervical chiropractic.â€Â The Journal of the Canadian Chiropractic AssociationÂ vol. 59,2 (2015): 173-92.
The information herein on "The Atlas Vertebra Key To Maintaining Head Balance And Alignment" is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional or licensed physician and is not medical advice. We encourage you to make healthcare decisions based on your research and partnership with a qualified healthcare professional.
Our information scope is limited to Chiropractic, musculoskeletal, physical medicines, wellness, contributing etiological viscerosomatic disturbances within clinical presentations, associated somatovisceral reflex clinical dynamics, subluxation complexes, sensitive health issues, and/or functional medicine articles, topics, and discussions.
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We understand that we cover matters that require an additional explanation of how it may assist in a particular care plan or treatment protocol; therefore, to further discuss the subject matter above, please feel free to ask Dr. Alex Jimenez, DC, or contact us at 915-850-0900.
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