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Orthospinology - Upper Cervical Care


The Upper Cervical area refers to the anatomical area at the top of the neck or the base of the skull. This area of the spine and human body are extremely important for numerous reasons. There are different aspects that make the upper cervical spine so important.

Structure

Structurally there are 3 important bones in this area; the Occiput, the Atlas (C1) and the Axis (C2). The Occiput is the bone that forms the bottom of the skull and has the foramen magnum; a large hole where the brainstem exits/enters the cranial vault. The 1st cervical vertebra also called the Atlas is the top bone in the spine. This bone serves as to hold up our head and to give us the ability to have a great amount of head rotation while still protecting our spinal cord and brainstem. There is no other bone shaped like the Atlas in the human body. The Atlas vertebra also serves as the superior point of attachment for the dentate ligaments to anchor the spinal cord and to protect against trauma. The C2 or Axis vertebra is uniquely shaped as well so that the Atlas may smoothly glide in a circular fashion during rotation of the head and neck.

Neurology

Neurologically the Upper Cervical Spine is where the brainstem or medulla oblongata resides. This area of the spinal cord helps to control and coordinate some of the most basic functions of life. This is done through the parasympathetic nervous system or Rest and Digest part of our Autonomic Nervous System. The brainstem controls numerous functions including but not limited to heart rate, breathing, digestion, sleeping, alertness, consciousness, pain sensitivity and many more pathways for the brain to communicate with the body. The Upper Cervical Spine also provides nerve supply to the head and neck.

Your Gateway to Health

The Upper Cervical Spine is the gateway for the brain to communicate with the rest of the body. This gateway or path is crucial for the proper transmission of nerve impulses to and from the brain and body. Simply put, the Upper Cervical Area is the gateway for the brain to control our body and the functions of our body including but limited to the respiratory, hormonal, digestive, eliminative systems. If your brain needs to send or receive a message from your heart, lungs, liver, kidneys or colon that message has to pass through the Upper Cervical Area.

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