“Better than 90% of the brain’s output is directed towards maintaining your body in its gravitational field. Therefore, the less energy one spends on one’s posture, the more energy is available for healing, digestion and thinking.” -Roger Sperry, 1981 Nobel Prize winner for brain research
The first cervical vertebra, Atlas or C1, is the most freely movable vertebra in the spine, and the one most likely to cause irritation or tension to the spinal cord. It pivots around the second cervical vertebra, Axis or C2, connected only by ligaments and tendons, but no disc as in the rest of the spine. This is what allows the majority of spinal rotation to occur, but at the price of instability. In most cases, you will not feel the problem in your upper cervical spine.
When the head and neck misalign, you won’t feel it in most cases, but it will have a number of negative effects on the body. Because it is causing irritation and/or tension near the brain stem, vital organ function can be negatively impacted. Conditions such as high blood pressure, asthma, allergies, and digestive problems can arise. Because of a high number of sensory nerves in the upper neck called mechanoreceptors, head/neck misalignment can manifest itself in various conditions such as neck pain or stiffness, or tension headaches. You could even experience other conditions like migraines or vertigo as a result of having head/neck misalignment. Or you may have no obvious symptoms at all. (see editor's note below)
Head/neck misalignment can also cause an overall body imbalance that can result in overall spinal compensation. This will be characterized by spinal curvature, contracted or tight muscles on one side of the spine, postural imbalances such as a tilted head, high shoulder, and high hip, and an imbalance in leg lengths. Over time this could lead to forms of degeneration like bone spurs and fusion of the vertebrae, as well as back and shoulder pain, and even herniated discs.
So restoring proper position to the Atlas and Axis vertebrae have more of an effect on your overall well being than you have ever imagined. If you haven’t had your nervous system and upper neck checked, it’s time you did.