(Editor's Note: Fifty to be exact and this is far from a complete list but it gets you thinking about why it is important to be checked periodically.)
In a perfect world, none of us would have been born by forceps, or by Cesarean, or with the doctor pulling with too much force on our heads.
In a perfect world, none of us would have fallen off the side of the bed when we were two, tripped down the stairs at age eight, or rolled our car in the ditch at eighteen.
But these things happen. And when they do they often stress the muscles and ligaments of the upper neck to the point where the bones misalign and lock-down, placing stress on the spinal column and the delicate nervous system inside.
If we were lucky enough to have our parents take us to an upper cervical doctor at a young age, we might have only lived with our neck misalignment for days, weeks, or maybe a few years before having it properly corrected.
But most of us aren’t, which means many of us live one, two, or six decades before we ever have our atlas unlocked by our upper cervical doctor. By this time ligaments are tightened, muscles have developed amnesia, and we have patterns of movements which place stress on the top of our spine without us even knowing.
All of this is to say, that even a really good upper cervical correction may not hold very well, especially in the beginning of our care. And if we want to make the most of our upper cervical care, we’re going to need to be careful what we do on a day to day basis. Here are 50 simple ways you could lose your upper cervical alignment.
Sleeping on your stomach.
Sleeping on your side without proper neck support.
Reading in bed with a book on your chest.
Watching television in bed with your chin on your chest.
Falling asleep on the arm of the couch.
Falling asleep upright in a chair.
Falling asleep upright in a chair and waking up with an ear resting on one shoulder.
Falling asleep anywhere other than your bed.
Propping your head up on your hands, fist or palm under your jaw, for more than a few seconds at a time.
Looking up for more than a minute at a a time, be it stargazing, birdwatching, or painting a ceiling.
Stretching your neck by pushing it forward, backward, or pulling it to the the side with your hands.
Having anyone else push or pull your head to stretch your neck.
Stretching your neck by rolling your head in big circles.
Staring down at a Smart Phone screen or tablet for hours everyday.
Gripping a phone between your ear and your shoulder, instead of using headset or speaker phone.
Having a small child hang from your neck.
Having a small child jump on your head while wrestling in the living room.
Having anyone hang from your neck or jump on your head.
Whipping your head to the left or right or up and down while dancing, head-banging, or whatever it is you might be doing.
Flipping your hair repeatedly to remove it from your face.
Shaking your hair out to help dry it after a shower.
Turning your head without moving your shoulder to look behind you while driving.
Driving and hitting anything going more than five miles per hour.
Driving and getting hit by anyone else going more than five miles per hour, for that matter.
Getting into your small sedan by craning your neck to one side to sit down over and over again, instead of sitting down facing outward, and then rotating your body inward.
Getting elbowed in the face while playing basketball, volleyball, tag, or any other amateur sport.
Standing on your head.
Heading a soccer ball.
Smacking your own forehead.
Falling on an outstretched hand.
Doing a somersault improperly.
Doing a cartwheel improperly.
Doing certain yoga positions improperly.
Doing ab crunches with your hands behind your head.
Landing on your head from any height.
Martial arts with bad form.
Bench pressing and watching your biceps, not the bar.
Squatting and lifting your chin as you fatigue.
Lifting without tucking your chin at work, at home, or anywhere.
Getting dental work.
Popping your own neck.
Having someone else pop your neck.
Chewing gum all day.
Cracking a tooth.
Deep tissue massage in the neck.
Getting your hair washed, dyed, or dried backward in a salon sink.
Getting into a pillow fight.
Getting placed in a head-lock
Getting up, turning over, or moving your body by leading with the head and neck, and not with the pelvis.
Does doing any one of these 50 things mean you’re going to need another adjustment? Not necessarily. Everyone is a little bit different. (Some kids have played high school football without losing their alignment.)
But they are common ways that you can set your upper cervical care backwards, and they’re worth considering if you’re having a hard time holding your alignment.