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What is an Upper Neck Subluxation?

Posted in Chiropractic, Neck Pain Disorders on Aug 01, 2016

Thousands of people throughout North Lakes, Brisbane, Sunshine Coast and South East Queensland likely have a subluxation of the vertebrae in their neck and don't even know it! The term "subluxation" refers to a joint misalignment that is causing the central nervous system (wires) to misfire.

The result is that the body does not work properly, which causes things to breakdown throughout the body and ultimately causes physical symptoms. A subluxation is the result of physical trauma to the body. The brain innately shifts the spine using muscles, ligaments and connective tissues in order to reduce tension on the spinal cord while the body heals.

However, if the injury is not corrected by a chiropractor when the damage occurs, the misaligned vertebra may heal in the wrong position.

Why is the Upper Neck so Important?

Because of their unique shape an ability to move in three dimensions, the vertebrae in the upper neck are the most common vertebrae to misalign. The first vertebra in the neck is C1, also called the Atlas because it supports the weight of your head.  The second vertebra in the neck is C2, also called the Axis because it allows you to turn your head.    

Atlas & Axis Vertebrae

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In whiplash-type injuries (sudden injuries that cause the head to whip forward and then backward), it is not uncommon for subluxations to also occur in the lower neck (C5-C7). However, if any injury exceeds the upper neck's to adapt to the injury suffered, additional subluxations will appear in the lower spine. In medicine, a subluxation in the upper neck is sometimes called "Craniocervical Syndrome."

Over time, a subluxated vertebra causes biomechanical changes throughout the spine that cause postural distortions such as forward head carriage ("text neck"), head tilt, an elevated shoulder, pelvic tilt, a leg length imbalance and even scoliosis.

Given enough time, these postural distortions cause the spine to rust and degenerate prematurely, causing osteoarthritis and intervertebral disc damage (especially common in the lower cervical and lumbar regions). The atlas supports the weight of the skull. The axis supports the atlas and allows you to turn your head. 

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