The following information was obtained from a book written by Dr. Ray Drury, The Best-Kept Secret in Health Care.
What is Upper Cervical Care?
Upper Cervical Care is a SPECIFIC form of chiropractic, sometimes called specific chiropractic, which was developed, researched and practiced by Dr. B.J. Palmer, son of Dr. D.D. Palmer, the founder of chiropractic. The word specific is crucial in understanding Upper Cervical Health Care. First, Upper Cervical deals specifically and only with the two vertebrae in the neck at the top of the spine – the atlas and the axis.
What is the atlas?
The atlas is named after the Greek God who holds up the world, and just like the mythological figure, your atlas holds up what controls your world – your brain. The atlas is also referred to as C-1.
What is the axis?
The head and the atlas pivot around the axis. The axis is also referred to as C-2.
What is the function of the atlas and axis?
The atlas and axis were created to support your head and protect the most vital part of your nervous system, the brain stem, while allowing for maximum movement of the head. The atlas and the axis differ in shape and function from the rest of the spine. The configuration of the atlas and the axis enables those two vertebrae to carry the head and to determine its movement. These articulations also protect intimate neurological and vascular structures.
The atlas and the axis move in six different directions, allowing the head to move up or down, bend side to side, or turn left to right. This area is the spine’s weakest link.
The vertebrae of the spine below the neck have interlocking joints that limit how far the bones can move between each segment. The upper cervical spine has no bony stops. Imagine putting a bowling ball on a stack of dominoes. That’s the biochemistry structure with which Upper Cervical doctors work.
What is the brain stem?
The brain stem is part of the nervous system that connects the brain to the rest of the body, which controls the healing process.
The strength of your immune system and its capacity to fight off illnesses is regulated by the brain stem, and the brain stem flows through these two upper cervical bones, the atlas and the axis.
Neurologically, the brain stem is the most important area of the body. This is where the nerve fibers from the left hemisphere of the brain and the right hemisphere of the brain cross over. The right side of the brain takes care of the left side of the body, and the left side of the brain takes care of the right side of the body. The crossing over of these nerve fibers in the brain steam makes this a vital, vital area.
The brain controls every bodily system, which are neurologically based: Body chemistry, circulation, digestion, respiration and cognition.
Furthermore, the brain stem is a like a switchboard operator constantly sending messages from the brain to the body, as well as the body to the brain. It is nerve energy that gives the body life. Blood supplies nutrition to the body, but it is the nervous system that is the superhighway that transmits the body’s life force. This life energy flows through every cell, and it is coordinated by the nervous system.
Bottom line, Upper Cervical Care is based on the premise that when the weight of the head is shifted “off the center of the neck”, when there is an upper cervical misalignment, it can produce stress or pressure around the brain stem.
If either the atlas or axis gets misaligned, two things can happen:
1. First, the bone can squeeze down on the brain stem, interfering with healing nerve impulses that continuously travel from the brain to every cell of the body.
2. Secondly, the area of the body serviced by the restricted brain messages will start to malfunction, possibly even shut down.
Since brain-to-body messages control and maintain all bodily functions, any interference in the free flow of these nerve impulses will impede the body’s innate ability to heal.
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