The upper cevical region is extremely important for the proper function of the human body, it is the link between the brain and the rest of your body. It contains the brain stem, a part of the brain controlling vital functions, such as blood pressure, heart rate, breathing rate, …
The brain stem also controls all postural muscles.
The upper cervical region is also VERY FRAGILE. It is very important to take good care of it. Here is why this region is fragile.
It should be noted that the occiput is one of the skull’s bones and the skull is larger than the occiput only.
If we summarize, therefore, the upper cervical spine is:
- Vulnerable, to impacts and trauma
- Unstable, given the lack of intervertebral disc
- Crucial, because the heavy weight of the head over this region
- Highly mobile, to allow movement of the head
Moreover, the nervous system in the upper cervical region houses most of the reticular formation, which is the part of the nervous system that controls the conciousness level of a person (arousal, sleep), their attention span or the acuity of their senses.
Here are other reasons why the upper cervical region is important:
- It has much more proprioceptive fibers (perception of body in space) than any other region
- More ligaments support this region, but they are also weaker
- The muscles that move the region are more precise and smaller
- The nerve fibers that give orders to muscles moving C1 (Atlas) are the nerve fibers of C1. So if the Atlas is out of alignment, the muscles that hold the Atlas can not keep it in position, because the nerve supply is impaired. The muscles that hold the rest of the cervical, thoracic and lumbar spine (the rest of the back and neck) are fed by multiple nerves, which prevents this situation from happening.