Facts about the atlas

Atlas is the first cervical vertebra (or C1) and is named after the giant from the Greek mythology (atlas-ατλας) who had to carry the celestial sphere on his shoulders. Similarly the atlas carries the weight of the skull (4-6 kg).

Together with the occiput the atlas forms articular connection between the skull and the spine. This area is important for communication of nerve impulses and vascular flow between the head and the body.

The atlas together with the second vertebra (axis) helps to maintain the skull in correct vertical position to evenly distribute its weight down the spine and preventing destructive repercussions on the locomotor system, even after injuries. Therefore, the atlas plays an important role in symmetrical guidance of the body and posture.

Besides the management of the spine and the musculoskeletal system, the area of the atlas is important for correct functioning of the brain and the whole organism. It is also place of strong proprioception (sense of self-movement and body position).

Position of the atlas

An extensive research confirmed that the atlas is more or less in a rotational malposition in almost all humans.

This incorrect position of the atlas is present from birth. The degree of the malposition might get worse later, for example during accidents, falls, sport injuries or manipulation with the neck and/or spine.

The misaligned atlas can cause a continuous pressure on the adjacent muscles, tendons and other soft tissues, cranial nerves and other nervous tracts, blood and lymphatic vessels altering their function. As a consequence irritation, inflammation and dysregulation occur and symptoms can appear, ie. tension or pain.

Depending on the degree of the rotational malposition the atlas can cause reduction in the diameter of the skull opening where the spinal cord and its wrappings pass throught and the cerebrospinal fluid flows.

Correct position of the atlas promotes:

* correct structure and function of the musculoskeletal system;
* correct posture;
* optimal physical and mental performance;
* regeneration of the body and auto-correction of the vertebrae, even after injuries;
* optimal nervous communication and vascular flow betwenn head and body;
* correct management of the organism as a whole.

Mechanical balance

The atlas not carries only the skull, but also constitutes suspension, balance and guidance of the spine and the human skeleton.

The incorrect position of the atlas interferes with the mechanical balance of the body and alters symmetrical management of the spine and the locomotor system including the jaw.

The body represents one functional unit. Therefore, the atlas malpositioning leads inevitably to chain reactions in other parts of the body and compensatory changes in 3D sense on the spine and the musculoskeletal system.

Repercussions can occur anywhere in the body locally as well as in distant parts down to the feet causing discomfort or pain anywhere in the body, ie. neck and/or lower back pain, and changes in posture. The jaw, balance system, eyes, ears, nervous system and circulatory system, or interior organs etc. can be also affected.

An example of changes in posture caused by a misaligned atlas is the scoliotic pelvis resulting in leg difference.