When you think about the atlas and the axis do you think about world geography? A globe? Or a pair of very important bones?
The first seven vertebrae in the spine make up what is known as the cervical spine. It begins right below the neck and ends where the 12 vertebrae of your mid-back, or thoracic spine, begin.
The two uppermost vertebrae at the top of the cervical spine are different from the others in this grouping because they provide the neck with the ability to rotate. The atlas is the first cervical vertebra; it is located between the skull and the remaining vertebrae of the spine. Directly below the atlas is the axis.
Special ligaments link these two vertebrae, allowing a great deal of rotation between them.When we talk about "head rotation," we are really referring to the atlas rotating on the axis. These two bones, working in tandem, give your head its ability to turn from side to side.
Because the cervical spine is so flexible, it is quite susceptible to injury. When you hear about whiplash injuries sustained in a car crash, these two vertebrae are often involved. When you stop to consider that this relatively small area of the spine supports the head, it is easy to understand how abrupt head movement could cause damage, let alone a car crash with a violent head jerk!
If you or anyone you know has been in a car accident or had a trauma, regardless fo the severity, it is a good idea to have your spine checked for damage. Call today to schedule a chiropractic examination.