What is Atlas Orthogonal

Atlas Vertebra

​The atlas is the first vertebra in the spine, directly located under the head, connecting the head to the rest of the spine. Atlas weighs only a mere two ounces and the human head weighs 9-17 pounds. Hence, the likeness to ATLAS, the figure in Greek mythology who carried the world on his shoulders. The atlas is located directly under the head, connecting the head to the rest of the spine. The atlas supports the weight of the head and is the passageway for the 40% of the blood supply to the brain.

Atlas Misalignment

This one bone can affect the alignment of the entire spine. The spine works like a chain. When the first link is twisted, each link down to the last turns, thus disrupting the rest of the chain. Atlas is the first, the most important link in the chain.

When the atlas is misaligned, it causes the head to tilt, then the spine shifts to support the weight of the head, thereby creating biomechanical and postural stresses and strains. Once the atlas is moved out of its orthogonal position the body tries to compensate to maintain its center of gravity. It does this by keeping the head directly over the center of the feet. However to maintain the level position of the head the rest of the spine adapts and is thrown out of alignment.

The body alters its structure in such a way that the muscles contract to cause one leg to appear shorter. In most cases one leg is not actually shorter than the other, but is drawn short due to the body’s compensation for the displaced atlas.

​The resulting misalignment may cause nerve pressure and inflammation causing a disruption of the normal functioning of the nervous system. This one dysfunction may play a role in a multitude of symptoms and pain in different areas of the body.

Besides directly impacting the neck, we can see other effects such as decreased curves in the neck, scoliosis, and changes in the alignment in the shoulders and pelvis. These changes in the alignment affect the structural integrity of the skeletal system. This in turn can result in a host of other symptoms and problems, especially headaches, neck, and facial pain.

What causes aches and pains in our back, neck, legs, arms, head and joints? What is the source of these problems that can become so detrimental to our quality of life? Why live with pain as so many of us do?

Many of these problems can be associated with the imbalance of the spinal column. The spinal column is a tunnel of interlocking bones called vertebrae that protect the spinal cord. The spinal cord is an extension of the brain, together known as the central nervous system. There are spaces between each vertebra allowing nerves, which are extensions of the spinal cord, to supply and connect every part of the human body. Therefore, it is the nervous system that regulates and affects all body functions.

The nervous system can be likened to a major super highway. Without problems and all vehicles going the speed limit, travel is smooth and without accident. However, if there is a car crash, traffic slows down and even stops. The highway does not function as it was intended.

When the spinal column is misaligned and out of balance, the nervous system is unable to function as it was intended.

The atlas supports the weight of the head most efficiently in the orthogonal, or neutral position. Atlas orthogonal is an engineering term referring to the position of the atlas being 90 degrees to the head and neck.

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