The Atlas Vertebra
BalanceThe Atlas vertebrae’s role in maintaining balance is based on its ability to adjust to the weight of the head. The actual vertebra is wider than the other cervical vertebrae. This creates a center of gravity that is reinforced through proper posture. It distributes the weight of the head (10-12lb) evenly to centralize the weight and is supported by the natural curvature of the spine. If the center of gravity shifts, the Atlas vertebra will tilt in that direction as well. This creates instability in the cervical spine and can increase the amount of weight the spine is taking and trying to redistribute. This creates spinal issues and leads to everything from poor posture, overcompensation that leads to injury.
Shifting CausesDisruption to the vertebra and its ability to balance can come from a variety of causes and can occur as a result of chronic and acute conditions. Some include:
- Auto accidents, sports, work injuries can cause cervical soft tissue damage
- Dislocation of cervical vertebrae below the Atlas results in instability
- Poor posture/s make individuals overcompensate to one side of the body straining muscles, ligaments, tendons causing pain and other issues
- Herniated, bulging, and slipped discs