What Is Orthospinology?
Orthospinology is a sub-specialty of the chiropractic profession, focusing on aligning the upper cervical spine. It is one of several upper cervical procedures utilizing radiographs (x-ray films) of the top two bones of the neck and the base of the skull (the upper cervical spine) to determine a misalignment or subluxation that may create irritation of and thereby, interference to, the functioning of your nervous system.
Through a cascade of adverse physiological events, this misalignment may manifest in a variety of unhealthy consequences due to the special characteristics of this area of the spine. The anatomy of this region of the spine is unique in many ways. For example, there are only two vertebrae in the spine with names; the first and topmost, or C-1 vertebra, is called the Atlas, because as in Greek Mythology, he held up the world, or in this case, the eight to twelve pound world known as your head, and the second, or C-2 vertebra, is called the Axis, because it is the axis of rotation of your head and much of your neck.
This area is also the most mobile of the spine and is without interlocking joints, meaning that traumatic forces, such as falls, repetitive motion or motor vehicle crashes, can easily misalign the upper cervical spine. These traumatic events can occur in childhood, as early as the birthing process, when the head is pulled to birth the child, or in subsequent childhood traumas such as in learning to crawl, walk or ride a bike. Skiing, skateboards, boats and wakeboards, football, soccer, basketball and baseball all contribute to a child's likelihood of becoming misaligned or subluxated, not to mention the ubiquitous trampoline and failed gymnastic endeavors. The ever-present cell phone cradled between the ear and shoulder producing extreme head tilting, or the chronic forward head posture so common when young people text, may also cause, but more likely, exacerbate misalignments of the upper cervical spine. Those less fortunate to have had motor vehicle trauma or moderate to severe blows to the head are at increased risk to suffer from the adverse health consequences of the Occipito-Atlanto-Axial Subluxation Complex or simply put, the misalignment of the upper cervical spine.