Deep within every human being lives the inner wisdom of life evidenced over and over by the beauty, complexity and ingenuity of the design.
At our core lies the most complex and amazing mechanical structure ever invented. The human backbone is a marvel of creation, unmatched in design and function, by anything manmade.
It is often ignored, abused and taken for granted until back pain brings the spine to one’s awareness.
At the top of the spinal column our world is held in precarious balance.
The skull is a balancing acrobat clearly witnessed in action in newborns and in the nodding movements of adults in conversation or reverie.
The skull stands there, in balance, connected to the spine by the Occiput, the only cranial bone through which the delicate and vital spinal cord descends.
The Occiput is characterized by a large hole, called the Foramen Magnum, also referred to as the “Mouth of God”.
The Foramen Magnum which means large hole, allows the brain to become the spinal cord as it enters the tunnel formed by the spinal column.
The upper neck or upper Cervicals:
Named after the Giant of the Greek Mythology who carries the world, the Atlas, or first vertebrae of the neck, supports the skull.
The Atlas allows the skull to move within a wide directional range because of the unique concave shape of its superior articulating surfaces that cups the convex condyles of the Occiput. This peculiar design predisposes the Atlas to be the most frequently misaligned, displaced and subluxated vertebrae in the spine. Afterall all designs are in and of themselves a compromise. Extensive range of movement gives up stability.
Just below the Atlas rest the Axis or second cervical vertebrae. It is the only vertebrae with a tooth like structure called the dent. Like the rudder of a ship the Axis acts as a pivotal point. Depending on its position our neurological processing changes from balanced, to left or right brain dominance, to embracing lovingly the world or to the denial of our true essence. The “military neck” position forces the Axis in a posterior position, leading to a neurological patterning that allows humans to be taught to kill other. A feat that could not be entertained, when the Axis is in extension, during the bliss phase of orgasm or in the surrendered position of extasy in a spiritual experience.
The Occiput-Atlas-Axis Complex is the Center of Life in all vertebrata. It is in that small section of the neck that the Medulla Oblongata or brain stem resides making it the most vital center in the body. According to the Science of Yoga, it is at the Occiput-Atlas-Axis site that Universal Energy enters the body. Neuroscience hold the Reticular Formation, located in the brain stem, as essentially involved in all major functional activities of the nervous system. Locomotor, homeostasis, cardiovascular, respiratory and gastrointestinal control centers are located in the Reticular Formation. This makes it the major processing information center of all vegetative functions.
This crucial and vital portion of the upper neck has been the primary focus of experts in the field of Death through execution as well as in the field of Life in Chiropractic through the adjustment.
In the field of killing, the French use the guillotine, the English the gallows, the Japanese the sword to terminate life briskly by severing or compressing the spinal cord at the most vital and strategic place.
Martial Artist in Kun Fu Sansui use the bare knuckles of the hand to hit the back of the Occiput, sliding down its slope to land on the posterior projection of the Axis, driving the tooth like projection of the Axis straight into the spinal cord. Death occurs in an instant.
In the Field of Life in Chiropractic, the upper cervical adjustment has proved itself to be a powerful restorer of life and physiological function. Upper cervical adjusting brought to world fame B.J. Palmer, the Developer of Chiropractic in the 1900s.
Few years ago the world greatest hero, Superman, impersonated by Christopher Reeve, evidenced to humanity at large that the upper cervical region is vital and critical to life and bodily functions.
A slight intrusion on the spinal cord is enough to interfere with organic functions and performances confining Superman to a wheel chair with respirator and feeding tube. In time, life could not be sustained and Christopher Reeve transitioned.
As tragic as Christopher Reeve’s accident was, it served to remind the World what the father of Medicine stated Centuries ago: “In the care of human ailments and health, first look to the spine”.
All EMTs and Paramedics are taught to take extreme precaution in stabilizing the Cervical spine when spinal injuries are suspected.
The neck or Cervicals:
Traveling further down the neck, in addition to the Atlas and Axis, the remaining five cervical vertebrae ensure the amazing neck mobility we enjoy.
C3, C4, C5 are referred to as the respiratory centers vertebrae in the EMT course, an area of the C-spine frequently damaged in motor vehicle accidents.
The neck is the channel between head and heart, the longest “shortest” distance most of us have to travel!
Many neck problems, not directly cause by a physical trauma, actually arise from feeling emotions, yet not being able to express them, or, from thinking feelings and not being able to feel them.
The seven cervical vertebrae correspond to the seven steps to knowledge as we transcend the intellect of the brain to experience the intelligence of the heart.
The dorsal spine is made of twelve vertebrae connected to the rib cage or treasure chest of emotions. This is where so much of our emotional wounds are written.
Like a map of our lives the back displays the events that marked us most. The twelve dorsal vertebrae correspond to the twelve steps and stages of healing at the core level. The postural shift, witnessed or experienced from depression to the joy of being in love, clearly evidence the relationship between posture and emotional state.
We are energetic being, as our energy changes so does our structure and as our structure changes so does our energy.
Structure and function are interrelated as structure allows function and function needs structure. The functional integrity of the spine affects the quality of the vascular supply to the spinal cord and meninges, in turn affecting the performance of the nerve system.
The lumbar spine is the only part of the spine that has guiding “rails” at the articulations to limit motion. The enormous load carried by the lower back would collapse the spine as we bend from side to side if it were not for this safety mechanism.
Sacrum and Coccyx:
The Sacrum, from the Latin “sacred”, constitutes the foundation of the spine.
The actual support system of the spinal column is also where most support issues are imprinted.
Some lower back problems are actually the result of lack of emotional, financial, familial or social support.
The Sacrum is considered sacred by many native cultures, spiritual and mystical tradition. Some cultures do not place the Sacrum on the ground while sitting and simply squat or sit in the traditional lotus position of the Yogis. This allows the gentle rhythmic sacral movement to take place freely, in harmony with the in and out flow of the breath.
The Sacrum acts as a pump to push the cerebral spinal fluid or CSF up and down the spinal cord.
Normal flow of CSF is essential for proper nervous system function. Sacrum malfunction can be the cause of severe disorders as proven clinically by Chiropractors and Cranio-Sacral Therapists.
It is in this sacred place that lies dormant the Kundalini energy which, when awaken, may leads to enlightenment.
According to the Bhagavad Gita, one of the most ancient and profound spiritual texts, the human spine is the altar and the battle filed of the spiritual warrior.
According to Yogananda in his book titled Autobiography of a Yogi, half a minute of revolution of energy around the sensitive spinal cord is equal to one year of spiritual unfoldment
The Pelvis is the site of human creation where the sperm and ovum meet in the fallopian tubes of the women’s uterus.
Sexual issues, wounds and violations are inscripted in the Pelvis and Sacrum.
Most Chiropractic techniques place great emphasis and attention on the Sacrum, its normal positioning and function.
Ironically, unbeknown to most parents and doctors, the Sacrum is quite frequently traumatized by falls in babyhood during the early walking stages. Later on, in childhood and throughout life, insults to the pelvis and Sacrum are common through various sports from snowboarding to football, hockey, ice skating and gymnastic amongst other.
Prolong sitting, getting in and out of cars, lifting babies out of their baby seats or carrying luggage one sided are common causes of Sacrum subluxations.
At the very bottom of the spine, the Coccyx, formed by four fused vertebrae, talks to us loudly when we land on it in the classic joke of pulling a chair away from someone who is about to sit.
The Coccyx being the site of attachments of small ligaments that connect to the meninges may have marked impact on the functioning of the nervous system when subluxated.