The spine, an incredible arrangement of bones, discs, ligaments, tendons, muscles and nerves, is designed to be strong, protective and flexible. Most people take what the spine naturally does for granted – until something goes wrong. An estimated 80% of the population will experience lower back pain. It is one of the leading causes for missed work, which costs the United, States an estimated $25 billion annually.
Many treatments focus on the lower back when the actual cause of the problem may be in the upper spine. The upper neck can be a factor in the development of lower back pain for two reasons. First, the spine works and moves as one, continuous unit. The top two vertebrae, called the atlas and axis, are the most mobile segments in the spine. These two bones move in six different directions, allowing the head to move up or down, bend side to side or turn left to right. The other vertebrae move primarily in two directions, making them stronger and more stable than the top two vertebrae.
Secondly, the upper cervical spine (neck) has thousands of “sensors” responsible for maintaining both the proper posture and alignment of the spine, as well as the balance and stability of the head. These sensors are constantly monitoring the head position, making the necessary changes throughout the lower spine to assure that the head remains upright.