The atlas bone is the highest bone in your spine. It is located directly beneath the base of your skull. This incredible joint allows your head to twist and turn in an infinite number of ways. Unfortunately, the atlas was intended for grace rather than stability. It is easily misaligned, and can cause problems for both the brain and the body if damaged.
Atlas misalignment, also known as an atlas subluxation complex, can affect anyone. While everyone has a different build, it doesn’t take much to move this important joint. Although severe whiplash can result in head and neck injuries, even minor mishaps can provide enough force to move the atlas out of place, such as:
- Playing sports
- A minor car accident
- A fall
- And more
When you take a blow that is just hard enough to cause the atlas to misalign, two things happen right away:
- Your skull shifts on top of your neck and is not perfectly level. Your jaw, attached to your skull, is unbalanced and unable to move as freely as it should.
- Your balance and vision have suddenly become abnormal. Because your head is tilted, your entire body compensates to keep your eyes level with the horizon.
How Does Atlas Misalignment Affect TMJ?
Atlas misalignment causes issues with three-jaw structures: bones, muscles, and nerves. An unbalanced jaw puts strain on the temporomandibular joint (TMJ). TMJ, neck, and shoulder muscles become tight and tired. They struggle to keep the jaw balanced while receiving brain signals that worsen the imbalance.
TMJ nerves send and receive erroneous messages about jaw position, pain locations, and pain levels. TMD can develop as a result of these malfunctions over time.
If there is a problem in your upper spine, particularly near the skull, your brain is not receiving or sending all the signals it requires to work in your body’s best interests.
In effect, the information highway that connects your brain and your body has a snag. This causes imbalances in the bones, muscles, and nerves associated with your TMJ.
The Link Between Your Brain and TMD
The misalignment of your atlas sets off a chain reaction in your brain. It keeps escalating the problem until you fix it. Patients with TMD (temporomandibular joint disorder) report strange symptoms and are frequently misdiagnosed as a result. You may have difficulty determining the source of your pain. In the short term, you could try quick fixes to relieve TMJ pain.
Finally, your brain will sound the alarm until you have permanently fixed TMD.
The result of a TMJ disorder specialist coaxing the atlas into place is more than just a simple realignment. The highway between the brain and the body can begin to function normally.
Because the brain-body connection is better functioning after realignment, your body will immediately begin to balance out. You may notice that your:
- Muscles start to relax
- Normalization of nerve signals
- Pain is lessening
Remember that your brain and body were in crisis mode for a long time, so that full recovery may take some time.
Dr. Firouzi at the Center for Exceptional Dentistry specializes in TMD, making his office an excellent resource for those in need of help. Visit our contact page here or call (412) 274-1126 today for more information.