Upper Cervical Care

Upper Cervical San Francisco Union Square Chiropractor

Upper Cervical Care is a natural approach to health that simply allows the body to get back to utilizing the natural self-healing processes we were all born with.

The words “Upper Cervical” refer to the region located at the junction of the head and neck. In particular, the area of interest is the top two bones in the neck, known as C1 (Atlas) and C2 (Axis). These two vertebrae are the most significant in the spinal column for a host of reasons, but mainly because they house the control center of the autonomic nervous system, which controls and coordinates all the things in our bodies that are too important for us not to forget. (Think “automatic nervous system.”)


C1 and C2 are vitally important as they are responsible for protecting the most critical portion of our nervous system, the brainstem. A slight misalignment of either of these two vertebrae can result in a multitude of consequences including irritation to the lower brainstem, ischemia (loss of normal blood flow) and a reduction of neurotransmission (nerve signals). 

Our bodies are sensory machines that see, smell, hear, taste and touch the surrounding world around us. These are our natural human instincts. We adapt to our environment based on how well we sense it. Any trauma to this area (impact sports, minor accidents, or even sometimes the birthing process) can cause inflammation in the lower brainstem area, affecting the entire nervous system. This may cause hyper- (too much) or hypo-active (not enough) sensory integration which can send our bodies into a cascade of events based on what it thinks it is sensing. This often presents as the classic “autoimmune response.” Our organized bodily responses depend on the quality of our sensory integration, and the ability for the body to carry out our innate hard-wired plan of action. Since all nerve signals must pass through the upper cervical vertebrae to reach the body below (or brain above), each and every bodily function has the potential to be compromised to some degree. This is why some people with the same genes (ex: siblings), whose blood-work may show the same allergies, do not always present with the same responses, or why everyone in the same office/classroom does not catch the same “cold/flu” going around.

Interestingly, this is the only location throughout the entire spine where there are no discs between neighboring vertebrae. This allows for greater mobility/range-of-motion (the ability to turn our head from side to side). This extensive movement, however, comes at a sacrifice. The upper cervical spine is less stable and more likely to misalign following trauma, and it is susceptible to stress.

In addition, when misalignments occur at C1-C2, distress can occur locally or extend to other regions of the body, inducing musculoskeletal compensations and pain elsewhere. Therefore, this crucial upper cervical region has significant health deteriorating implications if misaligned, even slightly. Restricted flow of brain health and healing messages to the body will lead to the development of acute and chronic health problems.

By ensuring alignment of the upper cervical spine, the efficient flow of brain health and healing messages to all parts of the body is achieved, and a complete and proper function of the nervous system is possible. Since this system controls and coordinates every action and function in your body, don’t you want it to be working at full capacity? Upper Cervical corrective health care is the ultimate in total wellness. It is changing the way we can get well and stay well, without the use of harmful drugs and painkillers.

Live Pain Free Today! 415-362-3500

San Francisco Chiropractor Dr. Ryan Lawlor is conveniently located
in Union Square, San Francisco.

490 Post Suite 238A San Francisco CA 94102