The atlas is the very highest vertebrae (spine bone) and the occiput is the bottom back part of the skull that sits right on top of the atlas. Together they form the atlanto-occipital (AO) joint, where your head moves in relation to your neck.
Between sitting at computers, texting, driving and sitting so darn much, our AO often gets jammed in extension and sits too far forward.
No big deal, right? Except…
our brain sits right on top of our occipital bone
the spinal cord comes right out the bottom of the occipital bone
Head position directly impacts neck position and here are some important structures in your neck:
carotid artery that brings blood (and all the nutrients) to your brain
jugular vein that drains blood (and all the waste) from your brain
vagus and phrenic nerves (that innervate your organs and regulate your autonomic nervous system, which is a HUGE deal in cardiovascular health, digestive function and stress modulation)
excessive lymph nodes and vessels that brings all fluids back to your heart to then be filtered by the lungs and kidneys
brachial plexus, which is a bundle of nerves that innervates your shoulders and arms
muscles that get all jacked up trying to hold that big melon on your neck, and muscles are the lowest thing on this priority list for a reason
Now how on earth do you fix it? A few ways…
get yourself some craniosacral therapy to disengage the occiput from the atlas which will reintroduce movement and re-calibrate to the AO’s natural position. You can book your appointment here.
roll on some Roll Model® Method therapy balls - target the suboccipitals, sternocleidomastoid and upper chest muscles
improve your posture and breathing with upper back exercises and a conscious breathing practice, check out my workshops, classes and trainings. Or book a private session here, video consultations are also an option.