- the first cervical
Axis - the second cervical vertebra, C2
atlas and the axis, the uppermost two cervical
vertebrae, differ in their construction from the other cervical
vertebrae. They are part of the flexible joint which connects
the skull and the spine, and which is responsible for nodding
and turning movements of the head.
The atlas, on which the head rests, has no vertebral
body. It is named after the Greek god Atlas who, according to
legend, carried the columns of the sky. The axis forms the pivot
upon which the atlas rotates.
atlas, the axis, the base of the skull and the surrounding
soft parts (muscles, nerves, ligaments) together comprise the
This area represents an important reflex centre (the sixth sense
organ), which is involved in spatial awareness and controls
muscle tone in the body's postural muscles.
There are close connections between receptors in this area and
certain parts of the brain (centres of sight, hearing and balance).
This reflex centre is also responsible for sensing the position
of the head relative to the body.
brief, functions associated with the head joint region include:
sleep (via relaxation of the joint)
to movement and balance
connection with the vegetative (autonomic) centres of the
- a connection with the central processing
areas of the brain.
is KISS syndrome?
(Kinematic Imbalances due to Suboccipital
Strain) is not an “illness” as such, but instead a problem
of motor control. Primary consequences of this are
of the spine
use of the extremities (arms and legs) .
and difficult births, needing forceps or a Ventouse suction
procedure during the birth
over 4000g (8lb 13oz)
also seems to be an element of familial tendency toward
are possible ways in which the delicate head joint could be
pushed out of alignment, resulting in a physical asymmetry.
This used to be called Atlas blockage, and was first described
in 1953 by Dr. Gottfried Gutmann.
Around 8% of the total population is probably affected. Dr.
Lutz Erik Koch estimates that out of 10% of people needing therapy,
in fact less than 1% ever receives treatment.
He also believes that only every second paediatrician is aware
of KISS syndrome. Parents are often appeased with the words
“he/she will grow out of it”. And it does really seem as if
the neck distortion disappears after a while, even without treatment
(either spontaneously, or with physiotherapy).
In reality, the baby learns how to compensate for its distorted
position and to minimize associated pain. Some pull themselves
up or start to walk particularly early, often to the joy of
their parents. In reality they are making instinctive attempts
to find a painless position. Particularly pronounced cases are
known as a “wry neck”.
adult life, untreated patients can suffer from
with the cervical spine
(ringing in the ears)