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  • Writer's pictureDr. Rory Dopps

Understanding C1 Vertebra: The Atlas and Its Role in Your Health

Updated: Jul 11, 2023

An anatomical illustration of the human spine focusing on the C1 vertebra


In our ongoing series about spinal health, we're going to delve into the specific roles of each vertebral level in the body. We'll start at the top with C1, also known as the Atlas. This vertebra

plays a crucial role in our overall health and well-being.

Understanding C1: The Atlas

The C1 vertebra, or Atlas, is the first cervical vertebra and is located at the top of the spinal column, just beneath the skull. It's unique in its structure, being ring-like with no body or spinous process, and it carries the weight of the head.

The Atlas is responsible for the passage of the brainstem into the spinal cord and houses the vertebral arteries, which supply blood to the brain. It also allows for the majority of the movement of the head, including nodding and rotation.

Nerve Function and Potential Symptoms

The nerves at the C1 level primarily control the head and neck's blood supply and influence the function of the pituitary gland, which is the master gland controlling hormone production in the body.

When there's a misalignment or subluxation at the C1 level, it can lead to a variety of symptoms due to the compression of the nerve root. These can include headaches, migraines, vertigo, insomnia, and disturbances in hormone balance. In severe cases, it can also lead to reduced blood flow to the brain, potentially causing more serious neurological symptoms.

Chiropractic Care and C1

Chiropractic care can play a crucial role in maintaining the health of the C1 vertebra. By correcting misalignments or subluxations at the C1 level, chiropractic adjustments can alleviate the associated symptoms, enhance blood flow to the brain, and support overall nervous system function.


Understanding the role of each vertebral level in our health is crucial for maintaining a healthy lifestyle. If you're experiencing symptoms that might be associated with a C1 misalignment, don't hesitate to seek help. Schedule your chiropractic adjustment online today at and start your journey towards optimal health. Our team at Dopps

Chiropractic is committed to supporting you in all aspects of health, including enhancing your body's natural resilience.

In our next blog post, we'll explore more about the role of the C2 vertebra in health and the symptoms that can be associated with its misalignment. Stay tuned!


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