Anonymous: Cervical straightening comes from an “attitudinal” contracture atop the foramen magnum, around the basal brain in front of the occiput. It is like a riveting shut of the dural tube from above. I help people monitor/inhabit the top of their throat for tension while I end feel by cradling the occiput, scanning the dorsal third of the spine for aligments.
My opinion is that the basal brain (reptilian) threatens the ego. Ego’s primitive insight is that to contract around the proprioceptive vehicle will help it maintain a status quo. I feel this to be a primary contracture.
Erl Winter: At times I work to increase the forward tilt of the lower cervical bodies by working UP along the sides of their spinous processes. Also, I look for more change in the mid and upper thoracic spine to allow the head to balance, rather than forcing the neck to define the head/ torso relationship.
Robert Schleip: I found this years ago in Platzer (E.Kahle, H. Leonard, W. Platzer, Color Atlas of Human Anatomy, Vol. 1) on page 62 they say that based on x-ray studies a true lordosis is the most rare condition (especially in females). More often the midcervical vertebrae are displaced poseriorly in relation to the upper and lower cervicals. If you have that book it has some good illustrations of the common cervical curvatures. This insight was in contrast to my previous assumption and it changed my approach to neck work quite a bit.
I don’t go any more for “allowing the midcervicals to fall back where they belong.” If the neck is tilted forward as a whole (majority of my clients) I usually get the best improvements b3 working with the upper thorax.
In respect to treating the positions of cervical vertebrae, I see them as even more mobile than thoracic or lumbar vertebrae and, therefore, mostly influenced by the various muscular tensions in this area (with some exceptions). For releasing muscular holding patterns in the neck I follow the information I get from sensitive palpation using the fingers of one hand while holding the neck in a position that allows those tissues to become slack.
A book by Leopold Busquet helped me to understand that the common lack of proper lordotic curvature can actually be caused by excessive tonus in the muscles posterior to the vertebrae. In an example from the book, if the fibers from C3 to the occiput along with those from C3 to the upper cervicals are shortened, but not the longer fibers between the occiput and the lower cervicals, they do pull C3 backwards. Which means tight erector spinae can pull the spine into a lordosis but also out of one, depending on their specific tonus combination.
In working, I use simultaneous eyeAMPs (active movement participation of the client), or sometimes finger-AMPs in the slow motion, micromovement style of Continuum. This is based on the fact that in the brain’s motor organization the neck is organized as the small bridge between the large eyes and the huge thumb.
Deborah Stucker: The energetic pattern established by “where” the eye looks from (and where it doesn’t) in most cases “sets” the head/neck/ thoracic inlet, etc. Relocating the possibilities for the eye/gaze is central to increasing the options for the head/neck, though a lot of preparation lower down generally must be done before the eyes can be supported enough to “break their stare.” There is a lot of interesting related material for this work: Bates method (see “The Art of Seeing” by Aldous Huxley); also much of the feminist film theory regarding the fixations of “the gaze,” such as Theresa De Laurentis’ “Alice Doesn’t.”
Take a quick scan of your client base and notice what kinds of craniums and necks go with what eyeglass prescriptions! I’ll bet you come up with some interesting connections. Now I’m going to check out eye/ thumb relationships.