- The atlas (C1) is the most superior cervical vertebra of the spine.
- The atlas articulates with:
- the occiput superiorly, forming the atlanto-occipital joint.
- the axis (C2) inferiorly, forming the atlanto-axial joint.
- The atlas is ring-shaped. It has no body. What would have been the body fused instead to the axis (C2), forming the odontoid process (dens) of the axis.
- The atlas is so-named because it supports the head, as the Greek mythological figure Atlas supported the world.
- Forward-head posture is a common postural distortion pattern in which the atlas is protracted anteriorly. Forward-head posture is parter of the larger postural distortion pattern known as upper-crossed syndrome.