Cervical lordosis might sound like a scary disease, but it actually isn’t a bad thing. This is the technical term to refer to how your neck naturally curves. A neck with a proper cervical lordosis will be better aligned and have less potential for issues.
There are a variety of issues that can cause your cervical lordosis to suffer. A chiropractor might be able to help. Here’s what you need to know about the curve of your neck and what a chiropractor can offer.
Having a Healthy Curve
You want to have a healthy curve in your neck. Over time, though, different conditions can cause you to lose that curve. You might begin to experience pain and dysfunction in the neck, head, shoulders, and back.
When a chiropractor treats a loss of your neck curve, the end goal is to restore a healthy curvature. If a fully healthy curve isn’t restored during the treatment period, there should at least be some improvement shown.
The cervical spine is the part of your spine that extends from your skull to the base of your neck. It should be shaped like a “C”, with the curve of the letter facing forward. This curvature allows you to support your skull without developing back pain.
If this natural curve becomes flat or turned in the wrong direction, you’ll run into problems. There are a few different types of dysfunction:
- A flat curve, known as the “military neck”
- A reverse curve, where the curve of the C points backward
- A side curve, where the curve is angled to the right or left side
This is an issue that can grow worse over time if you don’t address it.
Importance of the Curve
Do you want your back to be able to support the weight of your neck and head? Then you need a functional cervical curve. Once that curve becomes flattened or dysfunctional, your posture becomes out of alignment. This can cause your neck and back muscles to become overtaxed as they try to compensate.
Not only does dysfunction lead to ongoing muscle pain, but it can actually contribute to spinal degeneration. Since the spine isn’t in alignment, the ongoing pressure pulls the vertebrae out of place.
You also have a higher likelihood of becoming injured if you have a dysfunctional neck curve. If you do get hurt in an accident, there’s a greater chance that your injuries will be severe enough to cause permanent disability.
Symptoms of Cervical Lordosis Dysfunction
The specific symptoms of the condition might vary depending on the type of dysfunction you have. For example, an abnormal right or left curve might lead to strange muscle aches on just one side of the body. It’s also difficult to diagnose this problem because the symptoms can mimic so many other conditions.
One important note is that the loss of a cervical curve doesn’t actually mean that you will experience symptoms. In addition, some people might have symptoms that aren’t actually painful.
These are some of the telltale signs of a problem with your cervical spine:
- Aching in the neck, shoulders, and upper back
- Tension headaches with no apparent cause
- A limited range of motion in your neck
- Difficulty standing up straight and aligning your spine
A chiropractor will be able to evaluate your situation and determine whether the cause of your pain is a loss of cervical lordosis.
Using Chiropractic Care to Treat Cervical Lordosis
There is compelling evidence to indicate that chiropractic care can help improve your neck curve. Chiropractors specialize in aligning the spine to alleviate pain. They can develop a plan to treat your neck dysfunction over a period of several weeks or months.
One study showed that 3.5 months of chiropractic adjustments led to significant improvements in a patient’s cervical lordosis. The patient also saw improvements in the alignment of their neck in general.
The medical community is in agreement that a proper neck curve is essential to your health. It protects the health of your spine and can prevent unnecessary headaches and muscle pain. But there is some debate over the best techniques to treat this issue.
If you are concerned that an abnormal neck curve is causing your pain, you might seek a consultation with a chiropractor. It helps to look for someone who specializes in correcting postural alignment issues, especially someone who has prior experience with the cervical spine.
The Right Treatment Matters
It’s true that chiropractors can help with a dysfunctional neck curve. But they need to know what they’re doing.
A lot of the most common chiropractic treatments for neck pain won’t actually have any effect on the cervical curve. In the worst-case scenario, these treatments might worsen the existing dysfunction.
An ideal chiropractic treatment plan will involve not just spinal adjustments, but also muscle strengthening and flexibility exercises. You should have specific time-based goals for your treatment so that you can measure your progress as your sessions continue.
The chiropractor should have specialized adjustments based on the dysfunction in your neck. Physical therapy exercises might be incorporated into your sessions as well. In addition to training your muscles, you’ll also need to train your brain to assume proper posture.
Prior to treatment, an x-ray should be taken of the neck. This will allow the chiropractor to measure the curve. After you have completed your planned treatment course, there should be another x-ray done to determine whether the adjustments worked.
Different Chiropractic Approaches
If your chiropractor decides that regular adjustments pose too much of a risk, there are multiple other ways that you might treat your issue. Just a few of the options include:
- Weights to pull the spine into the proper alignment
- Soft tissue rehabilitation of the tendons and ligaments in your neck
- Physical therapy exercises
- A combination of all three of these approaches
When you meet with your chiropractor for a consultation, you’ll give them a full medical history and a description of your symptoms. They’ll then do an examination and may order x-ray imaging. Once they have a sense of the issue, they can sit down with you and map out a unique treatment plan to suit your needs.
Other Ways to Mitigate Cervical Dysfunction
The best way to treat a loss of function is by preventing it from happening in the first place. Whether you’ve already experienced a change in your neck curve, or you just want to make sure you don’t in the future, there are some tips that can help you out.
Don’t Look Down at Your Screen
Chances are, you spend most of the day glued to your smartphone. It’s where we shop, play games, get entertainment, read, communicate, and so much more. The entire world fits right in the palm of your hand — and it might also be bad for you.
When you’re constantly hunched over a computer or glancing down at the phone in your hand, it can lead to neck issues. The motion stresses the muscles in the neck and back. If you keep your head in that position for long enough, there could be permanent impacts on your cervical spine.
You don’t actually need to give up technology, though. Just hold your phone up in front of your eyes instead of looking down at it. As you work on your computer, make sure that the monitor is raised to eye level.
Fix Postural Issues
You’ve probably heard about the dangers of slouching a million times before. But there are very real consequences to posture issues. There is also evidence that if you have a posture issue as a child, your spine will develop with that postural issue in mind.
This means that once you become an adult, it’s much harder to change your posture. Your muscles and bones are all hardwired to rest in a different way.
Poor posture needs to be treated at the source. A chiropractor can generally identify areas of poor posture and show you how to sit and stand. They may also have tips and strengthening exercises to help keep your muscles in the right place. Painkillers, on the other hand, are just a temporary fix.