Problematic Neck Curves
I’m Doctor Rosemarie Jabbour (Chiropractor) from New World Chiro.
I’ve suffered from it and I’m sure you are aware of it as well. Many kinds of musculoskeletal aches and pains may cause discomfort and upset your day.
That’s why I wrote this blog post – to provide you with some useful information on neck pain and in particular the types of neck curves that you should be on the lookout for.
So if you want to find out more about common types of neck curves and neck curve problems, this post is for you.
Pain in the Back of the Neck and Head
If you have ever experienced neck pain, you will know just how uncomfortable it can be. Neck pain often comes with muscle tension, restriction in movement (hard to turn your head) and may increase your stress or anxiety levels.
The following article looks at common neck problems, common types of neck curves, including pain in the back of the neck and head, and how chiropractic may help.
Neck Pain is Common
Data made available by the National Institute of Health Statistics national survey has placed neck pain just behind lower back pain and non-arthritic joint pain as the most prevalent musculoskeletal pain disorders1.
The good news is that Chiropractors often have success in treating patients with common musculoskeletal problems including neck pain.
Chiropractors are experts in the musculoskeletal system, and as such are appropriate health professionals to address some neck related problems.
Common causes of neck pain include:
- Muscle tension
- Uneven posture
- Sedentary habits and sitting down for long periods behind a desk
- Text neck – read more about mobile phones and headaches here
- Spinal misalignments and other problems
- Nerve irritation and nerve pain
- Injury, car accidents, slips, trips and falls
The Cervical Spine
The neck consists of a part of the spine known as the “cervical spine.” This curved portion of the spine is made up of the first seven vertebrae, beginning from the bottom of your skull at the C1 (atlas) vertebra and ending at your thoracic spine.
Neck Curve Problems
A slight misalignment or reduction in this part of the body may cause pain in the back of the neck and head, migraine, headaches and stiffness amongst others. It is important to realise that pains may take years to manifest, hence it is wise to periodically get checks to avert any potential health problem.
This is especially true if you notice you have forward head posture or a generally wonky head/neck posture.
Indeed, one study demonstrated a correlation between forward head posture and neck pain and disability.2
Correct the Cervical Curve – Common Neck Problems
Typically, health practitioners refer to these four common types of neck curve problems:
- Lordotic – Standing upright at about 42 degrees – this is a normal, healthy neck curvature. Imagine it as a c-shaped curve that points opposite to the direction of your nose.
- Hypolordotic/A lordotic – This indicates that there is either a reduced or an absent curve in the neck. Although, this may appear straight in an X-ray.
- Reverse Curve/Kyphotic – This is the kind of curve that you should avoid at all cost. A reverse curve indicates that your neck has totally strayed far from a healthy curve and is in fact now curving in the reverse direction, linking your cervical and thoracic curves.
- “S” Curve – The S curve is the most difficult curve to correct. The “S” curve demonstrates a scenario where the spine has both a kyphotic and a lordotic curve.
These common types of neck curves may contribute to feelings of pain, tension, discomfort or reduced range of motion i.e. trouble turning the head to the left or right.
Why is the Cervical Curve Important?
The curvatures in the spine adopt the role of shock absorbers for numerous parts of the body. If these curvatures are absent, a greater amount of pressure will be exerted on the disc and joints.
To explain more aptly, imagine jumping off a cliff without bending your knees. If the curvatures in your neck are absent, your disc and joints will be under this type of pressure. With all that movement, strain and pressure, if your neck is not in a natural alignment, you may experience pain in the back of the neck and head or worse, some type of injury.
Additionally, an abnormal curve can also cause the discs and joint gaps in the spine to degenerate prematurely. This degeneration may consequently cause a neurological symptom in addition to joint fusion or premature arthritis.
How Do I know if I have an Abnormal Curve?
The sure way to find out if you have a healthy curve is to get a chiropractic checkup. With physical examinations, your doctor of chiropractic may get a clearer picture of the kind of curve you have and the best recommendations for your case. Keep in mind that pain may only be a late indication of the problem, in some cases.
Reduced neck curvatures are synonymous with patients with stiffness and neck pain. Chiropractic adjustments in combination with supportive exercises and related therapies aim to remedy and restore the neck to its normal (lordotic) curve.
Within a short time of commencing treatment, many patients record improvements, which may include a reduction in pain. At this point, some patients choose to continue with chiropractic care, with or without symptoms.
Want to Know More About Your Spinal Health?
Please contact your team here at New World Chiro to arrange a consultation with our chiropractors. We will provide you with a thorough chiropractic consultation, a report of findings and may recommend treatment options as required.
- Kim, E.-K., & Kim, J. S. (2016). Correlation between rounded shoulder posture, neck disability indices, and degree of forward head posture. Journal of Physical Therapy Science, 28(10), 2929–2932. http://doi.org/10.1589/jpts.28.2929
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