The normal cervical “neck” spine has a healthy C-shaped curvature known as the Lordotic Curve. Under certain prolonged circumstances, we can experience a loss of our normal curvature in a condition known as cervical hypolordosis. This occurs when the spine does not have the normal amount of curvature that it should. This reduced or reversed curvature results in what is called a straight spine and can even curve the opposite direction. This straightening of the spine can be caused from backpacks, video games, using the computer or cellphone, and direct trauma. Symptoms include headaches, migraines, neck pain, increased blood pressure, dizziness, numbness, and tingling.
A study was performed and explained in the article “POSTURE CORRECTION” by Dr. Mark Payne, DC found that straightening of the cervical spine caused a 24-33% loss of motion and 5-95% increase of mechanical stress. Straightening of the cervical spine is thought to lead to vertebral deformity (cervical spondylosis) due to the increased loading stresses and loss of the normal motion of the spine. They note the observed stress concentration might give rise to “abnormal tensions on the hind-brain, cranial nerves, cervical core, and cervical nerve roots. Finally, the authors suggest “that cervical lordosis may have a direct impact on cervical spondylosis treatment.”
Restoring and maintaining the normal curvature of the neck is important because the correct spinal curve helps to maintain balance, absorb shock, and protect against fractures; a straightened reversed curve can cause premature degeneration of the discs in the spine and cause neurological symptoms. Chiropractic adjustments are good at relieving pain and symptoms but tend to not be a very effective tool for restoring the normal spinal curves, but evidence demonstrates that this lordosis can be successfully rehabilitated. At Giust Chiropractic using a variety of simple, low tech, methods, postural rehab added to the cervical spine treatment offers needed corrective care above and beyond mere pain relief. Two of the most fundamental procedures for restoring lordosis are extension traction and spinal remodeling. Extension traction provides gentle sustained stretching of the anterior soft tissues, permitting a return of the normal lordosis and is performed here in our office.
Patients with this imbalance are virtually guaranteed to affect their future spinal health. Correcting postures is not easy and to be honest, there will always be some patients who are not interested in anything beyond relief care. But we feel it is always the right thing to educate our patients and make the effort to get them involved in their own recovery.