An estimated 75% of Americans will be affected by neck pain at some point in their lifetime. According to the National Institute of Health Statistic survey, neck pain is the second most common form of Pain in the United States second only to back pain. Chiropractors are the experts in musculoskeletal system and are the ideal healthcare provider to treat problems associated with the neck.
The Cervical Spine
Neck anatomy is a well-engineered structure of bones, nerves, muscles, ligaments, and tendons. The cervical spine (neck) is delicate – housing the spinal cord that sends messages from the brain to control all aspects of the body – while also remarkably strong and flexible, allowing movement in all directions. This curved portion of the spine consists of the first seven vertebrae, starting from the base of your skull at the C-1 vertebrae and ending at the thoracic spine.
The thoracic spine refers to the upper and middle-back. It joins the cervical spine and extends down about five inches past the bottom of the shoulder blades. One of the three curves in your spine, the cervical curve is critical to overall spinal health. Any reduction or misalignment in this area of the body can cause pain, headaches, migraines, stiffness and more.
Commonly Seen Cervical Curves
Our doctors typically see these four different kinds of curves in patients. These cures can be determined through an X-ray.
- Lordotic – This is a normal, healthy curvature in the neck. Think of it as a c-shaped curve that faces the way the nose points. It is a healthy curve
- Reverse Curve/Kyphotic – Extreme cases of lordotic loss and cervical kyphosis may result in central spinal stenosis or neuroforaminal stenosis in the neck. These conditions can compress the spinal cord or cause pinched nerve neck pain issues. This is a reverse curve. It means that your neck has completely lost its healthy curve is now curving the opposite direction.
- Hypolordotic/Alordotic – This is sometimes called military neck. This means that there is a decreased curve or no curve in the neck. In an X-ray, the neck may look straight.
- “S” Curve – The “S” curve is when the spine has both a lordotic and reverse/kyphotic curve.
Why are Cervical Curves so Important?
There are normally four slight natural curves in an adult spine. The cervical (neck) and lumbar (lower back) sections of the spine curve inward, and the thoracic (upper back) and sacral (lower spine) sections curve outward. These curves make the spine stable: They help you keep your balance when you are in an upright position, act as shock absorbers when you walk, and protect the individual bones in the spine (the vertebrae) from fractures. If the correct curvatures are not present, the discs and joints will experience greater pressure. An unhealthy curve can cause premature degeneration of the discs and joint spaces of the spine. This degeneration can lead to neurological symptoms down the road, as well as premature arthritis and joint fusion.
How Do I Know if I Have a Healthy Curve?
Symptoms can occur after years of altered function. We feel prevention and optimization is better than reactive, distress care. Our assessment includes objective measures that are independent from subjective symptoms. It is best to be assessed periodically to ensure that if you are misaligned but non-symptomatic you can be adjusted to prevent your body from being accustomed to a misaligned state once again and avoid the spinal deterioration that often involves a return to pain. Many patients we see with neck pain and stiffness have a reduced curvature in their neck. Certain chiropractic adjustment and supportive exercises and therapies are designed to help restore the neck to the ideal curve. It is important to continue care even after your symptoms have subsided, as it takes time to restore a healthy curve.
Are you expecting a neck pain? Make an appointment to talk to one of our chiropractic doctors about chiropractic treatment for Your Neck.
Contact Us (859-727-6888) for more information!
About All Star Chiropractic
Unlike conventional medicine, which focuses on attempting to treat disease once it occurs, All Star Chiropractic and Rehabilitation emphasizes improving your health in an effort to reduce the risk of pain and illness in the first place. Most people would rather be healthy and avoid illness, if they could. This is one of the main reasons for the big surge in the popularity of our wellness center.
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