WHAT IS THE CERVICAL SPINE AND WHY IS IT IMPORTANT? (By Li-Sa Choi: Chiropractor at Victoria Point Chiropractic)
A healthy functioning human spine should have 3 specific curves when observed from a side view. These curves act as shock absorbers, support erect posture, help with balance and allow neural information to travel from the brain to your limbs and other organs.
The neck curve or cervical lordosis protects the neck from damage and irritation, reduces stress and strains on the spinal cord and spinal nerves. The natural and ideal curve should follow an arc like part of a circle. A clinically normal range for the cervical lordosis should be between 31 to 40 degrees.
Neck curve can be compromised by acute trauma like a whiplash injury from sport or a car crash. It can also be affected by ongoing stresses such as poor posture at the computer, phone or tablet, slouching on the couch.
A study in 2005 showed statistically that people with a cervical curve of 20 degrees or less are more likely to suffer from neck related symptoms and those people with a curve of 0 degrees or less were 18 times more likely to suffer from neck related symptoms regardless of age. (1.)
X-rays can determine the health of your spine and the condition of your spinal curves, including your cervical lordosis.
Chiropractic care can help maintain healthy spinal curves even if you don’t feel any discomfort or pain. A small misalignment can get worse over time so attending to any changes can result in faster recovery and less health problems down the track.
Awareness and improvement of your posture and length of time you are on electronic devices can also help decrease the stress on your neck.
Ask your chiropractor today about the current health of your neck curve and what you can do to improve it.
J Manipulative Physiol Ther 2005 (Mar); 28 (3): 187-193