Many people don’t realize the vital role that a healthy neck plays in overall health. The neck has a natural curve that helps the body maintain balance, and also prevents injury. The neck has what is known as a lordotic curve, which means that when it is viewed from the side, the arch is convex towards the front. In order to fully appreciate why you need neck curvature, you have to understand the critical function it has in facilitating normal movement.
The neck and spine
The neck is the uppermost part of the spine, which extends from the base of the skull to the pelvis. The major role of the spine is to protect the spinal cord, which is a mix of nerve tissues. The neck or cervical spine is one of several curves that make up the spinal column.
Why you need neck curvature
The curvature of the neck is optimally designed so that it supports and balances the head, allows forshock absorption, and facilitates arange of motion in all directions. Italso assists the even distribution of weight, and has a key role to play in optimal spinal function. The neck transmits messages from the brain that influences all aspects of the body. It also enables the flow of blood to the brain.
However, there are times when stressors can cause the lordotic curve to straighten and even reverse its shape, resulting in a condition known as cervical kyphosis.
Cervical kyphosis is a condition in which the natural curve of the neck is reversed or lost. Cervical kyphosis may be due to several factors, including a traumatic event such as an injury or accident that damages the connective tissues in the neck. However, the condition is very often the result of poor posture, as well as degenerative disc disease.
How Poor posture affects the neck
Let’s take a closer look at how poor posture can contribute to cervical kyphosis. Good posture is characterized by a position in which the ears are in line with the shoulders, and the head does not tilt forward. However, excessive slouching, or sitting and walking with the head in a forward position, puts more strain on the muscles and tendons of the neck. When the head and shoulders are constantly being pushed forward, the neck curve tends to straighten out.
Doctors have recently noticed that activities such as texting on your smartphone and other mobile devices, also contributes to the flattening of the natural curvature of the neck. The phenomenon has been dubbed ‘text neck,’ and is the result of prolonged periods spent looking down at smartphones, tablets, iPads, and similar devices. In order to avoid the danger these activities can pose to spinal alignment, it is important to change your posture by bringing the device you are using up to eye level.
Symptoms of Cervical Kyphosis
Cervical kyphosis is a sure sign that the neck and head are misaligned, and this often results in chronic head and neck pain. Other symptoms include lower back pain, high blood pressure, and limited range of motion in the neck.
The added pressure put on the spinal cord due to the lack of curvature in the neck can also lead to spinal cord compression. Spinal cord compression occurs when the soft tissue of the cervical spine is stretched beyond normal limits. The condition is generally characterized by pain in the neck and back (particularly the lower back), numbness in the arms and legs, sciatica, neck muscle spasms, and loss of sensation in the feet.
Correcting Alterations in the normal lordotic curve
Changes in the normal lordotic curve of the neck are best diagnosed by a chiropractor, who will confirm diagnosis by doing an X-ray and other tests. The treatment options will depend on the severity of the condition. Non-surgical intervention is often beneficial in mild cases of cervical kyphosis. In this regard, Posture Pump products can help to restore the cervical curve.