Description, Causes and Risk Factors:
The normal, anteriorly convex curvature of the cervical segment of the vertebral column; cervical lordosis is a secondary curvature of the vertebral column, acquired postnatally as the infant lifts its head.
Cervical lordosis is a curve in the cervical spine, the area of the spine which contains the neck vertebrae. This curve is entirely normal and in fact desirable because it helps to stabilize the head and spine, but when the curve straightens out, becomes too deep, or faces in the wrong direction, it can become a problem.
In a healthy spine, the cervical lordosis looks like a very wide C, with the C pointing toward the back of the neck. This can begin to straighten in a condition called cervical kyphosis, in which the curve straightens up or even bows in the other direction. Sometimes this is referred to as "reverse lordosis," referencing the fact that the spine is still curved, but the curve is now running in the wrong direction.
There are several factors that are known to cause variations in the healthy cervical lordosis. In many cases, it is an inherited condition. It can also be caused by injury and/or trauma, stress and strain to the neck. In most instances, cervical lordosis is caused by neglecting to maintain good posture. Osteoporosis, which is the thinning of bone tissue and loss of bone density over time (often found in the neck region), is also a cause of cervical lordosis. Obesity has been known to cause cervical lordosis as well. Obesity can affect the body's balance and center by offering a weight and strain to the body that is unnatural so the body is ill-equipped to support and maintain proper posture.
Maintenance of a lordosis in the range of 31 degrees to 40 degrees could be a clinical goal for Chiropractic treatment.
People can experience fatigue, strange head positioning, and other symptoms as a result of variations in the healthy cervical lordosis. The lack of cervical spine curvature causes tension on the spinal cord and carotid arteries as they ascend into the brain to feed it oxygen and nutrients. This can cause dizziness, headaches, tinnitus, pain, nervousness, insomnia, high blood pressure, and confusion.
Alterations to normal cervical lordosis can be diagnosed by a Physician after completing a physical exam with X-rays and MRI's.
Most cases of cervical lordosis are mild and require little or no medical intervention. Over-the-counter pain relievers may be used for mild-to-moderate pain or discomfort. If these pain relievers do not provide adequate relief, the doctor may write a prescription for stronger pain medications designed to be taken when the pain levels become severe enough to prevent normal movement.
Gentle neck exercises may be used in order to lessen symptoms associated with cervical lordosis. These exercises can help to improve posture, relieve discomfort, and increase range of motion. The doctor may either instruct the patient on the proper ways to exercise the neck or refer the patient to a physical therapist for more intensive treatment options. It is important that these neck exercises are performed properly in order to avoid further damage to the spine.
Occasionally, surgical intervention may become necessary in order to effectively treat cervical lordosis. Spinal fusion is the most common type of surgical procedure used for this purpose, although other types of surgery may be used in some instances. There are potential complications associated with any type of surgery, so all of the pros & cons should be discussed with the doctor before making the decision to undergo the operation. Most surgeons prefer to use surgery as a last resort and only when all other methods of treatment have failed.
NOTE: The above information is educational purpose. The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition.
DISCLAIMER: This information should not substitute for seeking responsible, professional medical care.
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