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Most commonly known as a military neck a straight or forward curve of the neck is abnormal and may cause an unkind progression of symptoms leading ultimately to cervical disk degeneration.
Reversal of cervical lordosis explained
The anatomy of the neck features a lordotic curvature in its typical and healthy state. This means that the cervical region has a gentle curvature with the open end of that curve facing the rear of the body. The base and top of the curve will be further posterior than the mid point, which will be further anterior.
When the lordosis is straightened, the neck becomes more upright and linear. This is more common than the next progression of atypical curvature, which is the subject of this article.
Actual reversal of curvature means that part or all of the cervical spine develops a kyphotic profile, with the open end of the curve facing anteriorly. Usually, this reversal is extremely mild, but is still very abnormal. What we now see is the middle of the curve being positioned posterior to the top and bottom.
In essence, picture the letter c and now turn it backwards: This is the shape of a reversed cervical lordosis.
Reversal of cervical lordosis causes
The spinal curvature in the neck is constantly in flux to some degree.
Congenital conditions and developmental conditions can have lasting effects on the natural degree of curvature typically demonstrated from patient to patient. These circumstances may be explainable due to injury or degeneration, or may be idiopathic:
Scoliosis can affect the normal lordotic curvature in the neck.
Cervical spondylolisthesis is a major source of reversed lordotic curvature.
Severe disc pathologies can facilitate a gradual loss or reversal of cervical lordosis.
Vertebral irregularities, such as wedging, can definitely contribute to lordotic alteration.
Traumatic injury, including vertebral fracture, can create the ideal circumstances for a reversal of lordosis to take place.
Severe neck muscle spasms can actually reshape the spinal curves, although these are usually temporary expressions and not actual structural conditions.
Effects of reversal of cervical lordosis
The neck is designed to curve in order to balance the spine, absorb stress, distribute force and provide proper movement of the head. When this curvature is diminished or reversed, symptoms may result, although this is not an inherent part of any altered lordotic condition.
Patients may experience stiffness and tension in the neck. Pain may be present and may even be severe in rare cases. Neurological dysfunction is possible in extreme cases, since the neuroforamen might not align properly, thereby causing a cervical pinched nerve.
In the worst circumstances, central spinal stenosis in the neck might affect the viability of the spinal cord, possible enacting the most dire of symptoms throughout the body.
Patients will also be more prone to injury, since the normal shock absorption qualities of the typical curvature have been lost.
While all these effects are certainly possible, they are not usual. In fact, a great majority of patients have minor symptoms or even no symptoms at all from mild reversed lordotic curvatures.
The pathology leading to a neck curve reversal (cervical kyphosis shown below right) may be inspired by a multitude of conditions as follows:
Post head injury
Poor sitting/working postures
Congenital spinal curvatures
Degenerative cervical discs (a form of osteoarthritis that can either be the cause of or the result of a cervical kyphosis)
Compression fracture of vertebral body
Infection of the cervical spine
Anatomy: straight vs. Curved
I've always heard that it was good to stand up straight.
stand upright, stick your chest out and hold your shoulders back! otherwise you're going get widows hump.
Are these expressions as familiar to you as they are to me? one might think that having a curved neck goes against what we heard from parents and teachers as we were growing up, but the reality is that there is a little bit a truth in both. Maintaining good posture throughout our lives is crucial to both the health of our spine and vital organs. On the contrary, a special type of curve called a lordosis is a good thing, both in the neck and lower back.
When we look at a person from the back their spine should be truly straight, so that the left and right sides of one's body is symmetrical. However, when we view a person from the side, the front and back of their body is different and this is reflected in a coinciding curvature of the spine. Both the lower back and neck are hollowed out (concave) and the mid or thoracic spine is protrudes (convex). Thus there is an alternation of curves functioning to provide stability, shock absorption and aid in propulsion. A straight spine would be very stiff and not flexible. Imagine the plight of a pole vaulter with an inflexible pole.
Nature's design of our spine and rib cage facilitates breathing and offers protective and supportive framework for vital organs. Spinal disks are shock absorbers and because they are in the front of the spine, lordotic curvatures keep them from having to bear weight. Kyphosis or loss of such curvatures bears weight upon the disks, leading to their ultimate degeneration. This process of deterioration is a form of osteoarthritis and in the spine is known as degenerative spondylosis.
Although most physiotherapists or conservative orthopedists can recognize a cervical curve reversal upon viewing the patient's posture, a definitive diagnosis may be obtained via a standing lateral (side view) x-ray of the neck. Cause can often be determined by corroborating a comprehensive history, a thorough examination, x-rays and questions about sleep, work and lifestyle.
In my professional career I found that the majority of young adults presenting with cervical kyphosis either had a whiplash or were stomach sleepers from an early age. For desk jockeys 40-60 years of age, many hours of sitting with their head flexed forward almost dictates the fate of developing kyphosis. In prior years I considered cervical kyphosis a job hazard for the careers of accountants, attorneys and often teachers because of years spent with their head in a book or paperwork. However, the digital age offers some relief in that respect. A well-planned, ergonomically-friendly office can do wonders for protecting the spine in the sedentary worker.
Treatment for cervical curve reversal (kyphosis)
During my chiropractic practice I had the opportunity to note a good percentage of correction toward a more normal lordosis (noted on x-ray) for 70% of patients under my care. This was almost always consistent with those patients that followed all recommendations and were model participants in their own care. Here is the recommended treat plan:
Spinal manipulation of stiff and fixated spinal segments by a qualified physio
Flexibility exercises for flexion and extension of cervical spine
Resistance exercises for flexors and extensors of the neck
Learn the Alexander technique for maintaining good posture (hint: the basic philosophy is to sit and stand like you were hanging by a string from the vertex of your skull. Liken it to a puppet on a string).
Elimination of stomach sleeping
Avoid standing on your head, although some yoga postures may be beneficial
Use of orthopedic neck pillow while sleeping.
There are several traditional methods used to correct vision, including wearing corrective lenses, or having eye surgery. However, with a few natural home remedies, eye exercises and general lifestyle changes you can improve your eyesight naturally.
The following eye exercises work to strengthen the eye muscles and maintain the flexibility of your eye lens in order to improve your vision. Some of the most popular exercises include:
Breathing Yoga Exercises:
This will encourage conscious breathing. The point of this is to relax your body and close your eyes. This allows the muscles to relax. Breathe in through the nose and out through the mouth for two minutes. When you finally open your eyes after two minutes, do not focus on anything. Repeat the exercise three times.
Each time you blink you are soothing and moisturizing your eyes. This can be done anywhere if your eyes are feeling weary or tired. Blink consistently for 4 to 5 seconds at a time for a period of two minutes.
These exercises were specifically designed to stimulate the various acupuncture points around your eyes. This aid in relaxing the muscles in and around your eye and helping to calm the mind. To execute this exercise you should place your elbows on a flat surface in front of you with your left palm covering your left eye. Your fingers should be resting on your forehead. Do the same with your right eye and right palm. The palms should cup the eyes, but not put any pressure on them. You should do this exercise for a period of three minutes.
It is important to eat the proper diet to promote eye health. This includes the addition of certain vision-enhancing foods if you currently do not consume them:
Bilberries: Fruit that is rich and full of antioxidants. These will aid in protecting the eyes from free radicals. They will also aid in better blood circulation in your eyes.
Grapes and Blueberries:
These will aid your night vision.
Rich in beta-carotene, which is known for great vision, as well as vitamin A.
Cold Water Fish:
Fish is rich in DHA, which will provide support to the structure of the cell membranes in your eyes. It is also used for many different treatments for disorders such as macular degeneration, dry eyes and general treatment of eyesight.
Leafy Green Vegetables:
These have nutrients that will help to protect your eye’s macula, due to their rich carotenoid content.
Capers, Shallots, Garlic, Eggs and Onions:
These also contain helpful antioxidants that are beneficial for the lens of your eyes.
If you want to ensure that your eyes are getting the 17 essential nutrients and vitamins they need for optimal eye health, check out the best eye vitamin on the market.
Other Eyesight Enhancing Tips
The fact is that it is much smarter to prevent eye problems, rather than treat them after the problem is present. While eye exercises and a healthy diet are important to your overall eye health, there are other tips you can use that will help to naturally improve your eyesight.
Minimize the extended period of time that you spend in front of the computer screen. Be sure to use our 10-10-10 rule while on the computer.
After every half-hour of television watching take a 10 minute break. This will provide a break for your eyes.
Try to look at objects far away when you take a break from in front of the TV or computer screen.
When your eyes feel tired or worn out, try washing them with cold water.
When they feel extremely tired, close them for a while to allow them to rest. The old saying is “take 5 to stay alive”.
When it comes to eye health, you must treat them as any other system in your body. This means providing exercise, and the proper nutrients. However, these are not the only elements that aid proper eye health.
In addition to the tips listed here, you also need to ensure that you receive plenty of sleep each day. You need to try to achieve six to eight hours each night to allow your eyes to fully rest and rejuvenate. If you do not get enough sleep, you may find that you have an abnormal amount of eye health issues.
Another important factor is to drink plenty of water. The body is composed of mainly water, meaning that you must replenish it regularly. This will help provide moisture to cleanse dust and debris from your eyes throughout the day. Water is essential for all of the body’s functions, including proper and healthy eyesight. In most cases drinking eight, eight-ounce glasses of water a day will provide enough moisture and water for your body.
However, if you live in a dry area, more is necessary to provide optimum eye health.
Taking care of your eyes is a life-long process. This includes preventing eye health issues, as well as the need to wear corrective lenses. There are thousands of success cases and studies that tell the benefits of proper eye health and preventative measures that you can take at home. The home remedies and lifestyle changes here will make a huge difference in the overall eye health that you have.
It is important to teach them to your child, as well.