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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.
Hello Doctor I have degenerative disc disease after a fall down a flight of stairs in 2013. I sometimes have difficulty in breathing while asleep at night and develop colds frequently, is this due to the lumbar fracture? Also is inability to fill bladder a symptom of disc injury? Thank you for your time Doctor.
Cancer is the one of the biggest threat to the young Indian population because of the factors that cause cancer, but also due to late detection. However, certain bad habbits and the factors increase the risk of cancer in India.
Causes of cancer in India:
- Overpopulation and the problem of nutrition: As per records, India is the world's third most populous country. However, it lacks in resources to feed the multiplying number of mouths. Nutrition plays a key role in deciding the quality of a person's life. Nutrition has therefore emerged as an essential branch of research and medical care in the last few decades. Lack of nutrition directly results in weakened immunity. Your body becomes prone to diseases, some of which can be fatal. To fight off cancer cells, one must have a strong immune system that comes from the right kind of nutrition.
- Smoking is a recurrent habit among children and adults: Smoking can cause cancer. Every cigarette packet reads the same warning messages but it doesn't actually deter smokers in any way. Smoking is prevalent among people of all age groups in India. From poor children to conscious educated adults, all are seen smoking.
- A Tropical country and its woes: Tropical countries are known to face the wrath of the sun. While most places in central, western, partly eastern and southern India experience extremes of temperature in summer, other places with moderately hot summers are not exempted from the harmful UV rays. Ultraviolet rays can be very harmful for one's skin, as it can cause skin cancer. Indians have a high amount of melanin, which protects them against sun rays, but the threat exists nonetheless.
- The concept of fast food: A global economy has opened avenues awaiting your attention in the realm of food. To suit the tones and moods of a fast life, fast food has been made available to you. We take pride in consuming things that can be prepared in an instant: instant noodles, soups and even curries. Packaged food and junk food are sources of cancer cells.
- Lack of awareness regarding the most common types of cancer: Breast and cervical cancer are the two most common types of cancer eating away the health of Indians. The problem lies in being unaware about the root causes, symptoms and treatment procedures related to these kinds of cancer. Social repression turns health concerns into matters of insignificance. Women fear social alienation after coming in the open with their problems.
I want to know about exercises being done in case of diffuse disc bulge at l1-l2 level indenting anterior the cal sac mildly with bilateral mild neural foraminal narrowing.
Hello Dr. My mother facing the problem regarding slip disk in the year of 2012 now she is fine but some time he faced pain what I will do so he will get normal.
Please advice some treatment for bulging of disc I tried everything possible. Visited all type of doctor, did physical exercise and massage as well but still pain persists.
I am 40 years old I was suffering from disc dislocation and recovered from it in 2007, but now I am suffering from Neck pain at vertebral column and my left Knee is also paining.
I am a 30 years old male and since last 3 months I was having pain in right leg whenever I used to walk. My doctor advised me Lumbosacral MRI and my findings are as under: 1. Lumbar lordosis is mildly straightened. 2. Disc desiccation noted at L5-S1 noted. 3. Posterior disco osteophytes complex seen at L5-S1 level causing canal stenosis measuring 7mm and bilateral lateral recess stenosis, causing compression upon traversing S1 nerve roots and mild foramina narrowing with abutting bilateral L5 nerve roots. 4. Mild diffuse disc bulge at L4-5 level causing indentation of thecal sac with early lateral recess stenosis, however no significant neural compression seen.
Sir I am suffering from. L4-5 problem since 2 years there is any treatment with out operation please help me.
I have a Acl tear in my left knee doctor advised for an operation should I go for it I am a athlete and 21 year old male.
Breast cancer has few distinct characteristics and if you have a few or all the following symptoms you could be more likely to suffer from breast cancer.
a) The formation of a lump in your breast, which is different from the surrounding tissue and usually more thickened.
b) The discharge of bloody fluid material from the nipples.
c) Sudden change of the size, shape and appearance of the breast.
d) Certain distinct changes to the skin over the breast for example an indentation in the skin similar to that of a dimple.
e) Appearance of an extra nipple which is inverted.
f) If the darkened area around the nipples known as the areola is flaking or peeling off.
Studies and researches remain inconclusive on what causes breast cancer. Breast cancer occurs due to abnormal division of the cells located in the breast, which over time accumulate and form lumps. They
might spread to other parts of the body. Breast cancer is caused mainly due to a complex interaction of personal genetics, environment and lifestyle choices. Breast cancer can also be caused due to genetics as about 5% to 10% of cases are due to gene mutations which pass onto generations.
There are certain factors, which increase the probability of contracting breast cancer. Increasing age, personal and family history of breast cancer, obesity, radiation exposure, pregnancy at an older age, postmenopausal hormone therapy are some of the factors that increase the chances of breast cancer.
Several forms of surgical methods exist to treat breast cancer. Depending on the condition and spread of the disease a suitable surgery is performed. These include mastectomy, lumpectomy, axillary lymph node dissection and removal of both breasts. Other forms of treatment include chemotherapy or the use of high doses of drugs to destroy cancerous cells. Radiation therapy where X-rays are used to destroy the cancer cells is also effective.
My dad has a disc problem and in morning time he suffers from stiffness in lower back area. What should he do?
I am suffering from sciatica for the last 6 months. Tried back exercises and muscle relaxants. The condition is due to L4/L5 disc herniation. Kindly advice.
Also known as slipped disc, herniated disc or sciatica. The discs are the shock absorbers of your spine. When they are injured the inner soft part of the disc can protrude out through a tear in the outer lining of the disc. This disc material can press on the nerves in the spinal column, injuring them through direct pressure and causing inflammation.
The most common age to develop a disc prolapse is between the ages of 30-50 years., twice as many men as women are affected. Prolpased discs occur mainly in the low back (lumbar) spine. Less than I in 20 cases of back pain are due to a disc prolapse, most are due to mechanical back pain. (see section back pain).
A slipped disc is characterised by sudden, severe back pain that is often made worse by movement and which can usually be eased by lying down flat.
Nerve root pain (sciatica) can also occur because a nerve is trapped or irritated by a prolapsed disc. Although the problem is in the back, patients experience pain along the course of the nerve, for example, down a leg to the calf or foot.
With a prolapsed disc, the sciatic nerve is most commonly affected. The sciatic nerve is a large nerve that is made up from several smaller nerves that come out from the spinal cord in the lower back and travels down each leg. The irritation or pressure on the nerve may also cause pins and needles, numbness or weakness in part of a buttock, leg or foot.
In rare cases, cauda equina syndrome can occur. This is a disorder where the nerves at the very bottom of the spinal cord are trapped. It can cause low back pain as well as problems with bowel and bladder function and weakness in one or both legs. These symptoms need urgent medical treatment to prevent permanent damage to the nerves that supply the bladder and bowel.
A large number of people can have a prolapsed disc without any symptoms if it doesn’t trap or irritate the nerve.
A doctor will normally be able to diagnose a prolapsed disc from the symptoms and by examining the patient.
In most cases, no tests are needed, as the symptoms often settle within a few weeks.
Tests such as x-rays or scans may be advised if symptoms persist. In particular, an MRI scan can show the site and size of a prolapsed disc. This information is needed if surgery is being considered
I am 30 years old. Diagnosed with 11 % of vitamin D. Calcium and phosphate levels are also down. Besides cervical 6-7 disc have chronic black bulge. Pain in neck shoulder upper back. Also lumbar spine 4-5 also bulge. It is sending pain down till sole of feet. What is the treatment ways?
A few factors that might push you an inch closer to bone cancer are:
Genes could jinx your health: a few typical genetic syndromes could increase a person's chances of contracting bone cancer. These syndromes could have been active in any person belonging to your lineage. One such syndrome is li-fraumeni.
Treatment for one kind of cancer can make you prone to some other kind: radiation affects your bones adversely. A patient of breast cancer might be undergoing radiation therapy that further increases his or her risk of contracting bone cancer in future.
Paget's disease can have unfavorable implications: paget's disease is a disease that affects elderly people. This condition, if left untreated, can turn into bone cancer at a later stage.
Several symptoms of bone cancer can be found below:
Sudden loss of weight: if you lose a considerable amount of weight in a few weeks time without having made any effort at all, you should probably be worried about the health of your bones. Bone cancer can result in sudden and unintentional weight loss.
Unexpected bone fracture or breakage: cancer of the bones is known to gnaw at the strength of your bones. Weakened and diseased bones can break or get fractured very easily. An unexpected fracture should not be overlooked so as to prevent chances of anything more harmful.
Long spans of unyielding exhaustion: constant fatigue and sleepiness might be hinting at a more serious underlying problem. The bones in your body hold you together; cancerous bone cells can make you feel exhausted without much exertion as your bones lose their inherent potency.
Persistent pain in the bones: excruciating cramps or pangs of stinging pain in a person's bones either continuously or at odd hours, could be indicative of bone cancer. Such instances require the advice and guidance of an experienced oncologist.
Bone swelling: the area affected by bone cancer can grow big and tender or the bone itself can swell up.