We've discussed the curve in the neck, the four types of curves typically seen and why a healthy curve is important. In today's post, Dr. Sylvia Kim, D.C., longtime chiropractor, takes a look at some of the issues a less than ideal or problematic curve can cause and Dr. Sylvia shares some of her top recommendations for keeping up your spinal health.
Before we dive in, here’s a quick review of yesterday’s blog:
- Lordotic is the healthy, c-shaped curve you want to see
- Hypolordotic/alordotic describes a decreased curve or no curve
- Reverse curve/kyphotic means your cervical spine is curving in the opposite direction of lordotic
- The “S” curve is when the spine has both a lordotic and reverse/kyphotic curve
- Without proper curvatures in your spine, you lack the shock absorption your spine was designed for and you risk premature degeneration, among other health issues
What problems can an unhealthy curve cause?
Dr. Sylvia sees a lot of patients who experience frequent headaches or migraines—and sometimes it’s directly related to the curve in their neck. “Typical headache or migraine patients will have a straight neck (hypolordotic/alordotic) or a reverse curvature (kyphotic),” Dr. Sylvia says. “Many patients have been dealing with these symptoms for years with little to no relief.”
How can chiropractic help?
We see a lot of patients who suffer from headaches or migraines at our offices—and Dr. Sylvia has seen firsthand how chiropractic has provided them with relief. “Certain chiropractic adjustments and supportive exercises and therapies are designed to bring back the ideal curve (lordotic),” Dr. Sylvia explains. “For a vast majority of patients without a lordotic curve, these treatments have led to the majority of headaches dissipating, if not disappearing altogether.”
Dr. Sylvia’s Top Five Recommendations
Don’t fret! If you’ve been experiencing some symptoms or would like to be proactive about your spinal health, Dr. Sylvia has some important tips for you to use inside and outside of your chiropractic office:
- Visit your chiropractor for an exam and X-rays of your cervical spine; closely follow their recommendations for your care plan—and stick to it! You may start to feel better right away—which is great—but spinal correction takes time and you’ll need regular maintenance. Think of it like needing to wear a retainer after braces.
- Be mindful of your posture at all times (think: sitting, driving, texting, standing, etc.). If you have poor posture, your curvature can easily change from a healthy curve to a problematic one. Sit and stand with your shoulders back and watch that you’re not pushing your head forward, your ears should line up vertically with your shoulders.
- While it might be comfortable, sleeping on your stomach isn’t good for your neck or back; over time this position can cause your spinal curvatures to change. Ask your chiropractor about the best sleep position and pillow type for you.
- Watch how you work! If you’re often seated at a desk, pay attention to how your workspace is set up—and how you use it. Your monitor should sit directly in front of you and be elevated about 3 inches higher than eye level (you should never look down at your screen), your feet should be able to rest flat on the ground (get a small footstool if necessary) and again, be sure you’re sitting with your shoulders back.
- Avoid having your wallet in your back pocket—this can create an imbalance—place it in your front pocket or remove it when you sit. And if you carry a heavy purse, purchase one with a strap that goes across your chest and switch sides from time-to-time.