Why Spinal Curvature Is Important
When you think about good posture, the first thing that comes to mind is probably the idea of standing up straight – so you would be forgiven for thinking that the spine is intended to be straight. Some kinds of curvature, like scoliosis, are indicators of serious problems. But, in fact, there is a level of curvature to your spine that is critical for spinal health and should be maintained properly. A Snellville chiropractor will always check for this curvature and help you understand any problems that should be corrected with adjustments to prevent further issues.
“Good” Curves in the Spine
When you look at a person from the side in an x-ray, you should see four distinct curves in the spine. The cervical spine (neck) and lumbar spine (lower back) both have forward curves called normal lordosis, while the thoracic spine (mid-back and chest) and sacral spine (hip area) have backward curves called normal kyphosis. This should give the back a very mild curve, but if they are too pronounced, it may be a sign of problems.
Normal or ideal posture occurs when your head, shoulders, hips, knees, and ankles all line up – one on top of another. This is only possible with proper spinal curvature, which facilitates balance, muscle stabilization, muscular strength, and range of motion.
“Bad” Curves in the Spine
When these curves are not curved the proper amount – either too much or too little – it can cause a range of problems. The most common forms of bad curvature are forward head posture, a “hunchback” caused by thoracic kyphosis, and a “swayback” caused by lumbar lordosis. These are commonly caused by poor posture, especially in people who spend much of the day on the phone or the computer. This has even been termed “tech neck” because of these modern causes.
Improper spinal curvature can cause pain and discomfort throughout the entire back and spine, but it can also have more long-term health implications. The nerve interference associated with a misaligned spine has been shown to be linked to a range of issues. Some examples include:
· Humpback (kyphosis of the mid-back) has been associated with lung disorders and breathing problems.
· Overall kyphosis is linked to poor physical function and an increased likelihood of pelvis organ prolapse.
· Mid-back compression fractures are connected to kyphosis.
· A reduced lumbar lordosis is linked to increased back pain.
Most of these issues do not appear suddenly and are instead related to misalignments of the spine that have compounded over time. The sooner they are addressed, the sooner a person can begin finding relief from curvature-related problems and working toward resolution and improved health.
How a Chiropractor Can Help
A chiropractor like Dr. Dionne Anderson will focus on the health of your spine, including proper curvature. By thoroughly evaluating your spine’s alignment, the team at Hand and Heart Chiropractic will be able to assess any misalignments and work to repair them. We commonly see people with “tech neck,” poor posture, and a range of other issues related to spinal curvature.
Schedule your first appointment today to work with Dr. Dionne Anderson on a care plan that is personalized to you and your spine.
Eidelson, S. “Normal Curves of Your Spine.” Spine Universe. 26 Feb 2014. www.spineuniverse.com/anatomy/normal-curves-your-spine
Mattox, T.F., Lucente, V., McIntyre, P., Miklos, J.R., Tomezsko, J. “Abnormal Spinal Curvature and Its Relationship to Pelvic Organ Prolapse.” American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, 2000 Dec; 183(6): 1381-4. www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11120500
Visscher, C.M., de Boer, W. Naeije, M. “The Relationship Between Posture and Curvature of the Cervical Spine.” Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics, 1998 Jul-Aug; 21(6): 388-391. www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9726065