If you are coping with neck or back pain, it may be the result of the straightening of your cervical spine. What causes straight neck? How do some people end up with a reverse curve in the neck? How can these conditions impact not only spine pain but also overall health? We will address these questions and direct you to a natural solution.
What Is Straight Neck?
The neck naturally has a gentle curve. It is one of four curves in the spine that evenly distribute stress forward and backward. This reduces the amount of vertical pressure on the spine. When a person experiences a straight neck (also called flat neck or military neck), this natural curve disappears. What can cause this phenomenon, and how does it affect health?
What Causes a Straightening of the Cervical Spine?
There are several ways that a person can lose the natural curve (also called lordosis) of the neck. Here are a couple of the most common reasons it occurs:
Car Accidents and Other Head or Neck Injuries
When the neck becomes misaligned, or the surrounding soft tissue is damaged, the ability to balance the head properly is thrown off. The result is that more changes take place in the vertebrae and surrounding soft tissue to stabilize the head. This can result in a realignment of the vertebrae until they are in a straight line rather than the natural curve. It may even lead to a reverse curve in the neck.
Poor Posture Due to Sitting and Technology Use
Poor posture takes longer to have the same effects as an accident, but it can eventually cause the neck bones to straighten. Sitting at a desk all day for work is one of the most significant issues that developed lands are facing when it comes to posture. The biggest neck issue is that monitors are often positioned too low, which results in a forward head position all day long. It’s basically the recipe for the military neck. The other issue is the obsession people have with checking their phone 50-100 times per day. Craning the neck at a 60-degree angle to look down a phone you just pulled out of your pocket increases the pressure on the neck by 5-6 times, and it can also lead to a straightening of the vertebrae.
Regardless of the underlying cause of a straight neck, the impact can be severe. Let’s look at some of the health problems related to the straightening of the cervical spine.
The Health Impact of Straight Neck
You can probably imagine the many health problems that may occur when the neck loses its natural curvature or, perhaps worse; you develop a reverse curve in the neck. As we’ve already noted, it throws off the balance of the head, so that means shifts in the spine and soft tissue to correct that problem. This can cause neck pain or even back pain if the more considerable changes occur lower on the spine.
Additionally, remember that the purpose of the curve is to remove some of the vertical compression of the spine. With one or more of those curves eliminated, the spine is now under more than the usual strain, from merely carrying around the average size 10 to 12-pound head all day.
But it gets worse.
Research published in the Medical Science Monitor shows that straighten of the cervical spine disrupts the biomechanics of the body. Each of the cervical vertebrae has loops of bone unique to these vertebrae. The loops provide safe passage for the vertebral arteries, which supply blood to the brain. You can probably see where this is going. Patients in the study who were experiencing straight neck were not getting as much blood flow to the head. That can have all sorts of neurological effects.
Have you suffered a head or neck injury? Do you sit a desk all day long or make frequent use of a smartphone? If so, you may be at higher risk than you think.
Get Help for Straight Neck Now
Even if you are not yet experiencing the full effects of straightening of your cervical vertebrae, it is only a matter of time before the results make themselves manifest. To stay ahead of the potential health problems, we encourage you to visit an upper cervical chiropractor. How can this specific form of chiropractic help?
Upper cervical practitioners focus on the C1 and C2 vertebrae, the top two bones in the neck. Keeping these two bones in proper alignment is critical because they balance the head (not to mention providing half or more of your range of motion). Even if your neck vertebrae have not yet straightened, they may do so in the future if an upper cervical misalignment is allowed to persist.
The practitioner will use diagnostic imagining to get a closer look at the misalignment. Precise measurements will be calculated to provide you with a gentle and personalized adjustment. This can help your neck to regain its natural curve, can restore cervical blood flow, and may even assist proper posture in feeling more natural.
If you have experienced a head or neck injury, if you find that you are forced to sit for long periods, or if you are only just starting to understand the need to set limits on technology use, then upper cervical chiropractic care may be for you. To learn more, find a practitioner in your area and schedule a consultation.