The Four Types of Cervical Curves

The Four Types of Cervical Curves

The Importance of Your Neck’s Curvature For Optimal Health

If you’re a patient of chiropractic, you’re likely aware that your neck’s curvature is important in achieving a neutral center of gravity and optimal spinal health.  When your neck’s curvature is out of alignment, there are consequences like neck pain, back pain, headaches, and pinched nerves. 

The cervical spine consists of the first seven vertebrae in your spine, starting from the base of your skull at the C1 (atlas) vertebrae and ending at C7 just above your thoracic spine. The neck is a very common region for pain to occur because curvature becomes compromised. 

Longtime chiropractor, Dr. Sylvia Kim, D.C., has helped numerous patients manage, reduce, and alleviate mild to severe symptoms associated with their neck’s curvature. Here’s some educational insight into the biomechanics of your neck and key reasons why your cervical curve is important for your overall health. 

A Chiropractor’s Look at the Four Types of Cervical Curves 

There are four different types of curvatures in the cervical spine, which can all be seen in an X-ray.  Dr. Sylvia explains each type:

Lordotic. This is a normal, healthy curvature in the neck—which is about 42 degrees when standing upright. Think of it as a c-shaped curve that faces the opposite way your nose points. (See the image below.)

Hypolordotic/Alordotic. This means that there is a decreased curve or no curve in the neck. In an X-ray, the neck may look straight.

Reverse Curve/Kyphotic. This is a reverse curve—and the kind of curve you want to stay far, far away from. This means that your neck has completely lost its healthy curve and is now curving the opposite direction, connecting your thoracic and cervical curves.

“S” Curve. The hardest curve to correct, the “S” curve, is when the spine has both a lordotic and kyphotic curve.

The Four Types of Cervical Curves

Why Chiropractors Prioritize Your Neck’s Curve

“The curvatures in the spine act as shock absorbers for various body parts,” Dr. Sylvia says. “If the correct curvatures are not present, the discs and joints will experience greater pressure.” To get a better idea of how this may feel (and don’t try this at home!), she says to imagine jumping off a ledge and landing on your feet, without bending your knees. Ouch!

This isn’t the only consequence of cervical curve issues.

“An unhealthy curve also causes premature degeneration of the discs in the spine, as well as the joint spaces,” said Dr. Sylvia. “This degeneration could lead to neurological symptoms down the road, as well as premature arthritis and joint fusion.”

Find a Chiropractor Near You to Restore Your Neck’s Curvature

Chiropractors are trained to help you restore a healthy curve in your neck so you can regain proper mobility and function. Through safe, controlled, and specific forces applied to the joints or muscles, chiropractors can help your entire body become balanced and heal more quickly. 

With clinics in the following metro areas: Chicago, Indianapolis, Milwaukee, Madison, Vancouver, and St. Louis, you’ll be able to find a chiropractor near you. Make an appointment to start your wellness plan today. Your neck’s curve will thank you.