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The Importance of Spinal Curves

Woman running

Did you know? Your spinal curves help you move freely.

Your spine is made up of a series of interconnected bones, each on top of the other. Besides serving as an armature to support the weight of your body, your spine provides:

  • Protection of the spinal cord and nerve roots
  • The capacity to withstand a certain amount of physical shock
  • The ability to walk, run, turn and bend

Your spine is most capable to perform these tasks if it has the proper curves.

From the rear, your spine should be straight. (Which is why it’s called a spinal column.) Any sideways curvature is called a scoliosis. That’s when an area of the spine bends to one side and the body compensates, moving another area in the opposite direction. This keeps the head centered above the body in relation to gravity.

However, from the side, a healthy spine should exhibit four curves, consisting of two types:

  • Cervical Lordosis (forward)
  • Thoracic Kyphosis (backward)
  • Lumbar Lordosis (forward)
  • Sacral Kyphosis (backward)

These offsetting curves create a spring-like structure, enabling the spine to act as a natural shock absorber. Plus, these curves permit the spine to support more weight than it could if it were straight.

Children are born with a “C” shaped spinal curve until the age they begin to crawl. As children pick their heads up, the ideal cervical lordosis takes form. If all goes according to plan, as kids learn to walk upright, the spine assumes its four curves.

The cervical curve is especially prone to loss or distortion. This often results from some type of trauma, whether from the birth process, whiplash injury or other physical stress.

The loss of proper cervical curve is often referred to as a “military neck.” While serious, it is not as detrimental as a reverse cervical curve. Besides symptoms of headache and neck pain, a loss of cervical curve can affect your ability to rotate your head. Plus, there can be neurological effects throughout the body.

Chiropractic care may improve the structure and function of the spine.

If you know someone who is far too dependent upon their rear view mirrors (or their car’s back up camera), or who tends to turn their entire body to look at you, encourage them to give us a call. A thorough examination can determine if they’ve lost their cervical curve and whether they’re a good candidate for chiropractic care.

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