by Wendy on 19th December 2019
The spine is made up of a group of bones, collectively known as the vertebral column. It’s strong enough to support the weight of the entire body and houses the spinal canal —which in turn protects the spinal cord and nerve roots.
Our spines are amazing. They allow us to move, walk, and bend, and they can even cope with a certain amount of physical shock. But in order to function at its best, the spine must have the proper series of curves.
From the rear, your spine should be straight. But sometimes, we will see a sideways curvature, or ‘S’ shape. This is called a scoliosis and happens when a section of the spine bends to one side and the body compensates, moving another section in the opposite direction to keep the head centred above the body.
Viewed from the side, a healthy spine should show four curves:
- Cervical Lordosis (forward); formed by 7 cervical vertebrae
- Thoracic Kyphosis (backward); formed by 12 thoracic vertebrae
- Lumbar Lordosis (forward); formed by 5 lumbar vertebrae
- Sacral Kyphosis (backward); formed by 5 sacral vertebrae
These complementing curves create a strong structure not unlike a spring, enabling the spine to act as a shock absorber. The curves also provide extra strength; they allow the spine to support more weight than if it were straight.
When we are born, we have a C-shaped spinal curve until we begin to crawl. As we start to lift our heads, the ideal cervical lordosis starts to form. Then, all being well, as we learn to walk, the spine starts to develop its four curves. The cervical curve is easily damaged, though, as it is susceptible to loss or distortion. We often see this as a result of trauma; the birth process, whiplash, and physical stress are among the culprits.
The loss of the correct cervical curve is sometimes referred to as ‘military neck’, a term used for the straightening of the cervical spine. This condition is so-called because it resembles the stiff neck of a soldier standing to attention. Besides symptomatic headaches and neck pain, it can affect your ability to rotate your head and move freely. We frequently see neurological effects as a result, too.
Chiropractic care can help ease the pain and can improve the structure and function of the spine to enable you to move more freely. If you know someone who tends to turn their entire body to look at you, please encourage them to contact us. We will assess them with a thorough examination and determine whether they’re a suitable candidate for chiropractic care.
Our telephone number is 0161 763 1700, where our friendly team will be happy to help between the hours of 8am and 7pm, Monday to Friday.