Human neck is important part of the body. It is actually connection between the head and rest of the body. The neck consists of 7 cervical spine vertebras. The vertebra are placed one upon the other. Normally the cervical vertebra maintains slight curvature in the form of “C”. The curve of C faces in front side of neck. The normal curvature helps the neck to withstand the weight of head and it also helps easy flexibility or movement of neck. Cervical lordosis is normal curvature of spine. However, At times due to several reasons such as trauma, wear and tear of disk, etc, there is loss of cervical lordosis.It means the curve becomes abnormal. The cervical spine can become straight or the curvature may deviate towards wrong direction. Loss of cervical lordosis can lead to pain in neck, headache, tingling in hands, vertigo etc. Treatment depends on severity of the loss of cervical curvature. Usually physiotherapy exercise, cervical brace, is effective in alleviating the symptoms. Person may also need vitamins to strengthen the vertebra bone besides nerve tonics etc.
Causes of Cervical Lordosis:
Loss of cervical lordosis usually occurs during adulthood, but sometime it can also be present in children. Men and women both can be affected equally.Following are the causes of Loss of normal C curvature of the cervical spine.
- Poor posture over long period of time can lead to loss of normal curvature of cervical spine. For example people working for long period of time keeping their head low as in case of working in front of a computer, working on desk for long time, lifting heavy weight, sleeping with 2 or 3 pillows under the head etc. All the mentioned reason can strain the neck muscles. The strained muscles can pull the cervical spine. If the muscles remain strained for long time, it can cause misalignment of the cervical spine.
- Injury: A traumatic injury on the neck can cause loss of cervical lordosis. It particularly occurs in car accidents. The injury is also referred as whiplash.
- Osteoporosis of cervical vertebra can cause loss of cervical lordosis. Osteoporosis mainly affects adults. In this condition the bones become porous and weak because of loss of bone density. The weak vertebra find difficult to bear the mass of head, hence they deviate from their normal shape leading to abnormality in cervical spine.
- Deformities of the spine that may be present since birth such as kyphosis, scoliosis, can affect the curvature of spine including the cervical spine. Cervical spondylosis, dick prolapsed etc can also compromise the basic curvature of cervical spine.
Symptoms of Cervical Lordosis:
Loss of cervical lordosis can lead to several symptoms. The symptom severity may depend on the extent of abnormal curvature. Since several nerves from the brain pass through the neck and cervical spine, the irregular curvature can produce several neurological as well as musculoskeletal symptoms. Patient may experience following symptoms due to loss of cervical lordosis.
- Neck pain: Person suffering from this condition experience neck pain. The pain is sharp and stabbing in nature. Pain leads restricted ranage of neck movement.
- Difficulty in turning the neck due to pain.
- Tenderness over neck area due to muscle spasm.
- Headache, mainly in the occipital area of head.
- Numbness and tingling in hand, arm and fingers due to entrapment of the nerves that occurs from abnormality of cervical spine.
- Change in posture due to spasm and pain in neck.
- Weakness in hand and arm if the condition worsens.
Diagnosis and Treatment Options:
Loss of cervical lordosis is diagnosed with clinical examination, medical history and certain imaging tests. Besides the symptoms, X-ray of cervical spine and MRI will help to know the extent of abnormality in the curvature of the spine.
In majority of cases, cervical lordosis is treated conservatively. Symptomatic treatment consists of medicines to relieve pain, muscle relaxants if there is severe muscle spasm. Vitamin D and calcium supplements may be necessary in case of osteoporosis of the spine. If there is severe pain that radiates to the arm and hands, patient may need cervical collar or cervical brace. Physiotherapy exercise is extremely important part of treatment. Regular neck exercise as recommended by the physiotherapist will help to strengthen the neck muscles and gradually patient is able to move his neck without pain. It improves range of motion and neck flexibility. During the treatment, person must avoid lifting heavy objects. In extreme cases surgery may be necessary.