While many people know that chiropractic and spinal curves go hand in hand, most individuals think of scoliosis, or a sideways curvature, and how chiropractors can help correct it. However, there is another curvature of the spine that is good—in fact, vital—to your health, and chiropractors can help improve that as well!
When looking at the spine from the side, or in profile view, you should see four distinct curves. Normal lordosis, or forward curves, should be present in the cervical spine (neck) and lumbar spine (low back). Normal kyphosis, or backward curves, should be present in the thoracic spine (mid-back and chest region) and sacral spine (hip area). When these slight curves are either too severe or too shallow, an individual’s normal body functions and health suffer.
Posture and Spine Health
You probably heard it countless times as a kid—“Sit up straight!” While our parents and grandparents were right about the fact that we should sit up straight, this is a much more loaded statement than they probably realized. Spinal curves directly affect people’s posture, and spinal curves also directly affect people’s health.
Common posture problems include forward head posture, lumbar lordosis (swayback), and thoracic kyphosis (hunchback). These poor postures can be linked to an improper curvature of the spine. The “normal” or ideal posture is one where your head, shoulders, hips, knees, and ankles all line up, one on top of the other. This ideal posture comes from proper spinal curvature and it results in not only less spinal discomfort, but also better balance, more muscle stabilization, greater muscular strength, and better range of motion.
While posture alone cannot determine subluxations or poor spinal curvature, it is important to note that when an individual has a normal or ideal posture, his or her body will function better than if it did not have ideal posture.
Health Problems Associated with Improper Spinal Curves
Moving past posture’s relationship to spine health, we take a look at health problems that are associated with poor spinal curvature. While subluxations play a large role in nerve interference and resulting health problems, a lack of proper spinal curves can also directly affect an individual’s overall health.
A review of the literature from over a period of 60 years dove into the relationship between spinal curves and various health conditions. Multiple studies had the same conclusions:
- Kyphosis of the mid-back (humpback) was strongly associated with lung disorders and breathing problems.
- Kyphosis, overall, was linked to poor physical function and increased likelihood of pelvic organ prolapse.
- Many midback compression fractures were associated with kyphosis.
- A reduced lumbar lordosis was linked to increased back pain.
One study published in 2000 concluded that “an abnormal change in spinal curvature, specifically, a loss of lumbar lordosis, appears to be a significant risk factor in the development of pelvic organ prolapse” (Mattox et al). The lack of the spinal curve seems to protect the pelvic cavity, so when it isn’t there, the organs in that area are exposed to upper abdominal forces that result in prolapse, or a slipping forward or down of an organ.
If you know you have poor posture, have been told you have problematic spinal curvature, or simply want to learn more about the importance of spinal curves and how you can improve yours, contact the best chiropractor Charlotte has to offer, Dr. Grant at Greater Life Chiropractic.
Eidelson, S. “Normal Curves of Your Spine.” Spine Universe. 26 Feb 2014. www.spineuniverse.com/anatomy/normal-curves-your-spine
Mattox, T.F., Lucente, V., McIntyre, P., Miklos, J.R., Tomezsko, J. “Abnormal Spinal Curvature and Its Relationship to Pelvic Organ Prolapse.” American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, 2000 Dec; 183(6): 1381-4. www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11120500
Visscher, C.M., de Boer, W. Naeije, M. “The Relationship Between Posture and Curvature of the Cervical Spine.” Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics, 1998 Jul-Aug; 21(6): 388-391. www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9726065