On December 7, 2015, the Annals of Vertebral Subluxation Research published a study documenting the case of a patient with an arthritic reversed neck curve being helped with chiropractic.
The authors of the study begin by noting the importance of proper curvatures in the spine. As viewed from the side, the spine should have a forward curve, known as lordosis in the neck; a rearward curve, known as kyphosis, in the middle back; and another lordosis curve in the lower back. These normal curvatures are essential to properly distribute forces through the body.
Without a proper curvature in the neck, forces of daily activity can create multiple structural and functional problems in the neck including subluxations. According to research, a number of conditions and symptoms have been linked to the loss of neck curvature. These include mechanical neck pain, cervical-brachial neuralgia, vascular headaches, migraine headaches, cervicogenic headache, numbness, vertigo, nausea, airway obstruction, suboccipital pain, occipital neuralgia, numbness or tingling, muscle spasms, and decreased neck range of motion.
In this case, a 31-year-old man went to the chiropractor seeking relief. His complaints included arthritis in his neck, stabbing pain in ribs, and numbness/tingling in both hands. He reported that his neck problems had started 8 years earlier and caused a sharp stabbing pain. He reported that rotating and popping his neck gave him some temporary relief. He was also suffering from sleep issues and fatigue as well as shortness of breath, heartburn, and depression.
A chiropractic examination was performed that included palpation, range of motion, heart rate variability testing, surface electromyography, thermal scans and spinal x-rays. The tests were performed to detect the presence of subluxation as well as to monitor the body’s response to care.
Specific chiropractic care was started at the rate of three visits per week for the first month. After 7 weeks of care, the patient reported improvement in his symptoms with an overall decrease in his symptoms. He felt his posture had improved and he was holding his head higher, slouching less, and he found it easier to keep straight up.
Follow up testing showed improvement in all the objective tests that were performed. Neck x-rays showed a return to normal of the man’s neck curvature, demonstrating that his spinal and neural integrity had improved.
In their discussion, the authors of this study note the importance of a proper neck curvature by stating, “Improvement in cervical lordosis or restoration of the cervical curve has been associated with various outcomes in the literature. It has been suggested that restoration of normal spinal curves leads to improved health outcomes, pain reduction, increased function, and improved quality of life.”