Before we discuss the ways to bring back the curve of the cervical spine, also known as the “arc of life”, let’s first understand its design and function.
The cervical spine or the neck region consists of seven bones (named C1-C7 vertebrae), which are separated from one another by intervertebral discs and are arranged in a curved orientation. This unique structure is related to its important biomechanical functions: shock-absorbing qualities, dissipating gravitational forces, similar to a spring.
This allows the spine to support more weight and withstand more stress than if it were straight. With the head weighing between 10-14 pounds, it is essential that it remains aligned with your body’s center of gravity.
Innate intelligence flowing through the cervical spine
Every day, billions of cells all work together to perform complex tasks far beyond the capabilities of even the most sophisticated supercomputer. It is with this thought in mind when I say that we have an intelligent design embedded within us that we call innate intelligence.
Innate intelligence is controlled and coordinated through the central nervous system. This is why proper neck structure and function are so important.
The neck is the primary pathway of the central nervous system. In addition, it also serves as a conduit for blood supply to your body’s supercomputer, the brain. That being said, it should not be surprising to learn that the structural integrity and function of the neck are absolutely critical to overall health and healing.
“Loss of cervical curve stretches the spinal cord 5 to 7 cm and produces pathological tension, putting the body in a state of disease.”~Breig, Alf Adverse Mechanical Tension in the Central Nervous System: An Analysis of Cause and Effect. 78.
Forward Head Posture
As the cervical curve begins to straighten, due to poor posture, excessive sitting in front of a computer, using smartphones, etc., the head begins to migrate ahead of the center of gravity resulting in a stress load on the cervical spine, as well as the soft tissues of the discs, that accelerates the aging process through permanent degenerative changes. This is also known as the Forward Head Posture.
Forward head posture affects the curvature of the cervical spine which impacts the biomechanics of the entire spine.
The problem of Forward Head Posture extends far beyond pain and degeneration. Loss of the cervical curve also diminishes important sensory input into the brain, known as proprioception. Loss of proprioception results in large systematic errors in multi-joint movements attributed, at least in part, to impaired motor programming. In other words, this results in pathological movement patterns that further accelerate the dysfunction.
Abnormal nerve transmission, due to misalignment of the bones of the neck is referred to as subluxation. These subluxations can cause a myriad of symptoms depending on the nerve being affected.
Some of the more common symptoms include headaches, neck pain, carpal tunnel, thyroid dysfunction, shoulder, and upper back issues, as well as high blood pressure.
The reason for such a diverse list of symptoms is due to the fact that the loss of the normal cervical curve stretches the spinal cord anywhere from 5 to 7 cm and results in abnormal tensions on the hind-brain, cranial nerves, cervical cord, and cervical nerve roots.
As you can imagine, this can have devastating consequences on your function as well as your ability to heal.
How to restore the proper cervical curve
In order to combat the loss of a proper cervical curve, a mechanical correction is needed.
While drugs can provide temporary relief from symptoms, they can do little to correct the cause. Only by correcting and restoring the optimal structure of the spine can we hope to resume optimal health and function.
While doctors of Chiropractic detect and correct vertebral subluxations by physically adjusting the spine to restore normal spinal function which allows the nervous system to resume the inherent healing potential of the body, to get the best out of your care, augmenting with cervical traction has shown to drastically improve healing outcomes and reduce time to recovery.
How a cervical traction device works
Ligaments, discs, and joints have no blood supply (they are avascular). The only way they absorb nutrients and eliminate waste is through motion. The repetitive loading and unloading of the cervical spine through traction acts like a pump moving nutrients in and waste materials out of the discs and joints. The mild stretching of the neck muscles also drives the remodeling of scar tissue towards a stronger and less pain-sensitive neck.
The Cervical Neck Traction Device gently stretches your neck restores neck mobility and relieves pain. Applying that repetitive loading and unloading cycle to the neck helps rehydrate and expand spinal discs causing a relief of spinal pressure/pinched nerve pain. This rhythmic pumping of the discs is necessary for ligament and disc rehabilitation and aids in restoring the natural curve of the neck.
If you are under regular chiropractic care or are suffering symptoms due to forward head posture, consider adding cervical traction to your strategy towards restoring form and function and getting back to living your best life. Getting regular chiropractic adjustments, and doing neck traction exercises are strongly advised and supervised at our clinic under Dr Scott Jahn’s proven restorative health program.
If you live in the vicinity of Cebu Business park in Cebu City, the entire team at Form and Function Corrective Chiropractic is dedicated to addressing your spine health-related needs as soon as possible. Come visit our clinic at Unit 907 AppleOne – Equicom Tower, Mindanao Avenue cor. Biliran St., Cebu Business Park, Cebu City