Seven of the 33 vertebrae that make up the spine are located in the neck region. The spine in a healthy person is not straight but curved. The vertebrae in the lumbar and neck region are lined up to form slight cavities, while the vertebrae in the back and hip regions are lined to form bumps. These cavities are called lordosis and the protrusions are called kyphosis in medical language.
For example, if a person’s waist is more hollow than it should be, it is called lordosis, and if the back is more protruding, it is called kyphosis. Cervical lordosis is a term that refers to the normal curvature of the neck. In cervical lordosis straightening, this slightly “C” shaped fold flattens, and in more advanced cases, it may even protrude in the opposite direction (cervical kyphosis).
WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS OF NECK FLATNESS?
-Restriction in neck movements,
– Headache, weakness in neck muscles,
-Poor bladder control
-Heaviness and pain, such as the feeling of a load on the shoulders,
– If there is pressure on the nerve roots, pain in the arms and numbness in the hand are the most common symptoms.
WHAT ARE THE CAUSES OF NECK FLATNESS?
The most common cause of neck straightening is bad posture. As a result, the physiological curvature of the spine disappears and neck straightening occurs. The factors that cause posture disorder are:
The desire to hide the body, especially in girls during puberty
-Increased use of computers and phones for a long time in today’s children
-Heavy backpack use
-Lack of ergonomics in working life
– Increasing desk work
Increasing phone use is the most common cause of bad posture.
In addition, during the development of the spine, neck flattening may occur due to spinal disorders such as scoliosis or kyphosis. During the anatomical development of the vertebrae that make up the spine, deformities may occur and neck flattening may occur as a result.
In addition, due to aging fluid loss due to bone collapse due to degeneration or osteoporosis your hunchback increase can cause flattening in the neck. Neck flattening can also occur after physical trauma or damage to the muscle, connective tissue, ligament and fascia surrounding the neck bones after excessive strain.
In addition to all these, some cancers that involve the bone or spread from some organs to the bone, some cancers due to metastases, muscular dystrophy involving the muscles, paget and osteomalacia, which are related to bone formation and destruction, even though it is rare, neck flattening is seen after some spine surgeries.
HOW IS NECK FLATNESS DIAGNOSED?
In diagnosing neck flattening, your doctor will first take your medical history and conduct a physical exam. In addition, if deemed necessary, various imaging studies may be requested to confirm the diagnosis. These tests are listed below:
X-ray: The bone structure and curvature of the neck are examined using special X-rays. This imaging technique only works on hard tissues such as bone. In order to examine the structure of the muscles or tendons, examinations that can see the soft tissue may be requested.
Magnetic Resonance imaging: In this examination, which is briefly called MRI, many body tissues, including soft tissues, can be examined by using radio waves.
Computed tomography: With X-rays given from different angles, a 3-dimensional shape of the tissues and organs in the body is created.
HOW IS NECK STRAIGHTENING TREATED?
If your symptoms are caused by a wrong posture, the use of medications and chemicals will only work to relieve your symptoms. Neck straightening is often a mechanical problem, but restoring the body’s natural posture reduces the strain on nerves, muscles, and discs.
Physical therapy, neck brace and mild pain relievers are generally preferred for treatment as long as the neck curve does not press on the spinal cord. If the straightening of the cervical lordosis now progresses to the kyphosis and begins to put pressure on the spinal cord, then surgical intervention may be required, but this is very rare and surgery is preferred as a last option. The most common surgery for cervical kyphosis is spinal fusion.
Physical therapy given as a standalone treatment or after surgery may include specific neck exercises such as cervical lateral flexion, cervical flexion and extension, or cervical rotation to strengthen the muscles. The physiotherapist may also perform neck traction, in which the neck is slightly elongated.
In home treatments, your doctor or physical therapist may recommend that you do the following:
Rest your neck: Rest can be helpful in relieving pain and promoting recovery, especially if your condition is caused by repetitive motion or an occupational disease. You should avoid activities that strain your neck. In addition, a collar can be given to limit movement, however, it is not recommended to use it without consulting a doctor, as excessive use of collars will cause harm.
Positioning your neck correctly: A special neck pillow can help you position your neck properly while you sleep. You can use a rolled towel or special neck rolls prepared for this purpose. Your physical therapist may also suggest that you fall asleep in certain positions to relieve arm pain radiating from your neck.
Applying ice: Cold compresses or ice packs can help relieve pain. Your doctor or physical therapist will likely recommend using the ice for 10 or 15 minutes. You can massage the area by rubbing it while applying cold.
Applying heat: A hot water bottle, hot bath or shower can be helpful in relaxing tense muscles. Heat works best when applied for 15 to 20 minutes at a time.
Checking your ergonomics: Make sure your work environment is set up to allow you to position your neck correctly. This may involve changing the height of your desk, the location of your computer screen, or the type of chair you use.