Loss of cervical lordosis, cervical degeneration, and a lot of neck pain! This has been the theme of the month. I get email questions and comments related to this constantly.
Lately a lot of questions we get seem to do with a person who has lost their neck curvature (that’s the cervical lordosis) and is in pain. They’ve often seen their x-rays which also show degeneration. Some have even seen a surgeon for a consult. In reality, any good surgeon is going to be honest and tell you to try everything before surgery unless you are in unbearable pain or have another life threatening type of symptom.
A person diagnosed with cervical disc degeneration may have neck pain or neck stiffness. Often times, this pain is aggravated when they are moving around and dissipates when they are resting. They also may have radiation into their arms and hands. It may even be associated with numbness and tingling symptoms. On a neck x-ray, cervical degeneration shows up as outgrowths of bone known as bone spurs or osteophytes. Also, the disc between the bones may also look smaller and dried up. The height of the disc itself may be less. In cases of disc degeneration looking at a cervical MRI can be very helpful to determine the extent of degeneration and if pressure is being put on certain neurological structures.
The last 2 people we talked with mentioned that their neurosurgeon suggested they use a good neck pillow along with neck exercises to improve the lordosis in their neck. This is a great recommendation in my opinion as I have regularly seen people improve their neck curvature and get rid of their neck pain with neck exercises and a supportive neck pillow.