Our spine is made up of 32-33 bones called vertebrae and is the most important support element of our movement system. Thanks to its interesting structure, it supports our body while sitting and standing, allowing even the hardest and sudden movements to be made. The vertebrae are tightly connected to each other through ligaments and there are cartilages between them, called discs. Because of these structures, there is no slipping between the vertebrae under normal conditions and we can easily make all movements.
- What is the spine structure?
- When viewed from the side, there are three curvatures in the spine. The ones in the neck and waist area are inward, whereas the ones in the back area are outward. Owing to these curvatures, our spine is resistant to impacts and weightlifting. The discs between the vertebrae increase flexibility during movement. Thus, we can do a lot of hard work without realizing it during our daily life. However, in some cases, problems in this system in the spine and related painful problems may occur.
- How does waist and neck straightening occur?
- As the muscles in the neck and waist region stay in the same position for a long time, the internal tension of the muscles increases and the curvature of the spine in that area gradually begins to decrease. Spasms that develop in the muscles due to challenging positions such as sitting or working in the same position for a long time, constantly heavy lifting, doing work by leaning forward or lifting heavy cause an increase in the pressure inside the discs. Thus, flattening occurs in the waist and neck area. The flattening of the spine leads to the deterioration of the structure of the discs in that area in the long term, and after a while, more serious painful disorders such as herniated disc or neck hernia may occur.
- What are the symptoms?
- The most important symptom of flattening in the waist and neck area is regional pain. There may also be chronic headaches in neck straightening and patients feel the need to use pain medication constantly. Waist and neck pains increase especially during sitting and standing up and leaning forward movements, gaining continuity over time. In cases that are not treated in the early period, waist and neck hernias occur, and the pain in the arms and legs causes the situation to worsen. It is very important to be treated in the early period in order to prevent hernia formation in the waist and neck region and to prevent degeneration on these areas such as calcification.
- In case of back and neck pain that does not go away in a few days, it is necessary to apply to a specialist physician and have the necessary examinations.
- How is it diagnosed?
- Flattening in the waist and neck area can be easily detected with conventional x-ray graphs.
- How is it treated?
- After the degree of flattening is determined, a physical therapy program of 15-20 sessions together with muscle relaxants provides a significant reduction in complaints. The most important thing after the treatment is to continue the neck and waist exercises. In addition, it is necessary to take measures such as preventing posture and sitting disorders, improving working conditions, not leaning forward too much, and adjusting the height of the worktable. When all these are fulfilled, it may be possible to treat waist and neck straightening and prevent further ailments.
Tufan ÖZDEM, MD
Physical Therapy Rehabilitation