To investigate the presence of a “functionally normal” cervical lordosis and identify if this and the amount of forward head posture are related to neck complaints.
Using the posterior tangent method, an angle of cervical lordosis was measured from C2 through C7 vertebrae on 277 lateral cervical x-rays. Anterior weight bearing was measured as the horizontal distance of the posterior superior body of the C2 vertebra compared to a vertical line drawn superiorly from the posterior inferior body of the C7 vertebra. The measurements were sorted into 2 groups, cervical complaint and noncervical complaint groups. The data were then partitioned into age by decades, sex, and angle categories.
Patients with lordosis of 20° or less were more likely to have cervicogenic symptoms (P < .001). The association between cervical pain and lordosis of 0° or less was significant (P < .0001). The odds that a patient with cervical pain had a lordosis of 0° or less was 18 times greater than for a patient with a noncervical complaint. Patients with cervical pain had less lordosis and this was consistent over all age ranges. Males had larger median cervical lordosis than females (20° vs 14°) (2-sided Mann-Whitney U test, P = .016). When partitioned by age grouping, this trend is significant only in the 40- to 49-year-old range (2-sided Mann-Whitney U test, P < .01).
We found a statistically significant association between cervical pain and lordosis <20° and a “clinically normal” range for cervical lordosis of 31° to 40°. Maintenance of a lordosis in the range of 31° to 40° could be a clinical goal for chiropractic treatment.
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Received in revised form: January 8, 2004
Received: August 19, 2003
Sources of financial support: CBP, Nonprofit, Inc.
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