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Dr. Corey Burt

The relationship between a car accident and an ‘s-curve’ in your neck?

You’re probably wondering, what is an s-curve?

An s-curve when looking at the side of the neck is when the top of the neck is kyphotic, whereas the bottom of the neck is lordotic.

Keep in mind a normal neck should be lordotic, or c shaped, the entire way through, from c1-c7.

An s-curve is commonly caused by cervical whiplash traumas, which are caused by:

  1. Car accidents
  2. Sports injuries growing up

More specifically, rear-end collisions – 40% of all car accidents end in rear-ended collisions.

When you’re rear-ended, some serious changes happen in the neck.

Before 1997 researchers thought the neck hyperextended during a rear-end collision. 

But this information was false.

We understood this when researchers studied cervical biomechanics on dead body cadavers.

In a nutshell, researchers placed the dead bodies into cars and rear-ended them. 

Researchers then used motion x-ray to study and measure the effects the collision had on the cervical spine.

They found that the bottom of the neck hyper-extended backward and the upper neck hyper-flexed forward. Which resulted in an S-shape.

The argument against this data was that researchers were testing dead bodies – not living humans with intact reflexes.

The challenge with testing living humans was that the utilization of the motion x-ray would not pass through the ethical standards committee to conduct the research.

There was too much ionizing radiation exposure.

So, two years later in 1999 researchers found a way to use updated technology to turn the motion x-ray machine on and off when they wanted – which passed the ethical standard committee.

And the results? 

The exact same data. 


In 2021, we are continuing to study and publish the long-term health effects of the s-curve.

Research supports that those who have an s-curve are more likely to develop chronic spinal conditions. This includes:

Scoliosis, disc bulge/herniation, arthritis/bone spurs, neck and back pain, dizziness, migraine headaches, and hormonal imbalances.

This is why we emphasize getting the car accident whiplash injury corrected as soon as it happens. 

This is serious enough that car insurance companies will pay for your medical expenses after a rear-end collision, regardless of who is at fault. 

Even they know the health detriment that can be caused by whiplash.

Regardless of if you notice pain or symptoms after the car accident or not, get the injury corrected immediately – unless you want to make it harder for the doctor to correct in the future, and want to pay out of pocket.

We encourage everyone reading this, if you ever get into a car accident, go see your upper cervical chiropractor for an evaluation within 3 days.

And if possible go to an upper cervical NUCCA chiropractor, someone that is gentle and specific when working with your neck.

NUCCA is the perfect fit for car accident whiplash injuries because of how gentle and specific it is. 

We don’t recommend any twisting or cracking neck adjustments after an accident.

And the best part is, most of your medical expenses, including chiropractic, are covered by your car insurance. 

Click below to schedule a free Video Consultation with Dr. Corey Burt to see if NUCCA Chiropractic is right for you.

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