Non-Surgical Management of Upper Cervical Instability via Improved Cervical Lordosis: A Case Series of Adult Patients

E.A. Katz, S.B. Katz, M.D. Freeman*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Injury to the head and neck resulting from whiplash trauma can result in upper cervical instability (UCIS), in which excessive movement at C1 on C2 is observed radiologically. In some cases of UCIS there is also a loss of normal cervical lordosis. We postulate that improvement or restoration of the normal mid to lower cervical lordosis in patients with UCIS can improve the biomechanical function of the upper cervical spine, and thus potentially improve symptoms and radiographic findings associated with UCIS. Nine patients with both radiographically confirmed UCIS and loss of cervical lordosis underwent a chiropractic treatment regimen directed primarily at the restoration of the normal cervical lordotic curve. In all nine cases, significant improvements in radiographic indicators of both cervical lordosis and UCIS were observed, along with symptomatic and functional improvement. Statistical analysis of the radiographic data revealed a significant correlation (R-2 = 0.46, p = 0.04) between improved cervical lordosis and reduction in measurable instability, determined by C1 lateral mass overhang on C2 with lateral flexion. These observations suggest that enhancing cervical lordosis can contribute to improvement in signs and symptoms of upper cervical instability secondary to traumatic injury.
Original languageEnglish
Article number1797
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Clinical Medicine
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2023


  • cervical lordosis
  • motor vehicle crash
  • digital motion X-ray
  • upper cervical instability
  • NECK
  • PAIN


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