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SPINAL DEGENERATION AND LOSS OF CERVICAL CURVE

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Posted on 08-22-2017

The reason most patients seek chiropractic care is relief of back pain. It is well known that spinal misalignment or subluxation plays a major role in the development of chronic back pain. A mechanical dysfunction of the spinal joints often progresses to a vertebral subluxation complex when the mechanical pressure interferes with the function of the nervous system. Muscles become weak and tight and go into spasm in the effort to support the weakened joints. These two components of the subluxation complex are technically known as neuropathophysiology and myopathophysiology. Chronic subluxations often progress to the point where two additional components of the “complex” manifest, histopathology and bone pathology. In the former, the joints and foraminal openings become congested from static blood and lymph supply. Discs are more likely to bulge or herniate.  The final stage of chronic subluxation occurs as the body lays down scar tissue and abnormal bony growths or spurs to stabilize the area. Osteoporosis is the term used to describe the normal aging process of the spine. Ideally, the loss of disc height and spur formation occurs symmetrically  throughout the spine. However, this normal aging process known as osteoporosis accelerates in areas where the vertebra are chronically subluxated.

 An example of this degenerative process can be seen objectively in lateral X-Rays of the neck when the normal forward curve is disrupted. This normal forward arch begins to develop in infancy as we begin to crawl and develop the muscles to hold the head up. Throughout our lives, the normal forward, or lordotic curve, helps to stabilize and bear the weight of the head. Due to whiplash injuries and/or chronic postural stress, this curve can straighten or become reversed. The most common spinal level affected is the C5/C6 level of the cervical spine. It is not unusual to see degeneration at this level that appears far advanced compared to adjacent regions.

A recent study revealed that the loss of the normal cervical curve resulted in negative effects on blood flow from the vertebral artery to the brain.  Doppler studies indicated diminished blood flow in patients who exhibited loss of the cervical curve and the associated misalignments of the spinal joints.

Just like other chronic health conditions such as heart disease and ulcers, the subluxation is a manifestation of the body’s stress response and self-healing mechanism. If you suffer from back pain, you owe to yourself to see a professional who recognizes the importance of the loss of the cervical curve and the damaging effects of subluxation in other areas. It is just as important that the physician can outline a plan to realign the joints with precision adjustments and prescribe appropriate exercises to strengthen the supportive muscles so the problem can be fixed. If you have any questions, feel free to call Dr. Smith at 251-621-2224.

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