How Old Is Your Back?

For Many People, Their Back Is Older Than They Are

ArthritisIt is not uncommon for us to see a patient for some a recent onset of type of back pain. After exam and x-rays, we find that their disc or spinal joints are significantly degenerated. One particular patient was a semi-professional bodybuilder in their early 30’s, suffering from mid-back pain. His x-rays revealed a spine that looked like it was in an 80 year old – multiple levels of disc and joint degeneration! Why: Because of long standing joint misalignments.

When trauma, such as car accidents or sports injuries, or poor posture causes spinal joints to lose their normal mobility, it sets up the process of spinal decay. Our bodies adapt to this misalignment by depositing calcium in and around the affected joints. It is as if the body is attempting to “repair” the problem by fusing the joint. This process is slow and develops in most instances without pain, until the final stages.

Initially, this spinal degeneration is noticed as a loss or normal spine curves or decreased motion on bending or turning. One key symptom that it may be developing is stiffness that goes away after moving for a while, but returns.  As the condition progresses, it can develop secondary problems in other areas of the body.

If the spinal degeneration causes a narrowing of the nerve opening, it can result in nerve irritation or pinching. Subsequently, the pain may not be felt in the spine, but down the course of the nerve. This is typical with many cases of arm or leg pain and numbness. In other cases, the disc becomes degenerated and is prone to bulging – potentially putting pressure on the spinal nerve.

What Can Be Done About Spinal Degeneration

Chiropractic care is the best form of treatment to aid in the prevention of spinal degeneration. Maintaining proper alignment of your joints through adjustments/manipulations and specific postural exercises go a long way to ensure proper joint alignment and mobility. A little side note: this is why many times your chiropractor will suggest “maintenance care” after treating you for a specific condition. The idea is to help keep your spine aligned.

If spinal degeneration is preset, the first and foremost goal is to restore as much as possible the alignment and mobility of the joints to help slow the process. Again, chiropractic care does wonders for this.

In some rare instances, surgery might be necessary IF there is so much degeneration that it is severely pressing on the nerves. In most cases this is noted by loss of muscle strength, lack of sensation and long-term severe pain. Thankfully, most cases do not come to this ~ especially if you see a chiropractor right away.

Self test for spinal degeneration.

Answer yes or now for the following questions.

Yes   No   It is easier to turn or your head

Yes   No   Can you tilt (move your ear towards your shoulder) your head equally right to left?

Yes   No   Can you turn your head equally right to left?

Yes   No   Can you bend your low back equally right to left?

Yes   No   Can you twist your low back equally right to left?

Yes   No   Do you have stiffness that goes away with movement?

Yes   No   Is your back stiff or sore in the morning?

If you answered yes to 2 or more of these questions, you may have spinal degeneration starting. Call our office at 314.731.4383 for a complimentary examination.