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Spinal Conditions

SUBLUXATION

One of the primary sources of back pain is subluxation.  A subluxation is the malposition of and/or abnormal function of a motion segment (a joint and surrounding bone and tissue) that can affect the nervous system, muscles, organs, and other systems of the body. The following is what the Association of Chiropractic Colleges has to say in it's Position Paper #1 concerning chiropractic and the treatment of subluxations.

"Chiropractic is concerned with the preservation and restoration of health, and focuses particular attention on the subluxation.

A subluxation is a complex of functional and/or structural and/or pathological changes that compromise neural integrity and may influence organ system function and general health.

A subluxation is evaluated, diagnosed, and managed through the use of chiropractic procedures based on the best available rational and empirical evidence.

Chiropractic is a health care discipline which emphasizes the inherent recuperative power of the body to heal itself without the use of drugs or surgery.

The practice of chiropractic focuses on the relationship between structure (primarily the spine) and function (as coordinated by the nervous system and how that relationship affects the preservation and restoration of health. In addition, Doctors of Chiropractic recognize the value and responsibility of working in cooperation with other health care practitioners when in the best interest of the patient."

A subluxation can happen in any joint, so chiropractic care also involves the extremities (arms and legs).  Chiropractic can help with a variety of health problems that include back pain, but are not limited to back pain.  Throughout the rest of this web site you can learn about some of the other problems that chiropractic care can help.


Spinal Decay

Spinal decay is a condition also known as subluxation degeneration, spinal degeneration, or degenerative disc disease.  It is a degenerative process that occurs with your spine due to several factors which are all correctible.  If the underlying cause is left uncorrected, it will get worse over time, often without obvious symptoms.  Many people mistakenly believe this is just a natural part of aging.  This could not be further from the truth.  With proper spinal care, you can significantly decrease your chances of developing spinal decay.

Most often, the cause of spinal decay is an uncorrected trauma to the spine.  These can be slips and falls, poor ergonomics, auto accidents, the process of learning to walk, etc, etc.  Traditional chiropractic philosophy will tell you that it is caused by thoughts, traumas and toxins.

When the spine is put under the stress of this trauma, it loses its proper, natural curve.  It's range of motion, or ability to properly bend and twist is reduced.  This forces other areas of the spine to compensate, leading to improper motion and positioning throughout the spine.  This is the beginning of the degenerative process.

When the spine is under this stress, or subluxated as chiropractors call it, health problems can develop in other areas of the body.  This is because of the brain-body connection.  Your brain controls everything that happens in your body via your nerves.  They are connected by the spinal cord.  When something happens to cause improper motion or bad positions of the spinal bones, nerve irritation may occur.  This is why, for example, people with sciatica get numbness and pain in their legs.  The problem is not in the legs, where the pain is, but in the spine, where the nerves originate.

When left uncorrected, the body tries to immobilize the poorly moving joints of the spine and out of place bones to prevent further injury.  In the early stages of this uncorrected problem, your body begins depositing calcium in ligaments, connective tissue, and the affected joint surfaces (such as the vertebral discs).  On x-ray, you can also often see a loss of the normal curvature of the spine.

In the later stages, if left uncorrected, you may see a reversal of the normal curvature of the spine and development of bone spurs on x-ray.  In the latest stages the spinal bones may fuse together, allowing for no motion whatsoever.  If the problem remains uncorrected to this stage, surgery and palliative care may be the only options.


DISC INJURIES

Disc injuries, like subluxations, can be a source of back pain.  The vertebral disc is made of cartilage.  It does not have very good vasculature (blood vessels) or innervation (nerve supply).  Because of this, disc injuries take a long time to heal.

Picture a disc like a jelly doughnut in between two bones (vertebra).  The inside of the disc, the jelly, is called the nucleus pulposis.  The outside of the disc, like the outside of a jelly doughnut, is tough and called the annulus fibrosis. The outside of the disc is made of fiberous tissue.  A herniated disc is when the jelly (nucleus pulposis) squishes out of the doughnut (annulus fibrosis).  It is then possible for the squeezed out jelly to compress nerves and cause pain.

Chiropractic is helpful in relieving pain due to disc injuries.  There are many gentle techniques used to decrease pain, and increase function of the injured area.  Chiropractic is a good place to start in the treatment of disc injuries, because it is more conservative than surgery.


SCIATICA

Sciatica is pain caused by impingement of or interference with the sciatic nerve.  There are many causes of this impingement.  Disc herniations, muscle tightness or imbalance, chiropractic subluxation, and others, can cause sciatica.  The pain sciatica causes is usually sharp or tingling pain, in the back of the thigh above the knee.  There are, however, many different descriptions of pain that people with sciatica have.

The sciatic nerve can be affected in many ways. Your chiropractor will need to do a history and exam in order to tell where the problem is coming from. The sciatic nerve originates from spinal nerves in the low back (from the ventral rami of L4-S3 or the forth lumbar nerve root through the third sacral nerve root) . From the spinal cord it exits in between the vertebra (bones) of your low back, as well as from your sacrum (below your low back and above your tailbone). At this point there are many things that can cause the sciatic nerve to be irritated. Injured discs and spinal degeneration are two possible ways that the sciatic nerve can be irritated as it exits the spinal cord (actually there is no cord at those levels because the chord has branched off like a horses tail, but talking about the spinal chord is less complicated). A less serious and more simple cause of sciatic irritation at the spine is subluxation (malposition of bones and dysfunction of the joints that can affect the nervous system and surrounding soft tissue), subluxations are what chiropractors adjust which often results in a cracking sound (cavitation). There are other possibilities, but above are three of the more common causes.

After the sciatic nerve exits the spine it runs under the piriformis muscle (on the anterior aspect of the muscle).  In some people the sciatic nerve actually goes through the piriformis muscle.  This means that any tightness of the piriformis muscle can irritate the nerve. Sometimes simple stretches and exercises can take care of the problem. The piriformis muscle attaches to the sacrum and the femur (thigh bone). So if there are any subluxations of your low back, sacrum or illium (pelvis), hip, knees, or ankles, the piriformis might react by splinting and becoming tight which could irritate the nerve.

Note: there are things that can cause sciatica like symptoms that are not due to the sciatic nerve.


CHIROPRACTIC TREATMENT

Chiropractic treatment is extremely effective in treating sciatica.  The techniques and types of treatment used depends on the cause of the problem.  Typically treatment includes chiropractic adjustments and stretches, sometimes various therapies and nutritional supplements may be used.

 If you have been injured or are experiencing physical discomfort, contact McMahon Chiropractic Care in Toledo, Ohio today to find out if chiropractic care can help give you a better range of motion, relieve pain and discomfort, and help you achieve wellness.

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1833 Eastgate Rd (at Glendale)
Toledo, Ohio 43614

Experienced Toledo Chiropractor; providing professional Chiropractic Care and Services for residents in Toledo, Ohio, Lucas County and the surrounding Northwest Ohio communities.

 

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