Pain is a very common sign that one or more of the vertebrae in your spine are misaligned. But what does that actually mean?
In a perfectly aligned spine, every vertebra is centered perfectly on the vertebra above and below it. The cushiony, rubbery discs between each vertebra are not stressed, pushed out of shape or pinched in any way.
The bundle of nerves traveling through, and protected by, the spinal column are not pinched and receive no unusual pressure from the bones or discs. The smaller nerves exiting this bundle and traveling to organs or extremities also receive no unusual pressure from bones or discs.
This is ideal health. This person will feel no pain originating in the spine.
The Stress of Normal Life Worsens Perfect Health
Normal living takes a toll on this ideal alignment. A car accident, a fall, poor posture, sitting far too long, heavy lifting and repetitive work—they all detract from this perfect health. We all experience many small traumas that, over time, can add up to significant impairment of that once-perfect alignment.
After repeated trauma or injuries from overuse, some vertebrae may be tipped or twisted or have slipped to one side. Naturally, when this happens, the perfect alignment is no more and now there is pressure on the major bundle of nerves and/or the smaller nerves traveling to organs or extremities. This pressure and the resulting irritation of the nerve cause both pain and loss of function in the areas connected to those nerves.
There are three main sections to your spine. The parts of the body that are controlled by nerves experiencing too much pressure or irritation will suffer pain and loss of function.
Misalignments in the Neck
Misalignments at the top of the spine, in the cervical vertebrae, can result in the following problems:
- Sinus pain
- Neck pain
- Hearing issues
- Eye problems
- Shoulder pain
Trigeminal neuralgia, a type of chronic nerve pain in the face, is also a possible symptom of a misaligned cervical spine.
Misalignments in the Mid-Back
Misalignments in the middle back can result in the following problems:
- Pain between the shoulder blades
- Pain in arms and hands
Misalignments in the Low-Back
Misalignments low in the back can result in the following problems:
- Dull or sharp low back pain
- Hip and leg pain
- Knee pain
- Leg weakness
What Does Pain Medication Do?
Are pain medications a solution? Some people choose to take an over-the-counter NSAID (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug) when they feel pain. Think aspirin, Advil, Aleve and other brands.
If pain is severe and chronic, a doctor may prescribe a painkiller like hydrocodone (Vicodin, Lortab) or oxycodone (OxyContin, Percocet). These drugs block the body’s pain messages and keep them from arriving at the brain.
Neither medication corrects the spinal misalignment causing the pain. This correction, however, is very easy to accomplish with chiropractic adjustments. Correcting the underlying condition with chiropractic is far healthier and safer than either of these types of drugs which both have damaging side effects.
Many medical doctors have no other training than to manage a patient’s symptoms with drugs or go in to perform surgical procedures to change the structure of the spine or the soft tissues around it. While a few people may have to resort to surgery, the vast majority can receive both relief and correction of the problem from chiropractic care.
What Does Chiropractic Do?
Once a chiropractor has determined which vertebrae are out of alignment, a chiropractic adjustment to that area frees the vertebrae from their incorrect positions and improves their alignment. In many cases, this adjustment will provide an immediate measure of relief.
In most cases of injury or long-term poor alignment, it will take a treatment plan to stably restore these vertebrae to the correct alignment. But the benefits are incomparable. You can not only achieve lasting relief from pain, but an increase in well-being, energy and immunity from illness.
Chiropractic care is the very best way to restore proper alignment to your spine. Far from interfering with your body’s normal processes, chiropractic adjustments improve your body’s normal functions by removing nerve interference.
A Long History
Chiropractors have been helping patients by relieving pressure on the spinal nerves since the first chiropractic adjustment in 1895. While chiropractors can also help improve alignment of the bones in joints in the extremities, restoring correct alignment to the spine is the core of chiropractic care.
Chiropractors are an important part of helping you stay pain-free, but there is also much you can do to reduce your risk of pain. You can improve your physical condition with exercise so you can stay active and mobile. There are also specific exercises you can do at home to strengthen the muscles that support your spine. If this is something you are interested in, just ask us. We’d be happy to help.
Obesity and poor posture are also factors in causing misalignments. We can help you improve these areas, too. Call us to schedule a diagnostic examination so we can get started: (314) 408-6285.