Sagittal Cervical Alignment Outcomes Are Linked to Pain, Disability, and Neurophysiological Improvements

By: Deed E. Harrison, DC

Chronic cervical spine disorders is one of the leading causes of disability across nations and cultures.1 There exists an opinion in the spinal health literature that the presence and extent of the cervical sagittal plane curve is unrelated to spine pain conditions and patient health.2 However, in this author’s opinion, the number and quality of studies is weighted on the positive side of the equation; in other words, there is a correlation between neck pain and related disorders and the cervical curvature.3-6

Background Data Indicates That Cervical Spine Lordotic Curve Correlates to Neck Pain and Disability

Villavicencio et al,3 in their prospective, randomized, double-blind clinical study, enrolled 122 patients who were followed an average of 37.5 months. They3 identified that maintaining a consistent segmental sagittal alignment and increasing cervical lordosis was related to a higher degree of improvement in clinical outcomes as measured with the short-form 36 questionnaire and the neck disability index. Similar findings were identified in the study by Gum et al.4

Figure 1 demonstrates the normal state of the cervical lordotic curvature on the reading left, this person would be expected to have little to no neck related disorders. Then, the sequential loss of the cervical lordotic curve is shown in the consecutive images where progressive development of spinal arthritis and disc disease in different patients over time is shown (Levels 1-4).7

Figure 1. Image © Copyright CBP Seminars and Deed Harrison, LLC. Reprinted with Permission. All rights reserved.

Studies by CBP® Researchers Demonstrate Relationship to Chronic Pain

In two separate cervical spine investigations, McAviney and colleagues5 and Harrison et al.,6 compared the cervical lordosis in chronic neck pain populations to that in healthy participants without a history of neck pain or cervical spine trauma.

  • Statistically, persons whose cervical spine curves were below 20° were twice as likely to be in the chronic neck pain group. This finding was not age or gender dependent strengthening these findings.5,6
  • Participants with a straightened or reversed cervical curvatures were 18 TIMES more likely to be in the chronic neck pain group as compared to the non-pain group.5
  • Thus, a cervical lordosis less than 20° can be considered a type of cervical spine subluxation.

Randomized Trials Indicating Improved Pain, Disability, Neurophysiology

Recently, CBP researchers, lead by Professor Ibrahim Moustafa (Sharjah University, UAE) and Dr. Deed Harrison (CBP NonProfit-Idaho, USA) have completed a series of randomized clinical trials (RCT’s).8-11 These RCT’s were designed to test the hypothesis that structural correction of the cervical sagittal alignment will improve pain, disability, and neurophysiology measurements. Importantly, in two of the RCT’s it was found that restoration of the cervical lordosis towards the 20° magnitude concomitantly improved dermatomal somato-sensory evoked potentials (DSSEP’s)8 and the H-reflex9 in patients with both cervical spine and lumbo-sacral radiculopathy and chronic pain.

In two of the most recent RCT’s by this team of investigators,10-11 the effect of sagittal rehabilitation of the cervical spine on central nervous system latency (velocity) and amplitude was assessed. Correction of the cervical sagittal lordosis and head posture was found to statistically correlate to improvement central conduction time (spinal cord velocity) as measured with the N13-N20 potential. These two break-through RCT’s are the first studies to identify a statistically significant increase in the central nervous system’s conduction velocity resulting from correction of the subluxated cervical spine. Noteworthy, is the fact that traditional conservative interventions did not improve sagittal alignment and did not improve neurophysiology even though they were associated with temporary pain and disability improvements. Only the group receiving CBP extension traction methods were found to have statistically significant improvement in spine alignment, neurophysiology, and long-term pain and disability outcomes.8-11

References

  1. Noormohammadpour P. Prevalence of Chronic Neck Pain, Low Back Pain and Knee Pain and their Related Factors in Community-dwelling Adults in Iran: A Population-based National Study. Clin J Pain 2016 Jun 1.
  2. Christensen ST, Hartvigsen J. Spinal curves and health: a systematic critical review of the epidemiological literature dealing with associations between sagittal spinal curves and health. J Manipulative Physiol Ther. 2008 Nov-Dec;31(9):690-714. doi: 10.1016/j.jmpt.2008.10.004.
  3. Villavicencio AT, etal. Prospective, randomized, double-blind clinical study evaluating the correlation of clinical outcomes and cervical sagittal alignment. Neurosurgery 2011 May;68(5):1309-16; discussion 1316.DOI:10.1227/NEU.0b013e31820b51f3.
  4. Gum JL, et al. Correlation between cervical spine sagittal alignment and clinical outcome after anterior cervical discectomy and fusion. Am J Orthop (Belle Mead NJ) 2012 Jun;41(6):E81-4.
  5. McAviney J, Schulz D, Bock R, Harrison DE, Holland B. Determining the relationship between cervical lordosis and neck complaints. J Manipulative Physiol Ther. 2005 Mar-Apr;28(3):187-93.
  6. Harrison DD, Harrison DE, Janik TJ, Cailliet R, Haas JW, Ferrantelli J, Holland B. Modeling of the Sagittal Cervical Spine as a Method to Discriminate Hypo-Lordosis: Results of Elliptical and Circular Modeling in 72 Asymptomatic Subjects, 52 Acute Neck Pain Subjects, and 70 Chronic Neck Pain Subjects. Spine 2004; 29:2485-2492.
  7. Harrison DE, Harrison DD, Janik TJ, Jones WE, Cailliet R, Normand M. Comparison of axial and flexural stresses in lordosis and three buckled modes of the cervical spine. Clin Biomech 2001; 16(4): 276-284.
  8. Moustafa IM, Diab AM, Ahmed A, Harrison DE. The efficacy of cervical lordosis rehabilitation for nerve root function, pain, and segmental motion in cervical spondylotic radiculopathy. PhysioTherapy 2011; 97 Supplement: 846-847. (Link)
  9. Moustafa IM, Diab AA, Harrison DE. Does improvement towards a normal cervical sagittal configuration aid in the management of lumbosacral radiculopathy: A randomized controlled trial Proceedings of the 13th World Federation of Chiropractic Biennial Congress / ECU Convention, Athens, Greece, May 13-16, 2015. Paper #184 Mediterranean Region Award Winning Paper.
  10. Moustafa IM, Diab AA, Taha S, Harrison DE. Addition of a Sagittal Cervical Posture Corrective Orthotic Device to a Multimodal Rehabilitation Program Improves Short- and Long-Term Outcomes in Patients with Discogenic Cervical Radiculopathy. Arch Phys Med Rehabil, 2016, 97: 2034-2044.
  11. Moustafa IM, Diab AAM, Taha S, Harrison DE. Demonstration of central conduction time and neuroplastic changes after cervical lordosis rehabilitation in asymptomatic subjects: A randomized, placebo-controlled trial. Proceedings of the 14th biennial congress of the World Federation of Chiropractic, March 15-18, 2017.

Exploring Spinal Mobilization Techniques and Their Place in Chiropractic Treatment

Spinal adjustments are the cornerstone of chiropractic. They’re used to help maintain the spine’s health and integrity, while alleviating peripheral problems such as restricted nerve pathways.

But adjustments aren’t as simple as pushing on the right area of the spine or exerting a specific modicum of force. Often, the spine needs to be properly mobilized before it can fully accept the adjustments being administered. To this end, a chiropractor may rely on a number of spinal mobilization techniques to preface adjustments.

Ideal Spine believes in the power of mobilization as a pretense to adjustments. By ensuring the spine is properly relaxed and accepting of adjustments, practitioners are able to deliver a better standard of relief to patients in need.

The goal of mobilization

Mobilization is useful for alleviating stress and tension in the spine that may otherwise make it difficult for adjustments to be effective. Mobilization isn’t the act of adjustment itself: it’s the technique used to ready the spine for adjustments. Mobilization can reduce stress, alleviate tension, and condition the spine.

Mobilization methodologies

There are numerous mobilization methodologies available to chiropractors. Each can be leveraged in a different way to affect the spine, depending on where ensuing adjustments will take place. What’s effective for the cervical spine may not be as effective in the lumbar region, and so on. Some of the most commonly-applied mobilization techniques include:

  • Release Work: This technique requires the chiropractor to use their fingertips to pull misaligned vertebrae apart, so they can natural resettle in proper alignment.
  • Activator Method: Using a spring-loaded stimulation device, a chiropractor will target areas for release. The rapid activation of the stimulation device releases tension in the spine, allowing the vertebrae to be manipulated back into proper alignment through manual palpitation.
  • Toggle Drop: This method is used in tandem with a drop table. Using downward pressure, the chiropractor makes a swift adjustment as the drop table is triggered, allowing for a deeper correction to be made. Specific areas of the table can be toggled to ensure mobilization at precise angles and with different degrees of force.
  • Cox Flexion-Distraction: Broad strokes are applied to areas of the spine in order to stretch the distance between vertebrae. As vertebrae are separated, they’re able to be gently manipulated via the strokes and repositioned into proper alignment.
  • Sacro-Occipital Technique (SOT): This technique makes use of gravity to mobilize vertebrae. Blocks are placed under the pelvis, allowing the spine to assume an exaggerated version of its natural curvature. This, in conjunction with a small amount of force, can mobilize the pelvis and lumbar vertebrae.

The above techniques represent only some of the most common applications. Chiropractors can also leverage massage, myofascial release, the Receptor-Tonus Technique, and myriad other techniques to entice the spine into accepting adjustments at a more effective degree.

Better adjustments through mobilization

In thorough mobilization of the spine, it’s possible for chiropractors to better prepare patients for the adjustments they’re about to receive. Moreover, it may help these adjustments to take shape with less resistance and remain aligned once they’re positioned.

Ideal Spine factors mobilization techniques into the Chiropractic BioPhysics (CBP) adjustment plans tailored around patients. In determining the right method of mobilization, in tandem with the proper adjustment approach, we believe it’s possible to provide patients with the highest standard of chiropractic care.

Chiropractic BioPhysics® corrective care trained Chiropractors are located throughout the United States and in several international locations. CBP providers have helped thousands of people throughout the world realign their spine back to health, and eliminate a source of chronic back pain, chronic neck pain, chronic headaches and migraines, fibromyalgia, and a wide range of other health conditions. If you are serious about your health and the health of your loved ones, contact a CBP trained provider today to see if you qualify for care. The exam and consultation are often FREE. See www.CBPpatient.com for providers in your area.

Understanding the Many Potential Problems of Invasive Spinal Surgeries

Back surgery is a last resort for many people suffering from unbearable chronic pain. As with any surgery, going under the knife isn’t something most people want to do, but it comes as a necessary evil for dealing with the larger problem.

Unfortunately, what most don’t realize is that among surgical procedures, spine surgeries rank high in complications. Many patients report no true resolution to their pain and still more end up with new ailments that cause them new grief. The fact is, spinal surgery is complex and difficult, without any shining examples to justify it in most cases.

At Ideal Spine, we always strive for a non-invasive solution to back pain – one that doesn’t end in surgery. Using a Chiropractic BioPhysics (CBP) regimen, we strive to personalize care in such a way that our patients experience real, lasting relief whenever possible, no matter the ailment.

Surgical complications

What exactly can go wrong when you go under the knife for an invasive spinal surgery? There’s a laundry list of potential side effects, disruptors, and other problems you might walk away with. Let’s take a look at a few of the most common:

  • Addiction: Any surgical procedure will be followed by a period of intense recovery. With this recovery comes discomfort and pain, which are often managed via prescription painkillers. It’s estimated that roughly 30 percent of people prescribed an opioid painkiller will eventually abuse it, with as many as 12 percent of those people going on to become addicts. The opioid epidemic is real and unfortunately, it often starts with a valid prescription.
  • Failure to relieve pain: An estimated 20 percent of people who opt for back surgery experience no relief after the fact. This staggering number is so large that it has warranted its own moniker: failed back surgery syndrome.” Ask yourself, is going under the knife worth the 1 in 5 chance of walking away no better than you were before? For many, that answer is no.
  • Pedicle screw complications: Pedicle screws are used to anchor vertebrae and provide stability in many spinal fusion surgeries. While strong, made of surgical-grade steel, these screws can sometimes break after the fact if the spine is subject to trauma or overexertion. Damaged pedicle screws need to be fixed right away, prompting another surgery with its own set of complications.
  • Nerve damage: Surgery on the spine puts a surgeon up close and personal with your central nervous system. If absolutely anything isn’t precise throughout the surgery, there’s a high risk of bringing harm to the nerves. Nerve damage is permanent and cannot be restored. A scalpel cut too far or displacement of the nerves could leave you with pain, numbness, or tremors.

Rates of spinal surgery complications vary among individuals. For example, someone who smokes may be more prone to complications, just like age or general health factor in.

Worth the risk?

Spinal surgery is invasive, there’s no getting around it. For some, it’s their only option for relief and if it’s your last hope, it’s one worth taking. However, when you stack up the potential complications you’re facing, it’s important to try all other avenues for relief first, including a CBP chiropractic relief plan. At Ideal Spine, we recommend the path of least resistance.

Chiropractic BioPhysics® corrective care trained Chiropractors are located throughout the United States and in several international locations. CBP providers have helped thousands of people throughout the world realign their spine back to health, and eliminate a source of chronic back pain, chronic neck pain, chronic headaches and migraines, fibromyalgia, and a wide range of other health conditions. If you are serious about your health and the health of your loved ones, contact a CBP trained provider today to see if you qualify for care. The exam and consultation are often FREE. See www.CBPpatient.com for providers in your area.

Introducing Patients to the McKenzie Method of Exercising to Improve Spine Health

Chiropractors have a variety of methodologies and techniques they can employ to assist them in correcting a patient’s spinal misalignments. Gonstead Technique and other HVLA adjustment methodologies are the primary modalities, allowing professionals to tailor individual adjustments around the unique needs of patients. And, of course, Chiropractic BioPhysics (CBP) enables them to deliver those adjustments over a tailored schedule.

One adjustment methodology that patients are more apt to understanding is the McKenzie Method. This method encourages patients to strengthen their own spine outside of scheduled chiropractic appointments, via a series of predetermined exercises. It’s a way to keep patients on track between formal adjustments.

At Ideal Spine, the McKenzie Method is something we strive to employ with patients as part of a CBP holistic treatment plan.

The history of the McKenzie Method

The McKenzie Method was created in the 1960s by famed physical therapist Robin McKenzie, as a way of helping his patients develop a more engaged, hands-on approach to their own wellness. McKenzie quickly realized that spine stabilization was a key component of any recovery, so much of the focus of his methodologies centered on the spine.

Depending on the recovery plan of each patient, McKenzie worked to devise an at-homme regimen of exercises that would strengthen the body and restore range of motion, while lowering the recurrence and severity of pain. In doing so, he quickly realized patients would come for formal physical therapy in much better shape, with a better grip on their pain.

Today, the McKenzie Method has been adopted by chiropractors from around the world, as a way to spur healing in patients recovering from acute injury or managing chronic pain.

Centralizing pain

The chief concept of the McKenzie Method is to “centralize pain.” This means stimulating the spine to promote better nerve health and blood flow to affected areas, via a central focus on the spine. For example, someone dealing with IT band syndrome may practice stretches and movements focused on the lumbar spine, promoting blood flow to the lower body and drawing focus away from the IT band and any referred pain caused by a low back misalignment.

Most at-home exercises focus on extending the spine. This works to keep patients loose and limber, allowing the changes in spinal alignment affected at a previous chiropractic appointment to take hold. It also keeps stress from undoing adjustments.

Promoting individual wellness

Exercises and stretches are tailored to each person’s unique condition and ailment. And though they may vary extensively as prescribed by a chiropractor, these stretches all fall into practice with the core tenants of the McKenzie Method:

  • Minimizing pain by targeting prone areas;
  • Restoring and maintaining acceptable range of motion;
  • Resolving pain flare-ups quickly;
  • Minimizing the number of emergency visits to a chiropractor.

It’s also important to note that prescribed exercises are movements every patient should be able to do. Rather than building strength or extending range of motion, these exercises work within the limitations of a patient’s current situation to promote maintenance of chiropractic progress.

Introducing at-home wellness

Any chiropractor following a CBP adjustment schedule will likely prescribe McKenzie Method exercises for a patient to undertake at home. At Ideal Spine, it’s part of our general practice to help enable patients and encourage them to seek the highest possible level of wellness at home, between scheduled visits.

Chiropractic BioPhysics® corrective care trained Chiropractors are located throughout the United States and in several international locations. CBP providers have helped thousands of people throughout the world realign their spine back to health, and eliminate a source of chronic back pain, chronic neck pain, chronic headaches and migraines, fibromyalgia, and a wide range of other health conditions. If you are serious about your health and the health of your loved ones, contact a CBP trained provider today to see if you qualify for care. The exam and consultation are often FREE. See www.CBPpatient.com for providers in your area.

Linking Whiplash to Herniated Cervical Discs and Radiculopathy

Whiplash is among the most devastating of cervical spine injuries. The rapid acceleration-deceleration movement is powerful enough to tear muscles and ligaments, tear and bruise soft tissue, and herniate cervical discs. Further, it’s a condition that often doesn’t get the attention it demands, due to the late-onset nature of many symptoms.

As symptoms do develop, they usually take the form of radiculopathy pain. The face, neck, shoulders, arms, and even hands can swell and ache, losing mobility and feeling depending on the severity of the whiplash. As these symptoms get worse, it can indicate ongoing nerve damage. The entire situation is one that needs a swift resolution – otherwise, the patient in question may face long-term, chronic cervical spine problems.

At Ideal Spine, our focus on treating whiplash is qualifying it through the radiculopathy and herniated cervical discs it presents with. In assessing these symptoms, we’re able to assess the severity of the whiplash incident and better equip ourselves with the right approach to remedying it.

Qualifying radiculopathy

Radiculopathy results from a pinched nerve root, which sends pain signals throughout the entire extent of the nerve. For cervical nerve bundles, this means extending as far as the face or hands. It’s why whiplash-related compression often presents in face, neck, shoulder, arm, and hand numbness or pain.

Being able to trace and qualify the extent of radiculopathy gives chiropractors insight into the specific vertebrae affected by whiplash. For example, if nerve bundles in C7 (the lowest cervical vertebrae) become pinched, it may present in arm numbness. Likewise, if a patient presents with chronic and persistent headaches or cheek pain, C3-C4 maybe a focus.

The key in tracing radiculopathy is to look past the site of the pain, back to its point of origin. Chiropractors tracing referred pain will quickly be able to get a handle on the lasting effects of whiplash, even long after the incident.

Herniated disc links to pain

A major contributing factor to radiculopathy is a herniated disc. These displaced discs are the reason behind nerve compression and signal disruption. Tracing radiculopathy pain back to a point of origin generally leads to a herniated disc, which is something most chiropractors can assess and qualify via simple palpitation. Until this disc is corrected and reset, affected nerves will continue to suffer.

Linking it all back to whiplash

Upon visiting a chiropractor, most people will make mention of any major car accidents they’ve been in, tipping the chiropractor off to whiplash immediately. But, many don’t take the time or have the forethought to mention minor fender benders. The fact is, a severe case of whiplash can occur even if the airbag doesn’t deploy in your car. So long as the rocking motion of your cervical spine is strong enough, whiplash can occur at collisions as slow as 5 miles per hour.

Upon qualifying radiculopathy pain and discovering a herniated disc, many chiropractors will inquire about whiplash events. Whether it’s from a very minor car accident, a roller coaster ride, or even playing sports, the condition frequently comes to light after a patient is presented with the facts about the causes of their pain.

Putting the pieces together

Like a detective, chiropractors must frequently put together the clues of a condition to hypothesize its cause. In cases of whiplash, this is particularly true. Radiculopathy and a herniated disc often point to whiplash as a catalyst.

If you’re experiencing pain symptomatic with a recent neck trauma, it’s important to get checked out for whiplash. Ideal Spine may be able to help catch the condition in its early stages, before symptoms manifest enough for you to suffer long-term. All it takes is some careful sleuthing!

Chiropractic BioPhysics® corrective care trained Chiropractors are located throughout the United States and in several international locations. CBP providers have helped thousands of people throughout the world realign their spine back to health, and eliminate a source of chronic back pain, chronic neck pain, chronic headaches and migraines, fibromyalgia, and a wide range of other health conditions. If you are serious about your health and the health of your loved ones, contact a CBP trained provider today to see if you qualify for care. The exam and consultation are often FREE. See www.CBPpatient.com for providers in your area.

Pain, Weakness, and Numbness: The Degenerative Nature of Radiculopathy

There’s a lot of truth to the concept that, if not properly addressed, health problems will only continue to get worse over time. This is particularly true of pain issues rooted in the spine: namely radiculopathy. If ignored or left unchecked, it has the potential to become progressively and alarmingly worse.

The problem with degenerative pain conditions is that they often have insignificant starts. Occasional discomfort slowly bleeds into pain, which eventually becomes chronic and worsens with time. By the time many people seek help, their original condition has devolved far from what it started as. Had they just addressed it originally, they might have saved themselves tremendous amounts of strife.

Ideal Spine works with patients to help them understand the degenerative nature of pain and the need for action when addressing it. We aim to intervene early, to prevent minor discomfort from ascending into debilitating, ongoing pain.

Qualifying radiculopathy

Radiculopathy is radiating pain rooted in a compressed or inflamed nerve. It generally occurs at the site of the compression and stretches away, growing larger with time. It’s often a catalyst for different syndromes and pain conditions, such as sciatica or complex regional pain syndrome. Despite the many names for nerve-induced pain, it’s most often a form of radiculopathy.

Stages of degeneration

Radiculopathy pain devolves as fast as the underlying condition causing it. Someone might have a compressed nerve that generates pain yet doesn’t worsen in severity because the compression level remains the same. Likewise, what may start as minor discomfort due to displaced vertebrae can quickly devolve into numbness and a lack of mobility as a nerve is severely and continually depressed.

More often than not, radiculopathy pain follows a pattern. Understanding the signs of radiculopathy pain can help patients determine to what extent their condition has progressed and alert them to how it’s likely to develop as nerve impediment gets worse:

  • Discomfort generally characterizes the first stage. Here, subluxation, rotation, or spinal shift is taking place. The nerve may not be affected yet.
  • Pain signals the nerve is being compressed. The severity or onset rate of pain can help indicate the nature of the condition.
  • Weakness tends to follow pain. At this point, the nerve being affected is beginning to suffer permanent damage and is unable to function normally.
  • Numbness sets in as radiculopathy reaches its most severe level. Physical mobility may be limited and the chance that permanent nerve pain has occurred is high.

Observing the indicators of radiculopathy pain means being able to stay ahead of harm before it occurs. Acting on discomfort can prevent progression into pain, addressing pain can stave off weakness, and acting upon weakness may prevent permanent nerve damage. The sooner a person addresses their condition, the better the chance they have at preventing degeneration.

Preventing long-term harm

Radiculopathy is nothing to be ignored. Unfortunately, the everyday person simply isn’t able to qualify this type of pain and the catalysts causing it. That’s why it’s imperative to speak with an Ideal Spine chiropractor at the first sign of discomfort in the spine or radiating back pain. Not only can a chiropractor qualify radiculopathy, they may be able to provide decisive action that prevents it from degenerating further. With any luck, pain, weakness, and numbness may be avoided, along with long-term harm to nerves.

Chiropractic BioPhysics® corrective care trained Chiropractors are located throughout the United States and in several international locations. CBP providers have helped thousands of people throughout the world realign their spine back to health, and eliminate a source of chronic back pain, chronic neck pain, chronic headaches and migraines, fibromyalgia, and a wide range of other health conditions. If you are serious about your health and the health of your loved ones, contact a CBP trained provider today to see if you qualify for care. The exam and consultation are often FREE. See www.CBPpatient.com for providers in your area.

Small and Mighty: The Roles of the Piriformis and Psoas Muscles in Posture

There are upwards of 650 different muscles in your body, all working hard to support you and help you function. They range in size and shape, as well as what they’re responsible for. And while you’re likely familiar with the popular ones like biceps and quadriceps, there are countless others that are even more critical than you might ever imagine.

A prime example of two overlooked yet highly important muscles are the piriformis and the psoas. These muscles are two of the three that are responsible for connecting your spine to your legs (along with gluteus maximus). Keeping them toned and strong is absolutely essential in helping you maintain posture and lumbar support.

At Ideal Spine, we work hard to educate patients on the vital role their muscles play in overall spine health. In many cases, for patients with chronic low back, hip, and thigh pain, an introduction to the piriformis and psoas is long overdue.

The role of the piriformis and psoas

To understand what makes the piriformis and psoas muscles so important and vital to our everyday movements, it’s important to understand first what duties they have.

The piriformis muscle is minuscule, located near the sacrum. It assists in hip extension and flexion, supporting lateral rotation. This muscle is engaged in a wide variety of situations, including basic walking. When weak or compromised, a person is liable to experience pain throughout the low back, hips, and groin. Problems with the piriformis are even categorized by their own condition: piriformis syndrome.

The psoas are also integral for stability and lower body movement. In addition, psoas muscles are responsible for upright posture, helping to create the natural lumbar curve as they connect your spine to your lower body. When weak or injured, psoas muscles tend to cause lumbar pain and chronic tightness. Just like with your piriformis muscles, we rely on psoas for walking, running and other upright movement.

Maintaining good posture

While primarily responsible for assisting with dynamic movement, the piriformis and psoas muscles also play a role in proper posture. Maintaining the strength and integrity of these muscles means contributing to a healthier posture and, in turn, better spine health.

A strong piriformis will make sitting easier. In fact, a weakened piriformis muscle is likely to get worse with a sedentary lifestyle, since compression of the sciatic nerve is common. If your piriformis is strong, you’ll be able to offset the flexion of quadriceps, which might otherwise compromise hamstrings and the low back. As you go from sitting to standing, your piriformis will be able to better handle the demands of your body.

Likewise, strong psoas muscles make for great standing posture. As mentioned, these muscles will help induce the natural lumbar curve of the spine and can lend strength to the core in a way that further supports the spine.

Stronger muscles; better posture

Just like you might strengthen your bicep to be able to lift heavier weights, it’s important to strengthen your piriformis and psoas to incite better posture. Keeping these muscles loose and limber, as well as strong and conditioned, will help you sit, stand, walk, and run with better posture – not to mention less of an impact on your spine.

Ideal Spine is happy to educate patients on the role of their piriformis and psoas, and will take the time to help develop a plan that strengthens these muscles to promote positive posture.

Chiropractic BioPhysics® corrective care trained Chiropractors are located throughout the United States and in several international locations. CBP providers have helped thousands of people throughout the world realign their spine back to health, and eliminate a source of chronic back pain, chronic neck pain, chronic headaches and migraines, fibromyalgia, and a wide range of other health conditions. If you are serious about your health and the health of your loved ones, contact a CBP trained provider today to see if you qualify for care. The exam and consultation are often FREE. See www.CBPpatient.com for providers in your area.

Using Holistic Chiropractic to Get a Grip on Total Body Wellness

The human body is a complex, interconnected system. This means when a problem develops, it’s not always going to present in the same way each time. To make matters even more complicated, each person is unique and different, which only increases the variability in how issues may come to fruition. Simply put: figuring out what’s wrong with someone is often like solving a puzzle.

The reason chiropractic is so effective at diagnosing problems across patients is because of its holistic approach to observation and assessment. There’s a foremost emphasis on the spine, but as the spine is central to all nerves and therefore, all of the body’s processes, it becomes simply a starting point for more accurate diagnosis. Ideal Spine chiropractors often look levels beyond presenting symptoms to understand the rippling ramifications of an underlying condition.

An exercise in problem solving

If you have back pain, it only makes sense to start looking for the problem at the point of pain. Here, you’re likely to find symptoms. For example, cervical spine pain may be assessed for rotation at the C4 vertebrae. A swift adjustment might set things right and leave you feeling better! But, what happens when the same condition arises again shortly thereafter?

At this point, it might be necessary to look beyond the localized area of the problem. This is where Chiropractic BioPhysics (CBP) excels. Through comprehensive patient analysis, a chiropractor is able to learn all of the pertinent information they might need to look beyond the obvious. Let’s take a look at an example:

Jenny has chronic back pain that doesn’t seem to fade, even with good posture habits and regular exercise. After a thorough review of her symptoms and medical history, as well as a chat with her, Jenny’s chiropractor learns she has stress-trigger psoriasis. Further, her version of psoriasis – plaque psoriasis – is commonly linked to arthritis and joint stiffness.

Using the information gleaned from patient interviews and medical histories, CBP chiropractors can deliver a targeted, more holistic range of treatments. In the above example, Jenny’s chiropractor may advise stress-relieving techniques or massages, along with stretching and scheduled spine adjustments to make sure she remains in proper alignment.

Factoring in the spine

The spine is often mixed into health conditions that may seem to have no direct relation. Because of this, it’s also often overlooked when it comes to finding a long-term solution.

Take a gastrointestinal problem like GERD, for example. Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease can cause chronic pain and discomfort, leading to everything from heartburn to nausea. Many people only take into account this condition at face value and seek relief from medications or dietary changes. The problem is, you’ll now likely need medication for life or have to drastically change your diet in ways you might not want to.

In this specific instance, it’s worth visiting a chiropractor. Unbeknownst to many people, GERD and other gastrointestinal conditions are often triggered by nerve compression in the thoracic spine and may be alleviated by addressing this compression. But, because it’s an example of a referred condition, spinal adjustments aren’t often even considered!

Holistic approaches yield better results

If you’re suffering from a chronic condition, you don’t want a series of temporary fixes that simply bury the problem. What you need is a solution that takes into account all facets of the problem and directly addresses the chief catalyst for your condition. Chiropractic can offer this opportunity by taking your condition into consideration in a holistic capacity. Learn more about the Ideal Spine approach to day.

Chiropractic BioPhysics® corrective care trained Chiropractors are located throughout the United States and in several international locations. CBP providers have helped thousands of people throughout the world realign their spine back to health, and eliminate a source of chronic back pain, chronic neck pain, chronic headaches and migraines, fibromyalgia, and a wide range of other health conditions. If you are serious about your health and the health of your loved ones, contact a CBP trained provider today to see if you qualify for care. The exam and consultation are often FREE. See www.CBPpatient.com for providers in your area.

Managing Juvenile Disc Disorder for Better Developing Spine Health

Disc deterioration and degeneration aren’t things most people have to worry about until they enter their golden years. That doesn’t mean it’s not completely out of the picture for juveniles and young adults, however. Juvenile disc disorder may be rare, but it’s a condition that demands rapid, ongoing attention to ensure the long-term spine health of younger individuals.

Juvenile disc disorder is characterized by degeneration not in just one or two discs, but throughout the spine. The discs themselves are generally too weak to withstand the pressure of everyday support demanded by the spine. As a result, the spine becomes prone to everything from disc displacement to vertebral compression fractures and painful nerve inflammation. Untreated, the entire situation exacerbates into full-blown degenerative disc disease and myriad other health problems.

Adolescents with persistent back pain issues need to be thoroughly examined by a chiropractor. At Ideal Spine, we know the value of an accurate diagnosis when it comes to administering proactive treatment for conditions like juvenile disc disorder.

When to suspect a problem

Back pain at any age is not normal, however in adolescents, it’s especially cause for concern. The wear and tear that leads to old-age spinal problems shouldn’t be present at such a young age and if it is, it’s a clear sign of an undiagnosed problem like juvenile disc disorder.

For parents who believe their child may have a persistent spine ailment or young adults with the power to seek relief on their own, keep apprised of the following potential symptoms for juvenile disc disorder:

  • Persistent pain throughout the back;
  • Back pain after long periods of sitting, standing, or laying;
  • Pain when transitioning from walking to running or vice-versa;
  • Pain when bending or lifting objects of moderate weight;
  • Pain when stretching arms over the head.

Other, more subtle symptoms to look out for include changes to posture to compensate for pain or problems getting a full night’s sleep.

Managing a disc disorder

Because juvenile disc disorder affects primarily the vertebral discs of the spine, management is focused on alleviating pressure and strain on these discs. And, surprisingly to most people, it doesn’t mean restricting activity! Managing this condition is all about improving strength and flexibility.

Starting with foundational support, many chiropractors encourage juvenile disc disorder sufferers to strengthen their hips, thighs, and hamstrings in order to stabilize their posterior chain. This, in turn, leads to better core stability and less concussion of the spine during activity. Stretching in these areas also helps maintain flexibility for dynamic movement, such as twisting or bending.

Aerobic activity is also a cornerstone of keeping this condition in check. Getting the heart pumping spreads blood throughout the body and ensures areas of inflammation or injury are getting oxygenated blood – namely the spine. Here, body mechanics are also something to be concerned with, such as proper heel striking while running. These will lessen the jarring impact of aerobics on the spine and promote long-term wellness.

Finally, chiropractic adjustments round out management of juvenile disc disorder. Traction may reduce pressure and compression on at-risk discs, while HVLA adjustments may reset vertebrae to take stress off of discs.

Preventing a lifetime of back pain

Addressing juvenile disc disorder early is the first step in combating what is sure to otherwise be a lifetime of back pain problems. Waste no time in seeking chiropractic assessment from an Ideal Spine practitioner as soon as you suspect a chronic back ailment. Using Chiropractic BioPhysics (CBP), an expert chiropractor will map out a management approach that works to minimize juvenile disc concerns.

Chiropractic BioPhysics® corrective care trained Chiropractors are located throughout the United States and in several international locations. CBP providers have helped thousands of people throughout the world realign their spine back to health, and eliminate a source of chronic back pain, chronic neck pain, chronic headaches and migraines, fibromyalgia, and a wide range of other health conditions. If you are serious about your health and the health of your loved ones, contact a CBP trained provider today to see if you qualify for care. The exam and consultation are often FREE. See www.CBPpatient.com for providers in your area.

Understanding the Gate Control Theory of Chronic Pain

Chronic back pain can be difficult to diagnose and treat, particularly when chiropractors are looking for a specific underlying problem to solve. In reality, pain is often much more complex and can be affected by a number of external and internal factors.

One of the major ways today’s chiropractors assess chronic pain and make treatment recommendations is through an understanding of the Gate Control Theory of pain. Developed in the 1960s by Ronald Melzack and Patrick Wal, this theory takes into account the roles that both the body and mind play in regard to pain and how it is processed.

At Ideal Spine, a fundamental understanding of how the brain communicates with the body and how pain is processed lies at the heart of how we develop treatment plans for patients.

Gate Control Theory explained

Essentially, Gate Control Theory explains that pain messages travel through the body up to the spinal cord and brain. Before these pain messages can reach the brain, they must travel through “gates” in the spinal cord that allow some messages to get through and block other messages. A number of different factors can influence whether the gates allow pain messages through or not, which results in different forms of pain for every individual, particularly when it comes to chronic pain.

How pain messages are transferred

The nervous system, which sends sensory and pain messages to be processed by the brain, is made of two major structures:

  • The central nervous system, comprising the spinal cord and brain.
  • The peripheral nervous system, comprising nerves in extremities that connect to the spinal cord and brain.

When someone gets hurt, the damaged tissues in the injury containing peripheral nerves transmit pain signals through the peripheral nervous system up to the spinal cord and the brain. In the theory, before the pain messages can reach the brain, they approach the nerve gates, which may open or closed based on different factors.

The basic understanding of these gates is that open gates allow pain messages through, resulting in experienced pain. Closed gates might mute or prevent pain messages entirely, resulting in the person experiencing little or no pain.

Factors controlling nerve gates

There are a number of factors that might alter whether the nerve gates open or close for different pain messages. Factors may include the intensity of the pain message, other “competing” sensory signals, like touch, or brain signals indicating whether the nerve gates should prioritize certain pain messages.

The theory states these brain signals can potentially alter some pain messages, resulting in a different level of pain each time. Sensory, cognitive, and emotional factors occurring within the brain can change the way a pain message is processed.

For example, sensory factors like injury, cognitive factors like focusing on the pain, and emotion factors like anxiety or depression can trigger the nerve gates to open and actually make the pain worse. On the other hand, pain medication, cognitive distractions, and positive attitudes can help nerve gates remain closed or minimize the effects of pain.

Essentially, Gate Control Theory states that the experience of pain may change as different types of information are processed in the brain.

How Gate Control Theory relates to chronic pain

While both acute pain and chronic pain play a role in the Gate Control Theory, experts have used the theory to better understand the complexities and contributing factors of chronic pain, in particular.

The theory has helped some chiropractor explain why certain treatments, like acupuncture, are effective in reducing chronic pain symptoms. By understanding the concepts of competing sensory messages, contributing factors in nerve gate opening, and the roles both mind and body play in pain reception, Ideal Spine chiropractors may be able to better treat their patients with chronic pain. All of this expertise, combined with a tailored Chiropractic BioPhysics (CBP) adjustment schedule, can unlock personalized results for each  patient’s  unique type of pain.

Chiropractic BioPhysics® corrective care trained Chiropractors are located throughout the United States and in several international locations. CBP providers have helped thousands of people throughout the world realign their spine back to health, and eliminate a source of chronic back pain, chronic neck pain, chronic headaches and migraines, fibromyalgia, and a wide range of other health conditions. If you are serious about your health and the health of your loved ones, contact a CBP trained provider today to see if you qualify for care. The exam and consultation are often FREE. See www.CBPpatient.com for providers in your area.