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Degeneration of Cervical Spine – Part 2

UNDERSTANDING WHAT IS HAPPENING – PART 2

Phase Two – Subluxation Degeneration – Cervical Spine

Poor movement of the joints and poor shape (posture) has resulted in a loss of healthy balance and a process of accelerated degeneration and probable nerve interference.

SIMPLE EXPLANATION

The spine has the wrong shape and is unable to perform it duties correctly i.e. bending/twisting, protecting the nerves and supporting the head.  The body is forced to make changes to protect itself.  The degenerative changes we see are caused by wear and tear and the body’s attempts to stabilise unstable joints.

Phase 2 degenerationrsz_1normal_neck

Phase 2 degeneration

 

The Cause

In the absence of some trauma, like a whiplash injury for example, the underlying problem is almost certainly posture or shape.  If the head has adopted a forward position on the shoulders (for example ‘computer posture’), then due to greater force caused by leverage, there is a large increase in the weight of the head that has to be held by the soft tissues of the neck, shoulders and upper back.  The head is heavy, more or less 5kg, but for every inch it is forward, this means an additional 4kg of force.

The body doesn’t like this and the tissues become more fibrotic, less elastic and movement becomes restricted.  This sets the stage for degenerative changes as the body attempts to stabilize joints that become increasingly unstable.  The thing that must be avoided is the situation when a reversed curve or ‘kyphosis’ occurs.  Here the neck starts to buckle forward and massive changes are inevitable, together with ever worsening health consequences.

The individual will certainly experience stiffening and a gradual decrease in function.  Shoulder movement will become impaired as the tightening muscles affect biomechanics.  A gradual worsening of pain, especially across the shoulders, would be the intelligence of the body telling you that something is not right.

The important thing to always remember is that the body is always changing and adapting; tissues are breaking down and repairing.  This gives us an incredible opportunity to work with the body to help it heal.

The Solution

We have to reverse, as much as possible, the causes of the problem.  It is absolutely necessary to bring the head back onto the shoulders and restore the normal neck curve.  By improving the shape whilst restoring normal biomechanics or movement between the joints, this gradually allows you to grow back into health.

Your chiropractor will recommend a schedule of treatment that will facilitate the necessary changes.  This is likely to include specific spinal manipulations or adjustments, extension traction to reduce the forward head posture and stretching exercises to improve flexibility and range of movement.

The changes that the body will go through are consistent and predictable.  If we evoke the right changes, then the changes will occur.

If you know anyone who has worsening posture and/or neck pain and stiffness, then they are losing their delicate balance and they ARE moving into a degenerative state.  Please help us to help them and encourage them to give us a call.

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Tim Errington BSc DC
Total Health Chiropractic
Tel:  6224 6326
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