Articles

Spinal Kinesiopathology

Spinal kinesiopathology is the unusual positioning or motion of the spinal bones, to the point where the patient’s ability to turn and bend is restricted. It is one of five components of vertebral subluxation complex — a set of symptoms and signs that affect the spinal column — and it puts the remaining four components of the complex into motion:

  • Myopathology. When the muscles supporting the spine weaken, atrophy or become stiff, they can spasm. This can then lead to the formation of scar tissue, which is capable of altering muscle tone.
  • Neuropathophysiology. Nerve tissue can become obstructed, stretched or aggravated when the spine does not function properly. Because nerve tissue is fragile, irritation can cause the nervous system to malfunction.
  • Histopathology. If there is an increase in blood and lymph supplies, a person’s body temperature can increase, leading to inflammation and swelling. Discs may then tear, protrude, weaken or herniate.
  • Pathophysiology. This is when atypical bony growths make an effort to fuse defective joints of the spine, causing scar tissue, nerve dysfunction and deterioration of the spine.
  • Any one of these components, including spinal kinesiopathology, can arise due to trauma (e.g. automobile accident or slip and fall), stress or chemical imbalances.

Though the spinal bones are designed to move and, at the same time, guard the spinal cord and nerve root endings, there are times when they move too much or can become fixed and not move enough. When the bones of the spine are stuck, or become fixated, and do not move adequately enough, they cause other joints to move more than normal. These issues can twist spinal curves and hamper function. Depending on the area of the spine affected, adverse reactions and symptoms can occur in other areas of the body as well.

How Chiropractors Detect and Treat Spinal Kinesiopathology
Your chiropractor can detect this trait of vertebral subluxation complex by examining your posture and gauging your ability to bend and turn. He will also look at your symptoms, one of which will likely include pain.

To treat spinal kinesiopathology, your chiropractor may perform spinal adjustments to realign the spine and release pressed nerves and nerve endings. This should reduce discomfort and improve mobility. Some techniques may include:

  • Toggle drop. The chiropractor crosses his hands and gives a firm press to the spine, before adding a rapid thrust.
  • Release work. Gentle pressure is applied with fingertips to help separate vertebrae that have become connected, or fused.
  • Lumbar roll. The patient is placed on their side, and then the chiropractor employs a quick thrust to the area of misalignment. This is done in an attempt to place the vertebrae in their rightful position.
  • Table adjustments. The patient will lie on a table that has sections that drop down. A quick thrust given by the chiropractor causes parts of the table to release and drop. When the patient’s body drops down with the table, the table comes to a rest, but the body is still in motion temporarily. The thrust and motion provide a more gentle adjustment than other techniques, which may involve twisting positions.

To learn about these and other spinal adjustment techniques, contact us today.

Vertebral Subluxation

Vertebral subluxation refers to a set of signs and symptoms that affect the spinal column. Specifically, it is a complex that occurs when the bones of the spine lose their usual position and motion due to chemical imbalances, alcohol, prolonged sitting, trauma or even stress. An automobile accident and improper lifting are just two types of trauma that can cause vertebral subluxation complex, or VSC.

How Does Vertebral Subluxation Complex Affect the Body?

The term “complex” is associated with vertebral subluxation because, as the word suggests, the condition is multifaceted and consists of many elements. This is because VSC is the underlying cause of health care problems. When one or more vertebrae are misplaced or fail to carry out their intended motion, they can disrupt the function of the nervous system. The vertebral bones are designed to contain and guard this system, so interference can lead to pressure on the spinal cord or the nerve roots as they pass out of the spinal column. When VSC presents, a number of things can happen to affect the spine, its related soft tissues, and even the tissues and organs controlled by the affected nerves.

Vertebral Subluxation Complex and Its Five Interrelated Parts

VSC typically has — and is — identified by five major interconnected components, including:

Spinal kinesiopathology. This component sounds much like vertebral subluxation itself. Here, the bones of the spine have lost their natural motion and position, making it difficult for the patient to turn and bend. It sets the other four components in motion.
Myopathology. When the muscles sustaining the spine weaken, atrophy or become stiff, they can go into spasm. This can result in scar tissue that changes the muscle tone.
Neuropathophysiology. If the spine functions improperly, it can obstruct, stretch or agitate nerve tissue. Nerve tissue is delicate. Irritation in these ways can cause nerve system dysfunction and lead to aggravating symptoms elsewhere in the body.
Histopathology. A patient’s body temperature can rise due to an increase in blood and lymph supplies. This, in turn, can lead to inflammation and swelling, which can then cause discs to protrude, tear, herniate or deteriorate.
Pathophysiology. This is when abnormal bony growths like bone spurs try to meld faulty spinal joints, leading to decay of the spine, scar tissue and nerve dysfunction.
The articles within this section discuss each of the five components further.

How Chiropractic Treatments Can Help

Your chiropractor will not only detect and minimize VSC, but, once the spinal bones are back in their normal position and have regained their natural function, he or she will try to prevent the problem from recurring. Chiropractic treatments, particularly spinal adjustments, can be used to treat VSC and ward off its associated symptoms.

To find out how chiropractic treatments can be designed to address your particular VSC-related condition, contact your practitioner.

Effects of Chiropractic Care

Wellness requires you to be a proactive agent for your body. You need to treat it well and not wait until you hurt before you decide to take care of it. As we’ve said before health is not merely the absence of disease any more than wealth is an absence of poverty. Let’s remember health is not simply “feeling fine,” for we know that problems may progress for years without causing any symptoms whatsoever. As you know by now, heart disease for example, often develops unnoticed for many years before it strikes: in fact, the first symptom of heart disease that many people experience is a heart attack or death.

Now let us be clear that we are not under the illusion that everyone who creates a wellness lifestyle will be immune from pain, sickness, and disease. There are many people who do everything right and still get sick and die. Some will argue that there are many people who do everything wrong and live long, seemingly healthy lives. However, since we have no way to predict who is who, we have to do our very best to reduce our risk and promote our health.

Over the years in private practice, we have seen how neglecting their health has drained people of thousands of dollars, sometimes to the point of bankruptcy. We have seen people who have saved up and waited their entire lives to take a dream trip or to send their kids to college, whose savings and dreams were siphoned away to pay for health care expenses. We have seen people with work injuries like carpal tunnel syndrome or neck/back pain who have been unable to work, unable to drive, and even unable to sleep without pain. We have seen family members whose entire lives become dominated by the necessity to care for another family member who is sick or in pain. The effects of long-term illness or disability on a family can be devastating; in many cases, it happens to families who are already over-stressed, under-loved, and emotionally maxed out.

On the other hand, We have seen people who have been unemployed due to their pain or health condition choose to adopt new healthy habits: within a short period of time they are back at work making money, taking care of themselves and their families again, and are able to put away savings for their retirement.

We have heard every excuse you can imagine as to why people believe they can’t afford the time or money to invest in their health. But the truth is that you must invest in your health today, or disease may bankrupt you in every way later. If you don’t have the time and money to improve your health while you feel good, what makes you think you will have the time and money to improve your health once you have lost it? As Anthony Robbins once said, “you can make time for wellness now or you can make time for sickness later.” The choice is yours.

With regards to your wellness, the three main ideas that we really want to drive home . . .

  1. Health is not merely the absence of disease.
  2. The body has an innate intelligence that runs a series of complex systems that rely on proper balance and coordination in order to function correctly.
  3. By living a wellness lifestyle you can enrich your life with vibrant health.

Chiropractic Objective

What truly differentiates doctors of chiropractic from any other healthcare professionals is the fact that chiropractors are the only professionals who are trained to diagnose and treat what are called spinal subluxations. The word “subluxation” comes from the Latin words meaning “somewhat or slight” (sub) and “to dislocate” (luxate). So the term ‘vertebral subluxation’ literally means a slight dislocation or misalignment of the bones in the spine.

When a subluxation occurs, a chiropractor can correct the misaligned bone and allow it to return to its proper position. This procedure is appropriately called an adjustment, and the adjustment enables the body to heal. The chiropractic adjustment is a quick thrust applied to a vertebra for the purpose of correcting its position, movement or both. Adjustments are often accompanied by an audible release of gas that sounds like a “crack.” The sound sometimes shocks people a little bit the first couple times they get adjusted, but the sensation is usually relieving. Occasionally, minor discomfort is experienced, especially if the surrounding muscles are in spasm or the patient tenses up during the chiropractic procedure. There are times when the audible “cracking” does not occur. This is often due to either significant muscle tightness or that the patient may be having a hard time relaxing during their adjustments. However, the chiropractic adjustment is still important. The leak is fixed. The wiring is fixed. Information is flowing again. To keep the wiring fixed, several adjustments over a course of time may be necessary, in addition to massage, physical therapy, stretching exercises, or strengthening exercises. In the chiropractic world, keeping the problem fixed and preventing its reoccurrence is just as important as the initial remedy.

There are actually five components that contribute to the vertebral subluxation complex (VSC).

  • Bone Component – where the vertebra is either out of position, not moving properly, or are undergoing degeneration. This frequently leads to a narrowing of the spaces between the bones through which the nerves pass; often resulting in irritation or impingement of the nerve itself.
  • Nerve Component – is the disruption of the normal flow of energy along the nerve fibers, causing the messages traveling along the nerves to become distorted. The result is that all of the tissues that are fed by those nerves receive distorted signals from the brain and, consequently, are not able to function normally. Over time, this can lead to a whole host of conditions, such as peptic ulcers, constipation and other organ system dysfunction.
  • Muscular Component – since nerves control the muscles that help hold the vertebrae in place, muscles have to be considered to be an integral part of the vertebral subluxation complex. In fact, muscles both affect, and are affected by the VSC. A subluxation can irritate a nerve, the irritated nerve can cause a muscle to spasm, the spasmed muscle pulls the attached vertebrae further out of place, which then further irritates the nerve and you have a vicious cycle. It is no wonder that very few subluxations just go away by themselves.
  • Soft Tissue Component – the VSC will also affect the surrounding tendons, ligaments, blood supply, and other tissues as the misaligned vertebrae tug and squeeze the connective tissue with tremendous force. Over time, the soft tissues can become stretched out or scarred, leaving the spine with either a permanent instability or restriction.
  • Chemical Component – is the change in the chemistry of the body due to the VSC. Most often, the chemical changes, such as the release of a class of chemicals called “kinins,” are pro-inflammatory; meaning that they increase inflammation in the affected area.
  • These changes get progressively worse over time if they are not treated correctly, leading to chronic pain, inflammation, arthritis, muscle trigger points, the formation of bone spurs, loss of movement, as well as muscle weakness and spasm. Chiropractors have known the dangers of the vertebral subluxation complex ever since the birth of the profession. More and more scientific research is demonstrating the tremendous detrimental impact that subluxations have on the tissue of the body. In order to be truly healthy, it is vital that your nervous system be functioning free of interference from subluxations. Chiropractors are the only health professionals trained in the detection, location, and correction of the vertebral subluxation complex through chiropractic care.

Myths and Facts

Myth #1 – Chiropractors are not real doctors.
A chiropractic college grants a D.C. or Doctorate of Chiropractic degree. Chiropractors are licensed as health care providers in every U.S. state and dozens of countries around the world. While the competition for acceptance in chiropractic school is not as fierce as medical school, the chiropractic and medical school curricula are extremely rigorous and virtually identical. In fact, chiropractors have more hours of classroom education than their medical counterparts. As part of their education, chiropractic students also complete a residency working with real patients in a clinical setting, supervised by licensed doctors of chiropractic. Once chiropractic students graduate, they have to pass four sets of national board exams as well as state board exams in the states where they want to practice.

Just like medical doctors, chiropractors are professionals that are subject to the same type of testing procedures, licensing and monitoring by state and national peer-reviewed boards. Federal and state programs, such as Medicare, Medicaid, and Workers’ Compensations programs cover chiropractic care, and all federal agencies accept sick-leave certificates signed by doctors of chiropractic. Chiropractors are also commissioned as officers in the military.

The biggest difference between chiropractors and medical doctors lies not in their level of education, but in their preferred method of caring for people. Medical doctors are trained in the use of medicines (chemicals that affect your internal biochemistry) and surgery. Consequently, if you have a chemical problem, such as diabetes, hypothyroidism, or an infection, medical doctors can be very helpful. However, if your problem is that your spine is mis-aligned or you have soft tissue damage causing pain, there is no chemical in existence that can fix it. You need a physical solution to correct a physical problem. That is where chiropractic really shines. Chiropractors provide physical solutions — adjustments, exercises, stretches, muscle therapy — to help the body heal from conditions that are physical in origin, such as back pain, muscle spasms, headaches, and poor posture. Another distinction is the fact that it is completely appropriate to receive chiropractic care even if you do not have symptoms. Unlike standard medical doctors, whom you visit when you have a symptom to be treated, chiropractors offer adjustments to improve spinal alignment and overall well-being before symptoms develop.

Myth #2 – Medical doctors don’t like chiropractors.
The American Medical Association’s opposition to chiropractic was at its strongest in the 1940s under the leadership of Morris Fishbein. Fishbein called chiropractors “rabid dogs” and referred to them as “playful and cute, but killers” He tried to portray chiropractors as members of an unscientific cult who cared about nothing but taking their patients’ money. Up to the late 1970s and early 1980s, the medical establishment purposely conspired to try to destroy the profession of chiropractic. In fact, a landmark lawsuit in the Supreme Court of Illinois in the 1980s found that the American Medical Association was guilty of conspiracy and was ordered to pay restitution to the chiropractic profession.

In the 30 plus years since, the opinion of most medical doctors has changed: several major studies have shown the superiority of chiropractic in helping people with a host of conditions, and medical doctors developed a better understanding as to what chiropractors actually do. Many people have returned to their medical doctors and told them about the great results they experienced at their chiropractors office. Hospitals across the country now have chiropractors on staff, and many chiropractic offices have medical doctors on staff. Chiropractors and medical doctors are now much more comfortable working together in cases where medical care is necessary as an adjunct to chiropractic care.

Myth #3 – Once you start going to a chiropractor, you have to keep going for the rest of your life.
This statement comes up frequently when the topic of chiropractic is discussed. It is only partially true. You only have to continue going to the chiropractor as long as you wish to maintain the health of your neuromusculoskeletal system. Going to a chiropractor is much like going to the dentist, exercising at a gym, or eating a healthy diet: As long as you keep it up, you continue to enjoy the benefits.

Many years ago, dentists convinced everyone that the best time to go to the dentist is before your teeth hurt, that routine dental care will help your teeth remain healthy for a long time. The same is true of chiropractic care for your spine. It is important to remember that, just like your teeth, your spine experiences normal wear and tear as you walk, drive, sit, lift, sleep, and bend. Routine chiropractic care can help you feel better, move with more freedom, and stay healthier throughout your lifetime. Although you can enjoy the benefits of chiropractic care even if you receive care for a short time, the real benefits come into play when you make chiropractic care a part of your wellness lifestyle.