Approximately 80% of adults will experience some form of back pain—which can stem from a variety of causes. Over time, back pain can become chronic, leading to other medical conditions that can cause further pain and discomfort.
This type of pain can almost always be traced back to the spine and its curvature. As the spine operates as one of the most important parts of your body, misalignments can be the catalyst for a myriad of health issues.
This article will detail the short- and long-term issues associated with spinal misalignment, its causes, and how ideal spine curvature can solve and prevent these health problems from occurring.
Why Is Ideal Spinal Curvature Important?
Your parents, teachers, and other adults undoubtedly reminded you to sit up straight when you were a child. It turns out, they were correct. Your posture—which is crucial to how your body functions—is determined by the curves of your spine.
A complex network of bones, cartilage, muscles, tendons, ligaments, and nerve tissue makes up the spine. It has several responsibilities, including acting as a component of your central nervous system and serving as the main structural support for your entire musculoskeletal system.
Your spine doesn’t just support body weight, it is also a linchpin in locomotion. For example, the muscles in your legs are rooted into the lumbar muscles at the bottom of your spine. Your spine also provides stability for your shoulders and arms.
Moreover, because it provides a protection for your central nervous system, misalignments can cause improper function of your nervous system. Because lacking ideal spine curvature can negatively impact your posture and weight bearing, it can also be extremely detrimental to how healthy you are and how your body ages.
You can find some common symptoms of poor posture stemming from improper spinal alignment below.
Short-Term Health Effects of Spinal Misalignment
- Neck and back pain
- Shoulder pain
- Hip and foot pain
- Tight muscles
- Headaches and migraines
- Discomfort while sleeping
- Improper breathing
- Ramped up stress and increased anxiety
Long-Term Health Effects of Spinal Misalignment
- Adult Spinal Deformity (ADS)
- Chronic back and neck pain
- Decreased mobility and flexibility
- Repetitive injuries
- Inability to be active and exercise
- Chronic respiratory problems
- Disc degeneration
- Tingling, numbness, or pain in the arms, hands, legs, and feet
- Accelerated joint degeneration
- Reduced cognitive function
- Compression fractures
Your spine acts as your body’s shock absorber; misalignment can cause it to deteriorate significantly faster than it would have otherwise.
How Spinal Misalignment Forms
Spinal misalignment of the curvature typically starts as back pain and muscle tension. Then it progresses into chronic pain and higher frequencies.
The first signs of spinal misalignment include pain and muscle tension. As a response, your body layers on more supportive tissue (scar tissue) to stabilize the area of higher stress and pressure. Range of motion and flexibility decreases as the soft tissue becomes more stiff, locking you into poor posture. Finally, the joint, ligaments, and discs start to harden and turn into bone. These responses occur as the body’s way of protecting itself against imbalanced posture and spinal alignment.
As you can see, something as seemingly innocuous as spinal misalignment can have significant effects on your health. It’s important to note that many short-term issues can quickly become chronic issues that lead to long-term issues.
For example, spinal misalignment reduces vital lung capacity and breathing. If untreated, spinal misalignment can escalate into a respiratory malfunction as the spine pushes the ribcage out of its natural position.
The spine’s position and the way it can affect your cognitive abilities and stress levels are often understated or overlooked. Because the spine holds the spinal cord which communicates with your brain, having it out of alignment puts literal tension on the cord and reduces the speed of nerve transmission by 20% and reduces blood flow to the brain, having a negative effect on long-term health.
Patients who have loss of curvature from an auto accident are shown to have lower cognitive function. Furthermore, curvature issues such as forward head posture and hunching are shown to increase stress response, so disorders like anxiety may be exacerbated by spinal misalignment.
Having improper spinal alignment and bad posture is bad news for your health. Luckily, there are ways to restore a less-than-ideal spine curvature.
Treatments for Spinal Misalignment
Spinal misalignment doesn’t just happen overnight. It occurs over time as the spine’s natural curvature breaks down.
Long-term symptoms will often require corrective chiropractic care to restore the natural curvature but some short-term symptoms such as pain and discomfort can be treated at home.
- Exercises and stretches: If you’re experiencing acute neck, back, or shoulder pain, exercises like yoga or pilates can provide short-term relief.
- Heat and massages: Likewise for acute symptoms, applying heat and pressure to affected areas can alleviate symptoms.
While these treatments can soothe the muscles to provide relief from pain and discomfort, they do little to actually fix the root problem of spinal misalignment.
It’s important to understand that your spine’s curvature can not be treated with exercises, heat, or massages. This is because your spine’s curvature is controlled by ligaments which are designed to prevent muscles from moving them out of position.
However, when combined with chiropractic care, these exercises and treatments can be a part of a long-term solution that can help return ideal spinal curvature.
If you’re experiencing chronic health issues that could be related to your spinal alignment, it may be time to seek professional care.
Obtain Ideal Spinal Curvature with Chiropractic BioPhysics®
The ideal spinal curvature of every individual is unique. That’s why the team at PostureWorks uses Chiropractic BioPhysics® (CBP) to measure the neck and back to isolate your cervical, thoracic, and lumbar curvature and craft a customized treatment plan to get your spine back in shape and solve your back pain and other symptoms at the root.
Our treatment plans incorporate a variety of methods such as spinal traction which stretches and restores flexibility of the spine in combination with neuro-muscular reeducation. We also incorporate postural exercises to return your spine to its ideal curvature and train your body to unconsciously hold itself in the proper position to ensure that curvature is maintained. Your unique alignment requires a unique treatment to enjoy a quality life.
Chiropractic BioPhysics®, or CBP, is a deeply researched and results-oriented corrective care technique. CBP-trained chiropractors aim to realign the spine back to health and optimal function. As with all chiropractic care, CBP is conservative, painless, and non-invasive. Contact us today to schedule your appointment or to learn more about your ideal spine curvature.