The spine serves as your body’s support structure and is a major center for your overall health. When the spine isn’t operating correctly or is out of alignment, other body parts can be impacted due to excess pressure and stress. A healthy spine and balanced posture will be stronger, will have less pain, and will age better than a misaligned spine. A misaligned spine will result in long-term adverse health effects like pain, inflexibility, injury, and degeneration.
To help you make good decisions that will enable you to live life to the fullest, this article will explain the differences between a healthy spine vs. unhealthy spine. We’ll also discuss the signs and symptoms of an unhealthy spine before discussing available treatment options for spine misalignment issues.
Healthy Spine vs Unhealthy Spine: What Defines Each?
The evidence is clear on what a healthy spine really is and what it looks like. A healthy spine will have three balanced curvatures and normal position of the pelvis:
- The Neck – cervical lordosis (pictured right)
- The Mid Back – thoracic kyphosis
- The Lower Back – lumbar lordosis
These natural curvatures of the spine are influenced by genetics and development, so each person’s spinal curvatures are unique to them. A healthy spine can bedefined by spinal curvatures that fit the individual and results in a balanced posture. The great news is just like blood pressure, these curvatures can be measured to see if they are healthy or unhealthy.
A healthy spine vs an unhealthy spine will have normal alignment, and no loss (hypo) or gain (hyper) of these spinal curvatures. The posture and alignment will be balanced with ears over shoulders, shoulders over hips, and hips over ankles. When standing or sitting, a person with a healthy spine will have no forward head posture, no hunch or slouch, and their whole torso will stack right on top of their pelvis so that the body can move efficiently with little wear and tear. Going further, that individual will have a neutral pelvic tilt, meaning there is no anterior or posterior pelvic tilt.
In contrast, a person with an unhealthy spine will exhibit poor posture (such as hunching or hyperkyphosis of the thoracic spine, pictured left) and correlated aches and pains. For example, individuals with an inch-forward head posture may experience symptoms of neck pain, tension headaches, and even balance problems when studying. For every inch forward, you will effectively double the weight of the head because the weight of the head gets further from your center of gravity. This is commonly known as “tech or text neck.” Unfortunately, many individuals with alignment and postural issues go on to develop bone spurs, stenosis, and arthritis as a result of years of misalignment.
A chiropractor can evaluate your spinal alignment if you’re unsure whether you’re within a normal and healthy range of spinal alignment. During an initial consultation, your doctor will assess both the alignment of your spine and your posture. Chiropractors who work to restore spinal alignment will take x-rays of your spine to measure your curvatures. You’re in good shape if your alignment is within safe ranges, your posture is balanced, and you don’t exhibit any signs or symptoms that may otherwise point to a problem.
|A healthy spine = healthy spinal curvature and balanced posture. It’s both of those things, not one or the other.|
Standard Treatment Options for Spinal Misalignment
People with spinal misalignment and associated pain may decide to receive a combination of chiropractic adjustments and physiotherapy. These treatments can help alleviate inflammation and flexibility issues in younger individuals. However, mobility will be lost once spinal degeneration starts, regardless of an adjustment, massage, or new workout regimen.
It’s important to understand that chiropractic adjustments, massage therapy, exercise, and other forms of physical therapy have not been proven to change spinal curvature and should be seen as pain management treatments rather than a cure.
For example, massage therapy can relax muscles around the spine and reduce lactic acid buildup in the muscles that result from stress and strain. Stretching and exercise (such as yoga and pilates) can also help improve the overall health of muscles. However, these activities will not restore normal spinal alignment because they cannot go deep enough to affect the supportive discs and ligaments of the spine.
Chiropractic BioPhysics®: Treating the Cause of Alignment Issues
The ligaments and discs of the spine are made of elastic, tough, fibrous material that serves as the guidewires for the shape of your spinal curvatures. These structures keep your spine in normal alignment while you move, sit, sleep, and exercise. Over time, and with continual poor posture or trauma, they can harden into unnatural and unhealthy alignment. If you’re suffering from abnormal spinal curvature and misalignment issues, you’ll need to treat ligaments and discs directly to restore your spine to a healthy shape.
During your initial consultation with PostureWorks, your doctor will look for signs of abnormal leg length, pelvic tilt, asymmetry, and other issues that can contribute to alignment problems. Your spinal curvature will be evaluated at that time. After determining the best game plan for treatment, your doctor will recommend postural exercise, core strengthening, and neuromuscular education to train and create a new unconscious posture. Your doctor will also prescribe spinal corrective traction that will treat the deeper ligaments and disks of the spine.
Chiropractic BioPhysics® (or CBP) has been proven by research to change curvature and alignment issues. This treatment can help patients regain flexibility, stretch ligaments back into their original healthy shape, and rehydrate the spinal disc. If you want a long-term and long-lasting change, seek a doctor who can provide CBP to treat the cause of misalignment and restore curvatures back to a healthy posture.
PostureWorks — Get Treatment with Chiropractic BioPhysics®
The negative effects of an unhealthy spine can be avoided by people with balanced posture and spinal alignment that falls within normal range. Spinal misalignment is known to cause chronic pain and mobility problems and it’s important for those with this condition to seek early treatment before it leads to advanced spinal degeneration. If you have a spinal misalignment, seek treatment that can successfully treat the root cause of the problem.
PostureWorks renders non-surgical structural rehabilitation of the spine and posture and can diagnose and treat spinal misalignment. When you work with a Chiropractic BioPhysics® provider, such as the doctors at PostureWorks, they look at your entire medical history and provide you with a biometric analysis of your spine and posture to give you a clear picture of your current spinal curvature. Using this analysis, a personalized treatment plan consisting of postural exercises, neuromuscular re-education, and spinal alignment traction is created to help realign your spine and relieve pressure from your nerves to improve your overall quality of life.
Chiropractic BioPhysics® is a deeply researched and results-oriented corrective care technique. Our Posture And Spinal Alignment Care Plans are adapted from the Chiropractic BioPhysics® evidence-based research. Over 30 years of research and 250+ peer articles all conclude that in order to achieve not just short-term pain relief but also lasting improvements for patients there are three main types of treatment necessary: Postural Exercise, Neuro-Muscular Reeducation, and Spinal Alignment Traction. Contact us today to schedule your appointment and learn more about healthy spine vs unhealthy spines!