Why Visit a Chiropractor?
Many people struggle with pain ranging from mild to severe that stems from spinal issues such as irregular spinal curvature. Everyone’s spine has some degree of natural curvature; however, when this curvature is misaligned, it can cause pain, discomfort, increased stress, and reduced performance, as well as a host of other symptoms.
Whether it’s back, neck, or shoulder pain, it can come in varying degrees of severity and can affect the body in a multitude of ways. It may often seem easier to simply soldier through the pain and hope that it goes away the next day. After all, why visit a chiropractor if you don’t “need” to? We could ask the same question of dentistry—why see a dentist if you don’t have a cavity? The spine is the structure that allows you to move, exercise, and be active. It contains and strongly influences your nervous system, which controls all of your sensorimotor function (sensory input to motor response), all nine organ systems, and your overall health.
The Major Functions of the Spine
It’s the core of the central nervous system
It contains the spinal cord, the core component of the central nervous system. All neurophysiological functions—sensory input and all motor reactions from the brain—are influenced by spinal structure.
It’s the body’s main support structure
The spine is designed to withstand the forces of gravity and activity throughout a lifetime. This strength is derived from the balance of its three curvatures: cervical, thoracic, and lumbar. Sitting on top of the solid pelvis, it is also the anchor point for your extremities.
It‘s the body’s power and mobility
All balance, power, and movement are rooted in the spine and its alignment. It is the main attachment point for the muscles and ligaments that stabilize you and give you great balance. The spine is a spring shaped to absorb and transmit forces into the energy of motion.
The spine’s natural curvature plays a pivotal role in our functions and movements. In some cases, pain may be acute and go away on its own. However, it’s just as common for issues with the spine and surrounding tissue to become painful and inflexible, especially as we age. Moreover, what may seem like mild pain now is shown to snowball into long-term medical conditions called adult spinal deformity (ASD), which can consist of slipped discs, bone spurs, scoliosis, and osteoarthritis.
Due to its many important roles, good spinal health is a key component to a long, fulfilling life. If you’re suffering from some kind of body pain that may be related to the spine, read below to find out why you should visit a chiropractor.
Poor spinal health can cause back pain in various ways, and the manifestation of the pain hinges on the spinal condition and the region of the spine the pain derives from.
Some of the most common causes of back pain relating to spinal health are:
Kyphosis is the normal curvature of the thoracic spine. However, there are two abnormal forms of kyphosis—hyperkyphosis, a forward hunching of the spine, and hypokyphosis, a hyperextension of the thoracic spine.
Untreated hyperkyphosis is what typically causes a noticeably hunched posture. While we typically associate hyperkyphosis with aging, as the weakening of the muscles in the area causes the spinal curvature to deteriorate, it can appear in anyone at any age with prolonged poor posture.
While mild cases of abnormal kyphosis may not present noticeable symptoms, more exaggerated curves can cause moderate to severe back and neck pain. Kyphosis can also limit your physical functions due to a negative impact on your neurophysiology and strength, and it can even increase your stress response.
Scoliosis is an unnatural lateral curvature of the spine that exceeds 10 degrees with some form of twisting. Scoliosis, which causes pain and stiffness, can occur anywhere in the back. While scoliosis largely affects children and adolescents, it can affect anyone at any age. There are two main types of scoliosis:
Lordosis is the normal C-shaped curvature found in the lower back and neck. A loss of curvature in either area will reduce balance, impair nervous function, and increase stress. Abnormal lordotic curvatures in both the neck and low back are correlated to increased pain, degeneration of joints and discs, reduced physical performance, and injury. Radicular or referred nerve pain conditions such as pain down the arm or sciatica can be caused by changes in the lordotic curvatures of the spine.
Aside from the above, back pain can also be caused by:
- Poor posture
- Trauma from injuries
- Repetitive motions
- Inactivity and a sedentary lifestyle
Neck pain is another common symptom of poor spinal health and can make navigating your daily life difficult since the neck is involved in almost every movement you make. The curvature of the cervical spine, or the part of the spine located in your neck, can become irregular and cause forward head posture. This results in a variety of symptoms, including neck pain, headaches, and stiffness. The neck can also be affected by lordosis in the same way the lower back can.
Other causes of neck pain include:
- Poor posture
- Prolonged electronic device usage
- Poor sleeping posture
- Trauma from injuries such as whiplash
Spinal misalignments that are causing pain in the extremities, such as in the arms and legs, are often overlooked. However, because many of the muscles and nerves in these appendages are connected to or rooted in the spine, they share a connection to its health.
There are various ways in which you may experience dysfunction in the arms and legs depending on the specific spinal issue.
- Poor posture: Hunching and forward head posture commonly create shoulder, arm, and hand pain, while pelvis rotations and shifts in the ribcage right or left of center lead to hip, knee, and even foot problems.
- Scoliosis: Scoliosis can cause pain, tingling, numbness, and limited range of motion in the arms because it can often cause uneven shoulders. It can also create the same symptoms in the legs because the spinal misalignment can cause leg asymmetry, or one leg being longer than the other.
- Lumbar and pelvic misalignment: Because the sciatic nerve runs from the lower back into the feet, sciatica can cause pain, tingling, and a burning sensation throughout the path of the sciatic nerve.
Pain in the arms and legs can make it difficult to do basic tasks such as walking, standing, sitting, and picking up and moving objects.
Headaches and Migraines
Other symptoms of spinal misalignments include headaches and migraines. Forward head posture, a loss of curvature in the cervical spine, places excess tension on the nervous system and causes constriction in the blood vessels that carry blood to the brain. Headaches and migraines can cause mild to severe pulsating or throbbing pain that can affect one or more areas of the head. This easily can take anyone out of commission depending on the severity of symptoms and make it difficult to perform even basic tasks.
Beyond spinal misalignment, headaches and migraines can be caused by:
- Lack of sleeping habits
- Physical trauma
Why Visit a Chiropractor?
Symptoms such as pain and immobility are rarely isolated to only one issue in the spine; in fact, there are several ways in which your spinal health can cause you pain and duress.
While it may seem fine to ignore the symptoms and tough them out, even mild symptoms can snowball into more severe symptoms and other health complications if left untreated. It’s best to take a proactive approach if you’re suffering from back pain, neck pain, extremity pain, or recurring headaches and migraines. Not only will you get a reprieve from your symptoms but you’ll also establish better long-term health.
Working with a chiropractor can be an excellent first line of defense in alleviating these symptoms as well as improving your spinal health so that you don’t experience them in the future. Chiropractic care constitutes a variety of treatment options that can be used together or interchangeably depending on the need.
Some of the most common and effective chiropractic treatments include:
- Postural exercises: Spinal misalignments can be caused or reinforced by poor posture. The spine is held in place by muscles and ligaments; when they weaken, they lose the ability to maintain the spine’s natural curvature. Over time, these muscles and ligaments expand and contract to hold the current curvature. Postural exercises rework the muscles and ligaments in the back and strengthen them to hold a natural curvature.
- Spinal traction: Ligaments are the supportive guidewires that hold the integrity of spinal curvatures. Ligaments will shorten and form adhesions over time due to poor posture or trauma, locking a person into poor posture and misalignment. Spinal traction involves the application of a sustained stretch to the spinal ligaments to realign the natural optimal balance and curvature. This treatment is essential for long-term results.
- Chiropractic adjustments: A chiropractic adjustment (also known as spinal manipulation) involves the manual application of force onto the spine either with the hand or with a small instrument. These controlled spinal manipulations restore segmental range of motion, turn off muscle spasms, and push inflammation out of the joint to speed up pain relief and recovery.
- Neuromuscular reeducation: The shape of your posture is part muscle memory. Over time, your body will unconsciously calibrate itself to poor posture. Neuromuscular reeducation involves training the brain to unconsciously hold a better posture and spinal curvature, allowing for a much more long-term effect on your spinal health.
Benefits of Chiropractic Care
Improved Overall Health
Chiropractic care is:
- Drug-free: Chiropractic care does not involve the use of drugs, so you won’t be subject to potential side effects. It also solves health issues at the source so that you won’t be dependent on things like painkillers.
- Non-invasive: Chiropractic care does not involve surgery so you don’t have to worry about going under the knife for treatment.
- Improves immune function: Because our immune system uses the spinal cord to communicate with the body, improvements to posture or spinal alignment improve the body’s immune response. Also, our immune system is impacted by stress levels, and chiropractic care is shown to lower stress.
- Increases energy: Chiropractic care reduces pain, discomfort, and inflammation, potentially increasing your energy.
- Lowers blood pressure: Studies have shown that chiropractic adjustments can lower blood pressure, which can be great for long-term health.
- Improves digestion: Spinal misalignments can negatively affect our digestive system. Chiropractic care can improve digestive issues by realigning the spine. It also helps with conditions such as acid reflux.
- Increases balance: With corrected spinal alignment and improved posture, your body will maintain proper balance, evenly distributing pressure on the body. Not only will you be able to move better, but your body will be under less stress and less prone to injury.
- Improves sleep: Pain and discomfort can make it difficult to fall and stay asleep. This is problematic because sleep is regenerative and allows the body to heal. With chiropractic care, your body will be able to heal more efficiently, and you’ll wake up feeling refreshed and energized.
- Extends your range of motion: Because chiropractic care can improve the body’s range of motion, you’ll be able to navigate daily activities much more efficiently and with less effort.
- Improves neurological function: The spinal cord is the body’s main neurological highway. Issues with spinal alignment can make it more difficult for the body to send neurological signals from the body to the brain and vice versa. Improving spinal alignment can result in better response times and improved motor functions.
Chiropractic care does much more than treat back pain—it also helps you age better, which is another reason why to visit a chiropractor. The culmination of these benefits is improved health which facilitates more graceful aging for the body.
While chiropractic care is extremely effective at managing pain, it also can be part of a proactive approach to increased health for patients who aren’t experiencing pain. Because the body will be under less stress, you’ll be preventing problems before they arise so that you can live better for longer.
Chiropractic care is an effective way to treat and prevent both short- and long-term symptoms of spinal misalignments. However, the most important part of treatment is ensuring the cause of your pain and symptoms is treated at the root—not all chiropractors are equipped to do so.
Chiropractic BioPhysics® is the Gold Standard in Chiropractic Care
Maintaining your unique spinal health and alignment is essential to ensuring you can stay upright and mobile long into your life, which is why you should visit a chiropractor. The team at PostureWorks understands the individuality of every person’s spine; that’s why we use Chiropractic BioPhysics® to properly assess your spine and your entire medical history to identify irregularities as well as what your natural curvature should be.
We go beyond regular chiropractic care by crafting a customized treatment plan that incorporates a combination of treatments such as postural exercises, spinal traction, chiropractic adjustments, and neuromuscular reeducation, tailored to your specific needs.
Being in pain isn’t fun, and it can make it more difficult to do the things in life that matter. With Chiropractic BioPhysics®, not only can you experience immediate pain relief, but you can also enjoy the benefits of long-term improvements to your spinal health.
To learn more about why you should visit a chiropractor or to schedule your appointment with PostureWorks, contact us today.
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.
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