Spinal degeneration is often caused by long standing stress and Vertebral Subluxations in your spine. When your spine degenerates, your spinal bones begin to deform, your discs swell,
then shrink, your ligaments, tendons and muscles begin to harden and weaken, and your entire spinal column loses its balance, flexibility, stability and strength. Your nerves, body
chemistry and internal organs can also be affected. Spinal degeneration can make it harder to adapt to the pressures of every day life.
Loss of Height
Most people believe they automatically lose height when they reach old age. However, the loss of height is silent, slow and gradual, and may begin in your 20s and 30s as one of the
symptoms of spinal degeneration.
Spinal degeneration is like tooth decay - an often painless process that goes on for years before any damage is detected. Simple day-to-day stress can cause your spine's many complex
parts to deteriorate. Stress often causes the spinal vertebrae to shift from their proper places, or to become misaligned and irritate the surrounding nerves, bones, discs, ligaments
and other soft tissues - resulting in a Vertebral Subluxation Complex that must be addressed before it causes significant damage.
The Phases of Degeneration
First your spine loses its normal balance. There may be a loss of normal spinal curves. Your nerves may be affected and the vital life energy that flows over them is interrupted. Your
joints, discs, nerves and posture are stressed and age more quickly. Surprisingly, there may be no pain other than occasional discomfort. Some individuals may also experience a slight
lessening of energy and height loss. Response to spinal care at this stage is generally good.
In the second phase of degeneration, there is a much greater degree of decay, disc narrowing and bone spurs (deformations). Postural changes are much more evident and spinal canal
narrowing (stenosis) may occur. This phase is characterized by aches and pains, fatigue and a diminished ability to cope with stress. Height continues to decrease. This condition is
very common - by age 40, 80% of males and 76% of females exhibit moderate disc degeneration. With chiropractic care at this stage, significant improvement is possible.
In the third stage, individuals will experience significantly increased postural imbalances, nerve damage, permanent scar tissue, advanced bone deformation and the onset of physical
and/or mental weakness or disability. Permanent losses of height and energy also occur. With care, some reversal is possible.
During the fourth and most advanced stage of degeneration, the postural imbalance is severe and motion is limited. There is extensive nerve damage, permanent scar tissue is formed and
bones may begin to fuse. Individuals experience pain, various degrees of physical or mental disability and continued loss of energy and height. At this stage, the condition is
considered irreversible, although chiropractic care may give some symptomatic relief.
The Chiropractic Approach
You need not sit and passively watch your spine degenerate. Dr. Southall's chiropractic care can slow and even reverse spinal degeneration by improving spinal balance and posture and
keeping your joints, nerves and discs healthy and strong throughout your lifetime. The restoration of motion can lead to restoration of normal function, and if identified in time,
correction of a Vertebral Subluxation can allow the condition to reverse itself.
The sooner chiropractic care begins, the better chance the patient has for its arrest and reversal. Of course, the best approach to spinal degeneration is to prevent it from occurring
in the first place. Dr. Southall recommends bringing your children for periodic spinal checkups to make sure that their spines are free of the Vertebral Subluxation Complex.
Since stress, modern life and the environment take a toll on us, periodic spinal checkups to detect "silent" Vertebral Subluxations are of vital importance for everyone in your
family. In addition, anytime anyone experiences a fall, accident or other trauma, he or she should have his or her spine checked.