Is Your Table Set?

[originally published in KCN, February 2009]

Place SettingIt’s not uncommon — when I query someone who has come to my office, if they have any neck pain, headaches, or lower back pain —for them to say, “Yes but….”

“Yes, but… my neck pain is because I have a bad pillow.”

“Yes, but… my headaches are brought on by stress.”

“Yes, but… my lower back pain is because I drive a lot.”

And my response is, “That may be so, but….”

You see a bad pillow, stress, and driving a lot are examples of things that a “normal,” healthy spine should be able to take in stride.

Our spine is composed of 24 moving bones called vertebrae. These vertebrae when stacked on top of one another form the spinal column, which protects and houses the spinal cord. Between each vertebra exits out spinal nerve roots that branch out acting as the “electrical utility” for the body — for it is through these vital communication links that the brain and body “talk” with one another and vital functions are carried out.

The problem arises when one or more of these movable vertebrae get “kinked”, “jammed,” “thrown out of alignment,” or “stuck” due to physical, emotional, or chemical overload. This dysfunctioning vertebral joint is what we chiropractors call a “subluxation,” and it is capable of becoming not only the bane of your comfortable life, but your health because it irritates and “chokes” the body’s essential nerve communications.

Sometimes, these subluxations are quite obvious and noticeable. Other times, however, they show up on scene and work quietly — slowly sapping your energy and making preparations for a much bigger problem in the future. It’s sort of like a dental cavity that causes no pain at first — but slowly begins its decay process until it exposes the nerve and becomes incredibly painful.

So, to get back to my “Yes, but…” patients above, the fact that they get neck pain, headaches, and lower back pain because of certain things they’ve come to identify, is quite likely due to the fact that they have been living with a chronic mechanical problem in their spine: a subluxation. In other words, having a chronic subluxation in place “sets the table” for that neck pain, that headache, or that lower back pain to literally “sit down for dinner” and cause you grief by making your spine unable to effectively interact with its surrounding environment. Under conditions in which the spine is mechanically sound and free of subluxation, your neck should be able to tolerate a bad pillow.  Daily stress should not push you to a headache, and driving a lot should not fire up your lower back.

To bolster my point, a study in the 2005 volume of the Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics colic-jmptlooked at 277 neck x-rays that were randomly selected at a chiropractic clinic. This clinic was unique in that it regularly conducted research and thus every patient, neck complaint or not, received an x-ray. What they found was that in the presence of a mechanical problem (in this case, a loss of the neck’s normal side curve) neck complaints were reported up to 18 times more frequently than if the mechanical issue was not present at all.

Do you every have neck pain, headaches, or lower back pain? You know, the “Yes, but…” pains?  Your local chiropractor is ready and willing to help you “unset your table” for those uninvited and irritating “dinner guests.” Chiropractic can help restore your control of the “guest list” and allow you to sit down to dinner with a lifestyle that you’ll enjoy.


Source used for this article:
McAviney et al. Determining the relationship between cervical lordosis and neck complaints. JMPT 28(3) pp 187-193. 2005.
Explore posts in the same categories: chiropractic 101, chronic, headache, low back pain, neck pain, subluxation

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