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By Dr. Andrew Adamski, Toronto Chiropractor

Many different movements or repetitive motions can cause spinal problems. One problem that leads many patients to seek chiropractic care is vertebral subluxation.

1) Vertebral Subluxation – a Vertebral Subluxation is the alteration of the normal joint dynamics. As the disc degenerates the joints of the adjacent vertebra may change slightly in their alignment. This may result in nerve root compression or irritation.

Research at the University of Colorado in 1974 , by Dr. CH Sub indicated that minimal compression – as little as 45 millimeters of mercury pressure, which is as much as you can place on your eyeball- on the spinal nerve at the point where it passes through the invertebral canal can affect the function of that nerve by as much as 60%.

Subluxations of the spine usually occur through sudden forceful movements, such as falls, lifting, twisting, auto or sporting accidents. The position of the spine at the time is a very important factor in determining the severity of the injury.

Subluxations may produce effects locally or in regions of the body removed from the site of the problem- a referred symptom. These symptoms may not develop until some time after the accident.

2) Herniated or Ruptured Disc- caused by a break in the external ring – annulus fibrosis. The internal substance –nucleus pulposus – flows through external ring and presses upon the spinal nerves or cord and may cause nerve root compression.

3). Protruding or bulging disc. – When the disc does not break completely through the outer rim it causes bulging of the annulus resulting in some nerve compression or irritation.  Slipped Disc – it is anatomically impossible to have a slipped disc because the disc is secured fast to a cartilage pad and then attached to the vertebral bone. A slipped disc is simply a popular term for one of the above problems.

4) Whiplash Injury – This occurs when the head had been thrown violently forward and backward. It is a common injury that may result in nerve root compression.

This hyperextension/ hyperflexion type injury goes beyond the spine’s normal range of motion causing spinal strain and damage to the surrounding soft tissue areas.  Whiplash injuries are not only caused by motor vehicle accidents. Any sudden trauma to the spine can produce the same effect.It is the ligaments that are usually damaged in a whiplash injury and if they are stretched beyond their elastic limits, then a Sprain results.

When a muscle is overstretched and tears occur, then we term it a Strain.

Whiplash may result in inflammation due to tearing or stretching of muscles and other soft tissues, especially around the neck. This results in a muscle spasm, loss of normal curves and limitations of motion.

In bad whiplash injuries, there may even be a minor or major fracture.

5) Degenerative Changes – the wear and tear process in a joint is called osteoarthritis.  The osteoarthritic spine becomes less flexible and more vulnerable to injury. Any simple unexpected or forced movement, incorrect posture, and constant bending or lifting can produce strain and injury to these degenerated joints.

At age 40 some people show evidence of degenerative joints.

6) Osteoporosis – affects about 25% of older women and 12% of older men. It causes deterioration of the bone strength and can lead to spontaneous pathological fractures. In some cases, the vertebra will actually compress or collapse and this can be a reason why people get shorter in their old age. In approximately 26% of women over 60 years, resultant vertebral deformities may cause “dowagers hump “.

Are you a good candidate for chiropractic care? What are the chances your body will respond well to the treatments?

Note: There is a wide variety of chiropractic techniques. Each chiropractor offers his/her unique sets of skills and specialized techniques based on their background and theoretical beliefs. There are also two major groups that split the chiropractors based on their practice philosophy. One is “old school” subluxation-based chiropractors and another one is “new school” evidence-based chiropractors. The presented chiropractic information on this page is provided for general educational purposes only. It does not necessarily reflect our chiropractor’s view and the way he/she practices chiropractic.