Do you ever wake up feeling like you “slept wrong”? Your body can feel out of whack or misaligned. This is often because that’s exactly what happened- your spine has slipped out of alignment. This can happen as a result of something as simple as a bad night’s sleep or something serious like a car accident or sports injury. But when the spine is out of alignment, it can have an impact on your entire body and general health. The best way to address these problems is to visit a chiropractor for back pain at the first sign of a problem, though it helps to understand exactly what is happening in your body.
Your spine is the bone that runs up the center of your body, from the base of the skull to the tailbone. Rather than a single bone, the spine is composed of a series of stacked vertebrae, small bones that form your spinal column. Between these bones sit soft, gel-like discs that absorb impact and allow the spine to move in a variety of ways, keeping us flexible.
The spine is composed of three primary regions. The lowest, the lumbar spine, begins at the sacrum and extends to the lower back; the thoracic spine is the center of your back; your neck and shoulders are supported by the cervical spine.
A healthy spine will exhibit a very slight curvature that helps with shock absorption. This should be visible from the side but not from the front or the back. Any significant curvature in the spinal cord can cause problems throughout the body.
The Spine’s Importance
As a structure, the spine is critical as it holds the body upright, allowing us to stand and move effectively. It is connected to the pelvis, shoulders, arms, and legs.
However, the spine’s secondary function is less well known. The spine protects the spinal cord, a long and thin tube of nervous tissue that runs from the brainstem to the lower lumbar. Without this, the brain would have no mechanism to communicate with nerves and organs throughout the body, making it critical for basic human functions.
When the spine is healthy, this process functions normally, but any slight misalignment in the spine can impact the spinal cord. This makes it difficult for the nerves to communicate properly, leading to breakdowns in bodily function.
Causes of Misalignments
The spine can suffer a misalignment for a wide variety of reasons. Sometimes this is a result of a simple and temporary problem like an injury or poor posture that causes stress on the spine. However, there are also disorders related to spinal curvature that can cause the spine to be chronically misaligned. Some examples include:
- Scoliosis: An exaggerated sideways curvature, usually in the shape of an S or a C rather than a straight line.
- Kyphosis: A chronic hunched posture with a thoracic spine rounded more than 50 degrees.
- Lordosis: Also called swayback, this is an alignment problem marked by a significant inward curve of the lumbar spine.
Left uncorrected, these misalignments can cause long-term mobility issues and chronic back pain. Over time, this can erode the discs between vertebrae, causing permanent loss of motion.
Re-Alignment of the Spine
Chiropractors are specifically trained in identifying misalignments in the spine, repairing them, and preventing them from happening again in the future. They do this primarily through a series of chiropractic adjustments, in which they use their hands to adjust bones in the spine and pelvis, helping them return to alignment. This is not painful and usually occurs over a series of treatments. You can learn more about the difference between a spine doctor vs chiropractor and which one to opt for.
Depending on the root cause of your back pain, chiropractic adjustments may be able to totally realign the spine, or they may be able to improve function without fully fixing the issue. The goal of chiropractic care is always to identify the underlying cause of your symptoms and address that, rather than simply covering your symptoms.
Chiropractic care is a safe, non-invasive, and effective treatment for any spinal misalignments. Even in cases where more intervention may be needed, it is the best first step towards maintaining or restoring mobility and a pain-free back.
At AICA Atlanta, our chiropractors are experts in spinal alignment and will work with you to determine your goals, creating personalized treatment plans to help you reach them. With access to onsite diagnostic scanning and a team of other professionals, the chiropractors at AICA Atlanta are committed to offering holistic care focused on your health.