PHASES OF SPINAL DEGENERATION
Most people think that spinal misalignment only occurs when you suffer a traumatic injury like a car accident. In truth, the most mundane activities can cause spinal issues, and almost everyone suffers from some sort of spinal subluxation at some point during their life. Whether you work a sedentary desk job or you’re a high-performance athlete, you can suffer spinal trauma from simple, everyday activities, from walking to watching television.
Repetitive traumas, over time, can affect your spine in the same way as a traumatic injury. They can be just as serious as a major car accident. In fact, when your spine suffers misalignment over a long period of time, it can reduce your health to the point where it leads to degeneration of your spinal column.
This is an image of a normal cervical curve. Use this image for comparison as you progress through the phases of degeneration and see how subluxation over time can affect your spine if left unchecked.
In the first phase of degeneration the cervical curve begins to straighten or even reverse from its normal curve. This causes increased strain on the anatomy of the neck accelerating the degeneration process. There may not be any structural damage or symptoms yet. Without proper chiropractic care this improper curve will eventually progress to Phase 2.
In Phase 2 we begin to see a decrease in disc height as well as some minor boney structures extending from the vertebral bodies. Range of motion may be decreased and pain is likely still not present.
In Phase 3 we begin to see actual fusion of the vertebrae. Here symptoms may begin to manifest and range of motion in your neck is compromised.
Phase 4 is where we see complete fusion of the vertebrae. Now range of motion is significantly disrupted and patient’s quality of life is significantly decreased.
Despite where we are in the degenerative process there is still hope. We always expect to see increase in function and as a result, decrease in symptoms.
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