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How You Got Spinal Degeneration?
The three main driving forces in spinal degeneration are:
- Wolfe’s Law – which states that bone in a healthy person or animal will adapt to the forces and loads under which it is placed. If loading on a bone increases, the bone will remodel itself over time to become stronger to resist that sort of loading. What does this mean to us? Gravity, bad posture, improper biomechanics, and spinal fixation can change the amount of load on certain segments (important because not all spinal segments degenerate at the same rate) of our spine which starts the degeneration process
- Imbibition – Imbibition refers to the exchange of fluid via pressure changes. Our spinal discs have no vasculature (blood vessels). The only process by which they can receive nutrients is via imbibition. Compressive and flexion/extension (movement) forces on the vertebrae create a pumping action for the discs. This serves to pump nutrients like oxygen and glucose in to the discs, and toxins such as carbon dioxide out.
- Spinal alignment – we want a straight up and down spine from the front and a properly curved spine from the side. This is important because the alignment of our spine dictates how the joints will correlate with each other. These joints allow our back to be flexible and move through space. The joints in the spine are commonly called facet joints and each vertebra has two sets of these joints. One pair faces upward (superior articular facet) and one downward (inferior articular facet). Facet joints are hinge–like and link vertebrae together.
Spinal degeneration begins early (9% of 10-year-olds have spinal degeneration) and is usually asymptotic and remains asymptomatic until it is advanced and more difficult to treat. It has been proven that spinal fixation resulted in spur and calcification formation along with dehydration of the disc and degenerative changes in the vertebral bodies. The degenerative changes seen were directly proportional to the amount of time the fixation had been present. Research shows it only takes 14 days for a spinal fixation to begin degenerating. Prevention of spinal degeneration by removing spinal fixation and increasing disc hydration through imbibition is key to preventing future degeneration and delaying current degenerative joints/disc. Chiropractors specialize in moving spinal fixations with gentle adjustments to stop and reverse the degeneration that can come from poor posture and abnormal biomechanics.
If you are curious about what can be done to improve your condition or wonder if you may have spinal degeneration, click below