Spinal Degeneration

The spine comprises of many bones known as vertebrae each of which has a large hole in its center. Because these bones are situated on top of each other, their holes line up, forming the spinal canal. This canal provides protection and space for the spinal cord and nerves to travel from the brain to the rest of the body. Each vertebra connects with the vertebra above and below via two types of joints: the facet joints on either side of the spine and the disc centrally. There are also small holes on each side of the spine that allow nerves to exit the spinal canal.

Over time, wear and tear to the discs, joints and bones can occur resulting in degenerative changes to the spine. These degenerative changes may include decreased disc height, loss of joint cartilage, bony spurring (osteophytes) and thickening of bone. This condition is known as spinal degeneration. As this condition progress the spinal canal and intervertebral foramen can begin to narrow and may eventually place pressure on the spinal cord and nerves resulting in a variety of symptoms.

There are 4 distinct phases that occur with spinal degeneration. They are:

Phase 1
First your spine loses its normal balance. There may be a loss of normal spinal curves. Your nerves may be affected and the vital life energy that flows over them is interfered with. Also your joints, discs, nerves and posture and stressed and age more quickly. Surprisingly, there may be no pain other than occasional minor discomfort. Also present may be a slight lessening of energy and slight height loss. Response to spinal care is generally good.

Phase 2
Here there is a much greater degree of decay, disc narrowing and bone spurs (deformations); postural changes are much worse. This condition is very common (by age 40, 80% of males and 76% of females exhibit moderate disc degeneration). Spinal canal narrowing or stenosis may occur. This phase is characterized by more common aches and pains, fatigue and a diminished ability to cope with stress. Height continues to decrease. With chiropractic care significant improvement is possible.

Phase 3
Here there are more postural imbalances, increased nerve damage, permanent scar tissue and advanced bone deformation. Physical and/or mental weakness or disability begin. Also found in this phase are permanent loss of height and loss of energy. With care some reversal is possible.

Phase 4
This is the most advanced stage of subluxation degeneration. The postural imbalance is severe and motion is limited. There is severe nerve damage, permanent scar tissue is formed and the bones may begin to fuse. In this phase we find pain, various degrees of physical or mental disability, and continued loss of energy and height. By now the condition is considered irreversible, although chiropractic may give some symptomatic relief. Dr. Jeff has found that improved energy and function are noted. It is never too late to begin Chiropractic Care.