Spinal Corrective Care Vs. Chiropractic
Spinal Corrective Care looks to correct the actual underlying structure of your spine, not just simply move bones around to make you feel “better” temporarily. Chiropractic is amazing and wonderful and as a tool it is extremely effective at realigning your spine, but it is just one part of an equation. If I move your bones only once, you will feel better, but whatever process pulled that bone out to begin with WILL pull it out again. So a single adjustment doesn’t fix the underlying issue. That’s where Spinal Corrective Care comes in. Through a proper and thorough analysis we may find that your low back pain is actually caused by a gait issue, and if we only treat your low back your pain will eventually come back and you are going to be at risk for future injuries to your hips, knees, ect. You have to look at the person as a whole. You can’t just focus on that single misaligned vertebra. You have to ask WHY is that vertebra misaligned. Find that answer, and you are doing a true service to your patient.
Below is the entire process and underlying science behind Chiropractic and Spinal Corrective Care. Correcting your spine can do so much more than just get you out of pain. It can stop arthritic and degenerative conditions. It can prevent arthritic and degenerative conditions. It can give you increased blood flow to your brain! Your jaw will have better alignment. You will be able to breathe better! It helps your entire body move correctly! It is so much more than just a quick rack and crack adjustment, or at least it should be if it is being done correctly.
THE CERVICAL LORDOTIC CURVATURE
Your cervical lordotic curvature is so vitally important not just to your spine but also your overall health and your lifespan. As stated in a 2005 research article in the Journal SPINE, a loss of the curve in your neck can take 14 years off of your total lifespan. The 6 diagrams below will explain how the loss of this curvature can be detrimental to your health, and how restoring the curve will change your life.
The cervical curve is designed specifically to support an 8 to 10 pound load (your head) for 10 hours a day in a standing position for 75 to 85 years without showing wear and tear or arthritis or even aches and pains! So long as the position of the curve is maintained the weight distribution will allow the bones to share the weight making sure that no one bone takes too much weight or load. If the curvature is lost the weight will shift to the C5 and C6 vertebrae. The increase in load will cause these vertebrae to begin to deform and eventually collapse completely under the immense load.
Your cervical curvature controls much more than just the weight from your head…
BRAINSTEM COMPRESSION SEEN IN LOSS OF CERVICAL CURVE
With the loss of and reversal of the cervical curve we also see a significant drop in the angle of the first cervical vertebra. The first cervical vertebra is the opening to the spinal canal. This drop of the angle at C1 causes an impingement of the brainstem as it exits the skull. This pressure being placed on the brainstem can interfere with many neuronal signals. This pressure on the brainstem can eventually lead to neuronal decay and actual damage to the brainstem itself. Your brainstem controls several vital functions to your body. When you go to sleep your brainstem keeps your heart beating and lungs breathing. It also plays a key role in balance and autonomic control of nearly all of your body’s systems. This compression is the most significant factor sited in the 2005 Spine Journal research article that states loss of cervical curvature can take up to 14 years off an individual’s lifespan. This compression in the elderly is also a key factor in incontinence. Your brainstem controls your body’s autonomic bowel and bladder functions. If the brainstem is under enough compression the autonomic bowel and bladder sphincters do not function. This makes it incredibly difficult to control the bowel and bladder functions.
In this diagram look at the two large white bulges just below the cerebellum. The first MRI shows a healthy brainstem. In the second picture the lower of the two bulges is no longer apparent as the curve has shifted forward and C1 is causing compression on the brainstem. The third MRI shows a massive amount of compression to the posterior brainstem as the cervical curve is completely reversed and is also causing anterior collapse at C4, C5, C6, and C7. This anterior collapse is inevitable once the curvature is lost due to the exponential biomechanical load on the front of the vertebral bodies. This is why the curvature must be maintained throughout an individual’s lifespan.
CEREBROSPINAL FLUID FLOW (CSF)
Cerebrospinal fluid bathes your brain and spinal cord. It provides a liquid medium that can act as a buffer and allow for movement. It also provides much needed nutrients to the brain and helps drain away waste products. When the cervical lordosis or curve is lost it kinks this system which is like kinking a water hose. This can cause a back up of waste products and lack of nutrients. Resetting the curvature allows this fluid to flow properly again.
30% DECREASE IN BLOOD FLOW TO THE BRAIN SEEN IN LOSS OF CERVICAL CURVE
The cervical spine itself contains the vertebral artery. This artery actually runs inside the bones. This artery supplies nearly the entire back half of your brain. If the curve is lost this artery is occluded or pinched. Research has shown that the blood flow to the back half of the brain can be decreased by nearly 30%. That is a full one third of the blood flow to the back half of the brain that is cut off.
DECREASED LYMPHATIC DRAINAGE SEEN IN LOSS OF CERVICAL CURVE
The cervical curvature also has a huge impact on lymphatic drainage in the cranium and neck. Your lymphatic system drains away excess fluid from tissues, toxins, bacteria, viruses, and waste products. If the cervical curve is lost it can effect this drainage from your head and neck. This can cause recurring sinus infections, swollen lymph nodes, frequent throat infections, and even ear infections.
NASOPHARYNGEAL AIRWAY CAN BE OBSTRUCTED BY 30% WITH LOSS OF CERVICAL CURVE
The cervical curvature can also influence the amount of airflow through the nasopharyngeal airspace. If the curve is shifted forward it will begin to pinch this space and limit the amount of airflow. Studies show this can reduce your respiratory intake by nearly 30% and can contribute to obstructive sleep apnea and a major factor in snoring.
SEE THE DIFFERENCE OF SPINAL CORRECTIVE CARE™
Figure 1. 65 year old male showing advanced degenerative conditions of the cervical spine. The xray on the left shows a complete loss of the cervical lordotic curvature. After a 3 month course of treatment under Spinal Corrective Care™ you can see a full return.
So we are not just moving your bones around. We are actually correcting your spine. Correcting the cervical lordotic curvature affects your entire life. Your curvature controls your brain stem, blood flow, airway, lymphatic drainage, cerebrospinal fluid, venous drainage from the brain, and EVERY single nerve signal that goes from your brain to your body!
BUT what about the rest of your body? Let’s talk about Low Back Pain, sciatic pain, hip pain…
The lumbopelvic system is responsible for not only weight distribution in the lumbar spine and pelvis but it is also responsible for locomotion and all biomechanical mechanisms related to gait and motion in the low back and hips. If a significant misalignment is present this system will transfer weight distribution primarily to one side causing a wear and tear to that hip joint and eventually causing arthritis not only in the hip joint but also in the lumbar spine itself. If this misalignment is not corrected the system will eventually experience a structural failure either at one of the lumbar discs or the hip joint itself.
Lumbopelvic System Pre & Post Corrective Treatment Protocol
The hip you see on the left was shifted by .91 inches. The pelvis is made to counter rotate from left to right as we walk. This motion also causes a very specific firing pattern of the musculature of the spine. If the hips are shifted this firing pattern is altered as is the weight distribution of the hip joints. This weight shift will eventually cause one hip to wear out prematurely.
Our Protocol is specially designed to level out and stabilize the pelvic system quickly and efficiently. This is done by repeating a very precise alignment each visit that is then reinforced by the home exercises. Each week the system holds better and better until our final position is stable and the pelvis is level.
Once level the pelvic position and muscle memory will sustain itself permanently so long as the at home exercises are continued to keep the system reinforced and trained. Each year we reshoot xrays on each patient to ensure the position is maintained.