Has it been this way too long? Is there too much arthritis? Do I have too much degeneration? I hear those questions frequently from new patients hoping for help, but fearing it is too late. Once you crumple a piece of paper you can never really get it smooth again, but it can still fulfill its purpose. The same is true with the spine. It may have some arthritis, degeneration, and permanent damage, but that doesn’t mean it can’t serve its purpose and serve it well.
Let’s look at the structure of the spine. With the exception of the top two bones in the neck, the rest of the spine has the same configuration. A block of bone, then an intervertebral disc, and another block of bone. Degeneration can happen two ways—bone spurs, which we generally refer to as arthritis and disc degeneration (thinning of the disc).
People tend to think that arthritis and disc degeneration is just a process of aging. The older you get, the more you will have, and that is just how it is goes. I have seen 30-year-olds with extreme degeneration, and 80-year-olds with little to none.
The reality is, degeneration is the result of poor mechanics. A vertebrae gets out of its normal range of motion, which causes undue stress on itself, the bones above and especially below, and the disc it sits on. This is when time and aging become a big factor. The longer the abnormal stress exists, the more degeneration we will see. The location of the misalignment also has a big impact. If one of the top two bones in the head get stuck out of position, not only do they stress the bones around them, they also cause the head to get off center. This pulls on the entire spine, and leads to degeneration anywhere in the spine.
The good news here is two fold—degeneration can be reversed to a degree, and a freely moving spine will automatically feel better than a misaligned one. I will use myself as an example. When I first became an upper cervical patient, I had such a bad misalignment of the top bone in my neck, that the curve in my neck was reversed. This led to severe degeneration at my 5th and 6th cervical vertebrae. As a result I had intense burning in both of my hands anytime I tried to sleep.
Once my spine was corrected, and began to move properly, over time I watched the bone spurs (arthritis) shrink and some of the disc height restored. Thankfully the burning in my hands also disappeared quickly.
It is never too late to benefit from a properly aligned spine. I have yet to see a patient not benefit from better moving vertebrae. They may never get back to 100%, but the results can be extraordinary regardless. The best time to check a spine is day one of life, to make sure this end-result never occurs, but regardless of age there can be great benefit.
Just last week I had a wonderful 97-year-old young lady start care. On the follow-up visit after her first adjustment I asked her how she was doing. She said, “I can’t believe how much straighter I am standing and how much better my posture is after only a few days.”
It is never too late to improve and never time to lose hope. Come in to Upper Cervical Chiropractors of Fort Myers for a free consultation today! (239) 243-8810