Phases of Disc Degeneration

Two Types of Chiropractors
 There are two types of chiropractors. One focuses on pain relief and the other focuses on corrective care. Pain relief primarily focuses on eliminating symptoms such as back pain and headaches. Manipulations are done to the spine to decompress the joints, free fixations, and reduce pain. Also ultrasound, electrotherapies, electro-stem, and laser are often used. The length of treatment is often dictated by insurance coverage.

Corrective care/ Wellness care is what we use at Courtley Chiropractic. Although we want the patient to “feel better”, our primary goal is to remove nerve interference and restore the spine to its most stable biomechanical position.   By maximizing integrity of the discs, joints, and nerves through spinal adjustments and postural correction, the body’s ability to function and its total health potential improves.  This is done through a rehabilitation program of adjustments and spinal exercises. The length of correction and frequency of adjustment is determined by the severity of the patient’s subluxations and structural alignment.

Symptoms may be gone long before the spine is at its maximum corrected position, so adjustment schedules are kept intense to allow structural correction in the shortest amount of time. 
The patient is then closely monitored by postural patterns, x-rays and spinal readings until the subluxations are corrected and the spine is in its proper alignment.

Normal Cervical Spine
Normal curves and proper disc spacing allow normal function of the spine and nervous system. Regardless of age, when spinal damage goes uncorrected, the body deposits calcium on the surface of adjacent bones that aren’t moving property. If neglected long enough, this splinting effect can result in complete fusion. This worsening process is called Subluxation Degeneration and can occur throughout the spine. Researchers recognize several phases of spinal decay:


Phase One Cervical Spine
im2Loss of normal curves and nervous system dysfunction result from uncorrected spinal trauma.
Phase One:
Usually seen as the misalignment and malfunction of the spine. Normal spinal motion, curves, and disc spacing are altered. Because the body is so adaptable, this early phase can exist without the warning of pain or other symptoms. If left uncorrected, the degeneration continues.

Phase Two Cervical Spine
Bone spurs and abnormal bony growths distort the shape and function of the vertebrae.
Phase Two:
Recognized on X-ray views of the spine by visible bone spurs and rough edges of the vertebrae. Soft tissues, such as discs and ligaments degenerate from the lack of normal joint movement. Again, pain or other symptoms may not be present.

Phase Three Cervical Spine
im4After years of neglect, the improperly functioning spinal joints often fuse together.
Phase Three: 
A lifetime of neglect may cause the eventual fusion of the malfunctioning joints. Atrophy, permanent nerve damage, and soft tissue degeneration are prevalent. Reduced mobility and impaired nervous system function, diminish one’s quality of life.

“Normal” 75-Year-Old Cervical Spine
im5This 75-year old patient prevented Subluxation Degeneration with many years of regular chiropractic checkups.
Subluxation Degeneration is how the body responds to improperly functioning spinal joints. With early detection, appropriate chiropractic care has been shown to slow, stop, or even reverse the early stages of this process. Ask your doctor to design a program of preventive care for you.