How Does Your Spine Go Out Of Alignment?
By far the most common question we get asked here at Coolum Family Chiropractic is ‘How does my spine go out of alignment?’
Of course the answer is never a simple one, and there are many different reasons and causes of spinal misalignment. Obviously if you suffer a major trauma, such as a sports injury or a car accident, chances are the forces sustained by your body will have put you out of alignment. Unfortunately, these misalignments are often overlooked as there can be other more pressing injuries to be attended to at the time. Whiplash is an example of such an injury, and it can be weeks or even months before spinal misalignments are recognised.
But the most common way that your body will lose its correct alignment is due to an accumulation of stress and strain on the spine over a period of time. A lifetime of minor injuries, twists and turns, postural stress etc. will, over time, cause misalignment of your spine. Birth trauma, falls, heavy school bags, sports injuries, poor posture in front of screens, heavy lifting, text neck, too much sitting, etc. The list goes on, and it all adds up to an ever increasing amount of load and stress on our spines.
Luckily our bodies are very good at compensating for such problems, and most of the time we don’t even know that our spines are not aligned correctly. The problem is that eventually, our bodies can no longer compensate for this accumulation of spinal misalignments and we can start to experience back or neck pain.
The heart attack analogy.
A good analogy for accumulating spinal stress leading to acute back pain is when people suffer a heart attack.
Often the first (and sadly the last) sign of heart disease is a heart attack. Now we all know that you don’t develop heart disease over night to the point where you have a heart attack. It takes many years of bad lifestyle choices (poor diet, lack of exercise, stress, alcohol consumption, smoking, etc.) that slowly accumulates to the point where the arteries are about to become blocked, leading to a heart attack. A lot of the time the poor victim had no idea what was coming, and perhaps felt relatively fine right up until the inevitable.
It is a similar scenario for deteriorating spinal health. Often the first sign that people have of a bad back, is the onset of back pain. And usually there is no known cause for the onset, or it might have been something innocuous like reaching to pick up a pen or a cup of coffee, or even just getting out of the car. It is often something that we do every day that is the final straw that puts our back ‘out’. Obviously however, it wasn’t the pen or the fact that the car suddenly got harder to get out of.
What happens is that your back literally got to breaking point. That slow accumulation of stress and strain that has been weakening your spine for years, got to the point where your body can no longer compensate for it and something had to give. Your back has suddenly ‘gone out’! This is when you might experience back pain for no known reason, it just starts to suddenly hurt. This is the same analogy as the heart attack victim who felt okay. Often there was no obvious sign that your back is in trouble beforehand. It’s that slow accumulation of stress and strain causing your spine to slowly get more and more out of it’s correct alignment, that led to a back problem that was bad enough to just suddenly go out.
This why spinal maintenance is critical to looking after your spinal (and overall) health. The only way to prevent that slow build up is to get your spine checked and adjusted regularly. Once it hurts, it’s too late. That is reactive, pain relief care. If you want to have a healthy spine for life, you need to maintain it. Regular spinal check ups find and correct any spinal misalignments before they find you!
If you need to get your spine checked, give us a call.