What is Spinal Misalignment?
Spinal misalignment (sometimes called "spinal joint dysfunction") is a term used to describe what happens when a vertebra (spinal bone) loses its normal positioning in relation to the one above it, below it, or both. When this happens, the misaligned vertebra creates pressure and stress on the spinal nerves, blood vessels, and surrounding muscles and soft tissues such as ligaments, tendons, joint cartilage, and discs. This pressure and stress can cause changes in the movement of the spine, and ultimately irritation and inflammation of the affected structures. Based on the severity of these changes, other conditions can result as pressure and friction on the sensitive neurological structures causes symptoms such as pain, tingling, burning, or loss of strength to the muscles supplied by these nerves.
Misalignments of the spinal column in the neck, mid-back, lower back, or pelvis can occur in a number of ways: accidents, falls, sudden movements, sustained postures, and repetitive motions are all examples of unique instances that may cause misalignments. Other occurrences of misalignment can come from seemingly harmless actions such as improper sleeping position, muscle imbalance, or incorrect lifting technique. Most times, though, spinal problems occur over time due to any number of factors, and don't exhibit symptoms until the spine has exhausted it's capacty to withstand the many forces placed upon it by everyday movements, activities, and positions. We find that most new patients are curious as to the cause of their "sudden" pain or other symptom, and often do not relate it to a specific incident such as heavy lifting, falling, or other injury. This supports the understanding that spinal problems are rarely due to sudden events, but more likely cumulative in nature.
Chiropractors are specialists in correcting spine and joint misalignments. A chiropractor can restore the motion to restricted spinal joints and misaligned vertebrae by working in unison with the body's own mechanics. Typically, this is done manually by using a procedure known as manipulative therapy. Dr. Massey, in most cases, will use his hands in applying corrective pressure to the spine in a specific direction and location. The manual force or thrust helps restore the alignment and mobility of the affected area. Under normal circumstances, manipulations of the spine and joints are painless. Dependng on the severity of muscular involvement or soft tissue irritation or inflammation, some discomfort may be experienced from the manipulation process. However, any discomfort experienced from care is usually minor and temporary. Many patients, conversely, note an almost instant change in sensation for the better, either due to improved motion, decreased tension, or pain relief.