There are several ways your spine can get out of place. But before I get into how it gets out of place, it’s important to know what that actually means. Typically, when most people say things like, ‘I threw my back out,’ it doesn’t literally mean their spine is twisted or the bones aren’t where they are supposed to be. Most of the time, it’s because one of the joints in your spine has lost a specific motion. While this can cause the bones to not be exactly where they should be because they lost a specific motion, it is better to correlate ‘back out’ with joints not moving.
When you see a chiropractor, our goal is to restore motion to that joint. For example, if a joint in your spine won’t rotate to the right, my job is to restore that specific motion so you can move better. Knowing this will help you better understand how your spine gets out of place.
There are a few common ways your spine can get ‘out of place’.
The first, and most obvious, is trauma. If you are playing sports and you fall really hard on your back, it can cause your joints to get locked in certain positions. Other common causes of trauma to the back are car accidents. Depending on the severity of the accident, the shock of the crash can cause severe trauma to your spine in a number of different ways.
Another common reason for your spine getting out of place is poor posture. If you constantly have poor posture, you are slowly losing the ability to have mobility in your spine. For example, if you sit at a computer or drive a car all day, you are probably hunching forward a lot. Over a period of time, your body adapts to this hunched position and begins to lose the ability to move backwards or be upright.
Over time, the joints, tendons, muscles, and ligaments gets accustomed to this position and become the new ‘normal’ posture. This is why a lot of people who sit at their computer all day often end up with shoulders that are constantly rolled forward and a head that is out in front of their body. This new ‘normal’ greatly stresses the spine and significantly reduces motion and leads to a spine that degenerates much faster than it should.
Your spine can get out of place if you have certain muscles that are tight and others are weak. I see a lot of people who need the same joint in their spine adjusted over and over again. When this is the case, the muscles need to be addressed to make sure it doesn’t keep happening. Going back to the sitting and hunching forward example, I typically see people with tight chest muscles and weak back muscles. As a result, they commonly have pain and tightness in the upper back and/or neck. Over time, as the joints are being pulled forward, they lose the ability to be straight or go back a healthy postural position. This can cause a lot of pain and decreases the body’s ability to move, necessitating the rest of the body to compensate.
Having a spine that is functioning properly and has proper range of motion is critical to your health. All of your nerves stem from the spinal cord which is protected by the spine. If your spine is degenerating or is dysfunctional, it will have a dramatic effect on how your body operates.
Whenever I work on a patient, I assess each joint to see how it is moving. If it isn’t moving properly, I work on the muscles, joints, ligaments and tendons to restore motion.
If you would like to know more about how we can help get your spine back in place, please contact us at 949-916-9742.