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April 3, 2024

The Science Behind a Healthy Spine

The Science Behind a Healthy Spine

What Is The Spine?

Your spine is a complex structure of small bones, discs, nerves, joints, ligaments, and muscles in a column shape. This column extends from the bottom of the skull to the tailbone. A healthy spine has three curves that make an S-shape, these curves work as shock absorbers to protect your spine from injury. The spine has several functions including: 

  • Giving your body structure
  • Supporting your body’s posture 
  • Protecting your spinal cord and nerves 

How Does The Spine Work?

Vertebrae: Your spine has 33 stacked vertebrae, which are small bones, which form the spinal canal. The spinal canal protects your spinal cord and nerves from injury. These vertebrae move and allow for range of motion.

Facet joints: Facet joints let you twist and turn, and they provide flexibility and stability. Spinal joints have cartilage that allows vertebrae to slide against each other. 

Intervertebral disks: These are flat, round cushions sitting between the vertebrae that act as your spine’s shock absorbers. 

Spinal cord and nerves: Your spinal cord is a column of nerves that travels through your spinal canal. The cord extends from your skull to your tailbone. These nerves carry messages between your brain and muscles.

Soft tissues: Ligaments connect the vertebrae to hold your spine in position. Muscles support your spine and help you move. Tendons connect muscles to bone and help articulate the spine.

How Does Chiropractic Care Support a Healthy Spine?

Dr. CJ Epstein from Team Elite Chiropractic says, “When I'm looking at a patient and either running them through a movement screen or manually feeling their spine, I'm looking for some giveness to the joints and vertebrae. When I feel a specific segment of the spine that seems stuck or that gives me resistance, that's where I apply the adjustment to get those joints moving again.”

Dr. CJ continues, “When a joint or the vertebral segment gets stuck or isn't moving optimally that's when we start to see degeneration of the intervertebral discs. Getting adjusted regularly makes sure that all of the joints are moving optimally and the discs remain healthy.”

All of the joints and vertebrae that make up the spine also have hundreds of small nerves and muscles attached to them that ensure the spine moves properly. If these are overly tight and restricted then the spine won’t be able to move optimally which can lead to degeneration. Dr. CJ says “When I’m looking at muscles around the lower back, I want to keep those loose. We use tools like Instrument-Assisted Soft Tissue Mobilization, Cupping, or Active Release Technique. These soft tissue tools support the muscles so that the spine can move better.” 

The final area where chiropractic care supports healthy spines is through corrective exercises to promote spinal mobility and stability. These corrective exercises ensure you’re not overusing the spine or compensating for other areas of the spine that aren’t working properly. 

If you are experiencing back pain or want to ensure you maintain a healthy spine, book your appointment with Team Elite today.

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