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Spinal Dysfunction

Neck Pain

k-neckpainNeck Pain can be caused by many factors. Injuries to the head and neck and faulty posturing are two common causes of lingering neck pain. The stabilizing muscles associated with the cervical spine often become inhibited and fail to do their job of supporting the head and neck. This instability can result in nerve pain, headaches, chronic shoulder pain, Tinnitus, muscle spasms, fatigue, Temporo-mandibular Joint Dysfunction (TMJ/TMD) and many other syndromes and pain patterns.

Treatment to the cervical spine requires facilitation of these deep muscles in the neck as well as correction of any faulty posturing or movement patterns involving the spine, shoulder girdle and trunk. Abiding by the philosophy of Kinetic Chain Physical Therapy, we also find it crucial to assess all segments of the body that may be contributing to your lingering neck pain. Whether your neck or back pain is caused by an injury or an unknown cause, a complete evaluation addressing the musculo-skeletal and nervous systems should be done.

Back Pain

k-backBack Pain can be caused by many factors. Injuries to the back, trunk/core weakness, pelvic dysfunction and faulty posturing are common causes of acute, lingering and recurring back pain. Back pain is often a recurring event that eventually becomes more frequent and more debilitating. Ultimately, the fear of recurrence and the resulting dysfunction increases the likelihood of guarded movement patterns and faulty posturing. The biomechanical deficits associated with these patterns further inhibit the ability of the spine to function normally which in turn affects disc health and joint alignment. Inadequate spinal stability and mobility can also produce neurological symptoms and cause degenerative changes such as Osteoarthritis and Stenosis. Abiding by the philosophy of Kinetic Chain Physical Therapy, we also find it crucial to assess all segments of the body that may also be contributing to your back pain. Left untreated, poor spinal mechanics, regardless of cause will ultimately result in further degeneration of the spine. Our “Back to Health” educational program is an individualized program that provides you with the necessary tools to maintain your healthy spine.

Degenerative Disc Disease

k-dddDegenerative Disc Disease is not really a disease but a term used to describe the normal changes in your spinal discs as you age. Spinal discs are soft, compressible discs that separate the interlocking bones (vertebrae) that make up the spine. The discs act as shock absorbers for the spine, allowing it to flex, bend, and twist. Degenerative disc disease can take place throughout the spine, but it most often occurs in the discs in the lower back (lumbar region) and the neck (cervical region). As we age, our spinal discs break down, or degenerate, which may result in degenerative disc disease in some people. A loss of fluid in the discs reduces the ability of the discs to act as shock absorbers and makes them less flexible. Loss of fluid also makes the disc thinner and narrows the distance between the vertebrae. Tiny tears or cracks in the outer layer (annulus or capsule) of the disc can also occur. The jellylike material inside the disc (nucleus) may be forced out through the tears or cracks in the capsule, which causes the disc to bulge, break open (rupture), or break into fragments.

As the space between the vertebrae gets smaller, there is less padding between them, and the spine becomes less stable. The body reacts to this by constructing bony growths called bone spurs (osteophytes). Bone spurs can put pressure on the spinal nerve roots or spinal cord, resulting in pain and affecting nerve function. This condition is most commonly referred to as Spinal Stenosis.

Scoliosis

k-scoliosisScoliosis is not a disease – it is a descriptive term. All spines have curves. Some curvature in the neck, upper trunk and lower trunk is normal. Humans need these spinal curves to help the upper body maintain proper balance and alignment over the pelvis. Scoliosis is an abnormal side-to-side (lateral) curve in the spinal column. There are many causes of scoliosis, including congenital spine deformities, genetic conditions, neuromuscular problems and limb length inequality.

Clinical Spinal Instability

Clinical Spinal Instability is considered to be one of the most common causes of neck and low back pain. Spinal instability is an abnormal movement at the spinal level caused by degeneration, injury or muscle dysfunction. Improving neuromuscular control in the muscles associated with stability and segmental movement of the spine is the key to improving instability and decreasing pain.