How your head affects low back pain
Have you ever heard of someone who bent over to pick up a pen off of the floor and their back seized up? Could it be that the weight of the pen caused the back injury? Not too likely.
Chances are that this individual’s spine was already compromised and that the action of bending over was “the straw that broke the camel’s back.”
In order to understand how an individual’s spine sustains injury that leads to low back pain and muscle spasms, let us review spinal anatomy.
The spine consists of 24 highly mobile vertebrae. The head, weighing ten pounds, balances on top of this column. Having one’s head perfectly centered upon the spine is critical to distribute weight properly and to maintain one’s center of gravity.
Unfortunately, one’s optimum alignment can be injured through trauma, such as blows to the head, concussions and whiplash during motor vehicle accidents, falls and sports. If an individual’s head becomes misaligned off of its center axis through trauma, it will sit “crooked” upon the neck. Then the spine will compensate underneath and will twist, bend and torque in order to cope with the uneven weight distribution above.
Over time, a twisted spine causes excess wear-and-tear on spinal joints and soft tissue leading to low back pain. Symptoms can include intermittent or chronic pain, muscle spasms, sciatica and inflammation. In certain cases, this alignment injury may predispose an otherwise healthy spine to suffer degeneration, including arthritis and disc disorders.
In order to determine whether you have sustained a misalignment of your head and neck, you can undergo an evaluation with a chiropractor who specializes in the upper cervical (neck) spine. This rare specialty, known as upper cervical care, utilizes two diagnostic tools – thermal imaging and digital X-rays – to accurately assess the alignment of your head and neck. Each patient’s injured upper neck is corrected by administering a precise adjustment by hand on a specially designed knee chest table. Many patients notice improvement in low back pain and other spinal symptoms with just a few treatments.
With over 20 years of experience as a specialist in the upper cervical spine, Upper Cervical Chiropractor Dr. Erin Elster, D.C., has maintained a practice on Maui for the past three years. For more information, or to schedule an appointment, contact Dr. Elster in Kahului at (808) 866-6551 or www.erinelster.com.