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Feel Better Today / Spinal Degeneration

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Spinal Degeneration

Years of stress and too much use and abuse can cause your spine to degenerate, or wear out. Joint inflammation (arthritis) may result. Joints may also lose alignment and discs can wear down. And you may start to feel pain and stiffness. Your chiropractor can design a program of adjustments and self-care for you. This can help slow or even stop the process of degeneration.

A Healthy Spine Your spine is made up of bones (vertebrae), cushions between the bones (discs), and soft tissues (muscles and ligaments). Your spine supports the weight of your body. When no single part of the spine has to do too much work, bones, discs, and soft tissues stay healthy and pain-free.

Misaligned Joint A spinal joint is where two vertebrate meet. Poor posture, strain, and injury can push a joint out of line. Then vertebrae don't move as they should. Discs and muscles are stressed. Nerves may be pinched and irritated.

Early Degeneration With repeated stress, a disc wears down. Bone spurs (bony growths) may develop. Muscles and other soft tissues may stretch unevenly. Nerves may be irritated and painful.

Advanced Degeneration If the disc thins further, the nerves can become pinched. The vertebrae begin to fuse, or stick together. Pain may be severe, and your ability to move may be greatly reduced. Lasting numbness may result.

Images and text courtesy of Krames Patient Education company

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