Sadly we are all prone to Spinal degeneration, Osteoarthritic change, or wear and tear to our spines. All are induced by either natural ageing, (best try and stay under the age of 35…if only!!), hereditary or traumatic events and probably more prevalent a combination of all. So theres no escape, it happens!. So lets give you a little more info on the structure of the spine, as we believe the more you understand how your body works the better and healthier you can be …. with a little help from your Chiropractor, as this is what we see and treat every day in our Clinic!!
The spinal column is made up of the intervertebral discs that sit between the individual spinal vertebrae. They exist to absorb impact (like a shock absorber) and to prevent bone rubbing on bone. Each has a tough outer shell which contains a soft, often described as jelly-like substance, which is primarily made up of water. As the person gets older, the water content decreases and they can become dehydrated making them more susceptible to injury from the Spinal degeneration.
The outer layer of the discs can become thinner through wear and tear, (degeneration) or in some circumstances can even tear. These tears can cause the inner substance to leak out into the surrounding structures (Prolapse) which may cause pressure to be put on the nerves, alternatively, the nerves may begin to grow in and around the tear of the shell and invade the inner discal space causing further pain.
Either can cause the nerves to become irritated and inflamed. Pain can be chronic with periods of heightened levels, and can usually be helped by keeping mobile so as to relieve pressure of the nerves. Long periods of sitting such as working at your desk or driving as well as standing can aggravate the nerves and increase pain. Lying down can help because the position relieves pressure off the spine.
In the event of nerve interference, pain can sometimes be felt down the legs, (Sciatica) With numbness or tingling experiences. Giving up smoking is essential if suffering pain from Spinal degenerative disc disease. Oxygen levels and blood supply to the area can be compromised with the incidence of smoking. As degenerative discs are already at risk of dehydration, reducing the oxygen and nutrients supplied to this area by smoking will exacerbate symptoms further.
Spinal degeneration is also aggravated and caused by prolonged bending or stooping. Such as sitting, gardening, ironing, hoovering, or manual work. In fact anything that makes us more sedentary or in a poor postural position. Hard to believe that a plasterer for example can have the same amount of degeneration in their spine as an office worker. Very different occupations but both will cause degeneration due to either over or under use!
Keeping ourselves healthy, thinking more as to how we work, rest or play, is paramount to living life to its fullest.
If you have concerns as to the health of your back then call our front desk team and book a consultation to see how we can help you….Don’t live in pain life is to short!!