We all know that the spine is a critical aspect of the human body. Comprised of 33 intricately connected vertebrae, it serves as an extension of the Central Nervous System, constantly sending complex messages from the brain to the rest of the body. Misalignments of the spinal column create a cascading affect, disrupting communication between systems and hindering the natural function of the body. Individuals may experience a host of misaligned spine symptoms without realizing that the root cause is in the spine.
1. Pain disrupts daily life. Back and neck pain, headaches, and perpetually sore muscles may be common, but they are not “normal.” These are often caused by subluxation, or misalignment, of the spine. When vertebrae are tilted, turned, or compressed, this often leads to dysfunction of the Central Nervous System (CNS) and can cause a variety of painful conditions. If back and neck pain disrupts a patient’s daily activities, a spinal misalignment is likely a factor.
2. Posture appears uneven. In some cases, spinal abnormalities are clearly visible simply by evaluating posture. If the shoulders or hips are crooked, even when the patient feels that he is standing up straight, this is one of the more obvious misaligned spine symptoms. Conditions such as Scoliosis (sideways spinal curvature) are more common than people realize; however, there are a variety of other conditions, such as Lordosis (inward lower back curvature) or Kyphosis (rounded upper back). All of these can be helped by routine chiropractic care.
3. Stiffness affects range of motion. Whether an individual types all day at a desk or operates heavy machinery at a construction site, posture and ergonomics can have a significant impact on spinal health. Over time, improper body mechanics can cause spinal misalignments. In many cases, this will lead to stiffness of the back and neck because the bones get used to not moving properly and adhesions (bands of scar tissue) form between vertebrae. Hindered range of motion generally follows, making simple tasks like bending over challenging and painful. If stiffness is a regular concern, the patient likely has need of adjustment not only to align the spine, but also to break up adhesions and improve range of motion.
4. Movement creates discomfort. Healthy, well-aligned spines are generally stronger and more flexible than those that are improperly aligned. In the field of chiropractic care, it is extremely common for patients to learn of their need for adjustment only after attempting a new type of physical activity. Whether they decide to give running a try or simply attempt a demanding house project, these individuals find that the stress of new activity brings to light the reality that they have a misaligned spine.
5. Illness becomes commonplace. While everyone gets sick from time to time, one of the little-known symptoms of a misaligned spine is frequent illness. This occurs because the disruption of the Central Nervous System hinders immune function. Without a strong immune system, the body becomes much more susceptible to any and all infections which are present in the environment.
6. Fatigue hinders performance. Individuals with a misaligned spine may suffer from excessive fatigue, even when they are technically rested and healthy. The simple answer for why this happens is that an unbalanced spine drains energy. If a patient gets plenty of regular sleep but still feels exhausted or unable to perform daily tasks, it is possible that spinal misalignment is a contributing factor. For these patients, chiropractic care can have a profound affect on their overall sense of wellbeing, offering increased energy and an improved outlook.
7. Shoes wear unevenly. If a patient’s shoes wear unevenly, this is a classic sign that there is a problem in the spine and/or hips. In some cases, a spinal misalignment can cause a discrepancy in leg length, which affects gait (how the person walks), and by extension, the person’s shoes. This can be easily corrected by routine chiropractic care, resulting in a much more natural and comfortable gait.
8. Concentration becomes challenging. One of the lesser known misaligned spine symptoms is actually poor concentration. Because the brain and spine comprise the Central Nervous System, it is not surprising that subluxation affects brain health. This is the same reason that misalignment causes headaches. The brain and the spine are intricately connected, and if one is not functioning optimally, neither can the other.
9. Extremities experience numbness or tingling. Perhaps more than any other symptom, this one is a tell-tale sign. Patients who experience tingling or numbness in their hands and/or feet almost certainly have a misaligned spine. When vertebrae are tilted or turned, they compress or irritate the connected nerves. This is sometimes referred to as a “pinched nerve,” and it classically causes numbness or tingling, particularly in the extremities.
10. “Cracking” feels necessary. When misalignment exists within the body, an individual may feel the need to regularly crack his back, neck, fingers, etc. This will result in a temporary feeling of relief; however, it does nothing to correct the underlying misalignment. In fact, cracking his own joints or spine can actually cause a patient further harm, making chiropractic care even more necessary.
The good news is that for patients who experience symptoms of spinal misalignment, there are a number of effective and non-invasive treatment options available. Physical Healthcare of Jacksonville specializes in Atlas Orthogonal Chiropractic care, physical therapy, spinal decompression, and a variety of other trusted treatment options which are designed to gently and naturally address spinal misalignment.
In most cases, the best solution for treating a misaligned spine is an interdisciplinary approach, encompassing a number of related strategies which work together for long-term health. For example, the patient may start with Chiropractic care and then move into physical therapy in order to train his muscles to hold the corrected spine in place. Spinal decompression may be needed to address a herniated disk, while cold laser therapy may assist in jump starting the healing of an injury. Each of these treatment options is carefully selected to serve a unique purpose in the overall health of the individual patient.
What to Expect at the First Visit
For people who have never experienced chiropractic care, there is sometimes a measure of concern about seeking out treatment for a misaligned spine. They may wonder if it will be painful or if their symptoms could become worse. They may worry that the treatments will be prohibitively expensive. The best way to alleviate fears concerning chiropractic care is to sit down with a chiropractor. A consultation is a completely obligation-free opportunity for the patient and physician to evaluate spinal health and to collaborate on an effective plan of care.
At the first visit, patients can expect several painless and important tasks to be completed.
Medical history and symptom paperwork. At the start of the visit, patients are required to fill out forms which detail their medical history as well as provide information about their symptoms. Patients should be specific about their medical history, known medical conditions, injuries, prescriptions, and level of pain. This allows the medical team to make the best possible recommendations to assist patients in achieving optimal health through strategies which accommodate their individual needs.
Diagnostic testing. In order for physicians to address spinal misalignment symptoms, they must know what is going on in the spinal column. The easiest way to get a good look at the vertebrae and surrounding skeletal structure is to perform a simple set of x-rays. This painless process is generally included in the cost of a consultation and is critical to an accurate diagnosis and an effective treatment plan. A variety of other diagnostic testing tools including an MRI or lab work may also be utilized, depending on the patient’s particular needs.
Chiropractic exam. Before adjusting anything, the chiropractor performs a thorough exam, which includes taking blood pressure, pulse, and respirations. He will gently examine range of motion, muscle tone and strength, reflexes, and posture. All of this gathered information makes it possible for the physician to precisely pinpoint the areas of concern and address root causes, as opposed to mere symptoms.
Patient diagnosis and consultation. This last step may be reserved for a future visit; however, in some cases it may immediately follow initial examination. The doctor of chiropractic will clearly explain his findings with the patient and lay out his prescribed plan of care. The patient has opportunity to ask questions, share concerns, and learn about the path to addressing their misaligned spine and achieving optimal health.
While most patients visit a doctor of chiropractic because they are looking for symptomatic relief, the more necessary question to consider is “what is causing the symptoms?” In many cases, back and neck pain can be caused by a simple subluxation, or spinal misalignment. However, in some cases, a more complex health condition may exist. In order to effectively treat symptoms, it is of critical importance to pinpoint the precise cause.
The physicians at Physical Healthcare of Jacksonville are well versed not only in addressing misaligned spine symptoms, but also in diagnosing and addressing the underlying health challenges which caused them. Because of this, patients can be confident that their interdisciplinary plan of care will not only assist them in managing pain, but also in pursuing and achieving genuine health and wellness.
Once the patient’s health needs have been established, their medical team can work together to create an effective plan of care. This will look different for every patient, with specific goals and precise steps which are tailored to the individual needs of the patient. However, patients can expect regular visits to the office and a variety of at-home exercises to complete. By taking an active role in the plan of care, the patient can expect to achieve the maximum benefits from their treatments.
Moving Forward to Optimal Health
For individuals who experience symptoms of a misaligned spine, the first step to achieving genuine relief is acknowledging the need of care and contacting a local chiropractor. Physical Healthcare of Jacksonville offers a friendly atmosphere with a knowledgeable team of multi-disciplinary medical professionals, including medical doctors, chiropractors, nurses, and physical therapists. Together, they daily assist patients not only in getting out of pain but in pursuing and achieving optimal health.
Living with the symptoms of a misaligned spine can affect every aspect of life. Professional and effective chiropractic care can make the difference between merely surviving and painlessly thriving. Scheduling a consultation is easy to complete either online or over the phone. Contact Physical Health care of Jacksonville today to learn more about how to experience relief and move forward to a fuller, deeper quality of life.