"Spinal mobility" describes the amount of pain-free movement the spinal joints can perform through a range of motion. Spinal joints are comprised of many different structures, including the bones that come together, muscles, ligaments, tendons, discs, and nerves. All of these tissues work together to move the joints through range of motion and protect the back and spinal cord. Good chiropractic care takes all of these different structures into account when treating the spine. For overall spine health you need to make sure there is as a little tissue damage and as much recovery as possible.
For most patients that come into our chiropractic office with chronic back pain, there is some level of tissue damage occurring. This tissue damage is typically caused by excessive demands or overuse of the spine. When you place strong demands on the back and spine every day, the body begins to make changes to adapt and "keep up" with the forces being applied. When this happens, muscles surrounding the joints of the spine become tight and inflamed, which often becomes a chronic issue. When the muscles become chronically tight, they then start to pull on the surrounding tendons that attach muscle to bone. The more these tendons are pulled upon, the more aggravated they become, also known as tendinitis. When the muscles and tendons are overworked, swollen, and aggravated, the joint itself will begin to lose the range of motion that it typically is able to move through. This issue is usually what happens with my patients that describe that their back or neck “just needs to be cracked." In these cases, the joint has become restricted due to the tightness around it, and there is eventually an increase in pain.
As you can see, every structure in the back works together. When one structure becomes tightened or aggravated, there can be a domino affect that results in pain throughout the entire joint. As a chiropractic office in Rochester, we work diligently to educate patients on these tissue changes and treat the spine through a variety of methods to increase spinal mobility and decrease pain. In most cases, especially with chronic back pain and tightness, mobility is the number one goal for treatment. There are cases where the spine has become injured and mobility is not the focus, but that is on a patient by patient basis.
In order to induce motion into the spine and keep it as healthy and mobile as possible, chiropractors use a few different techniques. The first and main technique used by chiropractors to induce motion into the spine is a chiropractic adjustment. A chiropractic adjustment targets joints within the back that are not moving as fluidly as others. The adjustment induces motion into the joint. The "popping" noise that is typically heard during an adjustment occurs when the joint is moved and gas from within the joint is released. To build upon the effects of the adjustment, stretches and mobility exercises will be used in between appointments. Again, with the same goal of releasing tension regularly in the muscles around the spine. If you are working 40 hours a week, in a job where you are repeating a similar motion all day, such as standing at a counter, sitting at a desk, or working underneath a car, you will eventually effect your posture and overuse your spine. It is not an if, but when. That is why it is important to build in a recovery routine for yourself to combat the effects of daily life.
At Rochester ChiroTherapy in Rochester, New York we pride ourselves on providing thorough chiropractic care, that aims to get as close to pain free as possible.