When a vertebrae becomes misaligned, or more accurately, does not move within it's normal physiologic range of motion, this is referred to in the chiropractic profession as spinal fixation. This condition can be caused by a wide range of issues ranging from a minor slip or bump to a car accident, repetitive stress, or any type of trauma. When a vertebrae or group of vertebrae are fixated, this typically leads to mechanical pressure on spinal nerve roots, spinal peripheral nerves, blood vessels and other surrounding structures.
Spinal fixation interrupts the neural pathways that carry messages and information to and from the brain. In addition, as time goes by and this area of abnormal spinal motion remains untreated, the spine and surrounding structures such as the intervertebral discs can begin to degenerate and waist away.
This degeneration becomes more difficult to reverse as time goes by and the surrounding muscles, nerves and bones begin to adapt to the abnormal structure. Because the body is remarkable at adapting to forces placed on it, the body will start to accommodate these changes by compensating in other areas. The longer spinal fixation is left untreated, the longer it will take for treatment to return the vertebrae to its normal position and motion.
Spinal or vertebral fixation can be identified by five primary components:
- Spinal Kinesiopathology (movement of the bones)
- Neuropathophysiology (nerve dysfunction)
- Myopathology (muscle changes)
- Histopathology (tissue damage)
- Pathophysiology (joint destruction)
Chiropractors are experts in the manipulation of soft and hard tissue. Specific adjustive movements to the spine can restore normal movement and motion. With appropriate care vertebral spinal fixation can be corrected and overall spinal health can be improved.