The person sitting across from you in the coffee shop is constantly rubbing her neck and wincing as she tries to read her book. Your mother just sent you a message that said not to call her today; she woke up with a stiff neck and can’t talk on the phone.The driver of the cab you were in yesterday coming home to Berkeley Heights from the Newark airport was complaining of his neck pain while you were stuck in traffic. Even you are in pain today since your long flight home yesterday.
It seems like its everywhere you go. Neck pain.
The statistics in America are high. On average 1 in 10 adults is suffering from pain the neck. It is reported as the #3 form of chronic pain.
When someone refers to neck pain it is usually a pain that is anywhere from the shoulders up the neck to the base of the head. It includes dull ache or sharp, throbbing or stabbing pain. It can come in the form of stiffness or tightness. But it can even cause numbness and tingling in the arms, hands or fingers.
It makes sense that some of the most common causes for neck pain are things we do every day. In fact, its things we do so much everyday we are causing muscle strain in our necks. Talking on the phone, leaning over computers and iPads, driving, and reading. All that activity that leans our head forward more often than not results in poor posture. Poor posture in the neck = strained, painful muscles of the neck.
Remember that neck pain can come from any one structure within the neck or a combination of them. Within the neck there are muscles, nerves, ligaments, the spinal cord, vertebrae, and discs. So though the most common cause of neck pain is muscle strain, it could also be worn joints (osteoarthritis), compression of the vertebrae on the nerves or herniated discs compressing the nerves and spine. Also likely causes are injures from sports or from a car accident that caused whiplash. Whatever the cause, neck pain is, well, a pain in the neck. It hurts. It limits daily activities. It keeps us from both work and play. It needs to be treated.
At Scotch Plains Pain & Rehabilitation, treating neck pain is a specialty. The highly qualified and experienced physicians and staff are in the business of helping people with neck pain. There are various treatment options and after a thorough examination and consultation a care plan is created for each individual. The treatments are safe, effective and drug-free.
Our board-certified chiropractors bring the structures of the neck back into alignment. They address poor posture issues. When the vertebrae are aligned and the posture is corrected, the nerves are free of compression and health is restored. Massage and physical therapy are also effective treatments that can help alleviate neck pain. They both are also tools that can help keep a person out of pain.
Massage therapists are trained in relaxing stiff, strained muscles. The treatment available at Scotch Plains Pain & Rehabilitation physical therapy includes exercise and muscle work, as well as ultrasound and laser therapy.
Acupuncture is a form of Traditional Chinese Medicine treatment where the practitioner inserts various thin needles into specific point of the body. The points are determined to help balance the energy flow in the body and remove the energy blockages that keep a person from experiencing health and healing.
Don’t continue to be a number in the high statistics of neck pain. Find relief and live without neck pain. One or all the above treatments could be a tool to use to help relieve you of that neck pain. Call Scotch Plains Pain & Rehabilitation at 908-490-1800 to schedule a consultation and comprehensive examination. Get rid of the neck pain.
Posted OnWednesday, June 25th, 2014 at 11:12 am
Filed under Back Pain, Chronic Back Pain Conditions, Disc Pain, Fibromyalgia, Non Surgical Pain Relief Options, Physical Therapy, Spinal Decompression, Uncategorized
Pain Management in multi-disciplinary clinic serving Plainfield, NJ pain patients.
Experiencing each day with some form of chronic pain is the reality for millions of Americans. This includes many residents of Plainfield, NJ.
Chronic pain is different than acute pain. Acute pain occurs as a normal sensation set off by the nervous system. It’s a signal that there is a possible injury that needs care and attention. Perhaps you have slipped on ice and broken your arm. Or while preparing dinner, you have accidentally sliced your finger with the knife.
Its important to recognize that chronic pain is different. Chronic pain persists daily with pain signals in the nervous system over a long period of time. It could continue for weeks, months or even years. It may come in the form of back pain, neck pain, hip pain, joint pain, headaches and arthritis, just to name a few possibilities.
Many times the pain begins with an injury but does not end with the injury has healed.
People who suffer with chronic pain often have problems with many normal daily functions. Depending on the pain, their work, relationships, and normal mobility may be negatively affected.
Residents of Plainfield, NJ who are suffering with chronic pain are fortunately able to seek treatment at Scotch Plains Pain & Rehabilitation.
Scotch Plains Pain & Rehabilitation is a clinic leading in the field of pain management that helps patients with chiropractic, acupuncture, physical therapy and massage. Our practitioners want to facilitate the body’s natural healing without jumping to the most common treatments of potentially harmful and unnecessary drugs or surgeries.
At Scotch Plains Pain & Rehabilitation the patient is treated like an individual. Each case is assessed and a treatment plan is created with the goal of pain relief, of course, but also to strengthen and heal the body. The goal is to restore overall health and to recover from chronic pain.
Posted OnWednesday, June 4th, 2014 at 2:32 pm
Filed under Back Pain, Chronic Back Pain Conditions, Disc Pain, DRX 9000, Health Care Explorations, Non Surgical Pain Relief Options, Physical Therapy, Spinal Decompression
A report from your doctor that you have a “degenerated disc” can sound scary until you realize that lots of people have degenerated discs and it does not mean surgery. It is important to understand how the disc works in the low back, how it is injured, and how it can be safely treated, to get the best results with your condition.
So what is a disc? A disc is nothing more than cartilage similar to the cartilage in your knee. Cartilage covers bones and connects them allowing a joint to be formed. Cartilage and ligaments are what make motion possible but they also restrain movements that are too large. In the case of the spine, there are 24 individual bones called vertebrae. The disc is a cartilage that connects each of these vertebrae.
The disc can be injured just like a knee or an ankle can be sprained. The injury will stretch the ligaments and cartilage and cause them to tear. Whenever the body is injured, inflammation follows which serves to begin the healing process. Damaged tissue is consumed and scars are laid down.
In the case of the disc, the degeneration is usually at the back portion of the disc, because that is the location of the original injury. The disc also contains a more watery center called the nucleus. When injury to the disc occurs, the joint does not move properly. Lack of movement can be just as detrimental as too much movement. With this lack of motion there is less movement of water, in and out of the nucleus. The nucleus then dehydrates and the disc begins to collapse under the weight of gravity.
You were likely shown an x-ray of the degenerated disc and told that the space between the vertebrae is smaller because the disc material is degenerating. An MRI or CT scan can also show the degenerated disc. However, it does not mean that you need surgery.
The body is meant to handle degeneration of the disc and many people do quite well despite what an MRI or x-ray may show. Other patients have a bulging of the disc along with the loss of height. This bulging, called a herniation, can press on the nerve and cause back or leg pain (sciatica).
If the pressure within the disc can be lowered, then it is possible to create a vacuum that draws the bulging disc away from the nerve. Decompression treatment uses this effect as a treatment for back pain and leg pain caused by a degenerated disc.
When considering a remedy for a Degenerative Disc, Scotch Plains Pain & Rehabilitation should be your first stop. Our physicians come highly recommended by numerous physicians in Union, Middlesex and Somerset counties. Feel free to contact us for a Free, In-Office Evaluation. If you are looking for faster service, give us a call at 908-490-1800. Just tell them that you read this article and you will receive our complimentary in-office evaluation (a $145 value).
They can be sudden, happening unexpectedly and quickly. In the middle of your baseball game you reach down to stop a ground ball and pain in your back stops you in your tracks instead.
They can develop over time. You have been training for a marathon and now there is a pain in the arch of your foot with each step, running or walking.
Does this mean you put away the baseball glove or give up on that dream of running a marathon? No, of course not. But it does mean that it’s time to treat your injuries and bring your body back to a healthy state. It can also be time to start a regular routine of care that could help you avoid future injuries.
Consulting a chiropractor for treatment in regards to your sports injury is a great option. Chiropractors are experts at treating the spine, of course, but they are also highly trained in many musculoskeletal problems. They are skilled at treating both an injury to get the body back to a healthy state, as well as, focusing on the body’s overall structure and balance.
Chiropractors use safe and effective methods that promote they body’s own natural healing process. Treatments include adjustments of the spine. However, they can also include adjustments of the extremities and joints increasing range of motion and promoting healing at the site of injuries.
Some examples of sports injuries include:
Sports players should seek treatment for any injury as soon as possible. Getting the proper diagnosis and treatment from the earliest onset of the injury has been known to increase the healing process, getting you back to your game.
At Scotch Plains Pain & Rehabilitation our highly trained providers will use a consultation and exam for the diagnosis process. Depending on the type of injury and severity, additional tests may be needed. For example, an MRI or x-rays may be used to confirm a diagnosis for proper treatment.
Once a diagnosis is confirmed a treatment plan is created. It may include chiropractic care, ice therapy, physical therapy, deep-tissue massage, acupuncture or a combination of therapies.
The goal is always the same. Getting you out of pain and back to your game at a healthy performance. We want you enjoying your sport again, whatever it is.
Once you are out of pain, it’s not time to stop treatment. Regular chiropractic care helps the body keep up a healthy state. It reduces the likelihood of reoccurring injuries and chronic pain.
If you are suffering from sports injury and are looking to find relief, don’t hesitate. Call Scotch Plains Pain & Rehabilitation for a consultation and exam. Feel free to contact us for a Free, In-Office Evaluation. If you are looking for faster service, give us a call at 908-490-1800. Just tell them that you read this article and you will receive our complimentary in-office evaluation (a $145 value).
Our legs are made of muscles, bones, nerves, blood vessels and joints. Several conditions can cause someone to experience leg pain such as injury or infection.
Leg pain can present in a variety of fashions; it can be one-sided or both sides, it can be constant or intermittent; it can be in one small area or affect the entire leg. Pain in the leg can be dull, stabbing, sharp, numb, tingly, or have a burning sensation. Weakness can occur as well. Pain can occur at rest or only during walking. It can become so severe that the person is able to bear down and put down any pressure on their leg and can leave someone with the inability to walk.
Leg pain can arise from numerous conditions. Most commonly, if there is no injury present, most people experience a cramp in the muscle also known as a “charley horse”. In some cases muscular adhesions can develop in the legs and cause pain and discomfort. Another frequent occurrence is a lower back condition causing a referral of pain down the leg. Conditions such as a disc herniation can irritate or pinch the nerves that travel down into the legs causing pain, numbness or tingling. A less frequent cause of leg pain can be an obstruction in a blood vessel that restricts the flow of blood into the legs. This is known as a deep vein thrombosis. (Blood clot) A blood clot can be a serious medical condition if the blood clot breaks off and causes a pulmonary embolism. This can lead to a heart attack or stroke. Warning signs include swelling, pain, redness and cramping in the calf while walking. These cases are typically referred to the appropriate physician by the practitioners at Scotch Plains Pain & Rehabilitation.
Depending on the origination of the leg pain, there are many treatment options available at Scotch Plains Pain & Rehabilitation. For muscle conditions Massage and Physical Therapy do an excellent job. It there is a more serious situation involving a disc or nerve irritation then Chiropractic, Spinal Decompression or Acupuncture will be the treatment of choice in a great deal of cases. Adjunct therapies such as Graston technique, Laser Therapy, Kinesio / Rock taping work alongside the treatments mentioned above.
When considering a remedy for Leg Pain, Scotch Plains Pain & Rehabilitation should be your first stop. Our physicians come highly recommended by numerous physicians in Union, Middlesex and Somerset counties. Feel free to contact us for a Free, In-Office Evaluation. If you are looking for faster service, give us a call at 908-490-1800. Just tell them that you read this article and you will receive our complimentary in-office evaluation (a $145 value).
Posted OnWednesday, April 9th, 2014 at 7:31 pm
Filed under Back Pain, Chronic Back Pain Conditions, Disc Pain, DRX 9000, Neck Pain, Non Surgical Pain Relief Options, Physical Therapy, Spinal Decompression
This process occurs when the inner core (nucleus pulposus) of the intervertebral disc bulges out through the outer layer of ligaments that surround the disc (annulus fibrosis). This tear in the annulus fibrosis causes pain in the back at the point of herniation. If the protruding disc presses on a spinal nerve, the pain may spread to the area of the body that is served by that nerve (like sciatica).
Between each vertebra in the spine are a pair of spinal nerves, which branch off from the spinal cord to a specific area in the body. Any part of the skin that can experience hot and cold, pain or touch refers that sensation to the brain through one of these nerves. In turn, pressure on a spinal nerve from a herniated disc will cause pain in the part of the body that is served by that nerve.
The causes of herniated discs are not entirely known, but are probably due to the function of the spine and long term wear and tear. The two most common locations for a herniated disc in the lower back are at the disc between fourth and fifth lumbar vertebra (L4-5) and at the disc between the fifth lumbar vertebra and the first sacral vertebra (L5-S1). These two discs account for 98 percent of all painful disc herniations. A disc herniation can occur elsewhere along the spine, but low lumbar herniations are by far the most common.
Note: The two most common discs for herniations can cause the symptoms associated with sciatica!
Usually a patient’s main complaint is a sharp, cutting pain. In some cases, there may be a previous history of episodes of localized low back pain, which is present in the back and continues down the leg that is served by the affected nerve. This pain is usually described as a deep and sharp pain, which gets worse as it moves down the affected leg. The onset of pain with a herniated disc may occur out of the blue or it may be announced by a tearing or snapping sensation in the spine that is thought to be the result of a sudden tear of part of the annulus fibrosis.
Disc herniations commonly occur as a result of an injury such as a fall, lifting something to heavy incorrectly or a sudden injury to the spine. Depending upon the extent of the disc herniation will dictate the treatment of choice. At Scotch Plains Pain & Rehabilitation we utilize the latest in the state of the art technology to remedy a disc herniation. Technology paired with a high level of skill set from our practitioners is what makes Scotch Plains Pain & Rehabilitation the facility of choice for many disc herniation sufferers.
Treatments offered to disc herniation patients of Scotch Plains Pain & Rehabilitation:
When considering a remedy for Disc Herniations, Scotch Plains Pain & Rehabilitation should be your first stop. Our physicians come highly recommended by numerous physicians in Union, Middlesex and Somerset counties. Feel free to contact us for a Free, In-Office Evaluation. If you are looking for faster service, give us a call at 908-490-1800. Just tell them that you read this article and you will receive our complimentary in-office evaluation (a $145 value).
Eric Chludzinski, DC
A car accident can host a multitude of injuries for the person involved, the most common being a whiplash injury. Injuries can occur to virtually any other anatomical portion of the body depending on the extent of the accident.
I’m sure you have heard of a person who was involved in a very serious accident where the vehicle was flipped and rolled multiple times and still they walked away unharmed. On the other hand, there are minor fender bender accidents when someone sustains a serious injury like a herniated disc in their spine. There is not always a direct correlation between the amount of damage to a vehicle and one’s injuries. This is why it is highly recommended that if you are involved in a car accident, no matter the severity, you be checked for injuries by a doctor who is trained in treating auto accident injuries.
A great deal of the time the mechanism of injury will play a major role in a person’s auto accident injury. Speed of your automobile, speed of the other person’s automobile, position of the car on collision, were seatbelts worn, did airbags deploy, was the person aware of impeding collision are all some the factors involved.
Injuries from a car accident can be to the head, neck, back or extremities. When someone violently strikes their head on a portion of the car there is the question of a brain injury. This can cause a concussion of the brain that can result in a TBI (traumatic brain injury). Even if the person has no cuts and bruises on the head or face, the brain gets jostled in the skull and can create a series injury or impairment. This can result in severe headaches and migraines, memory loss and recurring dizziness. Injures to the neck and back can range from a sprain/strain to the soft tissues of the spine to a bulging or herniated disc. These classes of injuries are the most common sustained in a car accident as a result of sudden hyperflexion and hyperextension of the spine, causing whiplash.
In the case of a whiplash injury the muscles, tendons, ligaments, discs, joints and nerves can all be injured. While some times the condition is temporary, in some case these injuries can result in permanent disability. Any portion of the upper or lower limbs can be injured in an auto accident. For example, the shoulder or knee can get banged against the interior can door or dashboard resulting in injury to those joints.
As stated earlier, not matter how serious of an accident you feel you were in its very important to be examined by a trained professional to ensure your injuries are detected and remedied ASAP. Timing of treatment is of utmost important in proper rehabilitation and positive outcome. At Scotch Plains Pain & Rehabilitation, car accident injuries are treated virtually everyday. Our team of Chiropractors, Physical Therapists and Acupuncturists are well versed in handling these injuries.
When considering a remedy for Car Accident Injures, Scotch Plains Pain & Rehabilitation should be your first stop. Our physicians come highly recommended by numerous physicians in Union, Middlesex and Somerset counties. Feel free to contact us for a Free, In-Office Evaluation. If you are looking for faster service, give us a call at 908-490-1800. Just tell them that you read this article and you will receive our complimentary in-office evaluation (a $145 value).
Scoliosis is defined as a bend in a person’s spine from side to side. A great deal of the time there will be an “S” configuration of the spine when looking an x-ray from front to back (Anterior to Posterior). Scoliosis tends to run in families and is more common in females than males. It usually first appears in late childhood or during the early teens. While there are many different causes for scoliosis, including polio, there is no known cause in the vast majority of cases. Doctors call this “idiopathic” scoliosis. Over 90 percent of the curves in scoliosis curve to the right.
Scoliosis can often be slowed or stopped by wearing a brace, but if the angle of the spinal curvature goes beyond 40 degrees in childhood, it will become even more pronounced in adulthood.
Since the spine and the ribcage are connected, a severe case of scoliosis affects the position of the ribs and can affect surrounding organs as well. Severe scoliosis not only hurts the individual’s appearance, but it can also compromise his or her health and ability to function.
Health risks from this severe spine curvature include neurological problems from pressure on nerves, arthritis, and even lung and heart problems. A curve in the lower spine can make participation in sports or athletic activities difficult.
If the curve remains under 40 degrees, it probably won’t get worse in adulthood, and can be watched by x-rays and annual spinal checkups.
A Doctor of Chiropractic should examine your spine yearly. He or she can also adjust your spine to increase movement and proper biomechanical function. The chiropractor will also give you advice on improving posture to prevent further increase of curving. If necessary, they will refer you for bracing. Physical therapy exercises addressing postural abnormalities also help in biomechanical movement and strengthening of the spine.
DID YOU KNOW?
In a joint study performed by the Committee on Re- search of the International Chiropractor’s Association, Parker Chiropractic Re- search Foundation, the Kale Network and Kale Research Center, patients with Scoliosis/ Spinal Curvatures who received chiropractic treatment showed that 83 percent were much improved, 6 percent were slightly improved, 8 percent remained the same, and 3 percent became worse.
The majority of these cases had been previously diagnosed and treated by practitioners other than chiropractors.
When considering a remedy for Scoliosis, Scotch Plains Pain & Rehabilitation should be your first stop. Our physicians come highly recommended by numerous physicians in Union, Middlesex and Somerset counties. Feel free to contact us for a Free, In-Office Evaluation. If you are looking for faster service, give us a call at 908-490-1800. Just tell them that you read this article and you will receive our complimentary in-office evaluation (a $145 value).
Eric Chludzinski, DC
Do you suffer from back pain, neck pain or carpal tunnel syndrome and want to know the common link that may exist that might end your pain? You are going to find this information very interesting. What’s this possible link? It is a condition you’ve probably never heard of. First, let me lay a little ground work so it all makes sense.
To make it simple, think of a light in your house. When you turn on the switch electricity flows from the source along the wires all the way to the light. When you turn on the switch, the light bulb will light as long as there is nothing stopping that flow of electricity. That’s kind of how your brain and nervous system works. Your brain sends electrical impulses along nerves to every part of your body. For example, if you want to close your hand and make a fist you first “think” it. Then, your brain sends the message, down nerves, to your hand and your hand closes and makes a fist. All this happens in tiny fractions of a second. Kinda like the light switch in your house. But, what happens if something is blocking the signals from your brain to your hand? If the signals are completely blocked, you will not be able to use your hand at all. An example of this is when someone tragically breaks the spinal bones in their neck. The trauma could have either completely cut or very severely damaged the clear pathway of connection between the brain and the rest of the body. But you didn’t break you neck so what does this have to do with you? Well, there are several ways your nerves can get “pinched” or the pathway of connection can be slightly obstructed without the extreme case of breaking your neck. And when this happens, instead of becoming paralyzed, you can get symptoms like back pain, neck pain and carpal tunnel syndrome. For example, you can have a malfunction in your neck such as a bone out of place affecting the nerves. This can cause pain in your neck. But it can also cause numbness, tingling and weakness to wherever that nerve goes. Some of the nerves in your neck go down your arm into your hands. This is why you can have symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome but actually the cause of the problem may not be in your hand or wrist at all.
But listen to this: There is a condition called double crush syndrome. Double crush syndrome means you have… not one… but TWO… spots along a nerve that are getting “pinched” or interfered with.
Why is this important?
It’s important because when a nerve is pinched in one spot, it makes it much easier to cause interference in other spots. For example – your nerves have a certain amount of pressure they can handle in one spot before you start getting pain and other symptoms. But, if you have TWO areas of pressure, it can take a lot less pressure at the second pressure site to cause pain and other symptoms. If the first area was not pinched, chances are that the second “pinch” would not be enough to cause any pain or symptoms.
Basically, having two small irritations along the same nerve can cause problems that each would not do alone.
Here’s what that means for you:
If you have something pinching a nerve in your neck (that’s one spot) it may only take a teeny, tiny amount of pressure in your wrist to cause the symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome. Without the misalignments in your neck, the small problem in your wrist may not be enough to cause your pain or symptoms. This is why in my opinion, everyone with carpal tunnel syndrome should have a complete spinal examination by a Chiropractor. Because, if double crush syndrome is present, just working on the wrist will not solve the problem.
But that’s not all: the nerve that goes to you hand and wrist can also get “pinched” by your elbow, forearm or shoulder. There are specific spots that MUST be examined there too.
How does back pain fit into all this?
Your spine functions as one big unit. If you have a problem in your lower back, it can throw your neck off and then nerves can be affected elsewhere like the double crush situation.
Check this out – it’s probably the most important part: Your neck or back doesn’t even have to hurt to have a misalignment that is affecting the nerves. Many times the misalignment is not bad enough to cause pain… but… it is enough to be one of the two spots needed for double crush syndrome. Many times this double crush connection is completely overlooked.
When considering a remedy for neck and back pain or carpal tunnel syndrome, Scotch Plains Pain & Rehabilitation should be your first stop. Our physicians come highly recommended by numerous physicians in Union, Middlesex and Somerset counties. Feel free to contact us for a Free, In-Office Evaluation. If you are looking for faster service, give us a call at 908-490-1800. Just tell them that you read this article and you will receive our complimentary in-office evaluation (a $145 value).
By Eric Chludzinski, DC
Posted OnWednesday, January 22nd, 2014 at 8:02 pm
Filed under Back Pain, Chronic Back Pain Conditions, Disc Pain, Health Care Explorations, Non Surgical Pain Relief Options, Office Locations, Physical Therapy, Uncategorized
CrossFit utilizes strength and conditioning training, olympic weightlifting, powerlifting and gymnastics to name a few. If you are looking for a good balance of strength, power and conditioning, it’s an excellent training method in my opinion. However, it specializes in not specializing. That is to say if you are looking to break a powerlifting record or compete in the olympics then you NEED to specialize in training for your particular goal. Constantly varied movements won’t be a big help.
Personally, I love Crossfit…it got me back into training.
Professionally, as a chiropractor specializing in biomechanics and rehabilitation, I have seen first-hand numerous Crossfit-related injuries.
Why are people getting injured from Crossfit?
I hear all the arguments! Everyone has an opinion. Well, its because the trainers have not had a comprehensive nor thorough certification process to become teachers. …or…its because olympic lifts are not suppose to operate at high reps and sets…or…maybe its…yada yada yada…You get it.
Like many athletes, CrossFitters are willing to test the limits of their body’s potential. They are commited, they are driven. In my opinion, once someone drinks the CrossFit kool aid, so to say, they are hooked and have trouble staying away. There develops a heightened level of dedication to training and diet.
For the most part when put in a competitive environment, driven and commited people will do what they can to win. The game is on! This competitive streak could invite less focus on the fundamental good form of the exercises. Paying attention to the end result and not enough attention of getting there safely. Often, the correct, stable form will break down and that sets the stage for injury. This is the high-intensity component that everyone involved in Crossfit is aware of. There will be occassions where each individual is susceptible to this type of situation and might get injured.
The Crossfit community does an excellent job at educating their trainers about the importance of FUNCTIONAL mobility. That is to say…Kelly Starrett (Mobility certification teacher for CrossFit) teaches you how to properly brace, foam roll, remove muscular restrictions and ensure healthy stable movement. There are a variety of chiropractors and physcial therapists that utilize techniques such as Graston, ART, PNF & others to address functional issues as well. These services are very important for athletic performance. Here, I want to turn the focus on what I feel is missing from the equation…STRUCTURAL CORRECTION.
Our brain is the master control unit for our body. The brain sends out signals to the rest of our body via the central and peripheral nervous system. Our spine protects our spinal cord and the nerves. The spine’s position governs how the body will function. The nerve system controls all body functions—including balance and coordination, which are essential to a CrossFitter’s ability to get the most of a workout. With everyday life, training, trauma, and other activities, our vertebrae can become misaligned. In turn, this puts stress on the immediate surrounding nerves and affects the innervation of the muscles. When your spine is not in the correct position it will predispose you to not only a poor performance but injury as well.
I am a firm believer in the fact that STRUCTURE dictates FUNCTION. If your spine and joints are set up structurally abnormal your function and performance (maybe both) will be affected negatively.
So what’s normal?
As seen in the picture, from the front, the center of the skull, chest and hips should all line up as one straight line. From the side position, there are three distinct curves that make up the “S” shape of our spine. The most important curve is the neck curve. This curve protects the neck from damage, reduces the force, stress and strains on the spinal cord and nerves, and plays a tremendous role in allowing proper nerve energy to be transmitted to the rest of the body.
Noted Neurosurgeon, Alf Breig MD, PhD, established that loss of spinal curvature in the neck could create significant stress and strain on the spinal cord and nerves. It could even continue all the way down through the lumbar spine. These stresses can create dysfunction in the various systems of the body such as the muscular system. I see this commonly where someone injures themselves performing an overhead squat or overhead press. If you start off with poor curvature in your neck there is already a significant amount of stress and strain on the spinal nerves and muscles. When you add weight overhead to a system already under stress it results in injury especially if the form is compromised just a bit.
Just as there is a normal value for blood pressure there exist a normal value for spinal curves in the neck and lower back. The Harrison Spinal Model is an evidenced based model for side view spinal alignment. It is the geometric path of the posterior longitudinal ligament or the backs of the vertebra from the 1st neck vertebra to the bottom of the lower back or top of the sacrum.
See the illustration below detailing the Harrison Spinal Model.
CBP® (chiropractic biophysics) researchers have extensively published ideal and average models for the human spinal curvatures as viewed from the side. This research has lead to the finding of the ‘Harrison Spinal Model’. This model details both Ideal and Average geometric shapes for the curves of the spine from the side. Additionally, ideal and average ranges for the spinal segmental angles for each of the spinal regions have been identified. The neck or cervical spine should have a geometric shape that approximates a ‘piece of a circle’. The ribcage or thoracic spine should have a geometric shape that approximates an oval-elliptical shape. And the low back or lumbar spine should have a geometric shape that approximates an oval-elliptical shape.1-6
These are “evidence based” models. In fact, the CBP® neck-cervical circular model2 and the low back- lumbar elliptical model4 have both been found to have discriminative validity between pain and non-pain patients.
In other words, the Harrison Spinal Model has been found to be able identify pain subjects versus non-pain subjects by what their spinal x-ray shapes are.
There are several possible reasons for a change in the alignment of your spine. Poor postural habits, accidents, or injuries or a combination of some or all could contribute to misalignment. However, the end result is the same. It will impede nerve energy to various other structures in your body such as your arms or legs. This can affect your training. Your quality of breathing, normal hormone responses, as well as, oxygen and blood flow to your working muscles and could all be negatively impacted. You don’t want those types of influences on your workouts.
Fortunately there exists specific spinal-remodeling techniques to correct abnormally aligned neck curves; which will in turn improve curvature and overall health. Chiropractors certified in Chiropractic BioPhysics specialize in helping people restore their proper spinal curvature.
What I have experienced personally and have also seen in my private practice when treating CrossFit athletes is that a high percentage of these athletes are only addressing the functional component of their injury. They are not even aware of a structural dysfunction such as abnormal spinal curvature. By restoring the spine to normal though structural correction those nagging, recurring muscular issues have the opportunity to heal and functional normally. Is this the case every time? No. In some cases the reason for the recurring injury is due to technique breakdown or not warming up properly. But I do believe that if an athlete, CrossFit or any other, is striving for optimal performance normal spinal alignment and curvature is of utmost importance and should be a priority.
1 Harrison DD, Janik TJ, Troyanovich SJ, Holland B. Comparisons of Lordotic Cervical Spine Curvatures to a Theoretical Ideal Model of the Static Sagittal Cervical Spine. Spine 1996;21(6):667-675.
2 Harrison DD, Harrison DE, Janik TJ, Cailliet R, Haas JW, Ferrantelli J, Holland B. Modeling of the Sagittal Cervical Spine as a Method to Discriminate Hypo-Lordosis: Results of Elliptical and Circular Modeling in 72 Asymptomatic Subjects, 52 Acute Neck Pain Subjects, and 70 Chronic Neck Pain Subjects. Spine 2004; 29:2485-2492.
3 Janic TJ Harrison DD, Cailliet R, Troyanovich SJ, Harrison DE. Can the Sagittal Lumbar Curvature be Closely Approximated by an Ellipse? J Orthop Res 1998; 16(6):766-70.
4 Harrison DD, Cailliet R, Janik TJ, Troyanovich SJ, Harrison DE, Holland B. Elliptical Modeling of the Sagittal Lumbar Lordosis and Segmental Rotation Angles as a Method to Discriminate Between Normal and Low Back Pain Subjects. J Spinal Disord 1998; 11(5): 430-439.
5 Harrison DE, Janik TJ, Harrison DD, Cailliet R, Harmon S. Can the Thoracic Kyphosis be Modeled with a Simple Geometric Shape? The Results of Circular and Elliptical Modeling in 80 Asymptomatic Subjects. J Spinal Disord Tech 2002; 15(3): 213-220.
6 Harrison DD, HarrisonDE, Janik TJ, Cailliet R, Haas JW. Do Alterations in Vertebral and Disc Dimensions Affect an Elliptical Model of the Thoracic Kyphosis? Spine 2003; 28(5):463-469.
* Some of the information and illustrations contained in this article are borrowed from the Chiropractic Biophysics website. For more information please visit idealspine.com
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Eric Chludzinski, DC CSCS