Segmental Instability
Published in the Times Standard
        My last two articles on back and neck pain constituted a large percentage of those symptoms, facet arthropathy and annular tears.  Generally speaking back bending aggravates the facet symptoms while bending forward exacerbates the annular tear.  This is a quick way of distinguishing the two and seeking appropriate treatment.  In some patients, however, both flexion and extension of the spine causes an increase in pain.  This is especially true if the disc space between the vertebrae is thinning or degenerative.  With the narrowing of the disc space comes facet joint narrowing and irritation.  Increasing lordosis (extending backwards) causes more pain to the already irritated facets from increased mechanical stress on the joints.  Bending forward (flexion) increases disc pressure on an already irritated or thin disc also causing pain.  Therefore, clinically this is referred to as segmental instability.  In x-ray this definition refers to a hypermobile segment from loose supportive soft tissue, but not usually associated with pain.
        All this irritation and inflammation in the spine requires proper Chiropractic treatment, nutrition, and specific exercises.  Balance to the spine through Chiropractic analysis is crucial to the future of your discs and joints.  The narrowing of the facet joint space can lead to fixation of that joint, with loss of flexibility and impingement of the nerve roots that exit through the intervertebral foramen or opening.  The facets and discs comprise a portion of this foramen.  Maintaining joint space and flexibility can improve on spinal function and decrease the pain.  Balanced foundation assures the axial compression load is evenly distributed for the discs and joints to better handle it.
        Exercises designed to strengthen the core spinal stabilizers can be helpful to hold the spine in alignment.  These exercises are slowly introduced and are performed with the spine in the pain-free, usually neutral position.
        Nutrition is designed for cartilage and joint support as well as reducing inflammation.  Water is also essential to keep the body hydrated since most of our body is water.  The disc itself is up to 80% water.  Call our office if you need help with back or neck pain.  Help is available through Chiropractic “naturally”.
Crosbie Chiropractic
Michael H. Crosbie, D.C.
1828 Main Street
Fortuna, CA 95540
(707) 725-5668