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Back Pain Often Really is a Pain in the Neck

You Have Only One Spine

That may seem like an absurdly obvious thing to say, but people often fail to appreciate how one end of your spine is connected to the other.

If we look at an anatomical diagram, the spine is divided into three sections – the cervical (your neck), the thoracic (your upper and middle back), and the lumbar (your lower back).

It’s easy to think of these as three separate parts. They’re not, they are one. They function as one.

As we’ve said before, the spine, from top to bottom, is an articulated suit of armour for your spinal cord. Your spinal cord is the information superhighway of your entire central nervous system – it relays the signals that control every part of your body.

The example we always like to use is the late Christopher Reeve. His horse-riding accident in 1995 damaged the vertebrae in his neck. He was paralyzed from the neck down. He also lost the ability to breath on his own. Why? Because the trauma to his spinal cord impacted the normal function of the rest of his body.

Where you feel pain may not be the source of the problem

Think of each of your vertebrae as a doughnut with a hole in the middle. Your spinal cord runs through these holes. Nerve roots branch off at set points through gaps and holes in the sides of the doughnuts.

When your spine is healthy and aligned as nature intended, there’s no problem. But if it isn’t, those holes and gaps may no longer line up. That means your spinal cord and/or nerve roots are being affected in some way by the bone meant to protect it.

If one area of your spine shifts out of alignment and puts pressure on the spinal cord, other areas have to compensate. This is one reason why someone who has chronic bad posture while sitting at the computer day after day can feel the impact of a growing problem with their neck in their lower back – it’s a compensation reaction.

A true story from our office

One of our patients was a 56-year-old woman with chronic low back pain and sciatic pain going down her right leg.

She had come to rely on the pain medication Celebrex to function, but that just masked her symptoms, it didn’t address the root cause.

Her condition had deteriorated to the point where pain medications were of little benefit. The pain was so great in her lower back, she wouldn’t allow us to even touch the area.

So we focused instead on the true origin of all that pain – her neck. Too much time with bad posture at a desk had forced the vertebrae in her neck out of alignment. This was having a domino effect down her spine.

After three months of Chiropractic care, she was 30 per cent better and her sciatic pain had receded. After six months, her lower back felt great. She no longer suffered from any sciatic pain. Years of suffering had come to an end.

And we never touched her lower lumbar spine where she felt the most pain. We only worked on her cervical and thoracic spine.

Where you feel pain isn’t necessarily the cause of the pain. And trying to mask it with pain medications can be a vicious circle of increasingly powerful medications that run the risks of addiction and other negative side effects.

So take good care of your spine, from one end to the other. It’s the only one you’ve got.

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