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  • Dr. Liz Homan

Freedom to Know!

Updated: Dec 19, 2019

In July we get together with friends and family and watch parades, have barbecues and lets not forget the fireworks! It is such a fun summer time holiday and something that is truly worthy of the celebration! But what are we celebrating? We all know the answer to that, we are celebrating our country’s independence! The day that represents the Declaration of Independence and the birth of the United States of America as an independent nation!

So we all know what Independence Day is, and we also know why it is important! But do we know what our current health status is? And what about the health status of our children and our spouse?

I think that knowing our health status is hugely important and something that we should all take the time to learn more about! This way we can be proactive in our life decisions instead of being reactive.

What I can help you with is understanding more about your spinal health. Learning if you have a postural abnormality that may be causing you unnecessary strain in the shoulder blade region, which is triggered by stressful situations! Learning if your range of motion is not what it needs to be, which will affect your ability to move and play with your kids, especially sitting in the ground with them for a long amount of time. And then there is the value of knowing your current stage of spinal degeneration, that can only be evaluated with a spinal x-ray.

Spinal degeneration is a natural process for the body to go through, but it gives us a lot of insight on what our future holds. In a textbook normal spine, the spine is straight when we look at it from the back, has nice supporting curves when we look at it from the side, the thickness of the intervertebral discs are equal, and the bones have proper shape and density. From this textbook normal spine, there are several things that can change. There are 3 stages of spinal degeneration and I feel it is more like a sliding scale as one part of the spine could have more degeneration than another depending on the stresses that have been placed upon it.

Here are the different Phases of Degeneration:

  • Normal: In a textbook normal spine, the disc spaces are equal and there are no visible signs of degenerative changes.

  • Phase 1: This phase is the result of falls, strains or repetitive movements that result in the alignment being altered, however the disc space remains normal. Symptoms and degenerative changes may be present, such as postural changes and reduced range of motion. Nerve tissue can become irritated which leads to various effects.

  • Phase 2: This phase is usually the result of a Phase 1 Vertebral Subluxation that has been left uncorrected for several years. The alignment continues to deteriorate, and disc narrowing is now present. Degenerative changes progress and osteophytes are now present. Osteophytes are where the body lays down additional bone growth to prevent further damage by limiting the motion at that specific level. Nerve tissues are irritated and being to atrophy.

  • Phase 3: This phase is usually the result of Phase 2 Vertebral Subluxations that was left undetected or uncorrected. The joint space is no longer visualized and osteophytes progress to fuse the involved joint. Nerve tissue atrophy occurs which results in various symptoms including pain, visceral changes and reduced mobility.

Most people think that these changes only happen in older adults, but sadly that is no longer true. I have been seeing more and more young children having varying levels of degeneration within their spine. This is why it is so important to take the time for a spinal evaluation!

So why is this happening? There are so many factors including diet and hydration, but one of the key things is the way that we are moving, or not moving. When we have constant repetitive movements, this causes repeated stress onto a specific area of our spine resulting in the degeneration process starting. So, the way that we sit when we are at our desk working, the way that we see our children sitting while watching a television program, and the way that we all change our head position to look down at a cell phone or tablet are some examples of what may cause the process of degeneration to begin. And trust me, there are loads of other examples I could give you!

So what can we do to prevent this from occurring in our young children and in ourselves? A thorough chiropractic evaluation can identify areas where degeneration is starting to form which can allow a plan to be put into place to correct the degeneration and also improve the mobility and function of the spine at that level! We can also be aware of our posture and movements! Making sure to move often and when we are sitting/standing in the same position for a long period of time, to do so with proper posture!

I am giving you this information as I feel you have the Freedom to Know what is going on with your spinal health! And with your child’s growing spine! If you have any questions on this, please do not hesitate to contact the office and we will help you determine what your family’s spinal health is!

And please remember: You have the freedom to know if your significant other has spinal degeneration. You have the freedom to know if your children's spines are growing straight or crooked.

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