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Spinal Degeneration is Not Only in the Elderly

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We sometimes think of spinal degeneration or osteoarthritis as a disorder dealt with only by the elderly. However, it’s not just the elderly who deal with it; it is a progressive disorder caused by years of malfunction in the spine. It builds over the years in direct relation to how much dysfunction is present and how long it has been there. This dysfunction can be caused by stressors we encounter in our lives. It may be from repetitive stress in the work place, or from a hobby. It can be caused from trauma, such as contact sports, a fall or a car accident.

No matter what causes the dysfunction in the spine, the process is the same. One or more of the vertebrae or spinal bones becomes misaligned or restricted in motion. This restriction causes the surrounding and associated structures to become inflamed. There is inflammation that builds up in and around the joint. This inflammation causes irritation to tendons, muscles, ligaments, discs and most importantly the nerves near the joint. When these other structures become inflamed, they do not function properly and the whole process goes on and on. The spinal bones begin to deform, the discs swell, the ligaments, tendons, muscles begin to harden and weaken, and the entire spine loses its balance, flexibility, stability and strength.

Spinal degeneration is like tooth decay, it happens slowly and silently.
By the time you experience problems, the dysfunction has usually been present for years. It is not the age of a person that dictates the degree of spinal degeneration, it is the amount of dysfunction and how long it has been present.

It all comes down to how you care for your spine throughout your life. The best way to prevent spinal degeneration is to maintain proper joint function, which means keeping full range of motion throughout the many joints of the spine. Staying active and stretching is extremely important. It is also important to have your spine evaluated by a chiropractor. Chiropractic care can reduce, halt and may even reverse spinal degeneration, by improving spinal balance and posture and keeping your joints nerves and discs healthy and strong throughout your lifetime.

Of course, prevention of this degeneration is the best approach. Your spine should be evaluated any time you are involved in or suffer some sort of trauma to correct spinal dysfunction; but regular spinal check-ups are just as important for those that are symptom free.

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