We’ve all no doubt suffered from back pain, stiffness, and soreness as we’ve gotten older. The aging process can actually shift the vertebrae out of proper alignment. Dr. Nathen Horst refers to these vertebral misalignments as vertebral subluxations, and they are considered the main cause for most medical conditions that chiropractic care can address.
It is important to fix subluxations as soon as possible to minimize damage to the spinal discs from a process known as degenerative disc disease. This condition is not actually a disease at all, but a term to describe the natural aging process of your spinal discs, the soft, spongy material between each of the vertebrae. If Dr. Horst can address these subluxations early enough in the disc degeneration process, he can prevent serious damage further down the line.
Vertebral Subluxations Over Time
Perfect alignment: Under optimal conditions, if your vertebrae are in perfect alignment, your spinal discs act as shock absorbers and provide your spine with the needed ability to twist, bend, and flex. The natural curvature of your spine assists in providing support for these movements. You do not experience any back pain, stiffness, or soreness.
Mild vertebral subluxations: This is the stage at which you may feel some of the first twinges of pain or crackles of stiff vertebrae in your back or neck. This means that your vertebrae have begun to move out of alignment and are placing pressure on the nerves leading in and out from your spinal cord to the various organs and parts of your body. This will generally start when you are in your 30s.
Moderate vertebral subluxations: This phase will generally start when you are in your 40s. There is more pronounced degenerative disc disease, as the subluxations have become more pronounced as a result of poor posture, spinal-disc hardening and flattening, and narrowing of the spaces in the vertebrae through which the nerves will pass. Your pain, stiffness, and fatigue will be more pronounced. As the vertebral subluxations become even more pronounced at this stage, you may notice weakness or numbness in the extremities, particularly the hands, legs, and feet.
Severe vertebral subluxations: By this point, your subluxations are quite pronounced, and your degenerative disc disease has likely resulted in disability. You may have mobility issues, severe pain, permanent postural imbalances, and nerve damage. In some cases, your spinal discs may have bulged out or herniated, for which your regular doctor has recommended spinal fusion surgery.
How to Treat Vertebral Subluxations and Degenerative Disc Disease
Correcting vertebral subluxations before they become severe will go a long way toward slowing the progression of degenerative disc disease. To do this, Dr. Horst will perform a spinal adjustment on your misaligned vertebrae. This adjustment opens up the space between your vertebrae to ease them back into proper alignment, thereby releasing the pressure on nerves and allowing proper circulation and nerve signals to travel to and from the brain.
The truth is that it is easier for Dr. Horst to perform adjustments on mild subluxations than on severe ones. Furthermore, your spine will require regular checkups, like your teeth, as your vertebrae can again become misaligned. Spinal adjustments to correct vertebral subluxations will go a long way toward slowing down the progression of degenerative disc disease and keep you active.