Misalignments of the spine

In some cases of back pain, two or more adjoining vertebrae may be misaligned. The misalignment or loss of mobility in these segments can lead to irritation of the nerve root(s) emerging from between the vertebrae. Corresponding muscles respond by contracting in an attempt to correct the abnormal posture. Back pain occurs as a result of the nerve root inflammation and the sustained contraction of the muscles. Misalignment of the spinal column can be genetic and fixed, but more often it is episodic and results from bad posture or from scoliosis, bad lifting or strenuous activities. The condition can be moderate or even asymptomatic; on the other hand, it may be sufficiently painful to require treatment. Palpation of the spinous processes can be used as a simple indicator of misalignments and immobility. A gentle pressure applied to the lateral side of the spinous process is likely to elicit pain if that segment of the spinal column is misaligned or malfunctioning; the more severe the discomfort, the more acute the condition is likely to be (Fig. 5.1). Massage is indicated to deal with the associated muscle tightness but not as a means of correcting the deviations; however, spontaneous corrections of the spinal alignments can often follow the muscle relaxation. The treatment is contraindicated on areas of considerable pain or if there is very severe radiating pain to the limbs.

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  • Category: Musculoskeletal system