What happens if you lose normal movement in your spine?

Todd Lloyd
July 2, 2022

What Happens when you lose mobility: transcript

In order to get the best out of your chiropractic care, it becomes important to understand some of the changes that can happen within segments of your spine when things don't work the way they should.

So with this course i'm going to talk about what happens when you lose mobility now when you lose mobility your spine you can tell because things get stiff they might like stiffness in your neck or stiffness in your low back but it might also become a painful process too so i'm going to talk about what happens in your back when you lose that mobility this can come from old traumas repetitive micro trauma and incomplete healing.

When you lose the normal motion in your spine we call that a breakdown in kinesiology.

Kinesiology is the movement of the human body and when you lose normal kinesiology normal movement in your spine we call that “kinesiopathology.”

Now kinesiology describes the movement of the joints, capsules, ligaments, tendons, and muscles.

And when you lose that movement, problems can arise in all of those areas, but when you lose movement there are several things that happen.

The first is, you lose normal nerve function. 

You know this is the study of neurology, but when you lose normal nerve function, that's called “neuropathology.”

When you lose normal neurological function you lose the sensation that comes from capsule receptors within the joint capsules of your back facet joints, other types of joints.

You alter the signals coming in from golgi tendon organs, muscle spindles, pain receptors, and pressure receptors.

So when you lose kinesiology,  you have “kinesiopathology.”

Then you have neuropathology because you're not getting that signal coming in from joint receptors.

In your back things become stiff.

They don't move very well.

The nerve activity slows down because the nerves aren't really quite sure how to present the information back into your brain or spinal cord reflexes or for motor programming.

Other aspects of neurology that can go wrong (when things go wrong in your spine) is that you can have visceral referred pain. Pain going into the stomach making it feel like you have a stomach ache. 

Or it can amplify organic pain like that and you can also have a “somatic referred pain” so if you have irritation to the neck, oftentimes that's going to refer to the shoulder blade with a really dull diffuse ache.

With that further breakdown of the spine can also make—it can make the nerves vulnerable and part of the nerve called the dorsal root ganglia, now this is for the sensory nerves bringing information

back from this the tissue, back into the brain, and the the dorsal root ganglia is not very well protected like the rest of the nervous system is.

And that can be a sight of compression.

Now the final thing with neurology is, and this is a can be a really sad effect that can happen, is that you can have trophic changes. 

If you have nerve trauma usually trophic changes will go from trauma in the neck down to maybe the arm creating a burning sensation.

With changes in skin, texture, and tone, and it can make everything hyperalgesic.

Hyper sensitive to the touch. 

So trophic influences can occur when things go wrong in your spine.

Naturally with neurology, things can go wrong with the muscles of your spine too.

Myology is the study of muscles, but myopathology is what can go wrong when things go wrong with the muscles.

If you have immobilization of parts of your spine stuff that chiropractic can correct the muscles become tense around the area. 

They become ropey, and i can feel that when i ju when i touch your spine i can feel roping muscles in there.

When you get adjusted, that helps to hit the reset button on the reflexes for your spinal muscles, allowing them to relax.

Immobilization of your spine causes the muscles to contract and become tight again.

The muscles can be influenced by changing volitional movement, which is what you are telling your muscles what to do.

They can also be affected by a programmed cerebellum movement.

Like the involuntary movement or stuff that you don't really think about like reaching for a pencil or walking down the street. 

Those movements can also be affected by problems that arise in the in the spine.

For example, there are some studies published where they measured the the calf strength of some athletes, adjusted their necks.

According to what they found, you know problems in the spine and measured their muscle activity after that, and they had a big increase of strength in their calf muscle just by adjusting the neck.

Having these problems in your spine corrected with some adjustments can really help to reset the muscle tone and normalize the symmetry and the power of your muscles in your body.

Now if you have spinal immobilization another thing that you can look at on maybe an mri or with an ultrasound study is connective tissue problems.

It's common for me to see someone with back pain with problems with back movement who have ligament contracture and thickening.

Thickening of the ligaments you can measure that on the MRI. That can also lead to spinal canal stenosis, where it'll interfere with the the area within the spinal canal where the spinal cord rests.

You can have tendon degeneration with immobilization or this can also occur with repetitive injury.

You can have disc degeneration because of immobilization. Over time discs break down because there's not a lot of nutrient delivery. More on that later.

You can have capsular contraction. 

The joint capsules can contract. Within the joint capsule you have synovial fluid lubricating the joints, but if you stop motion then that synovial fluid starts to consolidate. Become thicker.

And actually become fibrous with new fibers being deposited.

That's all because of immobilization that you don't need to have in your back.

It really makes you want to get up and start moving again.

But with the connective tissue problems you can also have problems with vascular.

Vascular pathology: immobilization leads to stasis, and movement helps to pump blood.

So when you're immobilized and you become static, the blood also slows down. 

There's not a lot of circulation going on, and this can lead to inflammation. The inflammatory byproducts or metabolic byproducts start to build up because the blood flow has slowed down.

This allows more and more inflammation to take place, and when there's inflammation in there it hurts.

But inflammation helps to accelerate the degeneration process too.

Inflammation leads to changes in collagen types within the discs or the joints of your spine, further leading to breakdown in and degeneration.

Inflammation leads to local degeneration over time

To sum it up, just so you're aware of what happens within your own body when things go wrong:

breakdown of kinesiology or movement, leads to problems with neurology, leading to myology problems with the muscles or connective tissue, leading to problems with the vascular system whether you can measure it or not.

The vascular beds can become influenced, and all of this can lead to inflammation. Which sort of causes a vicious circle of problems. More inflammation leading to more immobility leading to more degeneration, and of course pain.

We want to break this cycle. We want you to be adjusted so things move well. Your body is more symmetrical, allowing your muscles to work better, allowing blood flow to the area, and this is going to help set the foundation for you to exercise, to stretch,  to pay attention to diet, to engage in other social activities.

Because the better your spine can move, the better your quality of life will be.

Todd Lloyd
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