Why don’t the bones in your spine stay in place? What this refers to is something Chiropractors call ‘holding’ your adjustment.
Each bone (vertebrae) in your spine is held in place by 9 ligaments (including your discs the soft spongy ligament that cushions each bone in your spine), and their function is to hold your bones in place while allowing them the flexibility to move.
When the bones get misaligned from things such as; trauma, repetitive motion, poor ergonomics or bad posture habits, these ligaments then get damaged and swell and lose their ability to do their job properly which I mentioned just before is to hold your bones in place while allowing them the flexibility to move.
Your body is really smart and does what it can to try to stabilize and immobilize the injured joint so it signals your muscles to tighten up and they go into spasm.
If nothing is then done or worse the symptoms of pain and muscle spasms are just covered up, the swelling will eventually go away but your vertebrae and these ligaments are still in an abnormal position so these ligaments also become abnormal, scarred, and weakened.
This will continue to get worse and worse over time (especially when repeating traumas, repetitive motions, poor ergonomics and posture habits continue) and eventually, if not properly taken care of, will develop into a chronic condition and will lead to changes in the bones and joints themselves called, spinal arthritis and degenerative disc disease.
Depending on how long this has been going on and if any degenerative changes are present, repeated adjustments at regular intervals over a period of time to these misalignments is necessary to get the ligaments to heal back in their proper position.
If you or someone you know has ever had braces on their teeth, like I did back when I was in High School, to correct an abnormal alignment of their teeth can easily relate to this, once the braces were put on and were tightened up your teeth moved but, what would’ve happened if you took the braces off right away?
That’s right, they would’ve gone right back to where they were before.
However, they stayed on continued to get tightened over a period of time until your teeth were in their corrected alignment and then they were kept on until your gums and jaw were completely healed, then finally the braces were taken off and your teeth held their new position.
However, since they’ve were still out of proper alignment for so long they still tended to move back into their abnormal position and that’s why you needed to maintain this newly corrected alignment by the use of a retainer. Quite often at first, but with less and less frequency as time went on until it was no longer needed.
Well guess what? Your spine, while more complex and much more important to your health, isn’t any different.
Dr. Brandon Siegmund was born and raised outside of Fort Worth. After he obtained his Bachelor’s degree in Biology from the University of Texas at Austin in 2006, Dr. Siegmund performed clinical research at MD Anderson Cancer Center. Click Here To Read Full Bio