Your spine consists of bones called vertebrae, which are separated by discs of spongy cartilage that cushion the bones. As people age, the blood supply to these discs diminishes, and they don't heal as well after an injury. The spinal column travels through a hole in the center of each vertebra, and the nerves that control the rest of the body run off the spinal cord and out between the vertebra. If the vertebrae are out of alignment, these nerves can become pinched, causing severe pain and disability. Aging and overuse can result in degenerative changes that cause pain and some people develop arthritis in the spine.
Chiropractic treatment corrects misalignments in the spine, which allows it to return to its normal position. Some chiropractic techniques affect muscles directly, which reduces muscle tension and spasm and helps the body maintain correct alignment. The adjustments may also help improve your posture, which decreases the strain on the spinal column. A chiropractor can also teach you how to move your body correctly so you don't continue to put stress on your back. By the time most people see a chiropractor, they've been dealing with back pain for a while, so it may require multiple treatments to correct the spinal problems and allow muscles to stretch correctly.
Tense muscles that easily go into spasm are a common problem with chronic back pain. Over a period of time, the muscle becomes “set” in an incorrect position and can even become shorter than it should be. These tense muscles will pull on the spine and extremities. Massage helps release and stretch the muscles, which allows them to return to a more normal position and decreases overall pain. Massage can also break the cycle of stress causing muscle tension and help the patient feel more relaxed, which decreases pain in many cases.
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