Did I Get Shorter?
The answer is likely YES! The question though is “Why?”
Everybody gets a little shorter by the end of the day. Gravity takes its toll on the discs. Between each of the vertebrae in your spine which will start to compress by the end of the day. Assuming you’ve been upright during the day, and you will, in fact, be a bit shorter than you were when you woke up this morning. This is a normal occurrence but for some, it can become a more permanent affliction. Any good structural chiropractor understands this because they see it every day for a number of reasons. The discs in your spine are there to allow for a great deal of flexibility. They are the joints, like the joints in your knuckles, where the bones connect but still have mobility. These are arguably the most important joints in your entire body. If you damage a joint in any other area of your body it can be very painful but more often than not it’s unlikely to be completely debilitating. This is the potential that exists when damaging a joint in your spine.
There are numerous ways to damage a disc. All of which should be first looked at by a structurally focused chiropractor.
The two most common problems with the discs in your low back are going to be:
MOST COMMON DISC PROBLEMS
Disc bulge, prolapse, sequestration, herniation etc.
- This is when the disc ruptures and pushes outward. There are many different stages of this damage. Ranging from minimal to very severe. Many people have bulging discs and are unaware of it because it is not producing any secondary symptoms. FYI that does NOT mean that it’s not a problem!
This can happen a number of different ways. Many people think that only a severe injury will cause a disc to bulge or herniate. Chiropractors know this is not the case. Very often it goes something like this. “I was fine and then all of a sudden I….” fill in the blank with the most benign activity you can possibly think of. Like picking up a piece of paper or turning your head to back out of the driveway, etc. All too often chiropractors have to explain that it’s the “straw that broke the camel’s back” situation that caused that disc to blow. Discs are mostly cartilage designed to be flexible and hold up under tremendous pressure. The problem is that the spine they were designed to reside in is also supposed to have a specific structure.
Disc Degeneration Disease (Spondylosis)
- This is when the discs “wear out”, dehydrate or essentially just rot away to the point that they become so the thing that they are not providing enough support and mobility and even enough separation between the vertebrae. When this happens the nerves can easily become inflamed or pinched.
- Also problematic is that when the disc is not thick and healthy and well hydrated so that it can absorb the stress or the spine moving and holding you up against gravity, then the vertebrae end up being stressed and put under more pressure. When this happens something know as Wolf’s Law takes effect. Wolf’s Law states that bone under stress will respond by laying down and creating more bone. E.g. weight training strengthens bone.
Structure according to Webster is the arrangement of and relations between the parts or elements of something complex, like your spine. To put it simply your spine is built a certain way so that doesn’t collapse or become damage, while still maintain an enormous amount of flexibility and protecting your spinal cord. To understand this complicated chiropractic you need to look at the structure of the spine the same way that an engineer does. The most susceptible parts are going to be where there is motion i.e. the disc. When you shift the structure of that spine i.e. anterior head syndrome (gooseneck) or any other spinal shift that is left uncorrected, you will put more stress on those susceptible discs. The reason is because there will be a great deal more stress on that joint when the spine is shifted out of its ideal position for extended periods of time.
Think of it this way.
Put 45 lbs. dumbbell in your hand. Not a big deal for many people to just hold that 45 lbs. in your hand by your side for a few minutes. Now grab a standard sized barbell, the long bars for those of you who many have never been in a gym, and try to hold it by your side for the same about of time. Easy right? Not if you’re holding it with one hand at the end instead of in the middle.
If you change the position of the weight you can significantly increase the amount of stress in your hand because the lever arm of the weighted hand significantly increased and weight, while the same, is being pulled unevenly on one side of your hand instead of being balanced equally on both sides. If you do this with your spine and shift the weight of your head forward or shoulders to the side it will greatly alter the amount of stress on your spine just the like the stress off you hand is unbearable trying hold that barbell up unless you hold it in the middle.
THIS unbalanced shift in your spine’s structures is the kind of stress on the bones (vertebrae) in your spine that can silently cause disc degeneration, spinal degeneration, and osteophytes (bones spurs). The dangerous part of this process is that it happens over time often without you knowing until much later in the process. Don’t fear, there is often still hope to make significant corrections with structurally focused chiropractic to spinal shifts that may be responsible for your disc bulge, degeneration which can cause neck pain, mid back pain, low back pain, nerve pain, sciatica, headaches, migraines and many other symptoms. If you notice that you may be a little shorter or that your posture isn’t great call Corrective Chiropractic today and schedule a consult to find out more.