Causes of Spinal Degeneration

Arthritis in the spine is referred to as Degenerative Disc Disease (DDD) or Degenerative Joint Disease (DJD). It occurs from biomechanical changes in the bony structures and soft tissues of the body. Physical, chemical, and psychological stressors to the body can both lead to these changes. Degeneration should not be thought of as a "normal wear and tear" condition, it is a response to something that has gone wrong in the body.Normal vs DegeneratedBiomechanics is the study of the structure and function of the body and systems. Trauma or postural abnormalities can alter the body’s biomechanics in many ways. A car accident, for example, may cause a whiplash injury in the neck. This is going to cause overstretching and inflammation of the ligaments and soft tissues of the cervical spine. If left untreated, these joints can become unstable. As the injury heals, some areas can have too much motion and some may develop too little motion or fixation.This lack of motion, or hypomobility, can progress and cause muscle hypertonicity and spasm, fibrosis, and eventually calcification of soft tissues and bone spurring. It is important for soft tissue injuries to heal with motion so that the tissues are not able to become fixed and degenerated. If tissues heal incorrectly, it can lead to compensation and improper movement of the joints and the body as a whole.Stress is one psychological factor that can also effect the body in a negative way. Click HERE to read our previous blog about stress and its effect on the nervous system. Constant activation of our sympathetic nervous system (controlling “fight or flight” response) from stress causes our body to continually remain in a heightened state. Irritation of the sympathetic system prevents our parasympathetic system (“rest and digest”) from allowing the body to heal correctly.Chemical stressors include things such as nutrition or medications. Dietary factors may lead to chronic inflammation in the body. Nutritional deficiencies may also rob the body of essential vitamins and minerals needed for proper healing. Often times certain medications are designed to mask symptoms of an injury. Those which provide relief of pain may lead to a delay in healing if proper measures are not taken to correct the problem simultaneously.Chiropractic care can have a significant effect on the body when it comes to healing. At Optimal Chiropractic, we focus not only on mobility of the spine and extremities, but stabilizing and strengthening for the greatest healing outcomes. We develop treatments individual to each patient based on their specific presentation and possible dysfunctions. Our goal is to not only get you out of pain, but to correct the problem and educate each patient to improve their overall quality of life and prevent future problems.Interested in seeing how we can help you or someone you know? Give our office a call at (208) 777-4305. Get on the right track to your optimal health today.