A misaligned spine (also known as spinal subluxation) can negatively affect your daily life in a number of ways. It not only causes neck and back pain, but can also cause pain in the rest of the body. This pain is typically due to the misaligned vertebrae adding pressure to nerves in the spinal column. For example, many people suffer from sciatica, a condition in which pain shoots down the leg. Sciatica commonly comes from a misaligned vertebral disc putting pressure on the spinal nerve roots. As a result, chiropractors can diagnose the problem if your pain results from spinal misalignment. They can perform a spinal adjustment to restore proper alignment and range of movement, relieving pain.
Spinal subluxations are very common. They occur when one or more of your bony vertebrae are pulled out of alignment with one another. This can happen for a variety of reasons. Among the most frequent contributors to spinal misalignment are injuries, fall or trauma, bad posture, stress, inactivity, obesity, repetitive motions and lifting something improperly. When your spine becomes misaligned, your range of motion can become more restricted, with or without accompanying pain. Although spinal misalignments can happen quickly, they can also occur over time due to weak postural muscles. This is often the case with those who sit at a desk for hours each day.
A chiropractor may use a variety of different diagnostic techniques to determine if your spine is out of alignment. Most chiropractors can easily spot a subluxation, as body posture reflects any misalignment. For example, when lying down, one leg will appear shorter than the other. When standing up, the body may lean to one side, or the head may tilt to the left or right. One shoulder or hip may appear higher than the other. Also, the distribution of body weight may favor one foot or the other.
Chiropractors use several other methods to determine if your spin is out of alignment. These methods include checking your range of motion (reduced range of motion usually indicates a misalignment), pressing along your spine (called palpation) to evaluate joint function, performing strength testing and looking for changes in muscle tone.He or she may also order x-rays of the spine to be taken, so as to have a visual confirmation of your spinal subluxation.
Once a chiropractor pinpoints the misalignment, he or she will perform spinal adjustment to realign your vertebrae. This will help restore correct posture and alleviate any existing pain.