Causes of Spinal Pain

For the spine to function correctly two things are vital:

1. The spine must be supple throughout its length. If through poor posture or injury, areas of the spine stiffen up this leads to overstrain in the areas above and below the stiff segments.

2. The spine must be properly aligned. If some of the vertebra become rotated or tilted relative to the rest of the spine then those segments will become a focus for increased stress.

The spine operates as a single unit and therefore needs to remain supple and malleable throughout its length in order to to avoid areas of overstrain developing. The spine is an error free system that uses the stretch reflex arc (the involuntary muscle contraction provoked when a tendon is hit with a rubber hammer) to maintain each vertebra in correct alignment.

This system allows controlled fluid movement because when the muscles on one side of the spine contract to produce movement the muscles on the other side automatically pay out and therefore the correct relative position of each vertebra is maintained. We are able to adjust the level of tension in the muscles so that if we are going to lift a heavy weight for example we automatically tense up the muscles.

If this mechanism fails the result is a rotation (most common in the neck) or a tilt (most common in the lumber spine) of a spinal segment relative to the rest of the spine. In young people this usually requires some form of forceful twisting injury such as a fall water skiing or a car accident.

I came to John 6 months ago with a complicated set of symptoms that affected my back, neck, arms and hands. I had been to see many different specialists prior to seeing John, both through the NHS and privately. No-one seemed able to help me and I came to him with little hope of getting any significant improvement. I was in pain and the neurological symptoms in my arms and hands meant that they were simply not doing what they should be doing. I was frightened and worried by my symptoms. Furthermore, I couldn’t work and my mood was very low as a result. John treated me using a combination of cupping, acupuncture and massage to improve the circulation of areas affected by RSI. He used a PAMM machine to mobilise the soft tissues of my stiff thoracic spine (stiffened through a back injury and then worsened by long hours of standing). One by one, all of my symptoms were addressed in a systematic fashion. Treatments initially at weekly intervals became fortnightly, as things started to improve. 6 months on and I am seeing John once a month for the last vestiges of my symptoms. I am 95% better and back in work. John Wood is an excellent Physiotherapist and I highly recommend him.
Deepa Shetty

As people get older and as described earlier some areas of the spine stiffen up causing overstrain typically in the low back and neck the forces required get progressively less as these segments become increasingly unstable. At a result the rotation/tilt normally occurs with a minor movement such as reaching to pick something up off the floor. This is what is happening when someone feels something “go” in their back or neck.

One of the major reasons that spinal pain is such a problem is that there no natural way for the spine to realign itself. Manipulation of the spinal level can correct it and is often hailed as a miracle, but once you understand that the cause of the instability, which is the stiffened segments has not been addressed its easy to understand why the problem often returns.

Advanced Spinal Mobilization Instrument

Improving Patient outcomes with Medical Technology

Click Here for Part Three: Solution to Spinal Pain