The human spine isn’t perfectly straight, but it’s designed that way to provide optimal support for daily movements. Yet when your backbone and its supporting parts are properly aligned, it should appear as if there’s a straight line going from your head to your toes. However, if your spine is misaligned, whether it’s because of poor posture, a structural problem, or another issue, you’ll be more likely to experience some type of discomfort or reduced range of motion. Today, we’re going to focus on how to tell if your spine is misaligned and what can be done about it.
Going from just below your head to your pelvis, your spine is primarily a collection of bones, joints, discs, and supporting soft tissues. If any of these parts are misaligned, other parts of your body could be affected as well. Therefore, it may not always be obvious that your discomfort could be related to a misalignment issue.
Symptoms and signs that may be related to a misaligned spine include:
• Lower back and/or neck pain
• Hip and/or knee discomfort
• Chronic headaches
• Unexplained fatigue or frequent illnesses
• An abnormal gait
• Numbness or tingling sensations extending to extremities
Poor posture is one of the factors that can contribute to a misaligned spine because of the extra pressure slouching or excess forward leaning can place on the spine. Bone and joint deformities, joint stiffness, spinal fractures, respiratory issues, and sciatica are among the other factors that can be associated with a spine that’s misaligned.
The first thing you can do about a misaligned spine is get a proper diagnosis. Your regular doctor may refer you to a Beverly Hills spine surgeon. A diagnosis is often made with a combination of impressions from a physical exam and results from image tests and other diagnostic assessments.
The recommended approach to treatment will depend on the extent of the misalignment. If it’s mild, you may be advised to exercise and stretch to improve your posture and alignment. It can also be beneficial to minimize sitting throughout your day to ease stress on your lower back. As you walk, take additional steps to correct alignment and posture issues at the same time by:
• Keeping your head/shoulders in line with your hips
• Rolling your shoulders up and back so you don’t default to excess forward leaning while walking
• Walking at a comfortable pace so you’re not tempted to slouch while taking longer and more demanding strides
Some patients with misaligned spines also notice improvements with plank exercises, certain yoga poses, and chiropractic adjustments. However, you’ll most likely experience only temporary relief with inversion tables and other alignment devices or techniques. This is also often the case with TENS units and similar pain management methods. If misalignment is severe or contributing to disruptive symptoms, spinal fusion surgery may become an option. This could also be true if nonsurgical treatments aren’t providing relief.
Spinal misalignment can extend to the neck area as well, and some conditions affecting the cervical spine may be correctable with minimally invasive neck surgery. Beverly Hills residents should reach out to The Spine Institute today to find out if surgery is their best option for finding relief from the effects of spinal misalignment. Call 310-828-7757 today to schedule an appointment.