Spinal degeneration is a relentless degenerative process that is associated with misaligned bones of the spine known as subluxation. How do these bones become misplaced? It is easier than you might think. Research shows that most of it is caused by the build up of things you go through from day to day living. Slips, falls, accidents and other traumas can cause them. In addition to this poor posture or slouching, improper lifting, bending and twisting may also be the cause. Even poor sleeping habits can cause them.
If these misaligned bones are neglected, spinal degeneration will take its toll on the spine. Calcium deposits will start to form around the bones and the spinal joints will become fixated. This degeneration will progressively get worse over time if left uncorrected. There are three phases to this degenerative process.
Normally the spine should have curves in it. If you look at the human spine from the side it should look like and S with a forward curve in the neck, a reverse curve in the mid back and a forward curve in the low back. These proper spinal curves allow for stability of the spine and proper turning and bending of the spinal joints. There should be openings between the bones to allow nerve roots to exit the spine without interference. The edges of the bones should be smooth and well defined. This equal disc spacing is an indication of a healthy functioning spine.
In phase one of the degenerative process, there is a loss of the normal curves of the spine and the bones become misaligned. This causes a restriction of normal movement of the joints of the spine. The muscles and ligaments that attach the spine may become injured and stretched. Soft tissue inflammation and nerve irritation is also present. Pain and other symptoms may or may not be present.
As the bones of the spine are neglected over time, the degenerative process will progress into phase two. In this phase, years of calcium deposition are now present. Bone spurs become clearly visible around the joints. These bone spurs continue to form to fuse the joint. The surfaces around the bones are no longer smooth and well defined, but are now jagged and uneven. There is instability of the joints and more nerve irritation. Disc degeneration is also present.
After year of being neglected, complete fusion of the joints is present and phase three degeneration sets in. The openings where nerves exit the spine become obstructed resulting in permanent nerve irritation. This irreversible phase will often be correlated with other disease and dysfunction in the body.