The Spine

The Spine

The Spinal Column

The spinal column is made up of 24 vertebrae and the sacral bone.  These bones, together, provide support and mobility for the torso and also help to protect the nervous system.

There are 4 distinct and different regions of the spinal column - the cervical, thoracic, lumbar and sacral regions. These regions each possess a different number of vertebrae that are structurally unique.  The variations within each region allow the spinal column to be more flexible while allowing other regions to be more stable and less likely to be injured.

Dr. Kaput is a trained chiropractor who is an expert in spinal evaluation and rehabilitation.  He is able to detect even the slightest of abnormalities and is able to help determine where the pain stems from exactly.  He is able to eliminate pain, inflammation, and biomechanical stresses and in the process increases overall health and well being of his patients.

Dr. Kaput wants future patients to know that chiropractors are the only health care professionals specifically trained in the detection, treatment, and rehabilitation of spinal disorders.

The Spinal Vertebrae

The spinal vertebrae are the small bones that the make up the spinal column.  Each serve as individual functioning units and serve as the basis of motion in the torso.  They are connected and glide over each other with the help of a spinal disc and 2 facet joints.  Movement is permitted by spinal muscles and ligaments that are attached to each vertebrae.

In the rear of each of the vertebrae, is a hollowed out portion that forms the spinal canel.  The Spinal canal encases the spinal cord as it descends from the brain.  At each of the individual vertebrae, spinal nerve roots split from the spinal cord and diverge onto pathways formed by adjacent vertebrae.  From there, these nerve roots exit to the rest of the body.  The openings that allow for the nerve roots to travel to different pathways are commonly referred to as the intervertebral foramen (IVF) and serve as a common location for nerve irritation.

When vertebrae become fixated or misaligned in relation to neighboring vertebrae, it is known as a vertebral subluxation.  Individuals feel pain and suffer from muscles spasms and a decreased range of motion.  These subluxations, in addition, may cause nerve irritation and interference, either stemming from mechanical pressure or inflammatory responses.

The Facet Joints

Chiropractors notice the facet joints are actually one of the most common sources of spinal pain and discomfort.

The facet joints are under constant pressure from the weight of the body.  In addition to this, they are involved in guiding the general body motion and help to prevent too extreme of motions within the trunk.  Facet joint injuries are commonly caused by repetitive and excessive motions within the trunk.  These injuries can either injury the facet joints directly or their encasing fibers.  Abnormal spinal biomechanics and imporper posture habits can actually increase the spinal stresses and can accelerate the wear and tear of the facet joints.

Dr. Kaput can correctly identify and treat facet joint abnormalities and stresses and help keep patients’ spines functioning correctly and smoothly.

The Spinal Muscles and Ligaments

Spinal muscles and ligaments attach to the vertebrae, ribs, and pelvis to manage and allow various trunkal motions including - forward and backward bending, side to side bending, and rotation or twisting. Spinal muscles and ligaments are the “glue” that holds the spine together with other bones.  When the “glue” is stretched and worked beyond its means, spinal injuries can occur.

Increased pulling and overstretching causes sprains and strains of the ligaments and muscles.  These injuries upset the normal balance of the spine and thus the spine structure and biomechanics can be significantly affected.  These injuries also take their toll on the components that make up the spine including discs, facets, vertebrae, and nerves and in addition can increase their susceptibility to injury and degeneration.

Dr. Kaput is able to rehabilitate spinal muscles and ligaments through adjustments and other therapies.  In fact, proper spinal alignment can only occur with healthy muscles and ligaments.

The Nervous System

The nervous system is the master controller of all cells, tissues and organs because it stems directly from the brain and courses through our bodies.  Because the nervous system stems from the brain, which is the powerhouse of the body, it is thus in charge of directing and overlooking all of our bodily functions.  These functions mainly include fighting off infections and diseases and helping to heal injuries.

The spine actually plays a crucial part in protecting the nervous system.  It encases and protects the spinal cord along with the nerve roots.  This protection is imperative because without it, we would not survive a relatively small slip and fall injury.

Nerves that suffer from irritation and interference fail to receive impulses or messages from the brain.  Some signals are fortunate enough to be only slightly altered while other signals completely fail to reach the organ or tissue destination.  As deterioration escalates, the tissues and organs that need the messages from the brain suffer deterioration, degeneration, and eventually become nonfunctional and diseased.

Collectively, the nerves and the spinal column that encases and protects them, serve as a model of disease that helps explain why so many patients under chiropractic care and have felt relief from common ailments such as ulcers, ear infections, asthma, menstrual pains, and low energy levels.  Dr. Kaput mentions that while chiropractic care does not intend to eliminate or treat these health conditions, many of his patients have experienced great relief.

Dr. Kaput is trained to detect and treat vertebral misalignments and fixations as well as many other common spinal abnormalities that can cause nerve irritation and interference. By correcting nerve interference, the body can function optimally as it should.

The Intervertebral Discs

The intervertebral discs are a common source of lower back pain as they are one of the most frequently injured spinal structures. The discs connect spinal vertebrae together and help to provide a degree of shock absorption in the torso.

Causes of Disc Injury

Disc injuries occur when the annular fibers of the disc are torn.  The inner regions, however, lack the feeling of pain and because of this, many individuals have no idea they have injured them.

Common causes of annular disc tears include:

  • Extended periods of vibratory forces (truck driving, jackhammer, etc.)
  • Improper lifting techniques
  • Improper workstation setup and ergonomics
  • Inadequate diet and nutrition
  • Lack of physical activity
  • Obesity
  • Poor posture
  • Prolonged sitting
  • Smoking
  • Uncorrected spinal misalignments

Types of Disc Injury

There are 3 main types of disc injuries.

  • Annular fiber tears
    • Do not extend to the outer regions of the disc and thus the inner nuclear tissue is halted from escaping the disc completely.
  • Disc herniation
    • Consists of annular tears that run from the innermost regions and outermost regions of the annulus.
    • The pressurized nuclear tissue can escape to the outside portion of the disc.
    • This nuclear tissue may come in contact with spinal nerves and the spinal cord as a result.
  • Disc bulge
    • Inner nucleus loses hydration (common in elderly and increased spinal stress patients).
    • Bulging of the disc occurs from lack of hydration and increased air content.
    • Bulging discs can come into contact with the spinal nerves and cord and cut off communication.

Symptoms of Disc Injury

Symptoms of disc injuries vary depending on the location of the disc tears and whether or not the spinal nerves or spinal cord are affected from the injuries.

When there is tearing of the annulus in the inner region, pain is not generally felt because it lacks the pain receptors.  However, the outer region of the annulus can cause mild to excruciating pain, but in an generalized manner.

Overtime, when partial tears become numerous throughout the thickness of the annulus, the nuclear material escapes the disc.  When this occurs, it has a higher chance of coming into contact with spinal nerves and the spinal cord.  Symptoms from this include numbness, tingling, and weakness in lower extremities.

Treatment of Disc Injuries

Disc injuries have had a very good response to chiropractic care.  Dr. Kaput focuses his treatments on the problematic spinal regions and not just the symptoms of the disc injuries.  Dr. Kaput encourages patients to break the routine of taking pain killers, muscle relaxers, and anti-inflammatory drugs and seek the holistic approach of chiropractic care.

Dr. Kaput creates individual treatment plans which provide patients with the best chiropractic care that will help their spine get back in the correct alignment.  His focus stays in restoring spinal alignment, function, and overall spinal health to help keep disc injuries from developing and progressing.

Schedule a consultation today with Dr. Kaput to help you start to align your spine and start living a healthy life.