Millions of Americans are plagued by chronic pain, and a lot of those symptoms originate in the spine. After all, the spinal column contains the nerves that travel to every part of your body, and pain itself involves nerve responses. It isn’t surprising that when a condition affects your spine, your risk for chronic pain increases.
Many people think of pain originating with traumatic injuries, like falls or car accidents. But sometimes, pain happens for an unexpected reason, like age-related degenerative changes or lifestyle habits, like poor posture.
At Easy Reach Chiropractic, Barbara Adonis, DC, and Heather Previll, PT, DPT, offer treatments for both these issues, tailoring treatments to relieve chronic pain in patients from Lake Worth and Fort Lauderdale, Florida. In this post, learn how poor posture and spinal degeneration cause pain and how these conditions can sometimes “feed” off each other to make your symptoms feel worse.
Spinal degeneration and chronic pain
Degenerative spine conditions include issues that tend to become more common with age, after years of wear-and-tear on your spine cause some structures to weaken or change in other ways. Common types of degenerative spinal conditions include disc herniation, spinal stenosis, and arthritis.
As we get older, our discs lose moisture and height, decreasing the space between your vertebrae and interfering with the way the spine joints work. Over time, these changes can lead to nerve compression, chronic pain, and other symptoms, like numbness or tingling.
Spinal stenosis happens when the space inside the spinal canal narrows, often as a result of arthritis or bone spurs. Just like a herniated disc, spinal stenosis can wind up impinging on nerves, increasing irritation and inflammation in neighboring soft tissues, too.
Spondylolisthesis is another condition that happens more commonly with age, occurring when disc changes cause one vertebra to slip forward over the one below it. All these changes can lead to chronic pain, along with changes in posture made to compensate for discomfort.
The surprising effects of poor posture
Posture plays an important role in maintaining a healthy back and warding off aches and pains. When properly aligned, your spine does an amazing job of supporting your weight while staying flexible enough to promote a wide range of movement and mobility. Yet even though most of us know we should “stand up straight,” most of us tend to give little thought to our posture.
Slumping in front of the TV or laptop or slouching in front of a computer at our jobs puts a lot of added strain and pressure on the joints of the spine, along with the muscles and connective tissues that support it. Carrying a heavy bag on a regular basis or wearing uncomfortable shoes can affect our posture, too.
Over time, poor posture can lead to nerve compression and irritation, inflammation, and joint dysfunction. Repeated uneven strain and pressure on the spine pull the spine out of alignment, leading to chronic pain in the hips and knees, too.
On top of that, the added stress and strain of poor posture habits exacerbates other problems, like arthritis and — yes — spinal degeneration. Combined, these factors create a cycle of painful symptoms that can be difficult to break on your own.
Help for chronic pain
Chronic pain is surprisingly complex, often requiring comprehensive management to keep it under control. Our team tailors every treatment plan to each person’s unique needs, focusing on medical therapies combined with lifestyle changes aimed at improving your spine health.
To learn more about degenerative spine conditions, posture problems, and other issues that could be contributing to your chronic pain, request an appointment online or over the phone with the team at Easy Reach Chiropractic today.