This is a side x-ray view of the neck. Notice the normal forward curve of the neck. Also notice how each of the disc spaces (the black spaces between the white vertebrae) are thick and even. These healthy discs and curve help absorb shock protecting the vital nerve system which the spine protects. Think about it, which absorbs shock better, a straight rod or a spring? Notice how the front portions (right on the x-ray) of each of the vertebrae are fairly square with clear and well defined borders indicating little wear and tear. Research has indicated that correct shape or posture in the cervical, thoracic and lumbar spines are essential for a proper functioning nerve system.
Phase One Subluxation Degeneration
This phase is characterized by a loss or change in the normal curve in the spine. On this example you can see that the normal forward curve is lost and has formed a reverse curve. The disc spaces have also begun to exhibit a slight change in shape. One good point is that the bodies of each of the vertebrae (the square part in front) still exhibits clean, clear borders. Individual segmental motion may be abnormal, though overall range of motion probably is not affected. Often, no pain is associated with this phase, yet the effects of the vertebral subluxation process are clearly evident. Chiropractic care helps balance nerve system function, helping the body restore the spine to near normal structure and function.
We start to see calcium build-up and narrower disc spaces as the process of osteoarthritis develops. Although people in this phase may not exhibit any symptoms, some may start to feel stiff or achy as range of motion is affected. This phase of decay greatly affects the nerve system and its ability to harmonize the functions of the body with the environment. Chiropractic care has been shown to stabilize this phase of decay, unfortunately a return to near normal is now a remote possibility.
This phase has all of the attributes of phases one and two, only worse. The curvatures are abnormal, the disc spaces are vastly decreased and altered. Vertebrae now show obvious changes in shape as Calcium deposits are abundant. As these spurs enlarge, they start to affect the spinal cord. Normally, people in this phase have a greatly restricted range of motion and probably several health concerns. Along with improving nerve system function, chiropractic care is focused on stabilizing this decay and enhancing quality of life issues.
Phase four is a condition that will negatively affect the patients longevity and quality of life. The massive amount of neurological damage caused by years of the vertebral subluxation process that have lead to phase four are probably taking a serious toll on this person's health status. This phase reveals structural changes to the spine. Vertebrae exhibit massive calcium deposits, or spurs, disc spaces appear blurred, and the bones themselves appear fused and a severe restriction of range of motion is present. Patients in this phase have a serious situation both structurally and neurologically, but they are certainly not beyond hope. Chiropractic care is provided to maximize what nerve system function is present and patients often report improvements in their quality of life.