According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NIH), about 80 percent of adults experience low back pain at some point in their lifetimes. Needless to say, these types of issues are common to many of us, but why so often are unable to adequately correct them? Many of us have been in this position, or know someone who has been; “I’ve had these lower body symptoms for so long, I feel like I’ve tried everything, but I just can’t seem to get to the bottom of it!” Fortunately, further advances in the field of chiropractic have allowed us to shed some new light on these exact instances.

Answers:

In reality, the location of our pain is not always the source of it. The spinal cord is housed inside of the spine, and it does not just hang down from the brain. All throughout the spine there are ligaments, called the dentate ligaments, that anchor the spinal cord to the bones and suspend the cord in place.

Another note about the spinal cord is that it is broken up into several tracts that all control different functions in the body. When there is a misalignment in the upper cervical spine, the suspending ligaments adversely tug on some crucial tracts in the spinal cord. More specifically, MRI studies have shown that upper cervical misalignments can distort the structure and function of the spinothalamic tracts in the cord. And what might these tracts control? You guessed it, pain and temperature in the lower body. So what we see at Shift is that sometimes, the brain can be perceiving pain in the low back and legs, when truly the problem isn’t really located there at all!

What to do:

If you are driving down the road and your check engine light comes on, is the problem located in the dash or under the hood? Exactly, but we often say to ourselves “I don’t have the time to get this fixed right now,” so we keep on driving and eventually that check engine light drives us crazy. So what do we do?  We reach under the dash and cut the wire that goes to the light, and continue driving knowing in the back of our minds that this is likely going to result in more serious problems down the road.

At Shift chiropractic, we aim to get to the engine and not just the dash. It is our goal is to use thorough neurological assessments to get down to the root cause of dysfunction, rather than cover up symptoms. If you have not found answers to your health challenges, we would love to offer you a fresh perspective, and see if your case is one that we can help. 

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