What exactly happens when the discs break down? First of all these are the cushions between each bone; that act as a shock absorber so we can move, twist, jump, etc. They also create a space at the back of the vertebrae or spine wher the nerve roots exit. The spinalcord travels down the spine and at each vetebral level has a nerve root that travels out, branching into smaller and smaller nerves that go everywhere in the body.
So when we start to get degeneration it can effect everything from our motion to nerve function. Degeneration is another word for arthritis and some get it more than others. Like me, you probably want less of it, so let's review some key factors.
There are two major contributirs to spinal breakdown. These are mechanical factors as well as chemical ones. One can't typically blame all of his degeneration on his high school football career (mechanical) or soley his drinking of root beer (chemical).
Let's look at some mechanical factors. Mr X may have some breakdown from years of football. Maybe he has had some injuries, maybe some have misaligned the spine or pelvis and they have remained misaligned. Not all nerves detect pain, so you can have some pretty good spinal shifts and not necessarily know their there. Let's say one pelvis is lower that the other, which is creating a gait issue...you get the picture. Lots of mechanical issues can be happening.
I think my grandfather told me cows had legs on one side that were shorter than the others and that's why they could stand on the hill sideways. I must have been about 5 at the time and, I'm sure believed him!! Although he did tell me the cows lat down when a storm is coming; and that seems pretty true?... Anyway you can imaging how one leg shorter than the other (or one high or low pelvis) can throw you off. That's mechanical and will result in breakdown.
The discs breakdown, the vertebrae breakdown, etc. Discs will flaten and bulge, the end plates of the vertebrare become jagged and spur...
You may have also had any injury that directed injured the disc. Maybe you had a tear in the disc annulus, maybe a herniated disc, maybe just wear and tear. Now this is all mechanical but chemical factors play a role too.
Let's just say you do have a very poor diet and drink soda all the time. We know that high sugar foods contribute to added inflammation, not to mention soda is very acid for the body and actually causes some leaching of minerals out of the bone. Every vitamin needs a mineral to act effeciently.
Dr. Seaman in the Oct '13 issue of Dynamic Chiropractic explained how proteinases get turned on when an inflammatory proccess is present. Then can lead to the enzymatic breakdown of the discs. We are of course now referring to the chemical breakdown.
Indivividuals with health conditions such as Diabetes, heart disease, or obesity tend to have the right environment for the chemical breakdown to happen.
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