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When we talk about the neck or back, we are actually talking about the spinal column, which consists of a sequence of small bones called "vertebra" stacked on top of each other. Each of these bones are connected to one another through a series of joints. To protect the spine, a complex series of muscles surrounds the spinal column to control movement and protect the area from injury.
If any of these muscles become tight, weak or uncoordinated, it will place excessive strain on the other surrounding muscles and on the spine iteslf. Over time, if this imbalance in the muscles and resulting abnormal back motion is allowed to continue, it can eventually develop into a more severe back condition.
The traditional approach uses a varity of treatment methods including muscle relaxants, anti-inflammatory medicaitons, rest, heat, ice, ultrasound (US), muslce stimulations (E-Stim), massage, acupunture, joint mobilizations, stretching and strenthening exercised, and when all else fails, surgery.
Unfortunately, most of these traditional techniques generally require a long period of time before they provide any significant relief, and in many cases cases provide only temporary relief from symptoms instead of fixing the underlying cause of the problem.
The main reason these approaches are often ineffective is that they fail to address the underlying muscle dysfunction and scar tissue adhesions that develop within the muscles and surrounding soft tissues.
When discussing any type of back problem we also need to review the relationship that the back has with the other joints of the body. A common example of how the back is affected by another joint, the hip, occurs when walking.
During a walking stride, the hip must extend backwards as the upper body passes over the support leg. If the hip is restricted and doesn't extend properly, the back will have to extend excessively to compensate. This will, in turn, lead to "jamming" of the facet joints on the back of the spine and lead to pain. In this instance chiropractic treatment and Active Release Techniques (ART) directed to the back will be needed, but for full resolution, the problem at the hip will also require correction to reach a lasting solution.
By locating and treating the soft-tissue adhesions with ART, it allows me to one, break-up restrictive adhesions, two, reinstate normal tissue flexibility and movement, and three, more completely restore flexibility, balance, and stability to the injured area as well as the entire kinetic chain.
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