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Spinal Problems

CERVICAL SPONDYLOSIS & BACKACHE.

Back and neck pain and their numerous manifestations, are the most common problems for which people consult me. I am going to discuss all of these under the common heading of "spinal problems" as all these manifestations & symptoms are part of the same problem with common answers. The facts about spinal problems are :

Cervical Spondylosis, is also called Osteoarthritis of the cervical spine. The symptoms of this condition are a painful (and/or) stiff neck, restriction of neck movements, a pain in the shoulder or the arm, vertigo (giddiness), tingling, numbness, weakness (loss of strength), or a loss of sensation in either of the arms. This pain is often mistaken for pain arising from the heart especially when the pain radiates down the left arm.

The condition can be easily diagnosed by feeling the edges of the vertebrae about 3-4 cms from the centre of the spine. Tenderness on any of these vertebrae indicates a problem in the neck which needs treatment. Occasionally X-rays, CT scans or MRI scans may be required to confirm the diagnosis.

There are three stages in the treatment. Firstly to relieve the pain. Next to strengthen the spine, so it will hold the spine firmly in the correct position. Finally to align the spine, removing the pressure from the nerves and restoring the balance to the spine. Depending on your condition this process may take a few days to a few weeks. Follow up visits to check the alignment of the spine are used to re-balance the spine as it adjusts through the many changes which have affected it over the years.

This process needs to be continued till the spine has remained in good alignment for at least 6-9 months. Problems in the neck are generally associated with problems in the lower back that are also treated simultaneously. When the treatment is followed through to this stage, and my advice is followed a recurrence of the problem is unlikely.

The spine can be thrown out of alignment by an accident, a fall or any accident causing a jerk to an unprepared spine. If you have an accident or a fall you should schedule a follow up visit at the earliest so I can check if the balance of the spine has been affected. If any problem has occurred in the balance of the spine, this can be corrected before any symptoms appear and so prevent any recurrence of the problem.

You will be advised certain exercises derived from Yogic asanas, to help strengthen the muscles which lie on either side of the spine and serve to hold the spine in place.

Acupuncture effectively relieves the pain and restores mobility to the neck within a few minutes. Very often patients enter the clinic wearing a cervical collar and throw it away after treatment because they are entirely free from pain.

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A complete course of treatment for most spinal problems may require up to twenty treatments spread over 2-3 years. If the patient continues the advised exercises to strengthen the para-spinal muscles and is adequately treated a recurrence of the problem is rare.

History of Backaches

A person with cervical Spondylitis, usually develops a problem in the lower back five years later and vice versa. This may manifest as a low backache, sciatica, pain tingling or numbness in the legs, hips, knees, ankles, feet or toes. Sometimes the person may have incontinence (unable to control the Urine or stools), impotence (unable to have or maintain an erection) and dyspareunia (pain while having intercourse which affects 5-7% of ladies). Spinal problems may cause referred pain in other parts of the body, depending on which nerve is affected. There may be pain, tingling or numbness in the arm, hands, fingers, abdomen or the chest. A problem in the thoracic vertebrae, which lie behind the chest, may cause chest pain, abdominal pain and many other symptoms. These pains are often misdiagnosed and mistreated as they are thought to originate from the heart or the stomach.

Most problems, which arise from the spine (backbone), respond well to acupuncture. The treatment usually takes ten to forty sessions to entirely relieve the pain. Following this the patient will require spinal manipulation using Cranio-sacral osteopathy to correct the under-lying problem in the spine.

In experienced hands, manipulation yields good results. In a patient who has no pain, the manipulation of the spine is easy and painless. In a person with pain, the resultant muscle spasm makes manipulation a painful and uncomfortable process. It is impossible to align the spine in a person with pain and local muscular spasm, as the vertebrae in the affected area are held tightly together by the spasm and cannot be manipulated. In these people the pain is first treated with Acupuncture. When the person is pain free and the spine relaxed, the spinal alignment is corrected.

When the spine is perfectly aligned, the patient should not have a recurrence of the problem. The process of aligning the spine is a slow process, because a spine, which has been out of alignment for many years, cannot be expected to return to its normal alignment in a few days.

A diagram of the Spine showing the different vertebrae and the problems that arise as a result of any of these being misaligned is shown below. As explained above most of these problems can be resolved using a combination of acupuncture and manipulation.

DIAGRAM OF THE SPINE

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The ailments caused due to spinal misalignment of the vertebrae are described below

Area

Problems with misalignment here can cause the symptoms described below.

CERVICAL VERTEBRAE No

NECK REGION

Cervical Vertebra no 1 controls : Blood supply to the head, pituitary gland, scalp, face, brain, inner and middle ear, sympathetic nervous system. Headaches, insomnia, high blood pressure, migraine, nervous breakdowns, amnesia, chronic tiredness, dizziness, myopia, blurring of vision.
Cervical Vertebra no 2 controls : Eyes, optic nerves, auditory nerves, sinuses, mastoid bones, tongue, forehead. Sinusitis, deafness, eye troubles, earache, fainting spells, certain cases of blindness, headache.
Cervical Vertebra no 3 controls :Cheeks, outer ear, face bones, teeth Neuralgia, neuritis, acne or pimples, eczema. Pain in the middle of the neck.
Cervical Vertebra no 4 controls :Nose, lips, mouth, Eustachian tube Hay fever, catarrh, hearing loss, adenoids, dizziness, (vertigo), tinnitus (whistling sound in the ear), Meniere's Syndrome, pain in shoulder.
Cervical Vertebra no 5 controls : Vocal cords, neck glands, pharynx Laryngitis, difficulty in swallowing, throat conditions, pain in wrist.
Cervical Vertebra no 6 controls :Neck muscles, shoulders, tonsils Stiff neck, tonsillitis, whooping cough, pain & loss of sensation in fingers.
Cervical Vertebra no 7 controls : Thyroid gland, elbows, Bursitis, colds, thyroid conditions, pain in shoulder, pain & loss of sensation in fingers.

THORACIC VERTEBRAE

MID BACK REGION

Arms from the elbows down, including hands, wrists and fingers, esophagus and trachea. Asthma, cough, difficult breathing, shortness of breath, pain in lower arms and hands
Heart including valves and coronary arteries Heart conditions and certain chest conditions.
Lungs, bronchial tubes, pleura, chest, breast, Elbows. Bronchitis, pleurisy, pneumonia, congestion
Gall bladder, common duct Gall bladder conditions, jaundice, shingles
Liver, solar plexus, blood Liver conditions, fevers, low blood pressure, anemia, poor circulation, arthritis
Stomach Stomach troubles including nervous stomach indigestion heartburn, dyspepsia
Pancreas, duodenum Ulcers, gastritis
Spleen Lowered resistance
Adrenal and supra-renal glands Allergies, hives
Kidneys Kidney troubles, nephritis, Pyelitis
Kidneys, ureters Skins conditions such as acne, eczema or boils
Small intestines, lymph circulation Rheumatism, gas pains certain types of sterility

LUMBAR VERTEBRAE

LOW BACK REGION

Large intestines Constipation, colitis, dysentery, diarrhea
Appendix, abdomen, upper leg, knees. Cramps, acidosis, varicose veins
Sex organs, uterus, bladder, calves. Bladder troubles, menstrual troubles, bed wetting, impotency, knee pains
Prostrate gland, lower back muscles, sciatic nerve hips. Sciatica, lumbago, difficult painful or too frequent urination, backaches
Lower legs, ankles, feet Swollen or weak ankles and arches, cold feet, weakness in the legs, leg cramps

SACRAL VERTEBRAE

PELVIC REGION

Hip bones, buttocks Sacroiliac conditions, spinal curvatures
Rectum, anus Piles, pain at end of spine on sitting .
Coccyx Painful Intercourse, Poor vision, incontinence, Loss of sensation in big toe & foot.

After the patient is free of pain, he is manipulated and told to return and see the therapist after two to four weeks. He is then examined and if he needs further manipulation, this is done and he is called again for further treatment after two to three weeks. This process continues until the patient's spine is perfectly aligned. The patient is called back for a check-up every three months until the therapist is satisfied that the spine is aligned and is likely to stay in place.