Timing is everything. Well, almost everything when it comes to spinal health.
Posture is dynamic and changes over the course of the day whether you fight to keep upright and in good alignment or not.
A closer look into the spacing between each vertebra reveals that the intervertebral discs vary in height and water content over the course of the day. Sleeping, while lying down, allows the intervertebral discs to regain the water loss from these structures as during the waking hours, water gets squeezed out trying to resist the loads associated with gravity.
In a recent research article, yet again, they highlight the diurnal variations associated with the spine explaining the discs contain two main components : an annulus (which contains tough fibrous type 1 collagen material) to contain a mainly hydrated ionized water containing nucleus. As the day progresses, the spine loses height causing the vertebra to move closer to one another, challenging structures as the nucleus pressure reduces.
Symptoms of back pain/neck pain can present itself in a timely fashion. That is, often patients will report that their pain comes on in the morning or as the day goes on. This is very often a clue to where the problem exists. How and when the the symptoms come on and what the patient does to relieve it, will provide the chiropractor important information about the anatomical culprit.
Having an exquisite map of the anatomy of the spine, chiropractors can begin to devise a therapeutic strategy to help heal the tissue. First off, avoiding movements that exacerbate the problem is key to any plan. In other words, you don’t want to keep hurting the tissue. It is sort of like having a sore thumb. It is best not to keep bumping it to allow it to heal. The spine is similar. Avoidance of aggravating movements is always the first order of business.
If you have a leaky gas tank, you fix the hole rather than just continuing to put more gas in. Understanding the anatomical tissue through a through an examination and history, is a chiropractors first priority. And once we are comfortable that the problem is musculoskeletal in nature and not more serious, a plan to regenerate the tissue is implemented.
Timing is key
The spacing between each vertebra, or technically called disc height, is considered to be at the root of spine problems. As the discs compress either with age or injury, it causes approximation of the vertebrae and can have significant impact on delicate nerves in and around the disc.
Understanding that discs compress more while sitting and can be “pumped up” with techniques like chair-care, is often the best strategies in preventing spine problems or in the treatment of aggravated spines. Getting to know that discs compress more during slouched sitting and can be improved with better posture and offloading strategies will give you a better understanding of the timing of back pain in the prevention of degenerated discs or in the treatment of them.