How can I tell if my spine is healthy?

GP with model of a spinal column

Spinal imbalances abnormally stress bones, joints, muscles, ligaments, tendons – all of which can lead to unnatural wear and tear, fatigue, and pain.

The spinal column is made of bones called vertebrae, soft cushioning discs that act as shock ‘absorbers’ and strong, heavy ligaments that add form and stability. Attached to the spine are many muscles that give strength and movement to the spine. The spine houses the spinal cord and spinal nerves that carry information to the entire body. The complex structure of the spine is designed to move and adjust. However, when the spine becomes misaligned, it can affect function in a variety of ways.

Years of training and experience enable your chiropractor to detect problems – but there are simple things you can look out for to find out if your spine is healthy.

Your heels (or the bottoms of your trousers) wear out unevenly. This may be due to uneven leg length or stress along the length of the spine.

You can’t take a satisfyingly deep breath. Tension in the upper back may prevent you from breathing deeply.

Your jaw “clicks.” This may be caused by neck or hip dysfunction.

You have to “crack” your neck, back or other joints a lot. Areas of your spine that are locked or jammed leading to compensation in other vulnerable areas of the spine may cause this.

You can’t twist and turn your head or hips to either side easily and equally. A reduced range of motion may indicate potential spinal restriction.

Your foot flares out when walking. This test is easy as long as you don’t cheat. Merely look at your feet as you walk. Do they both point forward or does one foot appear to flare inward or outward – or do both? Foot flare may be a sign of a problem in the lower spine or hips or stress in the upper neck or back.

You have poor posture. Stand on two bathroom scales. The weight distribution should be about the same over each foot. If not, then that’s a sign that your spine, hips or head may be off-centre.

You may have headaches, back aches, sore or tender spots in muscles or joints. These are common signs of spinal dysfunction.

You have a constant stressful feeling and tension especially in muscles and joints. You feel the need to stretch a lot. Muscles are affected by spinal dysfunction.

You feel stiff in your back and neck. Stiffness may be a sign of spinal problems.

If you have any concerns whatsoever, please book a session with a Chiropractor.

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