Back Notes

I went to the chiropractor (at Back Bay Wellness) last week, just for information’s sake, not because I have any injuries or got into any accidents. The first visit consisted of three parts: (1) temperature scan, (2) muscle pulling scan, and (3) x-ray. Those are not necessarily the technical terms for these things, but that’s the simplest way to describe them. The temperature scan checks to see if I have any “hotspots” along my back. Luckily for me, I’m pretty even, except in my neck, where it’s a little warmer on the left side.

The “muscle pulling scan” checks to see if my muscles are pulling or spasming more in one direction or the other. In a perfect scan, the muscles should be pulling symmetrically, and in a pear-ish shape. This is where it was a little scary. My back muscles are pulling all over the place. My neck muscles pull more to the left. My upper back muscles pull more to the right (towards my shoulder). And my lower back muscles pull back to the left. Talk about assymetry.

The x-ray was just that.. an x-ray of my back. Nothing to write home about. I had to go back in yesterday afternoon to review my x-rays and see how out of whack my spine really is. I didn’t take a picture while I was there, so I’ll try my best to describe it. Looking from the back, my spine is pretty straight. My sacrum (pevic area) is slightly twisted to the right and down, but not by much (a little over one millimeter un-level with the left). My spine is pretty straight, but goes up ever so slightly to the right. The vertebrae in my neck twist slightly to the right, but it’s correct-able. Looking from the back, I’m in pretty good shape. Looking from the side however.. is a different story.

Here’s a picture of what a healthy spine should look like (a cartoon, but you get the idea):

The lower back (lumbar) curves toward your belly. The upper back (thoracic) curves to the back. The neck (cervical) curves toward your throat.

Starting from the bottom, my lumbar vertebrae are in tip-top shape (“beautiful” is the word Dr. Belling used). But, moving up, my thoracic vertebrae, rather than curving, is totally straight. And then there’s my neck. Apparently, I’m in Phase 1 of cervical vertebrae degeneration (spinal decay). And it’s rather severe, but still fixable. Rather than curving towards my throat like it should, my neck curves the other way, slightly. If left uncorrected, it could eventually lead to my vertebrae fusing together, forcing my head to be looking down all the time (that’s way down the line, but scary nonetheless).

Dr. Belling suggests that I come in to get my spine adjusted regularly for about a month (about 3 times a week), and then retake my x-rays at the end of the month to see if it’s helped. I also need to work on my poster (not slouching when reading and watching TV, sitting up straight, not looking down so much) and I bought a new pillow which should help support my neck better when I’m sleeping. I had my back adjusted yesterday, and it felt amazing (although I did have some residual “popping” on the way home and later that night). I went for a run afterwards, and felt pretty good.

I’ll post again in a month, after my next x-ray review, if there are any improvements.

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