HEALTHY: Normal curves and proper disc spacing allow normal function of the spine and nervous system. Since the spinal curves are primarily formed by the discs, the spinal curves are corrected by focusing on repositioning the disc to a healthy alignment. Regardless of age, when spinal damage goes uncorrected, this process is called Subluxation Degeneration. Researchers recognize several phases of spinal decay.
SWOLLEN: Usually seen as the misalignment and malfunction of the spine 72 hours after injury and up to one year of uncorrection. The joint swells from soft tissue damage and inflammation altering its ability to pump nutrients in and out of the disc through the process of imbibition. Normal spinal motion, curves, and disc spacing are altered and nerve pressure exists. Because the body is so adaptable, this early phase can exist without the warning sign of pain or other symptoms.
SEVERE: Recognized on X-ray views of the spine by visible bone spurs and rough edges of the vertebrae after about 2-10 years of neglect. The involved discs cannot pump and stay hydrated losing its integrity. Loss of disc height crowds the nerve. Soft tissues such as discs and ligaments degenerate from the lack of normal joint movement. The spine is in survival mode sacrificing vital parts of the spine for survival. Again, pain or other symptoms may not be present.
EXTREME: After about 11-20 years of neglect, the improperly functioning spinal joints often fuse together. Atrophy, nerve damage, and soft tissue degeneration are prevalent. Reduced mobility and impaired nervous system function often diminish one’s quality of life. This phase is uncorrectable, but with chiropractic care stability may be realized.