Merolla Chiropractic

100 Bedford Street
New Bedford, MA 02740


Posts for tag: discs

By Dr. Mike Merolla
May 18, 2012
Category: Uncategorized
Tags: back   spine   discs   health  

Your spine is only about twenty-eight inches in length.  And that’s even if you’re very tall.  Of that length, about six to seven inches is made up of all the spongy discs (intervertebral discs) that are between the bones (vertebra).

Most people focus on the "bones".  Are my bones getting enough calcium?  Are they becoming weak and brittle?  Are they getting arthritis?  Is that a bone spur?  Is my backbone out of alignment?

But those spongy discs deserve some limelight and should get a lot of the credit.  

The discs are your back's unsung heroes, lending the spine shock absorption, mobility, and height. 

But discs need special care. 

As the years go by, they age and lose some of their water content.  They become less spongy and more "dry", lasting no more than 150 years.

That's right!  The discs of your spine can go about 50 years more than your typical octogenarian.

If you want your spine in good shape at 100, it is possible.  The design is there. 

But you need to realize what will speed up the shrinking process.

And these days, the biggest offender is a sedentary lifestyle.

If we go back 50 plus years, our workplace did not allow for anything sedentary.  There was mainly agriculture and industry.  Jobs where exercise was built right in. 

This is not to be confused with overuse syndrome seen on repetitive assembly lines! 

We are talking about work that was physical all day, but mixed in various amounts of walking, standing, lifting, carrying, and rest breaks. 

Now think about what you do for work.  It probably involves long hour of sitting or standing in one place, with the neck cranked to the side as you cradle a phone. 

It is these unchanging positions combined with the constant force of gravity that push down and compress your spine.

Think of a sponge in water.  If you squeeze it, twist it, bend it, water will be pushed out.  But then the motion of unsqueezing or unbending allows the water to soak back up.

But sitting or standing in one place results only in the water being pushed out.  There is no movement, no bending, and no turning to help return the fluids back into the disc.

So the discs of your spine just keep getting thinner, you get shorter, and pretty soon life's bumps and grinds add up to back pain, neck pain, and a pinched nerve.

But all is not lost!

There are ways to pump our discs back up.  The fastest would be to see the chiropractor.  Chiropractic adjustments and therapy such as intersegmental traction go a long way in helping the discs. 

Lifestyle changes can be made.  Custom made foot orthotics for individuals who stand, exercise balls to sit on, standing at work instead of sitting, wearing a phone headset.  At home decompressive activities such as traction or even yoga may be helpful.  Even something as simple as getting off the couch and tackling chores can make a difference.

Current trends are unhealthy to our spine.  We must figure out ways to pump our discs back up, regain their health, and our posture!