Treatments

Adjustment of the spine and other joints restores proper alignment and improves function by eliminating stress on the nerves, muscles, and ligaments. We employ a variety of techniques to cater to the needs of each individual patient.

Services Provided

  • Cold Laser Therapy
  • Specific Massage and Stretching Techniques
  • Manual Therapy
  • Customized Therapeutic Exercise
  • Massage/Trigger Point Therapy
  • Neuro-Muscular Re-Education
  • Chiropractic Manipulation
  • Non-Invasive Disc Treatment
  • Joint Mobilization
  • Electrical Stimulation
  • Heat Therapy
  • Strengthening and Conditioning
  • Cox Flexion/Distraction for Disc Injuries

What conditions do we commonly treat?

  • Low back pain
  • Neck pain
  • Shoulder pain
  • Hip pain
  • Headaches
  • TMJ
  • Sciatica
  • Tendonitis/Bursitis
  • Herniated Discs
  • Arthritis
  • Auto injuries
  • Sports injuries
  • Work injuries

Try this simple posture “reality check” the next time you are standing in front of a full-length mirror:

  • Are your knees and ankles straight (i.e., not angled inward or outward)?
  • Are your shoulders and hips level?
  • As you stand sideways, does your lower back have a natural curve in it?
  • Do the spaces between your arms and sides seem equal?
  • Is your chin level, or parallel, to the floor?
  • CIs your head straight?

Proper posture is one of the best preventative measures you can take to ensure a healthy spine. Good posture means maintaining your spine in a neutral position. This means standing or sitting so that your spine keeps its three natural curves-the small hollow at the base of the neck, a small roundness at the middle back, and a small hollow in the lower back.

Proper posture is the result of good musculoskeletal balance, which helps protect the joints in your spine from undue stress and guards against injury and deformity. It requires diligence and awareness on your part. Most of us need to gently prod ourselves mentally to ensure we are walking and sitting correctly.

Poor posture can result from regularly carrying excessive weights, or hunching over when working at a computer or watching television. It also has been linked to chronic headaches, shoulder pain, and TMJ dysfunction. It also can lead to such problems as: fatigue (from over-taxed muscles supporting a misaligned spine); muscle aches in your neck, back, arms, and legs; and stiff, painful joints (which may eventually lead to conditions such as degenerative osteoarthritis.)

Sometimes, poor posture is something that cannot be helped. For example, people with degenerative nerve or skeletal problems find it difficult, if not impossible, to obtain a healthy posture.

Tips
Here are some posture tips for various positions and activities throughout the day.

When standing:

  • Straight body.
  • Your ears, shoulders, hips, knees and ankles align in one straight line. (If you hung a string with a ball bearing at the end from your ear lobe, the string would dissect the middle of your anklebone.)
  • Chin level but slightly tucked, shoulders slightly back and level, pelvis shifted forward (this allows your hips to align with your ankles).
  • Feet are shoulder width apart.
  • Knees unlocked.
  • Breastbone lifted (this requires moving your shoulder blades down and in toward each other).
  • Jaw and neck muscles relaxed.

When sitting:

  • Feet resting on the floor with knees and hips bent 90 degrees.
  • Arch in your lower back is maintained. A “lumbar roll,” a small, inexpensive padded “pillow-like” device, can be used to help ensure this.
  • Hips touching the back of the chair.
  • Breastbone lifted.
  • Shoulder blades in toward each other. This helps push out your breastbone and keeps your rib cage a safe distance from your hips. It also improves your breathing while sitting.
  • Level chin.
  • Stand up, walk around and take frequent breaks from prolonged periods of sitting.

When driving:

  • Allow your head to make contact with the headreast. This keeps your chin level and your neck properly aligned.
  • Don’t shrug your shoulders.
  • Ensure that your knees are slightly higher than your hips.
  • BEnsure that you car seat allows you to keep your back in a vertical, not angled position.

When sleeping:

  • Consider investing in a cervical roll or similar pillow specially designed to keep your neck supported and in natural alignment with your head and upper back.
  • One of the best positions is on your side, with knees slightly bent and a pillow between your knees. Place a pillow under your knees if you are a back sleeper; this helps maintain the curve in your lower back. If you are a stomach sleeper and sleep with your head on an oversized pillow, it sometimes forces your lower back to curve excessively, putting pressure on your diaphragm and lungs.

Exercises to help posture:

  • Chin tuck-Sit or stand erect while gently pulling your chin back to a comfortable position. Do reps of 10 several times a day.
  • Shoulder squeeze-Bring your elbows behind you while squeezing your shoulder blades together. Do reps of 10 or 20 while holding the squeeze for a five count.

Additional tips:

  • Avoid hyper-extending your neck to peer over an obstacle for long periods of time
  • Don’t carry excess body baggage. Maintain a healthy weight. “Beer bellies” or “spare tires,” for example, act like bag of cement, making it difficult for you to stand or walk erect. Even trying to walk correctly can place undue strain on your spine and muscles.
  • Exercise regularly to keep your muscles flexible and toned properly.
  • Have routine eye exams to ensure poor eyesight isn’t keeping you off balance when you sit or walk.
  • Invest soundly in a good quality box spring and mattress.
  • Practice good ergonomics when sitting in front of a computer, watching television, or driving.
  • Practice sound lifting techniques.

Exercise and other kinds of physical activity can go far in keeping your body strong and healthy, able to fight disease and ward off injuries from pulling, pushing and lifting. A healthy and fit body also generally recovers faster from injury and pain.

In general, there are three basic types of exercise: strengthening. stretching and aerobic. Here’s a brief description:

  • Strengthening exercises focus on the abdominal and back muscles because these play a key role in supporting your spine and maintaining good posture.
  • Stretching exercises target the soft tissues in your legs and surrounding your spine. These muscles provide the flexibility you need to move and get around.
  • Aerobic exercises foster a strong and healthy heart and lung function. These kinds of exercises generally involve large muscle groups.

Other kinds of mild exercises include those that help you correct or maintain good posture (with a focus on the neck and back); ease tension from prolongued periods of sitting.

Like exercise, proper nutrition provides a wealth of benefits-both physical and emotional-that contribute to your body’s strength and its ability to ward off disease and disability.

A healthy diet translates into a healthy body; the proper mix of vitamins, minerals and other nutrients are the best recipe for ensuring your skeletal, muscular, nervous and circulatory systems function smoothly. Following are some dietary tips that will help you keep your spine, joints, and muscles healthy:

  • Ample amounts of water are actually quite good from a dietary standpoint: Water keeps your cells hydrated and helps your blood work more efficiently in carrying nutrients throughout your body. Tea, coffee, sodas and alcohol actually have the opposite effect. Drinking excessive amounts of soda and other carbonated beverages could interfere with calcium absorption, which may lead to bone loss and osteoporosis.
  • Calcium (milk, broccoli, salmon and kale) keeps your bones strong.
  • Choose foods rich in fiber. A goods rule to follow is an intake of 25-30 grams of fiber per day. Foods rich in fiber include whole-grain breads and cereals, beans, nuts and some fruits and vegetables.
  • Foods high in vitamin C (broccoli, bell peppers, citrus fruits, cabbage, cauliflower, spinach, and strawberries) help ward off osteoarthritis. Vitamin B and amino acids may help reduce the pain from contact sports. Thiamine can help promote healing. Also consider Vitamin A to strengthen scar tissue.
  • Fortified dairy products and fish rich in Vitamin D help preserve your cartilage.
  • Organically grown foods usually have smaller amounts of toxins in them, so they are arguably safer and healthier.
  • Raw foods. Canned tomatoes are the rare exception here, but many raw foods retain vast amounts of minerals and other nutrients that are destroyed or diminished by the process of cooking.
  • Eat the skins of fruits and vegetables because they often contain more nutrients than what’s inside.

Children’s Needs
Children should eat a balanced diet, one that includes fruits and vegetables; breads and cereals; milk and dairy products; meat, fish, and eggs.

Minimize starchy foods, such as crackers, pasta, pretzels and potato chips.

About calcium and children’s bones
Your child’s intake of calcium and the long-lasting benefits it provides bones and spinal structures in later years cannot be overstated.

Calcium can be found in many foods other than milk. Broccoli, salmon, and kale are just some of the foods rich in calcium.

The recommended calcium intake for children ages 4 to 8 is about 800 mg per day. Children ages 9 to 18 should take in almost double-approximately 1,300 mg per day. Three 8-ounce glasses of milk will fit the bill for children under the age of 8. Milk substitutes such as those made from soy are acceptable alternatives, as long as they are fortified with vitamins and calcium. Orange juice can be a source of calcium if your child doesn’t prefer or can’t tolerate milk.

Ergonomics is part science, part art. It involves choosing and working with devices that minimize or even eliminate undue strain on our joints and muscles. For those of us who work in an office (or a home office), we are confronted with many opportunities to work in conditions that place our spinal cord, muscles and other structures at risk for prolonged injury.

Over time, these kinds of situations can lead to permanent injury to our wrists, elbows, knees, shoulders, and backs, not to mention our eyes.

Sitting in a slouched-over or slouched-down position in a chair can overstretch the spinal ligaments and strain the spinal discs. Straining toward a computer screen for long periods of time can strain the joints and muscles in our necks. And operating a computer mouse with an angled wrist can lead to devastating and painful injuries to the bones and ligaments in our wrists and hands.

Here are some tips for setting up a healthy working arrangement:

  • Avoid having to twist or turn your head to view documents while typing at your computer. Place them in a viewing stand or document holder as close to your monitor as possible.
  • Ensure that your computer equipment is placed on stable surface that won’t tilt or wobble.
  • Ensure that your monitor is at a comfortable viewing distance. The rule of thumb is about one arm’s length away.
  • Ensure that your work surface is a suitable distance from the floor. A good rule of thumb is 28 to 30 inches above the floor.
  • Even if you own a laptop, consider investing in an external computer monitor. Reason? Most laptop screens force you head to tilt downward, creating undue pressure on your neck and spine. Also consider buying an external keyboard that allows you the flexibility of positioning the keyboard at a comfortable distance from the screen and your chair.
  • Your chair should allow you to sit with your back at approximately a 100-degree angle, not perpendicular, or 90 degrees.
  • Ideally, your mouse and mouse pad should be slightly higher than your keyboard-about 1-2 inches.
  • Invest in a comfortable chair that is height adjustable with a lumbar, or lower back, support.
  • Keyboard trays that tilt negatively, that is, down and away from your hands, provide for good wrist posture.
  • When you have your hand placed on the computer mouse, make sure that your arms are relaxed and close to your body. Ensure that your wrist is level with your hand. This is a neutral, or natural position for your wrist.
  • Practice good posture while sitting for extended periods of time. There should be two inches between the front edge of the seat and the back of your legs. Here are some additional tips:
    • Rest your feet on the floor with your knees and hips bent 90 degrees.
    • Maintain the arch in your lower back. (A lumbar roll, a small, inexpensive padded pillow-like device, can be used to help ensure this.)
    • Ensure that your hips are touching the back of the chair.
    • Lift up and out your breastbone.
    • Occasionally push your shoulder blades in toward each other. (This helps push out your breastbone and keeps your rib cage a safe distance from your hips. It also improves your breathing while sitting.)
    • Make sure your chin is level.
    • Stand up, walk around and take frequent breaks from prolonged periods of sitting.
  • Ensure adequate lighting, but don’t blind yourself with excessive light. This can cause eyestrain as much as low lighting.
  • Work in an area that has excellent ventilation that allows for frequent exchanges of your room air with fresh, outside air.
  • Take frequent breaks. Rest your eyes every 15 minutes and do simple exercises such as looking away from a computer screen and focusing on something a good distance away. This gives your eye muscles a chance to relax. Blink your eyes in fairly rapid succession to lubricate them. Simple stretching exercises can include:
    • Clenching hands into fists and moving them in 10 circles inward and 10 circles outward.
    • Placing hands in a praying position and squeezing them together for 10 seconds and then pointing them downward and squeezing them together for 10 seconds.
    • Spreading fingers apart and then closing them one by one.
    • Standing and wrapping arms around the body and turning all the way to the left and then all the way to the right.
    • So-called “ergonomic” products such as braces and gloves, gel-filled wrist supports may provide you with additional comfort, but don’t be fooled into thinking these devices will compensate for things such as bad posture while working at a desk or in front of a computer.

Additional ergonomics tips for children
Provide a safe and comfortable desk/computing environment for your children. Here are some tips:

  • Ensure your chair and desk surface can be adjusted to fit their smaller height.
  • Ensure your child is seated comfortably (a lumbar roll or stacks of towels can sometimes be used for minor adjustments). Ensure that are two inches between the front edge of the seat and the back of their knees. Arm supports on the chair should allow elbows to rest within a 70- to 135-degree angle to the computer keyboard.
  • Position the computer screen at or below the child’s eye level.

Pregnancy can wreak havoc on your neck, shoulders, back, hips, legs, and feet.

Most women who go through pregnancy are aware of the importance of good nutrition while carrying their baby. But many are not aware, or ignore, the vital role that good posture and simple exercises can play in guarding against pain and in some cases, long-term and debilitating joint and muscle injuries.

Pregnant women gain an average of 25 to 35 pounds. This additional weight, in tandem with the trauma and bodily changes of pregnancy, places an enormous amount of stress on your musculoskeletal system.

Close to 50% of women experience some sort of back pain during their pregnancy. The pain is most prevalent during the latter stages of the pregnancy, when the baby begins to descend toward the hips, placing pressure on organs and nerves. In many cases, this can be avoided by practicing good posture and performing simple, safe exercises.

A woman’s center of gravity almost immediately begins to shift forward to the front of her pelvis during pregnancy. This increases stress on the joints. As the woman’s weight is projected even farther forward, her lower back curvature actually increases. This places additional stress on the discs in the lumbar region.

Following are a few suggestions from the American Chiropractic Association:

Exercise tips:

  • Anything that doesn’t involve jerking or bouncing movements-including walking, swimming and stationary cycling-is considered a safe exercise for a pregnant woman. Make sure you exercise on a stable surface and wear shoes with non-slip soles.
  • Ensure that your heart rate doesn’t exceed 140 beats per minute.
  • Try to restrict your exercise routines to no more than 15 minutes.
  • Stop immediately if you experience dizziness, nausea, weakness, blurred vision, increased swelling, vaginal bleeding, or heart palpitations.
  • Bend from your knees, not your waist, when picking up small children or objects. Avoid any twisting or turning motions during a lift.
  • Folic acid supplements-at least 400 micrograms (mcg) a day-before and during pregnancy can decrease the risk of neural tube birth defects, such as spina bifida. But check with your doctor before taking this or any other vitamin or herbal supplement.
  • Get plenty of rest. Don’t let the demands of work and family life put you and your baby at risk. Pamper yourself, and ask for help if you need it. Take a nap if you are tired, or lie down and elevate your feet for a few moments when you need a break.
  • If your work behind a computer or at a desk during the day, ensure that it is designed ergonomically. Take frequent breaks.
  • Take the pressure off your lower back when sleeping by lying on your side with a pillow between your knees. Lying on your left side is ideal because it allows unobstructed blood flow, and helps your kidneys flush waste from your body.
  • Chiropractic care during your pregnancy is considered safe, and can help you manage pain better without the use of drugs or surgical treatment, and gain valuable insight into nutrition, ergonomics and exercise.
  • Following childbirth, chiropractic care can help alleviate joint problems incurred during the pregnancy, as well as provide relief from muscle tension, headaches, rib discomfort and shoulder problems.

By their very nature, sports and other kinds of recreational activities are inherently risky ventures for your entire body, none the least being your neck, spine, joints and muscles. If you or your children are active participants, proper body conditioning is as essential as the equipment used in these kinds of activities.

High-risk sports
Though there is no such thing as a “safe” sport, highly competitive sports such as football, weightlifting, gymnastics, and wrestling pose particularly higher risks of injuries, especially among children.

According to experts, as much as 20 percent of all sports-related injuries involve the lower back or neck. Running and weightlifting, and other sports that involve repetitive impact, expose children to a high risk for lumbar (lower back) injuries. Contact sports, such as soccer and football, expose the cervical spine, or neck to injury. More than one-third of all high school football players sustain some type of injury. Soccer participants are easy candidates for mild to severe head traumas, neck injuries, cervical spine damage, headache, neck pain, dizziness, irritability, and insomnia. Heading the ball, the act of using the head to re-direct the soccer ball, has been linked with cervical injuries in children and adults. The trampoline and gymnastics also present significant risks for spinal cord injuries from unexpected and brute falls or contact with hard surfaces.

Proper conditioning
There is no substitute for proper conditioning, both long-term and just before play, and its role in preventing injury or minimizing the impact of injuries sustained during participation.

Here are some warm-up tips:

  • Low-impact activities such as walking will help gradually increase the flow of warmed blood to the muscles and ligaments of the back. This helps to prepare those muscles for the work they’ll be called on to do during the activity.
  • Simple lower and upper back stretches, as well as hamstring and quadriceps stretches, can help you stay flexible and limber.
  • To prepare for winter sports, such as skiing, skating, sledding, and tobogganing, do simple squats, lunges, and knee-to-chest stretches.
  • After you have finished playing, don’t ever neglect the all-important cool-down, which allows your muscles to return to their normal, relaxed state. Without this important step, you run the risk of having your muscles tighten up or cramp.

Treating injuries
Even so-called minor sports-related injuries may require that you seek medical treatment.

For minor injuries such as sprains or strains, follow the RICE (Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation) protocol. Apply ice on the site of a minor sprain or bruise at least until any noticeable swelling has dissipated. Avoid keeping ice applied for more than 20 minutes because ice can actually begin wearing out your blood vessels, which in turns, increases the likelihood of additional swelling. After an hour has passed, re-apply an ice pack to the site if pain or swelling has not gone away.

Make sure to contact your physician if pain or swelling persists.

Tips for your kids:

  • Always strive to maintain the recommended weight for your child’s age and size-not the rigors of the sport.
  • Be wary of so-called energy or power bars.
  • Don’t allow your child to load up on candy bars or carbonated rinks before or during a game. These foods will sap energy. Sports drinks are a better alternative.
  • Encourage proper conditioning, including a supervised weight training program.
  • Ensure your child is well-rested before an event. A tired body is much more prone to suffering an injury.
  • Insist on warm-up exercises before any sports activity.
  • Invest in and wear proper equipment, including safety equipment such as mouth guards, shatterproof goggles, and elbow and knee pads. If any equipment is excessively worn, replace it immediately.

Never forget the importance of proper nutrition (avoid high-fat foods, such as candy bars and fast food) and hydration (at least 8-10 glasses of water a day).

Did you know that people lose 20 to 40 percent of their muscle-and along with it their strength-as they age? Our population is aging rapidly as a result of the huge baby boom in the 1950s and 1960s, followed by declining birth rates in the succeeding decades. Thanks to remarkable advances in medicine and science, however, that rapidly aging population is more physically fit, and in general, destined to live longer than any generation that came before.

As a rule, the importance of proper nutrition and physical exercise does not diminish as one gets older. In fact, it can be argued that staying physically fit becomes more critical the older we get. This helps ward off the effects of aging immune response, circulatory and musculoskeletal systems in our body.

With all the technology and leisure time we enjoy today, it is mildly ironic that Americans sorely lack in regular physical exercise and proper diet, and at considerable risk. Lack of physical activity combined with a poor diet is the second leading underlying cause of death in the United States.

Here are some simple tips for staying healthier as you get older:

  • Avoid stress.
  • Eat healthy. Eat foods high in vitamin C (broccoli, bell peppers, citrus fruits, cabbage, cauliflower, spinach, and strawberries). This will help ward off osteoarthritis.
  • Fortified dairy products and fish rich in Vitamin D help preserve your cartilage. Calcium (milk, broccoli, salmon and kale) keeps your bones strong.
  • Follow proper guidelines for posture when standing or sitting for prolonged periods of time.
  • Get regular physical checkups with your doctor.
  • Keep your weight down-this reduces force and excessive stress on your body’s musculoskeletal system.
  • Protect your joints with comfortable yet firm footwear. Use wheeled carts to haul heavy items around the house.
  • Do not smoke.

Ask your physician if it is all right for you to exercise, what kind of exercise is best, and whether any medications you are taking may make exercise a hazardous endeavor. In addition, do not undertake any exercises if your physician has consulted you against doing so. Immediately STOP any form of physical exercise if you experience pain, dizziness, shortness of breath, or other unusual symptoms. And always remember to breath normally when performing any exercise.

Choose a type of exercise that you enjoy; one of the reasons many people stop soon after embarking on a form of exercise is that it’s too boring, unchallenging, or discomforting. An ideal length is about 30 minutes daily or several days a week.

Types of exercises may include:

  • Balance training – These kinds of exercises challenge your equilibrium by performing such activities as standing on one foot, then the other, without support.
  • Endurance exercising – This type involves activity that forces you to breathe harder than you are used to.
  • Strength training – This helps you tone muscles and lose fat. It also helps to keep your bones strong, which helps you avoid fractures as your bones weaken with age.
  • Stretching exercises – These help improve your range of motion and flexibility.

A note about posture
Older people should be ever mindful of their posture. Poor posture and its attendant strains on your spinal structures and muscle groups can significantly increase your risk of degenerative arthritis, and muscle and joint pain.

Posture that fails to keep your spine in its natural position can lead to a loss in range of motion, increased pain and discomfort, muscle aches, headaches, jaw pain (from a forward or downward slackening of the head), shoulder, knee and ankle aches and pains, and diminished lung capacity (from the downward pressures of your rib cage against your lower back and hips).

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The spinal column is an intricate framework of interlocking bones that, when viewed from the side, form a gentle “S” shape. The spine is a sophisticated system-both fragile and sturdy-of muscles, bones, joints, ligaments, discs, a spinal cord, and nerves.

Joints, called “facet joints,” and discs allow the spine to bend and twist and absorb mild shocks and bumps. The brain, spinal cord and nerves manage your body’s movement by sending messages to muscles. Supporting the entire structure is an intricate system of ligaments, tendons, and discs.

The vertebrae, facet joints and discs are vertically stacked in a healthy spine. Ligaments support that alignment and discs, which are flexible, spongy pads, absorb shocks between the vertebrae and joints.

The spine has four natural curves, which help to evenly distribute the loads incurred by daily activity-from sitting, walking and running, to lifting and carrying.

There are three major parts of your spine:

  • The cervical spine, or neck
  • The thoracic spine, or upper back
  • The lumbar spine, or lower back

The sacrum, which lies at the base of your spine between the fifth lumbar and the tailbone, or coccyx, is a triangular-shaped bone made up of five fused parts. These are called “S1, S2, S3, S4 and S5.” These unique parts connect to your pelvis by way of structures called sacroiliac joints.

Your neck, which is also called the upper cervical spine, is distinguished by two large vertebrae. One is called the upper bone, or atlas, and the other is called the lower bone, or axis.

These bones in your cervical spine do not need discs and protect the medulla oblongata, or lower brainstem. Inside the medulla oblongata are reflex centers that regulate such things as your heartbeat, breathing, the diameter of your blood vessels, swallowing, vomiting, coughing, sneezing, and hiccupping.

Almost half your brain’s 12 cranial nerves originate in the medulla and control such things as balance and hearing, taste, swallowing, salivation, the digestive system, head and neck muscles and the tongue. One can easily see that if the upper bones of your spinal cord are out of alignment, a whole host of things can go wrong in your body, some subtle, some not-so-subtle. However, it is not uncommon for many of us to have some sort of misalignment in these structures, as we go through the daily trials and tribulations of life.

Basically, your spine is composed of four types of material. These are:

  • Vertebral bodies – These are the large bony structures you see in the spinal anatomy and essentially are the support column of your back. This amazing structure supports about half of your body’s weight; your muscles do the job of the remaining half. Vertebral bodies are separated by small spaces containing discs. Most of the vertebral bodies in your spine have several joints that allow your back to bend and flex. When you bend forward, your hips provide about half of the impact, while your lower spine, or lumbar, takes on the rest.
  • Vertebral discs – The shock absorbers that are found between vertebral bodies, discs are essentially made up of two major parts: a tough outer core and a soft inner core. When you are born, these discs are mostly water. As you get older, the discs slowly lose their water content and get harder. As they dehydrate over time, your discs provide less of that soft and cushy support they provided when they were new. Because they have no blood supply and few nerve endings, discs are unable to repair themselves. Disc degeneration can be painful in later years; in some cases, the inner core of the discs leak proteins that can inflame the nerve roots.
  • Spinal cord and nerve roots – As it leaves the base of your brain, your spinal cord weaves through the neck and upper back, ending up at the bottom of your thoracic spine. Actually, your spine ends before it reaches your lower back, shooting off a series of nerve roots that are dispersed through bony canals throughout your body.
  • Muscles – The soft tissue surrounding your spine is largely composed of muscles, which support your spine as it bends and flexes. Two large muscles in your lower back, called erector spinae, help hold up the spine.

The soft tissues that envelop and support your spine make up an intricate network of muscles.

With the help of your body’s abdominal muscles, this network helps to keep your body stabilized and upright, and allows it to bend and flex.

The types of muscles that support your spine include:

  • Extensors – These are composed of back and gluteal muscles. These muscles help keep your back straight, assist in efforts involving lifting, and moving your thigh away from the body.
  • Flexors – These are your abdominal and iliopsoas muscle, which support the spine from the front. They also control the arch of your lower back and move the thigh in toward the body.
  • Obliques (also called rotators) – These “side” muscles stabilize your spine when you are standing upright, and help rotate your spine and maintain proper posture and spinal curvature.

Your nervous system looks much like an upended tree, suspended from its roots at the base of your brain, its millions of limbs reaching out to every corner of your body.

Your spinal cord is like a thick braid formed by billions of these nerves. Your body has approximately 15 billion nerve cells-all of which receive and transmit nerve impulses by way of the spinal cord. These impulses control virtually all functions of your body-from your senses to mobility.

Nerve roots and your spinal cord Your spinal cord actually ends near the base of your upper back, shooting out braids of nerves called \”nerve roots.\” These nerve roots run through a large tunnel-like canal, and at each level of your spinal column, a pair of nerve roots exits from the spine.

Nerve roots are named for the level of your spine they exit from, beginning with a letter and followed by a number. For example, a nerve root in the cervical spine may be called \”C6,\” while a nerve root in the lumbar region may be called \”L4.\”

Innate intelligence, the knowledge we are born with, guides cells and organs to receive and transmit impulses to our brain through this vast network of nerves.

A healthy spinal cord allows these impulses to flow freely back and forth. But when your spinal cord becomes misaligned, its parts get out of place and nerves can become pinched. When this happens, the flow of information from your nervous system gets interrupted. This imbalance, called subluxation, can lead to physical and emotional problems ranging from minor discomfort to major illnesses.