Extension of the spine: It’s good. It’s bad. So what is up with extension for the spine? Both are true: It’s valuable. It is harmful. It’s the job of your Easley chiropractor to help you establish the role of extension for your Easley back pain relief plan and Easley back pain control plan in the future. Your Easley chiropractor at Young Chiropractic is well trained in the effects – good and bad – of spinal extension and respects its role in spinal health and mobility.
Two of the spine’s most prominent curves – the cervical and lumbar curves – are lordotic curves meaning they curve concavely. Flexion flattens these curves. Extension magnifies them. When a disc herniates or bulges, it does so into the concavity of the curve and potentially presses on the spinal nerves causing pain. Flexion often permits the disc bulge to move off of the nerve. Extension often allows the disc bulge to press on the nerves more. Young Chiropractic intends to help reduce painful situations like this!
75% of the flexion and extension movement in the low back occurs at the L5-S1 level of the lumbar spine. 20% occurs at the L4-L5 level. Therefore, 95% of flexion and extension of the lumbar spine happens at these two lower disc levels. Here, degenerative disc disease (minor and more advanced) occurs most. In the cervical spine, C5-C6 is the spinal level where most of the flexion occurs, and C4-C5 is where most of the extension takes place. Easley chiropractic patients need healthy extension!
Young Chiropractic respects extension and understands how it may benefit and hurt. The extensor muscles in the back weaken and degenerate just like discs degenerate. (1) Extension helps strengthen these muscles to support the spine. Extension is essential for this when the spine is healthy enough to do extension. Extension to a painful spine may be harmful. Why? In the cervical spine, flexion decreased disc protrusion and maximizes the sagittal diameter of the vertebral canal while extension increased the disc protrusion and constricted the vertebral canal producing stenosis. (2) In a degenerative lumbar spine with spinal stenosis, flexion widened the vertebral canal and relieved pain while extension exacerbated the stenosis and caused pain. (3) Young Chiropractic understands the key to getting the benefits of extension is in knowing when to use extension.
Easley CHIROPRACTIC USE OF EXTENSION
Easley chiropractic treatment incorporates extension into the Easley chiropractic treatment plan for its benefits. Cox® Technic applied to the cervical spine reduced intradiscal pressures to as low as 502 mmHg (4) and to as low as -192 mmHg in the lumbar spine. (5) Extension increased pressures in the lumbar spine to 1250 mmHg (the highest amount the transducer could measure). (4) Reducing intradiscal pressures and back pain is what Young Chiropractic does for its Easley back pain patients.
CONTACT Young Chiropractic
Listen to this PODCAST with Dr. David Atiyeh on the Back Doctor’s Podcast with Dr. Michael Johnson. He shares how he helped a patient whose back pain persists after multiple back surgeries with flexion distraction which gives her relief as the table is flexed not extended.
Schedule your Easley chiropractic appointment with Young Chiropractic today. Let us explore the role extension might have in your back pain recovery and future back pain control plan.