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  • Writer's pictureLIT Chiropratic

Spinal Degeneration

Updated: Aug 20, 2018

What is Spinal Degeneration?

Spinal degeneration is wear and tear of the discs and joints in your spine, eventually resulting in reduced height of vertebrae, narrowing of the spinal canal, formation of bony growths called osteophytes/bone spur, and pressure on your nerves as they pass through the spine.

What Causes Spinal Degeneration?

Misalignments in your spine, called subluxations, lead to lack of proper movement and eventually degeneration if left untreated. Accidents and injuries can also leave your joints susceptible to early degeneration.

How does Chiropractic help?

Chiropractors detect and correct subluxations, allowing your spine to move normal and distribute stress evenly. This will keep your joints moving, nerves free of interference, and can slow, stop, or even reverse spinal degeneration. Chiropractic helps one function better as they grow older.

I don’t have pain, can I still get Spinal Degeneration?

Absolutely! Your body can undergo degenerative changes for years without you noticing any symptoms. Misalignments in the spine can be present for years before pain shows up; your body will adapt and keep you functioning without pain, but that does not mean your spine is stress free.

Am I Getting Shorter?

Spinal degeneration causes the total height of your spinal column to reduce, giving you a shorter appearance. The misconception is that the loss of height is related to age, when in fact it is related to how well you’ve maintained your spine over the years.

A Wellness Approach

Preventative care is the best way to deal with spinal degeneration. Regular spinal checkups with your chiropractor should be a key part of your preventative strategy for degenerative changes in your spine. Your chiropractor will also be able to give you active care strategies that you can use at home in order to maintain spine health.

The Phases of Spinal Degeneration


  • Little or no pain

  • No symptomatic signs of nerve interference

  • Joints and discs may be stressed but have a normal appearance

  • Chiropractic plays a preventive role with regular care

  • Changes are preventable with chiropractic care and a wellness lifestyle

Phase 1

  • Occasional pain and stiffness

  • Silent nerve interference begins, possible symptomatic

  • Disc narrowing and bone spurring (arthritis) begins

  • Chiropractic can make a significant change with regular care

  • Mostly reversal with chiropractic care and a wellness lifestyle

Phase 2

  • Moderate to severe pain

  • Evident nerve damage/compression

  • Arthritis, bone deformation, and height loss

  • Chiropractic provides better function and some pain relief

  • Some reversible change is possible with extensive care

Phase 3

  • Severe, often debilitating pain

  • Extensive nerve damage/constant nerve symptoms

  • Severe arthritis/damage to joints and discs

  • Chiropractic provides symptomatic relief at best

  • irreversible, permanent damage

Phases of Spinal Degeneration

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