Say Hello to Your Spine: Spinal Motion Segments Explained

Understanding your spine is the best way to keep it healthy

Spinal motion segments are the functional units that allow for the mobility of your spine. Between each of the 33 vertebrae in your spine is an individual mobile unit comprised of:

  • The two vertebrae
  • The intervertebral disc 
  • Two facet joints 
  • A network of ligaments and tendons

The first three are called the articular triad; these are the three components that allow for articulation between vertebrae and the overall movement of the spine. Healthy spinal motion segments allow for a reasonable degree of movement in the upper body while also stabilizing the spine and preventing injury from excessive movement. 

Dysfunction in the spinal motion segments

If that wasn’t a dystopian headline… but the unfortunate truth is that things frequently do go wrong with the spinal motion segments; this leads us down the road toward back pain and degeneration of the spinal structures. The two most frequent problems which face spinal motion segments are: 

  • Hypomobility: limited range of motion 
  • Hyper mobility: excessive range of motion

Both conditions are capable of stressing facet joints and compressing spinal nerves which exit at every level of the spine. 

Keeping spinal motion segments healthy

You can mitigate problems associated with hypo- and hyper-mobility in the spinal motion segments by following a general guideline of diet and exercise. But at a certain point, this may cease to be enough; as the pressures of gravity, poor posture, and age accumulate, your spine may need a helping hand. We make sure that all the knowledge is in your hands: from therapeutic stretching and exercise techniques to hands-on modalities that maintain spinal alignment and reduce intradiscal pressure, we are your go-to source for spinal health. 

If you are interested in improving your spinal health and maintaining the integrity of your spinal motion segments, give our office a call to schedule an appointment today. 

From Stress to Subluxation and Back Again

It’s often said that pain and stress go hand in hand

Subluxation illustrates this twisted system perfectly. A physical manifestation of mental stress is a prolonged contraction of the muscles that we call muscle tension. This tension can be painful in of itself, as well as contributing to reduced range of motion. But the problem intensifies when tense muscles then pull your spine out of alignment. When vertebral bodies move out of alignment, they can put undue pressure on spinal nerves which exit at each level of the spine. This is a recipe for pain that causes mental anguish and stress in even the most resilient of individuals. 

Doing something to break yourself out of this cycle

At our office in Houston, we believe that chiropractic can help people suffering from stress by removing a significant part of the equation contributing to their condtion. If physical dysfunction and pain are exacerbating your stress, we want to help you design solutions that will ease the pain. In doing so, we help you focus on addressing the other factors that make up your particular stress profile. Spinal adjustment restores spinal alignment, alleviates nerve compression and improves circulation. With better blood circulation, oxygen and nutrients reach the places they are needed most, including your brain, which can help you manage the fight-or-flight response which defines stress. 

Improving physical health to reduce stress

Give our office a call to schedule an appointment today. We are specialists in designing solutions that use natural modalities to reduce stress. We are standing by to help you achieve your health objectives for the new year.

Helping Houston Rediscover Healthy Sleep Patterns

Sleep is an essential component of wellness

Because we are aware of this fact, nothing is more frustrating than laying in bed waiting… waiting to fall asleep and knowing that it’s not going to happen. You may have the laptop propped somehow, playing your favorite show; you may be lazily scrolling through your phone, barely processing the last dregs of your news feed. But when it comes time to shut off the brain and get down to REM sleep, many of us are finding it harder than ever. Our minds are constantly stimulated, from the trumpets of push notifications during a stressful commute to using television as a means of winding down from a stressful day. If the flux of life in Houston has you spun out, read on to find out how chiropractic can help you rediscover restful, restorative sleep. 

Chiropractic helps you find better quality sleep

Studies have shown that 1/3 of people who receive a chiropractic spinal adjustment report improvement in their sleep the very night of their treatment. How does this work? 

  • By addressing pain: if pain is keeping you up at night, our natural modalities seek and correct many musculoskeletal causes of that pain. Spinal adjustment not only alleviates nerve compression and mitigates back pain, but it also increases feelings of relaxation that help you sleep.
  • By boosting circulation: oxygen is a primary component of sleep. Getting the oxygen and nutrients you need to your brain cells is a signal way of falling and staying asleep.

Furthermore, we can counsel you on sleep hygiene and environment- the particular factors that contribute to your sleep health. From sleep position (side, back, stomach), to sleep equipment (pillow, bed, blankets); from temperature and darkness in the room to how you prep for sleep beforehand; every little factor matters. We are Houston’s go-to resource for improving the quantity and quality of sleep. 

Helping Houston sleep better

If you are tossing and turning because of anxiety, you will want to seek another kind of specialist, as we are not qualified to address mental health concerns. But if you suspect that physical pain or dysfunction is the source of your sleeplessness, give our office in Houston a call to schedule an appointment and start sleeping better today.

Young is a State of Mind: Chiropractic Protects Aging Bodies

Our aging population and the reality of spinal degeneration

Today’s population over-65 is around 40 million, but the number is projected to more than double by 2050. Time moves quickly, often too quickly for our spines. As we age, we are too preoccupied with the stress of daily life to be proactive about our spinal health. But we are here to tell you that the only way you can enjoy a comfortable old age is to take of your spine in the here and now. Spinal degeneration is one of the leading causes of lost work time in our population, as well as a key contributor to disability in our senior communities. Enjoying our golden years is contingent upon being independent and feeling well. Protecting your spine should therefore be a top priority, no matter what age you are. 

Using chiropractic to stay golden

We help seniors in Houston stay young with gentle, natural modalities that minimize the risk for injury while boosting overall wellbeing and function. Here’s how chiropractic helps:

  • Spinal adjustment: gentle adjustments mobilize spinal joints and boost local circulation, allowing you to move better while reducing pain.
  • Gentle massage: massage penetrates into soft tissues, helping improve local circulation that facilitates healing. The relaxing nature of massage releases endorphins, helping you feel and sleep better.
  • Therapeutic stretching and exercise: maintaining elasticity in the muscles is contingent upon regular conditioning. We can show you the right moves for your particular body and pain profile to keep you feeling young. 

All of these treatments support your body and make it easier for you to do the things that keep you young: exercise and sleep. 

Feeling young is a state of mind

The better your body feels, the easier it is to feel, and act, younger. At our Chiropractic in Houston, TX, we want to help seniors feel more comfortable and confident in an aging body. Our natural methods ensure that your body is balanced and ready to receive the benefits of daily exercise and nutrition. If you are interested in using chiropractic to enhance your golden years, give our office in Houston a call to schedule an appointment today. 

Letting Go of Lower Back Tension: Our Move of the Week

If you don’t do anything else on the physical activity spectrum today…

…do this: 

  • Lay down on the carpet or on a yoga mat with your legs flat and extended.
  • Bring your right knee up to your chest and clasp with your hands 
  • Press your lower back into the ground.
  • Now start gently moving your right knee, using it as a joystick to relieve tension in your hips. 
  • Do this for up to 30 seconds, practicing deep breaths the entire time.
  • Repeat with the other leg. 

This stretch focuses on relieving tension from the hips, which are often tight after a day at the office. Tight hip flexors spell trouble for your spine- they contribute to anterior pelvic tilt, a condition that pulls your spine out of alignment at its very base. By relieving tension in the hip flexors, you are taking the first step toward remedying this situation.

Daily purposeful stretching is the tonic the doctor ordered

So many of us find ourselves too busy to even stretch for 1 second during a given day. But if you can only discipline yourself to get down on the floor for 60 seconds, you may establish a habit that leads to a better quality of life. We urge you not to let your job or your lifestyle get the better of your spine. We want to help you provide your spine with the daily support it needs to keep you comfortable throughout all of life’s activities. Give our office a call to schedule an appointment today. 

Protecting the Golfer’s Spine with Chiropractic

Golf is full of unique challenges for your spinal health

Golf is a much more physical sport than it gets credit for- the bio-mechanics involved in a single swing are enough to boggle the mind. It requires an intense coordination between your musculoskeletal and nervous systems to propel a little white ball through the air with distance and accuracy. Shoulders, wrists, spinal joints, hips and ankles are all the joints whose motion must be coordinated to provide a fluid swing. And when you factor in practice swings, you may be performing this motion at varying levels of intensity hundreds of times per round! Then you factor in things like bending over to tee up, marking your ball, moving debris; lifting, setting down and carrying a golf bag long distances; when you think about it, the movements all add up! So how do we keep our backs strong against a sport that is particularly deleterious for our spines? 

Areas of focus for chiropractors in the game of golf 

At our office in Houston, we treat many a golfer who is looking to avoid injury and increase performance on the course. Chiropractic is perfectly suited to this sport because of its focus on using natural modalities to regulate nervous system function and improve musculoskeletal health. Here are the particular areas of focus for chiropractic in the game of golf:

  • Spinal alignment: full range of motion in the spinal and shoulder joints is vital to an effective golf swing. We use manual adjustments to maintain alignment and improve systemic ROM. 
  • Nervous system function: the golf swing requires a high level of motor control. Motor control requires unhindered nervous system function- by alleviating pressure from spinal nerves, we achieve this effect. 
  • Core strength: the core muscles are necessary for stabilizing the transfer of forces involved in an aggressive rotating movement such as the golf swing. Specific core strengthening exercises and stretches minimize your risk for injury.

Add the support of chiropractic to your golf game today

If you are looking to improve your level of performance on the course, chiropractic is one of the best ways to get started. We design individualized treatment plans for golfers to help them prevent specific risk factors from getting in the way of their pursuit of perfection on the golf course. Give our office a call to schedule an appointment today. 

Decompress Each Day with Spinal Elongation

Spinal degeneration is happening every day…

…which means that every day represents a choice: we are either proactive in fighting back against the degeneration or we do nothing about it. If we choose the latter, many of us will end up with narrowing discs and abnormal spinal curvature; we will end up losing height and feeling more pain. Here is a standard recipe for back pain due to spinal degeneration:

  • The downward force of gravity
  • Spinal motion segments that naturally weaken over time 
  • Poor lifestyle habits such as consistently bad posture increase the compressive effect 
  • Lack of core stability support- weak muscles unable to share the burden of your body weight effectively

There are so many elements which increase the compressive factor on our spines, which means that many of us can benefit from daily decompression. 

Decompression through spinal elongation

Much of the work we do at Holmes Chiropractic is geared toward helping people decompress their spines. Natural, non-invasive spinal decompression can be achieved through a multitude of modalities including:

  • Manual traction
  • Motorized traction
  • Inversion 

No matter what technique you choose, the goal is the same: opening up space between the vertebrae to allow for rehydration of intervertebral discs and the retraction of bulging disc material. By gently stretching an embattled region, we direct nutrient and oxygen-rich blood flow toward the region to promote healing. Surgical and nonsurgical decompression are the two most famous forms of decompression therapy; fewer people know that you can decompress daily from the comfort of your own home. How? I hear you asking.

The answer is by focusing on stretches that promote spinal elongation. Certain yoga flows and pilates routines can be tailored directly toward reversing the ill-effects of spinal compression. When you rest in Child’s Pose or perform exercises such as the back arch, you are actively elongating the lumbar spine and alleviating the symptoms of compression.

Spinal elongation is nature’s answer to compression

At Holmes Chiropractic, we are primarily concerned with helping people design ingenious solutions to account for their back pain. Just 5-10 minutes of spinal elongation stretching each day can serve as a platform for powerful changes in your spinal health. If you need more help getting inspired, give our office a call to schedule an appointment today.