When people begin to experience symptoms such as back, neck, arm or leg pain they may begin to wonder “do I have a muscle problem, or is it a bone or joint problem”? The influence of the medical profession in our society has taught us to think of body “problems” in terms of isolating a single area or tissue responsible for the pain or symptom. In actuality the functions of the muscles, joints and bones in your body are interconnected and co-ordinated through the master system of your body: your nerve system. Your brain, spinal cord and nerves form a network connecting to all of the muscles, organs, bones and joints of your body allowing for integrated function. The bones that surround your spinal cord (vertebrae) form a column that is moveable due to the joints that are formed where each of the vertebrae come together. When one vertebrae in your spine shifts out of position in relation to the bone above and below, irritation of the surrounding nerves occurs known as vertebral subluxation complex (VSC).
The irritated nerves in and around the misaligned joint send signals to the spinal cord, which then signals the muscles around the joint to tighten. This is known as the arthrokinetic reflex. The resulting muscle tension and even spasm in the muscles over the neck, back, shoulders and hips is often the first signal that a person will feel indicating they have a problem. Because they can feel the muscle tightness they assume they have a muscle problem when in fact the muscle problem is secondary to misaligned spinal joints (VSC). Many approaches to mask the symptom may be tried including anti-inflammatories, muscle relaxants etc. but until the nerve interference is corrected with chiropractic spinal adjustments the abnormal muscle function will persist. It is also important to note that spinal misalignment and nerve system interference in the neck is often the cause of abnormally tight lower back and leg muscles. You may be wondering at this point, how do I know for sure that my muscle spasm is due to spinal misalignment (VSC)? The only way to known for certain is to see a chiropractor who can do an appropriate exam and x-rays to determine exactly what is happening inside your body. Many people see their family doctor first for muscle problems but it is important to note that only chiropractors are trained and licensed to check for and correct VSC. Spinal misalignment and nerve interference (VSC) have been shown to cause numerous problems with the muscles of the body including muscle tightness, weakness and loss of co-ordination. Correction of VSC has been proven to improve strength and co-ordination. So the next time you or someone you known thinks they have a “muscle problem”, be sure to FIRST get checked for VSC by a D.C.!