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"Unlocking the Power of Spinal Adjustments and Exercise: MRI Findings Reveal the Importance of Proper Spinal Mobility"

Patients often ask me why I recommend repeated chiropractic adjustments plus prescribe spinal strengthening exercises. Some expect that if I adjust a part of the spine that is not moving properly (a spinal subluxation) it should only take one or two adjustments to get the joint moving freely and fix the subluxation for good. That would make sense if someone saw the chiropractor immediately after developing the spinal subluxation. The reality is that most of us have unknowingly developed spinal subluxations for years or decades before seeking care because subluxations rarely result in pain or symptoms straight away. But MRI scans have now shown us what happens to your spine and the supporting muscles as soon as you start developing a spinal subluxation…

Here are some MRI scans of spinal joints that have lost their proper motion (what chiropractors call a vertebral subluxation) …

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In the top left corner is a normal section of the spine where the spinal joints are moving properly. You can see the darker meat of the supporting spinal muscles called the erector spinae and multifidus. Notice how in the normal spine how much supporting muscle you have to control the posture and movement of the spine.

Now look at what happens to the spine when it becomes subluxated (loses its proper motion). See how the supporting muscle shrinks and becomes infiltrated with fatty deposits (like a gristly piece of meat) which reduces the spinal flexibility and muscular support which reduces your body’s ability to control and coordinate your spinal posture and movement at these spinal levels.

This is the reason why one-off adjustments rarely work and most people need regular spinal adjustments to improve spinal mobility and stimulate spinal muscle activation and growth AND do the spinal rehabilitation exercises (like Dr. Lanthois’ 90-second exercise program that is to be ideally done x5/day). These and other exercises in addition to the chiropractic adjustment help to accelerate the regaining of spinal muscular strength which is essential to properly control spinal motion and posture in the future.

Many people have experienced an immediate improvement in muscular strength and coordination following a chiropractic adjustment. This is because of the neurological effects of chiropractic spinal adjustments on the muscle which are like improving the electrical power supply to the muscle enabling the muscle to work better straight away. The important thing to understand is that the supporting spinal muscles do not automatically and instantly grow back. It takes time, a regular full range of motion of the joint and it also requires resistance and rehabilitation for the spinal muscles to properly develop and grow back. The time it takes depends upon the severity of these changes and how long the spinal joints and muscles have been in this weakened state.

It’s important to understand that like many health conditions spinal subluxations and the weakening of muscles around them can take place without any obvious symptoms. That’s why regular chiropractic adjustments have been found to help maintain your spinal flexibility and strength helping you be able to more effectively keep a lot of aches and pains at bay. When you add Dr Lanthois’ 90-second exercise program  or other strengthening exercises to it you are also actively and continuously promoting the growth and regeneration of previously weakened muscles helping you stay active, strong, and agile for longer.

To me, that is what life is all about.


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