Spinal Instability

Much needed answers for chronic cervical and lumbar pain sufferers due to spinal ligament instability…

Pain That Just Won't Leave

     There are many patients who continue to have pain years later and even permanently even after they were treated for injuries from an accident. A study performed on whiplash patients looked at their health status 17 years after the accident found 55% still suffered from pain caused by the original trauma.”(1) If you’re still having regular pain years after a sprained cervical or lumbar injury, there’s a good chance you may have an undiagnosed condition called Spinal Ligament Instability. It occurs in most spinal injuries, very common from automobile accidents and often missed by doctors.

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     At Solutions, results is a top priority for us, so starting out with an accurate diagnosis is a must. Our experienced team of doctors, nurses and therapists are all trained at detecting and treating spinal ligament instabilities and sprains. Call us for a consultation or make an appointment online to determine if your ongoing pain isn’t from this highly un-diagnosed condition.

Spinal Ligament Instability

     The ligaments of the spine are responsible for holding it together during movement. When injured (stretched/sprained), they are no longer as tight as they were and leave the spine with areas that are unstable. When the spine is unstable, not only are the nerves more easily pinched but the ligaments themselves are also a source of pain. As this problem commonly goes undetected, the pain becomes chronic. Studies show spinal instability as a major source of chronic pain in the spine. (2,3)

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     Even more confusing, spinal ligament instability can cause a myriad of symptoms; much more than just cervical and lumbar pain. These can include:

  • fatigue
  • sinus congestion
  • facial pain
  • visual disturbances
  • shoulder pain
  • difficulty swallowing
  • radiating pain in the arms or legs
  • headahes
  • ringing in the ears
  • shortness of breath
  • numbness, tingling in the hands or arms

 

Elusive Condition

     There are 220 specialized ligaments in the spine, with only 23 being discs; all the others are supportive ligaments. When bone problems such as fractures or misalignments are suspected, a CT and/or xray is recommended. For disc injuries, MRIs are the best imaging tool to confirm/document herniated or bulged discs.

     Unfortunately, these imaging procedures do not detect damage to the other 8 supportive ligaments in the spine. The only way to determine if a ligament has failed is by testing for excessive motion. This can be done with a simple x-ray test and a measurement of how far the spinal bones move compared to documented norms. If they move too much, it means the ligaments that hold the spine  together have become damaged. 

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The Solution....

     At Solutions, we have been trained by Smart Injury Drs, a nationwide training course that teaches practitioners how to diagnose and treat spinal ligament instability. Our protocol includes taking precision flexion/extension x-rays of the neck and/or back and then having them objectively read by a Board Certified Medical Radiologist.

     The company we use is called Spinal Kinetics and they perform a computerized measurement analysis on the x-rays. This tells us how injured a patient’s spine is, including the severity and exact location of any spinal ligament injuries from sprains or even a tear. This information is crucial for being able to determine both the correct amount of care and exactly the areas to target.

Solutions Integrated Medicine Spinal Ligament Injury Treatment Team

     Patients with spinal ligament instability have the best chance of a full recovery by coming to our clinic. Not only are we experienced in being able to find this problem, but our regenerative therapies are designed specifically for helping damaged ligaments heal. When combined with our comprehensive rehab and precision chiropractic, we often see rapid improvements in both pain levels and functional restoration in the cervical and lumbar spine.

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  1. (Accident Analysis and Prevention, 2002)
  2. Steilen D, Hauser R, Woldin B, Sawyer S. Chronic neck pain: making the connection between capsular ligament laxity and cervical instability. Open Orthop J. 2014;8:326-345. Published 2014 Oct 1. doi:10.2174/1874325001408010326. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4200875/
  3. T. Barza, M. Melloh etal. A conceptual model of compensation/decompensation in lumbar segmental instability. Medical Hypotheses. Volume 83, Issue 3, September 2014, Pages 312–316 Level of evidence: 4

All the treatments we recommend are drug-free, minimally invasive, and have no adverse effects. If you have persistent back or neck pain, make an appointment now. Make your appointment here.