Myths About Spinal Arthritis in Fruitland

Myths About Spinal Arthritis in Fruitland

Chiropractic Fruitland ID Spine

Having trouble turning your head to back your car out of the driveway and need to turn your shoulder just to look behind you?  What about difficulty getting out of bed in the morning due to pain or stiffness?  If so, you may have some level of Spinal Arthritis in your neck or lower back. If you're suffering from Spinal Arthritis, our chiropractor in Fruitland can help you! Call us today.

Last week, I shared a case study demonstrating the damaging effects of undiagnosed and uncorrected structural shifts – Spinal Arthritis.  Today, I would like to continue that topic and share a bit more with you and hopefully clear the air about some of the misinformation, misconceptions, and even myths surrounding this condition.


To begin with, Spinal Arthritis is only one type of arthritis that can occur in the spine and is most notably a progressive deterioration of the discs and joints of the spine, creating pain, stiffness, and an overall lack of mobility in the neck, mid-back or low back.  It goes by many names, some of which you may have heard.  These include terms like Spinal Degeneration, Spinal Decay, Degenerative Arthritis, Thinning Discs, Osteoarthritis, Spondylosis, Degenerative Disc Disease, and/or Degenerative Joint Disease (often abbreviated as DDD or DJD).

These pictures represent 3 images of the same lower back (Lumbar) region of the spine looking at it from the side.  This specimen is from a cadaver.  The picture on the left is an x-ray of the lower lumbar.  I want you to take a look at the red circles.  The middle picture is of the bones and soft-tissues, and the picture on the right is of the vertebral bones only as the soft-tissues have been removed.  This is what Spinal Arthritis looks look.

Many folks have either heard of this condition or may have even been diagnosed with it.  Spinal Arthritis has become an increasingly common problem.  It has become so common in fact, that it is often not even mentioned on x-ray reports, is considered insignificant and even called a “normal” finding.  It is common, however, I assure you that it is far from NORMAL.

One myth surrounding this condition is believing that it is “normal”, and not a big deal.  Well, to be fair, it isn’t a big deal…until it is!  Being told that it is normal, often leads us to think that it is something we should just expect to occur to us or something that should just be ignored.  Well, that is one approach…if you don’t want your spine to move and function normally throughout your life.  However, if you like to bend and move (as I suspect you do), then you may want to consider the alternative.

A second myth is that it is the result of the “aging process” or the unluckiness of “genetics”.  Both of those misconceptions are used throughout the healthcare world, and both are FALSE.  It has nothing to do with aging, and it has nothing to do with genetics.  And just because your parent or grandparent has, or had it, doesn’t mean you will.  And just because they don’t, or didn’t, doesn’t mean you won’t.  Nor does it mean that it will show up because you reach some magical age of 40, 50, or 60.

So, what is the cause, and why is Spinal Arthritis a problem?

Spinal Arthritis is usually caused by some precipitating spinal ligament injury to one or more vertebrae of the spine.  This ligament injury causes the vertebrae to shift and lose its proper position or function, usually both.  These injuries can be from common noticeable activities or incidents that cause what is known as “macro trauma”, such as slips, falls, auto accident, whiplash, contact sports, trampolines, waking up with a ‘kink in your neck’, missteps off the curb, tripping over a rug, and the list goes on and on.  It can also be caused by “microtrauma”, which is often regular daily activities that result in “repetitive stress” problems and the effects go unnoticed.

Once the shift and misalignment are present, that vertebrae or area of the spine is stuck and not functioning properly.  This leads to the progressive breakdown and decay of the discs and joints of those vertebrae.  Over time, it results in neck or back pain, sciatica, stiffness, muscle spasm, headaches, numbness/tingling into the shoulder, arms, or hand, and a variety of other Secondary Conditions.  By the time the pain and secondary conditions show up, the nerve has been “pinched”, irritated and inflamed for quite some time.  By this time, folks have often been using some sort of over-the-counter medication such as Tylenol, Aleve, or Ibuprofen.  They have maybe gotten a massage, done some stretching & exercise, done Yoga or Pilates, tried acupuncture, or even consulted their medical doctor or been referred to a physical therapist.  Some of which may have some relief, however, it is usually short-lived and temporary.  The reason is that this is a structural problem, and no amount of medication, massage, stretching, or exercises can correct a Structural Shift.

I mentioned earlier that it doesn’t really have anything to do with “age”, which is true.  But it does have to do with TIME.  By that I mean, that time is a factor in the progression of this condition.  When an injury occurs, whether it is from hundreds of falls onto the rear end by an infant learning to walk, a fall from a bicycle at age 6, a full back charging through for a first down, a fender-bender in traffic, or sitting at a computer day in and day out, the degenerative process begins to that disc or joint.  And depending upon how much “time” it is left undiagnosed and uncorrected will determine how much decay occurs.

Similar to a dental cavity, we are initially unaware that it is there.  However, left unchecked and untreated, it gets worse.  Until one day you have tooth pain or an abscess.  The same thing happens in the spine.  Commonly, the injuries occur early on in life and the process is allowed to progress for decades so that when you do reach the age of 30, 40, 50, or more, it is present.  However unlike the routine use of yearly or semi-annual use of x-rays in dentistry, we don’t go around routinely getting x-rays of our spine, therefore it is rarely detected.

It may come as no surprise, but just to be sure, I’ll let you know that the vertebrae in this spine are all the same age.  Incidentally, they also have the same “genetics”.  So, let’s say this person was 40 years old.  If I asked you “how old” are the vertebrae and discs, you’d say “40”, and you’d be correct.  If I then asked you, “if this process has to do with ‘old age’ or ‘genetics’, why is the lowest disc decayed, shredded, non-functioning, and almost non-existent when compared to the thick, healthy, happy, and fully functioning discs above?  Yes, you are correct again…it is because of an undiagnosed and uncorrected spinal ligament injury and the degeneration process has occurred.  The longer it is there, the more damage that occurs, and the longer it takes to stabilize and correct.  Depending upon how bad it has become, an only partial correction may be possible.

At Precision Chiropractic, we focus on Structural Correction and is one of the reasons that we utilize x-rays in our office.  This condition cannot be seen without the aid of an x-ray or MRI.  Most conventional chiropractors seek to provide temporary pain relief, temporary decrease in muscle spasm, or temporary increase in motion, and they usually do a good job at that.  However, they also may not ever take an x-ray to evaluate the structure of the spine or assess the presence of secondary damage such as altered spinal position, or decay to the discs and joints of the spine, it goes undetected neglected.

If you are having acute or chronic spinal issues that are not resolving well, wake up with pain and stiffness, or find that your range of motion isn’t what it used to be, you may have Spinal Arthritis.  Or if you would just like a 2nd Opinion about your problem and want to find out if you may have Spinal Arthritis, let us know.  This progressive condition will slowly begin to rob you of life.  It can interfere with your daily activities, your home life, your recreational activities, and your work life.  It will also affect the friends and loved ones in your life as your fun, enjoyment, and participation diminish.  Don’t just “hope it goes away”, or wait until it is too late to do something about it.

We know that not everyone is a candidate for care in our office, but there is only one way to find out.  We offer a Complimentary Consultation to discuss your particular issues and needs and determine if we are the right fit for your needs.

To schedule a consultation, you can give our office a call at (208) 452-6453.

I hope this article has been helpful, and if you have any questions about this or any other topic, please feel free to ask here in the group, or you can reach us by email at

Yours In Health,
-Dr. Mike


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Precision Chiropractic

1710 North Whitley Drive Suite C
Fruitland, ID 83619

(208) 452-6453