Can Chronic Pain Influence Overall Health and Longevity?
Chiropractors have long professed the relationship between the spine, nervous system, and overall health. The spine has two major functions. First, it is part of our skeletal system and serves to hold up our body. On the outside, we see this as “Posture”. We know that “poor posture” looks bad, but it has also been shown to be related to spinal pain and spinal dysfunction. Researchers have also shown that poor posture (thoracic hyperkyphosis) in the elderly is also associated with increased mortality.
From a chiropractor’s perspective, we connect the dots to the second function of the spine… which is to protect the spinal cord and spinal nerves. A healthy, fully functioning nervous system is essential to overall health. The brain communicates with every organ in the body by transmitting electrical signals that travel along the spinal cord to the spinal nerves and out to the body. We would postulate that abnormal spine alignment can affect the spinal cord and/or nerves and lead to a decreased communication between the brain and the body. These same spinal displacements are also known to be associated with spinal pain. It would make sense that people with hyperkyphosis (and likely other abnormal spinal problems) would develop chronic pain, as well as have effects upon the functioning of the nervous system and lowered overall health.
While Kado, etal have shown the association between hyperkyphosis (rounding of the back) and earlier mortality, more recently Nitter and Forseth in a 17-year follow-up study on mortality in females with musculoskeletal pain, concluded, “The mortality rate was significantly higher for individuals with chronic pain compared to pain free individuals, adjusted for age.” The authors did not look at hyperkyphosis to see if it was associated with the people who had pain. As practicing chiropractors, we see this association every day. Getting your spine checked is important to overall health and we encourage you to call one of our Treasure Valley offices to schedule an appointment to see if your spine is in a normal healthy alignment, or if there are underlying problems.
The right kind of treatment can correct hyperkyphosis:
For more help with chronic pain treatment or for an Xray call our experienced team at Modern Chiropractic Center in Boise or Nampa or fill out our online form.