I was once explaining to a patient that much of her low back pain resulted from the fact that her pelvis was twisted and therefore not level. As a result, this put stress on the pelvis itself and on the entire spinal structure above the unlevel pelvis. She asked me how this could have happened. I told her that I really couldn’t say because ultimately it was everything that had happened in her life that brought her to her current state. At some point, some sort of large trauma or series of smaller traumas resulted in her pelvic misalignment. She explained that she never had any sort of trauma – except for a head-on collision some years ago. I had to stop and ask if she didn’t consider that to be a trauma, what was? She said that although she had suffered a whiplash injury with that accident, her pelvis had never hurt her.
It is a common misconception that any force large enough to injure the spine will also cause pain. Unfortunately if this were true perhaps more people would come see the chiropractor long before problems get worse over time. Although a bad trauma like a fall or a car accident will usually result in pain to the extent that the person knows they are hurt, it is the smaller stresses and injuries of life that can be insidious.
The perfect example is the poor posture that comes from someone hunched over a computer eight hours a day for weeks and months on end. While there may be no initial pain except for bit of muscle soreness, over time the ligaments of the neck are being stretched and the bones misaligned. This will result in altered mechanics of the spine and finally, when things get bad enough, the pain will begin. It is at this point that the patient often sees their x-rays and is surprised that they have lost the natural curve to their neck and they are even showing signs of degeneration of the discs and joints.
When I work on kids, I often see some of the same spinal misalignments that I find in adults. This shows that oftentimes these issues can come from childhood falls and injuries. Even a traumatic birth can negatively affect the spine. If a kid falls out of a tree, they’re going to cry and complain about the pain. But in a few days their young bodies have healed as best as they can and the child is busy thinking about what other fun things are out there in the world.
It is human nature not to think about something that is not hurting. And yet, all the healthcare professions from dentistry and even medicine espouse the value of prevention: getting things checked before the symptoms become noticeable. Because at that point, the condition has gotten worse and it will take much more to recover from it.