The truth is, most all of us have muscles that have an increased state of tonicity, a tightening and increased resting tone of the muscle. This increased muscle tonicity will eventually become a muscle spasm if prolonged. If you don’t have spasms, you can also have increased muscle tension and not even realize it. This is why it is so important to get chiropractic adjustments and stretch your whole body daily. Dr. David Bak and Dr. Shawn Leatherman stretch daily and get adjusted weekly. When you think about how much time we spend on our phones, computers, sitting with poor posture and improper ergonomics; it is no wonder why we have spinal shifts that occur. (1,2) Now add in life traumas and this increased tonicity can be very problematic to your daily function and your overall health.
Top Causes of Spasms
- Spinal postural imbalances/compensations
- Motor vehicle crash injuries
- Nutrition imbalances
- Sports trauma
- Over use
Spinal shifting occurs as a result of gravity pushing down on us mixed/coupled with the fact that our body is always trying to maintain a center of gravity to avoid falling. (3,4) This means that compensations will be made in our spine and posture. The compensations are held in place by the muscles in our body and eventually affect the ligaments of the spine as well. The larger the compensation, the bigger the muscle contraction/tonicity, and the worse effect on the ligamentous structures.
The Nervous System is extremely complex. Every cell, organ, muscle, tissue in our body demands constant communication from our brain. The brain sends messages down the spinal cord, and branching off of the cord are different spinal nerves that connect and communicate to the various organ systems. So if there is a compromise to the messages being sent (spinal shifting), then as a last resort to minimize the complication, the muscles begin to tighten and create a state of abnormal constant isometric contraction. The body does this in an attempt to prevent further shifting from taking place. A common example that we see at Integrity Chiropractic are patients who have been involved in motor vehicle crashes. MVC’s can cause stress to the spine, spinal cord, ligaments, and muscles. This results in the muscles in your body contracting isometrically. This initially occurs to protect the nervous system communication pathways, but becomes problematic when prolonged.
So the reality is this… If you want to avoid or resolve your constant state of muscle spasm/contraction. You need to get to the root cause. Most medical professionals will give you a muscle relaxer and another medication to help reduce your pain if you have any. This traditional medical treatment protocol does not address the cause of the problem though, it is focused on the symptom. In some cases, the medical doctor may prescribe physical therapy. Now, the PT may identify muscles that need to be stretched and muscles that need to be strengthened, but without addressing the alignment of the spine, results will not be permanent or corrected at all.
Stretches and exercises are important especially when it comes to specific exercises that will aid in proper spinal alignment. (5,6) The exercises that do this are called mirror image exercises per Chiropractic BioPhysics® protocols. It is not a good idea to train the muscles and body movement patterns if the alignment of the spine is shifted out of the ideal place. To define the ideal alignment, I am referring to the Ideal Spine Model. This is also known as the Harrison spine model. (7,8) The only way to get to the root cause is by seeing a spine specialist who has the ability and training to correct the alignment of the spine. (9,10) As an example, there are dentists and orthodontics and both of these specialists work on the teeth. One works and specializes on the alignment of the teeth while the other does not. In chiropractic, there are chiropractors who have training and protocols to change the alignment of the spine and there are those who focus on pain care. (11)
At Integrity Chiropractic, we have found that patients who make the most improvements are the ones who put forth a combined effort in spinal alignment, exercises, and stretches prescribed to them following an extensive evaluation. If you have problems with muscle contractions or spasms, we are happy to help. Dr. David Bak and Dr. Shawn Leatherman are both trained and certified in Chiropractic BioPhysics® and have combined over 25 years clinical experience. Dr. Bak has even participated in CBP clinical research and has published papers in the peer reviewed literature. (6,12,13) To find out if your spine is in need of correction, contact your local Chiropractic Biophysics® specialist. You can find doctors certified close to you by going to www.idealspine.com and clicking on the tab labeled Resources; go to Doctor Directory, and search for doctors certified in your area.
Note: The CBP post-doctoral certification is a rigorous highly recognized throughout the country, however the Florida Chiropractic Board will NOT recognize a certification that is NOT a diplomate program. The board requires the following: “The specialty recognition identified herein has been received from a private organization not affiliated with or recognized by the Florida Board of Chiropractic Medicine”. Section 64B2.
- Rabal-Pelay J et al. Spinal Sagittal Alignment, Spinal Shrinkage and Back Pain Changes in Office Workers During a Workday. Int J Occup Saf Ergon. 2020 Feb 19:1-7.
- Barrett JM, McKinnon C, Callaghan JP. Cervical Spine Joint Loading with Neck Flexion. Ergonomics. 2020 Jan; 63(1): 101-108.
- Little JP et al. Investigating the Change in Three Dimensional Deformity for Idiopathic Scoliosis using axial loaded MRI. Clin Biomech (Bristol, Avon). 2012 Jun; 27(5): 415-21.
- Moon BJ et al. Natural History and Aggravating Factors of Sagittal Imbalance in Marked Saggital Deformity Compared with Mild to Moderate Sagittal Deformity: A Prospective Cohort Study. Medicine (Baltimore). 2020 Mar; 99(11).
- Oakley PA, Ehsani NN, Harrison DE. Non-Surgical Reduction of Lumbar Hyperlordosis, Forward Sagittal Balance and Sacral Tilt to Relieve Low Back Pain by Chiropractic BioPhysics® Methods: A Case Report. J Phys Ther Sci. 2019 Oct; 31(10):860-864.
- Fedorchuk CA et al. Impact of Isometric Contraction of Anterior Cervical Muscles on Cervical Lordosis. J Radiol Case Rep. 2016 Sep 30; 10(9):13-25.
- Harrison DD, Janik TJ, Troyanovich SJ, Holland B. Comparisons of Lordotic Cervical Spine Curvatures to a Theoretical Ideal Model of the Sagittal Cervical Spine. Spine (Phila Pa 1976). 1996 Mar 15; 21(6):667-75.
- Diebo BG et al. Sagittal Alignment of the Spine: What Do You Need to Know? Clin Neurol Neurosurg. 2015 Dec; 139:295-301.
- Gubbels CM, Werner JT, Oakley PA, Harrison DE. Reduction of Thoraco-Lumbar Junctional Kyphosis, Posterior Sagittal Balance, and Increase of Lumbar Lordosis and Sacral Inclination by Chiropractic BioPhysics® Methods in an Adolescent with Back Pain: A Case Report. J Phys Ther Sci. 2019 Oct; 31(10):839-843.
- Ehsani NN, Oakley PA, Harrison DE. Scheuermann’s Disease: Non-Surgical Improvement in Whole Spine Sagittal Alignment in the Treatment of a Symptomatic Patient Using Chiropractic BioPhysics® Technique. J Phys Ther Sci. 2019 Nov; 31(11):965-970.
- Oakley PA et al. Evidence-Based Protocol for Structural Rehabilitation of the Spine and Posture: Review of Clinical Biomechanics of Posture (CBP®) Publications. J Can Chiropr Assoc. 2005 Dec; 49(4): 270-296
- David Bak, Ryan Engelhardt. Improvement in Cervical Curve and Hypothyroidism Following reduction of Subluxation Utilizing Chiropractic Biophysis: A case study and selective review of the literature. Annals of Subluxation Research, Volume 2015, pages 226-237.
- Curtis Fedorchuk, David Bak. Resolution of Vulvodynia Following Chiropractic Care Using Chiropractic Biophysics & Diversified Techniques: A Case Report. Annals of Vertebral Subluxation Research ~ January 15, 2015 ~ Pages 1-8.