Today we are talking about Arthritis in the spine, both on the blog as well as on the video. Arthritis in the spine in a third phase, or phase 3 level degeneration is the last phase of spinal decay prior to fusion. We will do a Bonus episode on phase 4, spinal fusion, upcoming, so look for that.
But for today, I will discuss phase 3 degeneration. Phase 3 takes is marked by several levels of severe disc degeneration, aka degenerative disc disease. There are typically several levels of severe osteophytes (bone spurs) present on the vertabrae, that can be view on plain film xrays. In addition, you have severe narrowing of the IVF (holes where nerves exit the spine).
The patient will typically display moderate to severe neck and/or back pains, but not always. Many times, by the time a patient reaches the third and final stage, prior to fusion, there are problems with the nervous system, and even the pain fibers are not functioning properly. The patient may experience more numbness than pains, and this is a bad thing. The patient thinks incorrectly, that because their pain has disappeared, that they are “getting better”, when in fact, the nerves are withering away and dying. Numbness is worse than pain, because with pain, at least you feel something!!
By the time numbness and tingling overcome the pain fiber response, the patient has had the problem for quite some time. Phase 3 patients typically will display an in-depth history of traumatic events throughout their lives, followed by periods of off/on pain, radiating numbness and tingling in their extremities, loss of sexual function, problems with pregnancies, and difficulty with heart and lung issues as well.
All this is due to faulty wiring.
Their nervous systems are shot. The brain of a patient in phase 3 can no longer communicate effectively with the organs of the patient. This patient will have a colorful history filled with many prescriptions from multiple doctors, all trying to chase away the patient’s symptoms, but never addressing the overall cause of their problem.
They may have even been to other Chiropractors, physical therapists, occupational therapists, surgeons, pain specialists, acupuncturists, you name it..
IN our clinic, these patients are prime candidates for spinal decompression and deep tissue laser treatments, where they respond very well in many cases. The last phase where a correction is possible, but not likely is a phase 3 condition.
In the next BONUS SEGMENT, we will discuss Phase IV spinal fusion. Correction is NOT possible at that point. The idea is to PREVENT phase IVs from ever occurring in the first place.
Yours in Health,
Dr. Steve Lininger