We spend so much time on our feet. Hence, problems with the way we walk (gait dysfunction) can work their way through the kinematic chain of the lower limb into the pelvis and spine. As a result, we can develop movement disorders in our spine.
Many different lower limb mechanical disorders may affect the mechanics of our spine; from traumas such as sprains and strains, ligamentous ruptures and even fractures, to surgeries, congenital abnormalities, bursitis, arthritis and tendonitis – just to name a few…
The movement of our lower limbs are not the only thing that affects spinal movement. Direct spinal traumas such as car accidents, falls, sporting traumas and repetitive microtraumas such as prolonged sitting and incorrect posture may also affect the mechanics of our spinal joints.
The Inseparable Relationship between Mechanics and Neurology
Messages to our Brain
Every joint in our body has tiny receptors that send messages through our nerves to our spinal cord, cerebellum and cerebrum (our brain). When joints are moving normally everywhere in our body, we have a harmonious relationship between our mechanics and our brain that primes our nervous system to function optimally. However, when the opposite occurs and joints don’t move normally, we end up with a little more than just abnormal biomechanics – we have altered brain function as well. Abnormal movement of the lower limb joints, the spinal joints or any other joint in our body will have this resultant effect.
WE NEED OUR JOINTS TO MOVE PROPERLY TO ENSURE OPTIMAL BRAIN FUNCTION.
Messages from our Brain
Our brain controls and coordinates our movement by sending messages through our spinal nervous system. Impulses flow from our brain, through our spinal cord and out through our peripheral nerves to the muscles of our body. When our brain tells our muscles to contract or relax they do so when the nervous system is functioning normally. Mechanical disorders within our spine can alter the correct flow of impulses between our brain and muscles resulting in movement disorders. Some examples of mechanical disorders of our spine are intervertebral disc bulges and protrusions, spinal stenosis and osteoarthritis.
WE NEED OUR BRAIN AND NERVOUS SYSTEM TO FUNCTION PROPERLY TO ENSURE OPTIMAL JOINT MOVEMENT
The end result
Abnormal gait (lower limb movement) may lead to abnormal spinal movement and will lead to altered neurological input to our brain either directly (via the joints of our lower limbs) or indirectly (via compensatory altered movement in our spine).
Abnormal messages moving from our brain to our lower limbs may result in abnormal gait (lower limb movement).
A positive feedback loop may be established where mechanics affect neurology which affects mechanics which affect neurology… and the cycle continues…
Sometimes there is not always a simple solution to this problem. For example, if we had a fracture to our thigh bone creating a shorter leg, then we will always have some degree of mechanical dysfunction, creating neurological dysfunction etc.
Chiropractic care may be aimed at improving lower limb and spinal mechanics to improve both neurological input to the brain and output from the brain.
Addressing the initial cause is always of extreme importance. Leaving a shorter leg short, a pronated foot pronated or a ruptured cruciate ligament ruptured obviously does not result in a positive long term outcome.
At Catalyst Chiropractic, our chiropractors assess lower limb mechanics as well as spinal joint mechanics. We conduct digital foot scans and take spinal xrays when necessary to ensure that we have a complete understanding of our patient’s condition and what intervention may be required.
by Catalyst Health and Wellness Group
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