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Spinal Instability

Spinal Instability is a painful condition presentation when disc, ligament and muscle strength are out of balance.
Spinal stability is a balance of flexibility to allow pain-free movement and rigidity to protect the organs as well as control our up-right posture and necessary movement of our bodies. Spinal stability depends on the intervertebral disc, ligament and muscle strength integrity to allow normal motion without excessive movement that causes pain.
Spinal instability occurs when the disc, ligaments and musculature are not balanced. Spinal instability is diagnosed when one vertebra exceeds 3 mm of motion upon its adjacent vertebra.  Instability can compromise the spinal canal size and the nerves within the canal, producing irritation and pain.
Spinal instability has its greatest etiology from the intervertebral disc itself. When the disc degenerates, it loses its elastic properties and allows excessive motion of one vertebra on its adjacent one. When the balance of flexibility and stability is altered, pain often results. Instability may also result from congenital birth issues, injury to the spine, and disc degeneration.
Conditions of Instability

This is a congenital defect often missed at birth but "found" later in life on an xray. It is the failure of union of the vertebra (termed the lamina) and creates instability of the spine, leading to a higher incidence of posterior disc herniation. It is also found far more frequently if spondylolisthesis is present.

 [Husbands/Pokras case

L5S1 herniated disc reduced with flexion distraction care

Husbands DK, Pokras R: 1991 year-end compendium: The use of flexion-distraction in a lumbosacral posterior arch defect with a lumbosacral disc protrusion: a case study. ACA J of Chiropractic 1991; December, pgs 21-24

The authors present a case of a 24-year-old Hispanic hyperkyphotic male with a complaint of acute low back pain as the result of a bending and pulling injury. The patient presented with a marked right laterally flexed antalgic lean and appeared to be in severe pain. Radiographs revealed an L6 vertebra with hypoplastic lumbosacral articular facets and spina bifida occulta. The patient also had radicular compression symptomatology on physical exam. He was treated with flexion distraction for three treatments with a significant decrease in symptomatology. The significance of this case is that flexion distraction may also be useful in the treatment of conditions with inherent instability such as in the case presented.

§         Spina bifida vera

This is a congenital defect found at birth whereby the spine did not close in development and can allow spinal cord bulging.

Regaining stability of anunstable spine requires rehabilitation and exercise to strengthen and balance the muscles and ligaments of the spine.


Sacroiliac Joint Pain - pain radiating from sacroiliac joints

You may explain your pain as pain in the hips which at least places the pain in the right location for diagnostic purposes! Sacroiliac joint pain comes from the joints' inflammation or irritation due to their misalignment, resulting in nerve compression and interference.

Cox Technic gently realigns these joints.


"This information and website content is not intended to diagnose, guarantee results, or recommend specific treatment or activity. It is designed to educate and inform only. Please consult your physician for a thorough examination leading to a diagnosis and well-planned treatment strategy. See more details on the DISCLAIMER page. Content is reviewed by Dr. James M. Cox I."