CURIOUS MEDICAL REALIZATION
After one hundred years of car crashes, only now are physicians beginning to realize they have let people heal with vertebra so badly mal-aligned, that after ten to fifteen or more years, the entire lower neck fills in with arthritis, as the body tries to immobilize the area to add strength by fusing.
The common mode of treatment by the emergency rooms is to take x-rays for fractures, prescribe a collar and some pain pills, and tell you the soft tissue pain will heal on its own and the pain will stop in a few days.
For that matter, most of us, not wanting to cause hardship for anyone or bills for our insurance company, tend to say to everyone around, "Oh, I'm okay. Just a little sore; I'm fine." That's the decency in us, or we may be a little "macho", but it can sometimes lead to permanent suffering when we get old.
Immediately after such an injury, the side view of the neck clearly shows if there has been a ripping, because one or two of the middle segments jut forward out of the pattern of all the other segments. Other views can verify this and hyper-extension (backwards) damage as well. Allowing the slight pain or stiffness to go away without taking measures to correct the mal-alignment, guarantees degeneration five to ten years down the road!
The chiropractor likens Phase One damage to the discovery of a cavity by a dentist. Not too hard to fix at this point, but needs to be done. Fortunately, this phase lasts for several years before real decay begins. The point is, it must be detected and corrected before it has been allowed to set up permanently in the wrong position.
After five to ten years a little stiffness starts to happen in these uncorrected injuries, and the patient may seek an x-ray by a chiropractor. Often the chiropractor can tell the patient how many years back it was that he experienced a neck injury. This is done by observing the amount of calcium that has been laid down towards the fusion process. Sometimes the chiropractor can slow down the process or even possibly reverse it at this point, but pretty intensive care must be attempted if there is to be any chance of preventing the next two phases! Comparing the progress to tooth decay, this phase is like requiring a root canal! It would have been easier to have fixed it in phase one, before it began to set up permanently in the wrong position - - the position that forces the body to slowly fuse the neck to strengthen the crooked place.
In this phase, the degeneration and decay has become so great, the doctor can see not only the large spurs of calcium, it is also clear that usually several of the intervertebral discs have severely thinned. This may be twenty to forty years after the "bump that didn't hurt much". There might be some slowing down of the inevitable here, but certainly no reversal. This stage is like requiring a crown. (Again, it pays to have the wrenched segments straightened right after the accident, whether or not one is experiencing pain.)
If it has already reached stage three when it is discovered, certainly as much correction of the misalignment as is possible should be attempted, then looked at once or twice a year to be sure the calcium isn't increasing.
This phase is considered the "teeth-in-a-jar" period. There is really nothing much anybody can do for the patient. He is probably now in his seventies, and some of the segments have finally fused. He is probably stiff and bent forward at the neck.
Most of this tragic premature aging could have been prevented had the hospital known or been concerned about quality of life later. The "Get 'em out the door" philosophy is so short-sighted. Always have your alignment checked by a chiropractor, even if the ER says you'll be okay.
Certainly six to twelve months spinal hygiene check-ups are also in order once the problem has been corrected, to spot the tell-tale calcuim.
Protect your spine. It's just as important to your appearance as your teeth, and certainly more vital!
Dr. Jack W. Kribs
G-4541 Beecher Rd.
Flint, MI 48532
Call (810) 733-3370 for a free screening to see if damage has been done that can be corrected now, before arthritis sets in later.
Within the first year (and sometimes longer) auto insurance will pay for corrective care.
Also serving all of Genesee County, Clio, Davison, Fenton, Flushing, Grand Blanc, Mt. Morris, Swartz Creek, Plus Saginaw, Owosso, and Lapeer, Michigan.
WORLDWIDE REFERRAL SERVICE: www.upcspine.com/