Normal curves and proper disc spacing allow normal function of the spine and nervous system. Regardless of age, when spinal damage goes uncorrected, the body deposits calcium on the surface of adjacent bones that aren't moving property. If neglected long enough, this splinting effect can result in complete fusion. This worsening process is called Subluxation Degeneration and can occur throughout the spine. Researchers recognize several phases of spinal decay:
Loss of normal curves and nervous system dysfunction result from uncorrected spinal trauma. Phase One: Usually seen as the misalignment and malfunction of the spine. Normal spinal motion, curves, and disc spacing are altered. Because the body is so adaptable, this early phase can exist without the warning of pain or other symptoms. If left uncorrected, the degeneration continues.
Bone spurs and abnormal bony growths distort the shape and function of the vertebrae. Phase Two: Recognized on X-ray views of the spine by visible bone spurs and rough edges of the vertebrae. Soft tissues, such as discs and ligaments degenerate from the lack of normal joint movement. Again, pain or other symptoms may not be present.
After years of neglect, the improperly functioning spinal joints often fuse together. Phase Three: A lifetime of neglect may cause the eventual fusion of the malfunctioning joints. Atrophy, permanent nerve damage, and soft tissue degeneration are prevalent. Reduced mobility and impaired nervous system function, diminish one's quality of life. This process can take years. Its presence calls into question the claim that many patients make that they were “…fine until last week when I bent over to tie my shoes.” That’s not what the X-rays tell us .