Antalgia! We have all seen this and some of us unfortunately have experienced it. So what exactly is an antalgic spine and what causes it? As the picture demonstrates, the spine takes on an abnormal curve. There are a variety of things that can initiate this, ranging from trying to lift something heavy to simply rolling over in bed. To say the least, it can be very frustrating. Not only is it unsightly but also very painful.
So what causes our spine to become antalgic? The simple explanation for this is weakness of the spinal muscles. Specifically the (paravertebral) muscles located on either side of the spine. This weakness allows more of the load of your body weight to be transferred away from the boney structures of the spine to the soft tissues around the spine. Specifically the disc.
A disc is made up of two parts. The ball like center is called the nucleus. Wrapping around the nucleus, in concentric rings, is a ligamentous structure called the annulus. By design, the disc allows the vertebra to tip on one another. This tipping allows us to bend in all directions.
Imagine watching two kids on a teeter-totter. When one goes up the other goes down. What allows this to occur is a center pivot point or fulcrum. The nucleus does the exact same thing, it allows the vertebra to tip or teeter on the other. When you bend to the right the nucleus actually shifts to the left in each disc. This causes a wedging of the disc. When you straighten back up the nucleus migrates back to the center.
The spine becomes antalgic when the nucleus does not migrate back to the center position. Within a short period of time the muscles that surround that area go into spasm which inturn causes more pain.
Correcting the problem requires isolating where it is occurring and then a series of spinal adjustments to reposition or center the nucleus. Once recentered, exercises are provided to strengthen the paravertebral musculature to prevent future occurrance.
I hope this has been helpful. If you should have a question or would like to make a comment please do so at the bottom of the page.
Yours in Health!