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Peoria Chiropractic Care Respects Spinal Extension

Extension of the spine: It’s beneficial. It is harmful. So what’s with extension for the spine? Both are accurate: It’s beneficial. It’s harmful. It is the job of your Peoria chiropractor to help you decide the role of extension in your Peoria back pain relief plan and Peoria back pain control plan moving past the existing episode of back pain. Your Peoria chiropractor at Carter Chiropractic & Acupuncture is well experienced in the effects – good and bad – of spinal extension and respects its role in spinal health and motion.


Two of the spine’s most prominent curves – the cervical and lumbar curves – are lordotic curves meaning they curve concavely. Flexion flattens these curves. Extension magnifies them. When a disc herniates or bulges, it does so into the concavity of the curve and potentially presses on the spinal nerves resulting in pain. Flexion often permits the disc bulge to get away from the nerve. Extension often permits the disc bulge to compress the nerves more. Carter Chiropractic & Acupuncture intends to help reduce painful situations like this!


75% of the flexion and extension movement in the low back occurs at the L5-S1 level of the lumbar spine. 20% happens at the L4-L5 level. Therefore, 95% of flexion and extension of the lumbar spine occurs at these two lower disc levels. Here, degenerative disc disease (minor and more advanced) occurs most. In the cervical spine, C5-C6 is the spinal level where most of the flexion takes place, and C4-C5 is where most of the extension takes place. Peoria chiropractic patients need beneficial extension!


Carter Chiropractic & Acupuncture respects extension and gets how it may benefit and hurt. The extensor muscles in the back weaken and degenerate just as discs do. (1) Extension helps strengthen these muscles to support the spine. Extension is necessary for this when the spine is healthy enough to perform extension. Extension to a painful spine may hurt. Why? In the cervical spine, flexion decreased disc protrusion and enlarges the sagittal diameter of the vertebral canal while extension made the disc herniation larger and narrowed the vertebral canal producing stenosis. (2) In a degenerative lumbar spine with spinal stenosis, flexion opened the vertebral canal and reduced pain while extension worsened the stenosis and caused pain. (3) Carter Chiropractic & Acupuncture knows the key to getting the benefits of extension is in recognizing when to use extension.


Peoria chiropractic treatment incorporates extension into the Peoria chiropractic treatment plan for its benefits. Cox® Technic used with the cervical spine reduced intradiscal pressures to as low as 502 mmHg (4) and to as low as -192 mmHg in the lumbar spine. (5) Extension escalated pressures in the lumbar spine to 1250 mmHg (the highest amount the transducer could measure). (4) Reducing intradiscal pressures and back pain is what Carter Chiropractic & Acupuncture does for its Peoria back pain patients.

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Listen to this PODCAST with Dr. David Atiyeh on the Back Doctor’s Podcast with Dr. Michael Johnson. He shares how he helped a patient whose back pain continues after multiple back surgeries with flexion distraction which gives her relief as the table is flexed not extended.

Schedule your Peoria chiropractic appointment with Carter Chiropractic & Acupuncture today. Let’s figure out the role extension might play in your back pain recovery and future back pain control strategy.

 Carter Chiropractic & Acupuncture understands the role of extension in spinal motion, its necessity, its benefits and potential harmful effects.  
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