With this as an introduction, can the spine have a fever all by itself? Truthfully, no, not a fever, but it sure can get hot. A fever is one type of hot in which the nerve system raises the entire core temperature of the body to help kill germs and assist the immune system. The type of hot I am talking about in the spine is due to increased blood flow and inflammation (swelling) to the parts of the spine; joints, muscles, tendons, ligaments, discs, and nerves. Sometimes the experienced clinician can actually feel this heat coming off your spine by using the back of his hand while you are lying face down on the examination table. But mostly you feel the heat when I press on your spine with my thumb during the examination. If it hurts when I press this is not normal so I ask for you to tell me how much it hurts, how hot it is. Technically, there are 5 levels of heat that I record. 0 means no heat, no tenderness at all. 1 means that there is a little heat, it’s tender. 2 is painful and means that there is a moderate degree of heat. 3 has you flinching as I press, indicating a great deal of heat. And a 4 is almost literally on fire. The pain is intolerable. In its own way the spine has a fever.
There are 2 really important things to remember with this spinal fever:
1) First, there is a purpose to it. Its main job is to get your attention to motivate you to do something to get rid of the cause. But remember that your body has what I call a “late warning system.” Generally, the fever needs to get to a certain level for a certain period of time before you even notice it. This is due to your pain threshold, different for every person.
2) Second, there are 3 consequences to this fever whether you can feel it or not:
a. Eventually, if the fever gets high enough, there will be pain.
b. The fever will always cause the joints of your spine to wear out faster.
c. The fever will cause other health problems as it spreads.
Remember, your spinal fever has a purpose just like the whole body fever. So whether you feel it or not, it will cause ill-health and accelerated spinal degeneration. As a result you don’t want to just mask it over with drugs. You want to address the cause. We measure this with your TSV.
To address the cause there are really only 3 things you can do. One is active and two are passive. In other words, one you do to yourself, and the other two are done to you by someone else.
Active – Stretch your spine daily to encourage good global motion and circulation.
Passive – Chiropractic adjustments to improve motion to those joints damaged by stress, injury, and scar tissue.
Passive – Decompression for the really tough cases with severe disc herniation/degeneration.
Conclusion – Fevers, whether they be of the whole body variety or are limited to the spine, have a cause. Chiropractic is nothing if not the search for cause. Thanks for reading.