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Nashua Chiropractic Care Respects Spinal Extension

June 19, 2018

Extension of the spine: It is valuable. It is harmful. So what’s with spinal extension? Both are true: It’s good. It is bad. It is the job of your Nashua chiropractor to help you decide the role of extension in your Nashua back pain relief plan and Nashua back pain control plan in the future. Your Nashua chiropractor at Moriarty Chiropractic is well versed in the effects – good and bad – of spinal extension and respects its role in spinal health and mobility.


Two of the spine’s most noticeable 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 causing pain. Flexion often allows the disc bulge to get away from the nerve. Extension often permits the disc bulge to press on the nerves more. Moriarty Chiropractic wants to help lessen 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 happens 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 occurs, and C4-C5 is where most of the extension takes place. Nashua chiropractic patients need healthy extension!


Moriarty Chiropractic respects extension and understands how it may help and harm. 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 reduced disc protrusion and enlarges the sagittal diameter of the vertebral canal while extension increased the disc protrusion and constricted the vertebral canal producing stenosis. (2) In a degenerative lumbar spine with spinal stenosis, flexion widened the vertebral canal and relieved pain while extension worsened the stenosis and caused pain. (3) Moriarty Chiropractic knows the key to eliciting the benefits of extension is in recognizing when to apply extension.


Nashua chiropractic treatment incorporates extension into the Nashua chiropractic treatment plan for its advantages. Cox® Technic applied to the cervical spine dropped intradiscal pressures to as low as 502 mmHg (4) and to as low as -192 mmHg in the lumbar spine. (5) Extension increased pressures in the lumbar spine to 1250 mmHg (the most the transducer could measure). (4) Reducing intradiscal pressures and back pain is what Moriarty Chiropractic aims to do for its Nashua 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 Nashua chiropractic appointment with Moriarty Chiropractic today. Let’s figure out the role extension might have in your back pain recovery and future back pain control strategy.

 Moriarty Chiropractic knows the role of extension in spinal motion, its necessity, its benefits and potential harmful effects.