Oxford Chiropractic Care Respects Spinal Extension

Extension of the spine: It is beneficial. It is harmful. So what’s with spinal extension? Both are true: It’s good. It is bad. It is the job of your Oxford chiropractor to help you determine the role of extension in your Oxford back pain relief plan and Oxford back pain control plan moving past the existing episode of back pain. Your Oxford chiropractor at Satterwhite 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 prominent curves – the cervical and lumbar curves – are lordotic curves meaning they curve inwardly. 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 usually allows the disc bulge to get away from the nerve. Extension often allows the disc bulge to compress the nerves more. Satterwhite Chiropractic wants to help decrease painful situations like this!


75% of the flexion and extension movement in the low back happens 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 takes place, and C4-C5 is where most of the extension takes place. Oxford chiropractic patients need beneficial extension!


Satterwhite Chiropractic respects extension and gets how it may benefit 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 essential 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 maximizes 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 opened the vertebral canal and relieved pain while extension exacerbated the stenosis and triggered pain. (3) Satterwhite Chiropractic understands the key to getting the benefits of extension is in recognizing when to use extension.


Oxford chiropractic treatment integrates extension into the Oxford chiropractic treatment plan for its benefits. Cox® Technic applied to 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) Dropping intradiscal pressures and back pain is what Satterwhite Chiropractic does for its Oxford 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 cared for 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 Oxford chiropractic appointment with Satterwhite Chiropractic today. Let’s discover the role extension might play in your back pain recovery and future back pain control strategy.

 Satterwhite Chiropractic knows the role of extension in spinal motion, its necessity, its benefits and potential harmful effects.  
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"This information and website content is not intended to diagnose, guarantee results, or recommend specific treatment or activity. It is designed to educate and inform only. Please consult your physician for a thorough examination leading to a diagnosis and well-planned treatment strategy. See more details on the DISCLAIMER page. Content is reviewed by Dr. James M. Cox I."