PAIN AND STIFFNESS OF THE NECK, UPPER, MIDDLE, AND LOWER BACK
The Tru-Align stretches the spine forward and apart. With repeated use, this encourages misaligned vertebrae to adjust into place, and the disc spaces to increase. This combination reduces pressure on the nerves. Trigger points which are tender knots in the muscles made up of lactic acid (a waste product left over after the muscle burns energy), are also dissolved. When there is pressure on the nerve, the muscles react by “splinting” or “guarding”, tensing up to protect the area. This increases lactic acid production, and when the body reaches overload, painful trigger points are formed. The forward stretching of the spine is passive extension that, not only stretches the muscles and discs apart, but also ends up limbering where the muscles attach to the bones. This is a form of “passive motion therapy”, which causes the stiff scar tissue attachments to become more elastic, resulting in better flexibility and range of motion.
When there is a traumatic injury to the shoulder, scar tissue is formed to repair and fortify. Unfortunately, the tissues have a tendency to heal short, and because the natural tendency for the shoulder to roll forward, shoulder extension becomes limited, and the entire shoulder complex, (including the scapula or “wing bone”, loses flexibility. When motion is limited like this, the muscles constrict. The body responds to these improper biomechanics by sending in scar tissue to the muscular attachments, and calcium to fortify the bones, resulting in arthritis. The shoulder is passively extended by the Tru-Align, encouraging the joints of the shoulder to limber and re-align. Oftentimes, pain in the shoulder is actually caused by pressure on a nerve coming from the neck or upper back. The Tru-Align alleviates pinched nerves by decompressing and realigning the spine.
The most common cause of groin pain is a biomechanical misalignment of the pelvis, resulting in uneven weight bearing, causing a groin muscle to be “pulled” on one side. A traumatic injury can result in a “pulled” groin muscle, where the muscle connects to the front of the hip joint, and the scar tissue that forms tends to heal short. Groin pain is sometimes referred from pressure on a nerve in the lower back or sacroiliac joint. The Tru-Align realigns the pelvis and sacroiliac joint, decompresses and realigns the lower back, helps restore normal biomechanical function of the hip joints, and limbers and stretches the muscular attachments involved.
Misalignments of spinal vertebrae, disc herniations, degenerative discs, spinal muscle spasms, and calcification of the vertebrae can put pressure on the nerves as they exit the spine. Space occupying lesions like tumors, bone spurs, cysts, etc. can put pressure on nerves, but fortunately, this is an infrequent cause. The Tru-Align tractions and realigns the spinal vertebrae, thus improving disc problems, opens up the space where the nerves exit, and stretches and relaxes spinal muscles.
The sciatic nerve is formed from several nerve roots in the lower back, and goes into the leg. When any of the nerve roots are pinched, it can result in a radiation of pain down the leg called sciatica. Often, the pain is just in the buttock, but it can be experienced anywhere in the leg, and is most frequently felt in the back of the leg. Foot numbness can also be a symptom. Misalignments of spinal vertebrae, or sacroiliac joints, herniated or degenerated discs, muscle spasms, or thickening of vertebrae can cause pressure on the sciatic nerve. The Tru-Align can relieve sciatica by tractioning and realigning the spinal and sacroiliac joints, improving disc problems, opening the spaces were the nerves exit the spine, and relaxing and stretching the muscles.
Spinal decompression or traction is an accepted treatment for both herniated and degenerated discs. The Tru-align is so effective in reliving disc problems because it pulls apart while inducing the proper biomechanical shape (unlike straight line traction). It also makes it possible for the patient to have much greater frequency of treatments, which results in faster and better disc healing and stabilization.
Pressure on the nerves on the upper neck can frequently result in headaches and migraines. Sometimes they are stress related from a tightening of the neck muscles. Whiplash injuries and other traumas of the neck can trigger neck instability and headaches. Forward head posture (FHP) due to bad posture and too much looking downward (computer/cell phone use), can cause the neck muscles to have to work hard at keeping the head up, causing tension, fatigue, inflammation, and misalignments of the upper neck and base of the skull, which results in headaches. The Tru-Align encourages the restoration of the anterior neck curve and helps to eliminate FHP. This allows the upper neck muscles to relax. It also helps to decompress and realign the neck and remodel the scarred up muscle attachments, which takes the pressure off of the nerves causing the headaches.
SINUS PRESSURE AND PAIN
We observed unexpected alleviation of sinus pressure and pain. In many cases, it resulted from realigning the C-2 vertebra, which affects the function of the sinuses. We hypothesize that the pressure on the face at key points may also have an effect on stimulating sinus function.
DEPRESSION AND LOW ENERGY
Restoring proper alignment of the spine helps all of the body’s functions, including brain function and hormonal balance, which can alleviate depression and increase energy. Forward head posture (FHP) is very disruptive to the upper neck causing the muscles to be under constant tension, just holding the head upright. The receptor sites to signal the brain to make endorphins are located in the upper neck (C-1 to C-4). FHP disrupts these signals, greatly diminishing endorphin production. Endorphins are powerful, natural opiates that reduce all pain signals, and increase the feeling of wellbeing. Studies show that excellent posture causes an increase of testosterone production and decreases cortizol production. Testosterone increases a feeling of wellbeing, mental and physical energy, and confidence. Cortizol is a stress hormone. It causes a rise in blood pressure, heart rate, and blood sugar. It’s hard on healing and immune function, and makes one feel fatigued and down. Regular use of the Tru-Align restores proper alignment, increases any lost height, and greatly improves posture, by encouraging the healthy, normal curves, including the neck (FHP). Proper posture and restoring lost height helps increase vital capacity and reduces pressure on the heart and lungs, which helps increase energy and reduces the physiology of depression, (“a heavy heart”).
Many factors can be involved in disruptive sleep. Serotonin is the neurotransmitter that powers the brain to produce melatonin, which is necessary for REM sleep, and its production tends to diminish with aging. Regular use of the Tru-Align stimulates serotonin production by relaxing and decompressing the neck and lower back, because it is produced by the brain and the intestines. Serotonin also has a calming effect on the entire nervous system, which also contributes to restful sleep. Sometimes sleep is interrupted by pain, so the pain relieving effect, (decompression, realignment, and tissue remodeling discussed earlier), helps enhance better, deeper sleep.
JAW PAIN (TMJ) AND BRUXISM
The upper neck innervates the jaw area, so realigning and decompressing the vertebrae of the upper neck can greatly reduce jaw pain and tension. The Tru-Align has this effect on the spine, and the face piece stretches, reforms, and aligns the jaw joint itself. Forward head posture (FHP) is known to cause pressure on the jaw joint, so restoring proper head posture, by using the Tru-Align, can also have a relaxing effect on the jaw.
Unless something is done to combat it, most people develop forward head posture (FHP), a rolling forward of the shoulders, a straightening of the neck, the upper back humps back more than it should, and the lower back forms a “sway back” with the top of the pelvic bones rocked forward. When this configuration is allowed to reach “critical mass”, the person will bend forward to compensate for the pressure caused in the lower back from the uneven weight bearing, forming what is called a “sad C”. The Tru-Align simultaneously causes the opposite passive motion, stretching the spine forward, bringing the shoulders back, reducing the upper back posterior curve, and enhancing the healthy anterior curves of the neck and lower back, and bringing the sacrum and pelvis to a neutral position.
Naturally, the tractioning and realigning effect of the Tru-Align has a straightening effect on the spine. Studies show that when the curves of the spine on the side view are improved, the spine also straightens on the back view. Over 80% of scoliotic curves are functional or “idiopathic”, where the spine is not malformed, but on one side of the curve the muscles tense up and the opposing side is relaxed. It has been demonstrated that when forward head posture (FHP) is corrected in people with idiopathic scoliosis, the curves straighten. Researches hypothesize that there must be a trigger in the neck to cause the scoliotic curves. The Tru-Align reduces or eliminates FHP, so it is very effective in resolving idiopathic scoliosis.
Use of the Tru-Align during pregnancy addresses the increased and uneven weight bearing and some of the hormonal effects. The increased weight of the abdomen can pull the lower back out of alignment. This increases the load on the spinal discs, while it levers the tailbone back at the bottom. This puts pressure on the nerves that exit the lower back. The increased and uneven weight bearing results in disc compression, pinched nerves, and muscle spasms. If nothing is done to counteract this effect, it can contribute to back labor. The hormonal shift that occurs in pregnancy, and afterward, can cause mood swings, depression, bloating, irritability, and trouble sleeping. Improving posture and alignment helps increasing endorphin, testosterone, and serotonin production, and decreases coritozol production (See Depression and Trouble Sleeping). The Tru-Align naturally helps the nervous system run more smoothly, which has a calming affect on the hormonal imbalances during pregnancy as well as postpartum. Many pregnant women enjoy just being able to rest in a prone position comfortably and safely.