A stiff spinal segment is a vertebra that does not move as well as the others in the overall spinal movement. It’s often related to a thinning or narrowed disc. More often than not, the Stiff Spinal Segment causes no trouble as it’s usually compensated for by the vertebrae above and below.
With too much compression the discs in the spine lose water and become thinner. This occurs as gravity and load squeezes fluid from the discs. As the discs lose fluid, they become stiff, making them an easy target for trauma as they cannot absorb shock as easily. If we do not routinely bend and stretch throughout the day not enough fluid is reabsorbed into the disc.
Symptoms of a stiff spinal segment include aching and tenderness across the centre of the
back. Pain increases with prolonged standing, and sitting can become uncomfortable. Aching can often be relieved by heat or movement. Often the pain pattern fluctuates between short painful episodes and remissions. Arching backwards oftengives relief, but bending forward is awkward and stiff. Frequently there is increased stiffness in the morning and the back tends to loosen up throughout the day.
At PHYSIO4ALL we recommend the following self treatment for segmental spinal stiffness:
- Carry out decompression exercises to change the pressure in your spine.
- Gentle, slow rocking exercises for the lower back are excellent to reduce pain, stiffness and change pressure – for a video demonstration, click the following link: PHYSIO4ALL Lumbar Spine Rocking Exercise for Stiff Spinal Segment
- Use the spinal backblock to open the lower spinal segments and change pressure in your lower back – click the following link: https://www.physio4all.com.au/lower-back-pain-exercise-2/
- Strengthening the abdominals by doing the reverse curl-up exercises – COMING SOON: PHYSIO4ALL Reverse Curls Exercise for Stiff Spinal Segment
- Adopt a proper sitting posture at work – LOOK FOR our upcoming blog: Physiotherapy for You: Sitting and Ergonomic Posture