Chronic spinal pain typically takes two different forms. In the first, patients have pain at all times although the intensity may vary. In the second, patients have frequent exacerbations (which are often severe) but remain relatively free of pain between episodes. Passive treatments (e.g., chiropractic, injections, medication, massage, ultrasound, hot and cold packs, electrical stimulation, traction, various types of muscle release treatments, acupuncture, acupressure) may be beneficial but often the results are only temporary.
Lasting relief comes from improvements in spinal fitness. People with chronic spinal pain become experts at protecting the affected body part. For example, people with chronic low back pain learn to do activities without stressing the back. While this may help to prevent severe exacerbations, a physiologic price must be paid. Whenever any body part is not used in the normal manner, it atrophies and weakens. The joints stiffen up. Movement becomes more difficult and painful. Essentially, the affected body part becomes fragile. The more it is protected, the more fragile it becomes. Passive treatment does not make a fragile back less fragile. This can only be accomplished with the correct kind of progressive exercise.
Fortunately, fragile necks or backs can be corrected. And once a fragile body part has been restored to normal functioning, there are several important benefits: