We treat the following conditions when related to functional problems of the neck, back and shoulder.


There are many reasons for chronic spinal pain.   One is long standing stress to the back brought about by poor body mechanics, gait problems, bad posture and other factors that constantly strain the body and will not let it heal.  Another common reason for chronic pain has to do with off centering or misalignments of individual vertebrae (small bones of the spine), which may eventually lead to arthritic changes of the joints and disc structures.  Such misalignments of spinal vertebrae are known as subluxations, (sub-lux-a-tions). 

Vertebrae get their nutrition through movement.  The discs interposing or separating the vertebrae are like sponges.  They have no direct blood supply but take their nutrition from fluids that cross into them through the flat surfaces of the bones that they separate.  When the spine is in a situation of health with vertebrae moving freely, the discs are fully fed as they absorb fluids from the spinal bones they separate.  When vertebrae become fixed however, the discs are unable to receive nutrients.  This leads to deterioration of the discs.  As discs thin, compression of the spinal nerves and delicate spinal joints occurs.  Arthritis sets in.  Over time muscles around the spine become stiff and tight.  The developing arthritis causes further pressure on the spinal cord and spinal nerves.   The spine becomes progressively worn and the spinal muscles become chronically tight.  This process continues for months and years.   One can see, that the longer a fixed vertebrae or subluxation, is allowed to remain untreated the more spinal damage that will occur.

As nerves become compressed due to spinal disease, they will be able to carry less nerve messages to direct the function of the bodies organs and tissues. Various illnesses and organ malfunction may result.  Therefore, it is extremely important to keep ones spine healthy through spinal adjustments.  Spinal adjustments can restore and maintain proper movement and function of the spine and promote continued good health.  In cases where illness is present it is always wise to access the health of the spine and ensure its good mechanics and function.   One should receive the same good quality chiropractic that one expects from their dentist.  Regular spinal care with check ups at least every six months is a good rule of thumb.

Above is an x-ray of a man, 46 years old, who suffered with chronic lower back pain for 20 years. Unfortunately his legs were not of equal length and the strain was twisting his pelvis and straining his spine.  He was unaware of this problem in spite of seeing numerous doctors.  After we diagnosed the problem,  a shoe insert, specific exercises and specific spinal adjustments were given to level him up and correct his spinal alignment.  His chronic pain was gone within a few weeks.  Fortunately, low back pain is not a  mystery with proper experience and training.  If you have chronic low back pain and have seen a variety of other doctors with little or no relief please consider having an evaluation in our office.  



Obviously many cases of back pain result from acute back strains.  This may by tearing tissues in the back and/or by slippage of spinal bones (vertebrae).   Because the back is extremely complex, expert care and treatment is essential to diagnose the injury and to see that it is treated properly. 

Acute back conditions respond well to modalities of ultrasound, gentle spinal adjustments and other therapies which speed healing.  Approximately half of the patients we see fall under this category.  Care is geared toward fast relief and spinal stabilization.  Average treatment time is two to six weeks.  With years of training in the treatment of spinal injuries we can help the acute pain sufferer respond quickly and heal correctly without masking symptoms with medication.  Treatment by inexperienced or inept practitioners can actually do more harm then good. 


Back spasms which abruptly and for no apparent reason are classic in pinched spinal nerves.  Although these may occur secondary to disc herniations they are more commonly found when one or more spinal bones (vertebrae) shift, become fixed and pinch a nerve.  We have the ability to deal with both conditions.   Shifting  and fixation of spinal bones is quite common.  This condition,  termed a spinal subluxation, may be an acute, one time experience or may be a chronic reoccurring problem due to prolonged or lifetime malposition of spinal segments.  Spinal adjustments correct subluxations and usually bring rapid relief in this condition.

The most common site for back spasms is in the mid-back between the shoulder blades.  Unfortunate irritation of the spinal nerves can produce pain into the chest area and spasm of chest muscles.  This can make breathing difficult and can mimic the symptoms of heart attach.  Rapid relief is usually seen with a chiropractic adjustment to this area.  Spasm of the low back, especially when associated with substantial shifting or distortion of posture is more difficult to address but usually responds to chiropractic care in a relatively short time. 

When I was a child and before knowing of the great help chiropractic could offer to back pain sufferers, my mother experienced severe back spasms which occurred abruptly and for no known reason the medical doctor could find.  These varied greatly in frequency.  They were excruciatingly painful and the only help we had for her at that time was to go to our local ER where she would receive large doses of analgesics.   These injections would literally render her unconscious until the next day when hopefully she would awaken spasm free.  This procedure often worked.  At other times a second trip to the ER was needed.   As a child I saw her suffer for days on end.  In retrospect as I've seen the ease with which such problems can be handled chiropractically, how much simpler and less traumatic is the chiropractic treatment of this condition today.


In the above conditions one sees a pattern of chronic back pain, spasm and often leg pain or other leg symptoms.  It's common to have more pain on prolonged standing and walking or to have the legs 'give out' rather quickly with use.  These symptoms occur due to the compression and swelling that occurs in the spinal joints and nerve tissue.  If you have these symptoms nothing is going to correct the degenerated character of the spine but therapies like spinal traction, specific exercises and a tailored lumbar support belt are just a few of the things that can make living much more tolerable, fun and pain free.  Since we are expert in matters of the spine we can help you to attain better spinal balance, reduce pressure on painful spinal structures and give you the skills and knowledge to cope better.  Medicare covers chiropractic care quite well.

(See the section on Traction and Spinal Degeneration.)


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Copyright © 2001 Dr. Calvin Hargis
Warwick Chiropractic Center, 40 Maple Avenue, Warwick, NY 10990
Tel: 845-986-5500  Fax: 845-986-6627