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Histopathology

illustration of a highlighted neck and spine

Following a car accident, the bones of the spine may shift out of their original position or lose their normal motion, in what’s called vertebral subluxation complex. This condition is characterized by a set of signs and symptoms that affect the spinal column. Histopathology is one of its five major interrelated components, and it occurs when a person’s body temperature rises due to an increase in lymph and blood supplies. As a result, inflammation and swelling occur, causing discs to rip, project, herniate or depreciate.

The individual may experience:

  • Pain and discomfort
  • Loss of mobility
  • Degradation of the spine
  • Scar tissue

How Does the Lymphatic System Work?

The lymphatic system is a subdivision of the circulatory system, and it consists of lymph vessels, lymph nodes and lymph (translucent fluid containing white blood cells). The lymph vessels transport lymph throughout the body, allowing the white blood cells it contains to fight off foreign substances and rid the body of toxins and waste.

Lymph flows in one direction — up toward the neck — and within its own system. It travels into the venous blood stream via the subclavian veins (located on the sides of the neck). Plasma, the yellow liquid component of the blood, distributes nutrients and removes waste, before leaving the blood cells and going back to the venous circulation system where it will continue on as venous blood. That which does not leave becomes lymph. It too makes its departure, leaving the tissue and entering the lymphatic system throughout lymphatic capillaries.

Histopathology and the Lymphatic System / Venous System

After a car accident or other trauma, if the spinal bones lose their natural motion and position (spinal kinesiopathology):

  • The muscles of the spine can weaken, atrophy or stiffen, causing them to spasm. Over time, scar tissue can develop, changing the individual’s muscle tone. This is known as myopathology.
  • Delicate nerve tissue can become chocked, stretched or irritated, leading to nerve system dysfunction (neuropathophysiology).
  • Bony growths may attempt to fuse defective spinal joints, which can cause the spine to decay, scar tissue to form and nerve malfunction (pathophysiology).

In these instances, the body may react to these traumas by increasing its blood and lymph supplies. This is how the body reacts to the perceived threat. However, this excess in blood and lymph supplies can have adverse effects. Beyond causing the body temperature to rise, the discs of the spine can become inflamed and swell. As a consequence, they may protrude, tear, herniate or deteriorate.

How Chiropractic Treatment Can Help

To help, your chiropractor may first choose to perform spinal adjustments to get the spine back into alignment and free trapped nerves. This may not only reduce pain and restore mobility, but could allow the lymph and venous system to reduce its supplies since the trauma is no longer considered a threat that needs to be corrected.

Some spinal adjustment techniques may include, but are not limited to:

  • Toggle drop. With hands crossed, the chiropractor gives a firm press to the spine, and then adds a rapid thrust.
  • Release work. Using the fingertips, gentle pressure is applied to help separate vertebrae that have become connected or fused.
  • Lumbar roll. With the patient on their side, the chiropractor applies a swift thrust to the area of misalignment, with the goal being to place the vertebrae in their rightful position.
  • Table adjustments. The patient lies on a table that has sections that drop down. A rapid thrust is employed by the chiropractor, causing parts of the table to release and drop. When the patient’s body drops down with the table, the table comes to a stop but the patient’s body remains in motion temporarily. The combination of the thrust, drop and continued motion are designed to help the spine align.

Once the spine has been realigned, your chiropractor may then implement soft tissue work to loosen the muscles around the spine and push fluid out of inflamed and swollen areas.

If you are suffering from vertebral subluxation complex, talk to your chiropractor about what he or she can do to help treat your condition and relieve your symptoms.

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Testimonials

Reviews By Our Satisfied Patients

  • "Before visiting Dr. Katerina Sheffield, I had visited multiple chiropractors and a back specialist for almost 2 years on a weekly basis to address my severe lower back pain. I couldn’t see the end in sight. I had been thinking I’d have to get use to living with my lower back pain at just age 25. After visiting my massage therapist, Stacia Guerrero, she advised that I see Dr. Sheffield because my issues were structural, and not just muscular. Working with Dr. Sheffield, I found that her upper cervical work got right to the cause of my problem. I saw faster results in just a few months than in the past 2 years. I found her commitment to my healing process reassuring and I was surprised how quickly I noticed results. After just a few months, I feel so blessed that I found her. Thank you so much and I highly recommend Dr. Sheffield to anyone seeking chiropractic work."
    John E
  • "When I first came to the office, I was experiencing neck and spine pain that was preventing me from sleeping well. The pain was consistently at an 8 out of 10! I have seen other chiropractors in the past but with only minimal results.
    After a few treatments with Dr. Sheffield I started seeing differences in my sleep and mobility as well as decrease in the pain I had lived with for over 20 years! I was surprised and pleased that 11 consecutive weeks helped change my habits! Overall, my experience has been great and I am very grateful for Dr. Sheffield’s help."
    Bridge B
  • "I have found the last piece of the puzzle in the treatment of mid thoracic, neck pain and headaches. I’ve been on a 30 year journey with pain brought in partly because of poor posture and car accidents where I was rear ended at 55 to 60 miles per hour. ... Years later as back and neck pain set in I sought physical therapy believing this would “take care of it” and since I’m a PT myself, I had high hopes that it would. ...Becoming certified in Pilates instruction, I continued to improve some but the neck pain never stopped and the headaches got worse over time. ... At a friend’s suggestion I saw Dr. Sheffield. X-rays revealed some significant disc degeneration and improper weight bearing through the neck. Physical exam revealed mal-alignment of my atlas and axis. Treatment of these areas has finally, for the firs time in years, given me weeks now of NO headaches! I wish I’d have gotten here sooner!"
    Pam T
  • "I started seeing Dr. Sheffield because my neck and shoulder were hurting. It was a 9 1/2 out of 10. I was unable to work without hurting. In the past I have tried massage and acupuncture with no long lasting results. After treatments with Dr. Sheffield, I started seeing differences in lifting heavy boxes and setting up displays, which are integral parts of my job. Dr. Sheffield listens to you and advises you on things you can do at home to stay healthy. She is kind, sweet and always a pleasure to see. Her staff is friendly and helpful. She had made a difference in my life and I would recommend her to anyone needing help with pain. I feel so much better and found the experience at Dr. Sheffield's office very rewarding."
    Terry M.
  • "I started seeing Dr. Sheffield after being encouraged time and time again by a friend of mine. For over a decade I had struggled with neck pain and headaches so intense I would vomit form the pain. I’ve tried everything- steroid shots, volume shots, all kinds of drugs- and nothing touched the pain. I own a construction company so you can imagine how difficult it was to maintain my normal work load while dealing with these episodes. I stay very busy with intense activities like building homes and competing in 3 day nonstop ultra marathons which tend to aggravate my symptoms. Dr. Sheffield took the time to teach me proper ergonomics to maintain my adjustments. Being consistent and following her treatment plan over the last 2 months has allowed my headaches and neck pain to become manageable for the first time ever. It’s working and that makes it worth the 2 hour drive each way."
    David L
  • "I first came to Dr. Sheffield after an open-minded doctor who chooses to treat, rather than just medicate, recommended her to me. Because it is as much as it is a 175-mile round trip from my house, I had intended to be open minded enough to try it.

    Because of a lifetime of injuries from a gun shot wound to the mouth as a child, to oil field and construction injuries, plus 40+ years as a stone mason etc pain was a way of life, but at the age of 51 heart problems and strokes limited my activities. Having tried physical therapy, acupuncture and cupping, work hardening programs and years of chiropractic treatment with the then president of the American Chiropractic Association, with each having limited or temporary relief.

    So, after being treated for only a few sessions I experienced noticeable and longer periods of relief. With 66 years just a few months away, and other health problem, I am not calling this a miracle, but your help has surely been a blessing."
    Steve J
  • "I began seeing Dr. Shefield in April. When I arrived at her office, I could barely walk. I had been suffering with extreme lower back pain for quite some time but seemed to somehow "live" with it. In the month of March, while vacationing, I actually collapsed in so much pain. Dr. Shefield sent me to have x-rays done and my L4,5,6 discs were out and I also had an Atlas mis-alignment. I had no idea how much trauma had been done to my back over a course a several years letting this problem go.
    Dr. Shefield has truly kept me from having to have back surgery. I am no longer suffering with any back pain, neck pain, nor headaches. I can exercise again and wear my heels. She is an amazing Doctor! Until you suffer back pain you have no idea just HOW painful it can be. I am forever grateful for her"
    Laura B
  • "Dr. Sheffield has been great. My first visit was based on a recommendation from a friend when I had severely tweaked my lower back , and after just a couple of appointments, I saw a vastly reduced level of pain. At this point, I leave the office feeling better than when I arrived and look forward to my adjustments. I would highly recommend Westlake Chiropractic to anyone looking for a non-invasive approach to managing their spinal issues"
    Matt B
  • "I am 57 and my back NOW feels like it did when I was 35. I have been seeing Dr. Sheffield for about 4 months now, and now I am wondering why I went to all the other chiropractors…. Dr. Sheffield specializes in ATLAS (the vertebrae closest to the skull) therapy which little did I know, when correctly leveled, can have a huge impact on the rest of your bost – like MY LOWER BACK! It used to take me a full 30 seconds to get out of my chair in my office – stretch, groan a bit, stretch some more - and now I POP OUT of my chair like a teenager. Flying on planes is NOTHING now… as it used to be my worst nightmare. Check it out guys… my wife and my 22-year-old daughter is now going to see her…."
    Johnny S
  • "A fantastic place with a warm, beautiful and friendly atmosphere!
    Dr. Katerina has worked wonders with my neck and shoulder issues. After many months of pain and surgeries, I gave Westlake Chiropractic a try. I'm certainly happy that I did!
    Thanks to Katerina, I have regained a great deal of range of motion in my spine and shoulders. I'm now able to workout and do the things that I love in life!"
    Scott M
  • "I have been a patient of Dr. Sheffield for two years. I have had surgery for scoliosis so my needs as a patient are unique. Dr. Sheffields gentle technique and pinpoint accuracy with adjustments is what gave me relief and results after years of discomfort. Headaches went away, lower back pain left and my quality of life improved. I value that she also offers holistic care and can speak to other ailments and conditions and make recommendations for supplements and other treatments that would aid healing. She is an outstanding provider!"
    Christiana W.
  • "MD recommended

    I feel very fortunate to have found Dr. Katerina Sheffield! She did a careful exam on me, including specific evaluations of spine positions and my leg lengths. The actual adjustments were very gentle but powerfully effective. I had immediate relief from low back pain even though I only needed a slight neck adjustment. Best of all, my posture is erect with no effort at all. This is effective and gentle chiropractic as I have never experienced before!"
    Moira Dolan, MD
  • "Relief for the first time

    I’ve had chronic back pain for much of my life. Over the years I’ve seen several different chiropractors with only a little lasting improvement, and no real idea what the problem was. Dr. Sheffield was the first chiropractor to diagnose that I have a rare congenital defect causing my back pain, and she has tailored a treatment plan that is, for the first time, giving me real relief. She is a conscientious and caring doctor."
    Don
  • "Dr. Sheffield has changed my life and my Spinal health is only getting stronger and better as I keep going to her. Anytime I feel something pulling or not right, I tell her the exact spot and the symptom and she corrects it! I am constantly amazed at her interaction with her patients, her ability to make you feel you are being healed and calm at the same time. She is changing lives, let her change yours! Haylee G. Dr. Sheffield is not only a remarkable practitioner, but a wonderful person. As patients of hers, my son and I can unequivocally say she is the best chiropractor in Austin."
    Kara B. - Austin, TX