Southern New Hampshire Chiropractic Care Respects Spinal Extension

June 19, 2018

Extension of the spine: It’s valuable. It’s harmful. So what is up with extension for the spine? Both are accurate: It’s good. It is bad. It’s the job of your Southern New Hampshire chiropractor to help you figure out the role of extension in your Southern New Hampshire back pain relief plan and Southern New Hampshire back pain control plan moving past the current episode of back pain. Your Southern New Hampshire chiropractor at New Hampshire Spine and Sport is well experienced in the effects – good and bad – of spinal extension and respects its role in spinal health and mobility.


Two of the spine’s most prominent curves – the cervical and lumbar curves – are lordotic curves meaning they curve inwardly. Flexion flattens these curves. Extension magnifies them. When a disc herniates or bulges, it does so into the concavity of the curve and potentially presses on the spinal nerves causing pain. Flexion often permits the disc bulge to move off of the nerve. Extension often allows the disc bulge to press on the nerves more. New Hampshire Spine and Sport sets out to help lessen painful situations like this!


75% of the flexion and extension movement in the low back happens at the L5-S1 level of the lumbar spine. 20% is at the L4-L5 level. Therefore, 95% of flexion and extension of the lumbar spine happens at these two lower disc levels. Here, degenerative disc disease (minor and more advanced) happens most. In the cervical spine, C5-C6 is the spinal level where most of the flexion occurs, and C4-C5 is where most of the extension takes place. Southern New Hampshire chiropractic patients need healthy extension!


New Hampshire Spine and Sport respects extension and understands how it may help and hurt. The extensor muscles in the back weaken and degenerate just as discs degenerate. (1) Extension helps strengthen these muscles to support the spine. Extension is essential for this when the spine is healthy enough to do extension. Extension to a painful spine may hurt. Why? In the cervical spine, flexion decreased disc protrusion and maximizes the sagittal diameter of the vertebral canal while extension increased the disc protrusion and narrowed the vertebral canal causing stenosis. (2) In a degenerative lumbar spine with spinal stenosis, flexion widened the vertebral canal and reduced pain while extension worsened the stenosis and produced pain. (3) New Hampshire Spine and Sport understands the key to getting the benefits of extension is in recognizing when to use extension.


Southern New Hampshire chiropractic treatment integrates extension into the Southern New Hampshire chiropractic treatment plan for its advantages. Cox® Technic used with the cervical spine reduced intradiscal pressures to as low as 502 mmHg (4) and to as low as -192 mmHg in the lumbar spine. (5) Extension increased pressures in the lumbar spine to 1250 mmHg (the most the transducer could measure). (4) Dropping intradiscal pressures and back pain is what New Hampshire Spine and Sport does for its Southern New Hampshire back pain patients.

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Listen to this PODCAST with Dr. David Atiyeh on the Back Doctor’s Podcast with Dr. Michael Johnson. He shares how he cared for a patient whose back pain continues after multiple back surgeries with flexion distraction which relieves her pain as the table is flexed not extended.

Schedule your Southern New Hampshire chiropractic appointment with New Hampshire Spine and Sport today. Let us discover the role extension might play in your back pain recovery and future back pain control strategy.

 New Hampshire Spine and Sport understands the role of extension in spinal motion, its necessity, its benefits and potential harmful effects.