The Tipping Point: Dysfunction

What happens next ultimately becomes the driving force behind the entire Vicious Cycle—it is the engine that moves the car. The tricky bit is that it occurs without a single symptom leaving many people unaware that their spine has started down a dangerous path. My hope, as a chiropractor Little Falls MN, is that you won’t be part of that group. For reaffirmation, at the end of this section, I have included a “self-test” you should take which will determine whether or not this is happening to you. The results might be surprising.

 The last section left off with Nociceptors initiating a reflex that forced an imbalance between the Movers and the Stabilizers. Remember, these muscles move the joints, and to do so properly, they have to be balanced. When a Buckling Point occurs, and the muscles become imbalanced, their actions become uncoordinated, which results in the joint not moving properly. Instead of gliding smoothly, the joint moves erratically. If the reflex doesn’t cease and muscle balance restored, the joint will stay moving like this, and will be officially designated as “dysfunctional.” (What nerves detect this type of “bad” movement? Nociceptors.) After all this, Nociceptors then begin firing repeatedly, and the once momentary reflex is now the standard operating procedure. This is when the Tipping Point has been crossed, and your back and neck have officially entered into the Vicious Cycle. Go to a chiropractor Little Falls MN before this happens!

You see, before the Tipping Point you had to be hit by something, or you had to keep making mistakes in order to fire the nociceptors. But now, they fire whenever that dysfunctional joint moves (which will be every time you move your spine). After this point has been crossed, your back and neck are set on a course to develop problems and eventual pain. This is another paragraph worth rereading even if you are not a chiropractor Little Falls MN. The clear, uncompromising and downright depressing message: once you’ve reached the Tipping Point, any movement is another step closer to pain. How lovely.

Worsening Dysfunction: The Muscles

Because the Movers have become facilitated, it’s easy for them to contract and become overactive. From this, eventually, they tighten. Because of inhibition, it gets increasingly difficult for the Stabilizers to contract, so they tend to be underused and grow weaker. This causes the imbalance and in coordination between the two muscle groups to worsen. 

Worsening Dysfunction: The Joints

The growing severity of muscle imbalance and incoordination turns the joint’s erratic movement into lack-of-movement. Losing mobility is bad because it structurally weakens joints which causes people to visit a chiropractor Little Falls MN. Remember, your joints depend on motion to “pump” nutrients into the cartilage and bone. Lack of mobility turns off the pump that flushes the joints with nutrients, thus it starves the cartilage and bone, weakening them.

Worsening Dysfunction: The Big Wheel Keeps On Turning

–  As the joints begin to weaken, do you think their mobility gets better or worse? Worse.

 –  With worsening mobility, do the nociceptors fire less or more? More.

 –  Does this put less or more stress on the muscles? More.

 –  What happens to their imbalance and in-coordination? It gets worse.

–  What does that do to the joint’s mobility? Gets even worse, making the joints even weaker.

As long as the three elements—the nerves, muscles, and joints—are dysfunctional, the momentum of the Vicious Cycle continues to build. It’s important to note that although the joints aren’t moving the way they should be moving, there isn’t any damage yet. Here’s a quote from the research:

“Initially, there is abnormal motion of the spinal segment and pathological signs of degeneration are minimal; this stage being termed ‘spinal dysfunction.'”(2) 

There is an important concept in those words. They describe a “stage” where the back and neck have “abnormal motion” before “degeneration” occurs. They’re saying that Dysfunction precedes Destruction, and it’s not until something gets damaged that there is the potential for pain. Not only is this “dysfunctional” phase without symptoms, but it is also without damage—which is what makes it tricky to detect. Unfortunately, because of this many people are walking around completely oblivious that this is happening to their neck and back. Or worse, they know, but don’t care because it’s not causing pain…yet. So consult a chiropractor Little Falls MN!

Which is complete lunacy.

Do we think plaque buildup on teeth is okay because it hasn’t yet rotted out the tooth? Do we think a little bit of mold in a new house is no big deal because it’s not out-of-control yet? Do we think elevated blood sugar levels aren’t important because they haven’t yet caused insulin resistance—a telltale sign of Type II diabetes? Of course not. Everyone knows if a small problem isn’t fixed, it only gets worse. Well, that’s the Dysfunctional Phase in the Vicious Cycle—if you take care of this small weed now by seeing a chiropractor Little Falls MN, it won’t grow out of control.

If you can get the nociceptors to cease firing, the muscles will recover, and the Dysfunctional Phase will stop because the nerves, muscles, and joints still have the potential to return back to normal. In order to do so, dysfunction must turn into function. For that to happen, the treatment must address all three elements equally and completely by a professional chiropractor Little Falls MN. This is why the standard approach to back and neck pain is such a complete failure—it simply doesn’t do that. Most treatments available today allows the three elements to continue to feed off each other. Lucky for you, The Solution addresses all three elements thoroughly. You’re almost there. 

If the spinal dysfunction isn’t caught and corrected by a professional like a chiropractor Little Falls MN, it will continue to worsen until the back and neck enter the next phase of the Vicious Cycle: The Destruction Phase.


As you sit there reading this article, there’s a good chance your back and neck is in a dysfunctional state right now. Curious? There’s a simple way to determine if the base of your neck and mid-back have entered into this phase. I’ll explain the test. You don’t have to be a chiropractor Little Falls MN to do it. Then when I say “go,” give it a try. First, let your arms rest loosely at your sides. Then, take a very, very deep breath in, as deep as you can manage. Ready? Go.

Okay, relax. Don’t worry, no one is watching.

Now do it again. But this time pay attention to what your shoulders are doing.

Do they stay at one level? Do they rise up? Do they depress? Got it? Ready? Set. Go.

Here’s how to interpret the test. If your shoulders elevated at all, you failed and your upper back and neck muscles are dysfunctional. If your neck and mid back Stabilizers were balanced and coordinated, your shoulders would not elevate. Instead, your belly would expand (called diaphragmatic breathing) and your shoulders would depress.

If you didn’t pass, it could very well mean that your neck and mid back are currently dysfunctional. You’ve been warned by a chiropractor Little Falls MN!




  1. Upright RadiologyVolume 63, Issue 9, September 2008, Pages 1035-1048 Clinical Radiology,F. Alyas, D. Connell, A. Saifuddin

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