Imbrication is a common condition seen in all demographics, yet is often mis-diagnosed or missed altogether in the office of many practitioners.

If you view the spine in an anatomy text, you will see the articular facets overlap similar to shingles on a roof-top.  When these facets overlap too far, this is called imbrication.  It is most often seen in patients that routinely lift heavy objects at work/sport, and those that jump a lot, like basketball players or dancers.  The downward force of gravity with the additional load of a heavy object or bodyweight will often result in an imbrication subluxation.  Symptoms include painful flexion/extension of the spine coupled with chronic stiffness/soreness/achiness, occasionally coupled with an intermittent pinching sensation.  Imbrication can also be less symptomatic, but will reduce overall spinal function and strength.

This condition can be tricky because it may sometimes be coupled with a minor shifting of the nucleus of the inter-vertebral disc of the involved segment, thereby locking the imbrication in place.

However, once properly diagnosed, this is a simple condition when treated successfully can lead to vast improvements in pain and function.  There are simple diagnostic tests for this condition and the course of treatment is very short,  1-2 visits typically.  Please consider visiting my office if you believe the above condition may apply to you.

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