Modern life does a great job at stressing out the human body. From processed foods and an ever growing list of chemicals, to sedentary lifestyles and abnormal body mechanics we are all exposed. So what can we do to keep our bodies from falling apart?
Failing to address the importance of human structure and its relationship to gravity proves costly. The current medical model of healthcare in most developed nations unintentionally fails to address this major component of health. Gravity plays a vital role in human function and performance. The human body uniquely functions in a world where gravity directly impacts a person’s health. Chiropractors use uniquely specific skills that address spinal structure and biomechanics. Patients achieve extraordinary results when Chiropractors help unlock the optimal brain and nervous system potential within the body.
Chiropractic care gained early notoriety for making a positive impact on neck and back pain symptoms. Up to date science and research established that although Chiropractic care alleviated neck and back pain, the results expanded to a much greater extent. Consistent Chiropractic visits directly produce benefits in overall organ health, prevention of bone and nerve degeneration, increased range of motion, and injury prevention. A study published in 2011 evaluated the data from previous scientific literature and come to the conclusion that the best benefits achieved through Chiropractic occur over a longer period of time due to the optimal health influence experienced by the brain, nerves, bones, and soft tissue.
The application of on-going Chiropractic adjustments (with or without the presence of pain or symptoms) optimizes the spine and nervous system health and function. Millions of Chiropractic patients all over the world utilize wellness or maintenance care. Research has proven an uncompromising link between Chiropractic maintenance care and the optimized levels of function within the body. This not something you have to believe in.
It's a medical fact when a spinal joint loses the ability to move freely, degeneration begins to occur almost immediately. A lack of spinal joint mobility also accompanies neural degeneration, neuroplasticity changes, neural and muscle atrophy, and muscle weakness at an average rate of two to four weeks. A misaligned or improperly moving spinal vertebra produces nerve, bone, and muscle degeneration within two to four weeks as well. The negative reactions occur even without the presence of pain or symptoms.
Reason #1 – The Spine Helps Prevent Insult and Injury to Your Central Nervous System
This kind of injury can put your entire life on hold. It can affect sleep, sex, work, overall happiness and your sheer will to live. It's possible to rebound from some spinal injuries, but others bring about lifelong devastating changes. We regularly see young people with spine-related degeneration and disc injuries well before their 25 birthdays! The structures of the spine were intended to last a very long time- certainly longer than two decades of life! The best way to prevent spinal injuries and degeneration is – you guessed it – learning how to care for and following through with spine health treatment!
Reason #2 – The Spine can Increase your Joint Ranges of Motion.
A disorganized spine can and will limit your ability to move freely in space because of its relationship with the central nervous system. The spine is the chassis or engine for your body’s other two primary motors, the hips and shoulders. This is why it's vital to correct your spine before you attempt to “heal” or treat shoulder and hip problems. Each functional movement begins and ends at the spine, so your spine has to be properly aligned. When the spine is not aligned properly, the shoulders and hips compensate abnormally and you will never achieve maximum force. Simply looking up – and thus breaking the spine alignment with a bent neck – can reduce strength in your arm and/or sprints.
When the spine is disorganized, the central nervous system will protect itself by limiting force production (strength) and altering how your tissues adapt to movement (athleticism). The nerves that exit the spine do not stretch, so when there are kinks in the spine, the nervous system will recognize the problem and begin to tighten structures such as muscles to limit the range of motion and prevent injury.
For example, when you overextend your low back (lumbar spine), the your quadriceps, hamstrings and even calves will begin to tighten. When your spine is braced and held in the optimal, neutral position however, your muscles can begin to relax giving you access to untapped mobility and flexibility.
Reason #3 – The Spine allows you to Safely and Effectively Transition from one Position to Another.
Let's face it: You need to be able to change your position without compromising spinal integrity. Think about how many times you sit up and down, roll off your bed or rotate from side to side. Most people would agree that lifting something heavy with a rounded back isn't a great practice. Try adding “twisting” to that movement and you'll have to search long and hard before you find someone who agrees that it's healthy. A big problem is that we rarely point out faulty movement patterns in “pedestrian movements” like walking, getting in and out of a chair or even our cars. But making these small, poorly organized movements over and over again most certainly takes its toll on the spine. So when you finally do go an lift something heavy, you'll do it with a compromised spine that was not ready for it.
Reason #4 – The Spine Helps you Buffer Bad Working and Life Situations.
Certainly your body is capable of awkward positions and abnormal loads like rounding the back. Certainly the human body is built to handle a certain amount of physiological stress without breaking in an instant. Think of a harried mom reaching into the backseat to pull her crying infant out of the car seat. Think of a time when you saw something fall off the table and you lunged in an instant to catch it. A highly organized, braced spine is the base from which you generate all of your movement. No, I don't expect you to stand like a robot with perfect posture all day long. What I expect is that you practice so that when the time comes, you are ready for whatever comes your way – that includes avoiding tiny little injuries that happen over the weekend or catastrophic unforseen events.
The key is to have a base position, or starting shape, that is automatic so that you're not hammering your body with poor posture all day, every day. This will keep your body strong so that when you do lose focus and move incorrectly, you can handle that compromised position no problem. The last thing you should be thinking about as you move through the world is what your spine is doing. BUT… achieving a healthy spine and optimizing health (which is freedom) requires practice and intention.
When it Comes to Physical Fitness, You Must Start with The Spine First
There are 2 ways to analyze the health of your spine: 1) Alignment and 2) Motion. When someone comes to our office for an initial exam, they often come with a number of symptoms including: headaches, neck pain, back pain, shoulder pain, hip and knee problems and or stiffness. The first order of business is to assess their alignment. Scanning the spine for alignment can be done by visual posture analysis and xray examination. We of course do both. From this initial exam we are able to identify mis-alignments that are contributing to the problem. Once the mis-alignments are addressed, we can then move into movement and begin re-educating the body on proper spine sequencing which gives rise to optimal shoulder and hip mobility, etc.
Regular and consistent Chiropractic adjustments provide the necessary foundation for optimal health and well-being. The onset or progression of permanent degenerative nervous system and spinal degeneration occurs with or without the presence of immediate symptoms. An old adage encourages people to proactively invest in an ounce of prevention rather than be subjected to a pound of cure. Children and adults should be consistently checked for the presence of BOTH loss of motion and abnormal alignment by a Chiropractor on a regular basis. Wellness care not only prevents the deterioration of spine and nervous system health, but also optimizes brain and central nervous system function. New born infants and adults all experience health by way of the functional capacity of the nervous system. Chiropractic offers the chance for optimal health to everyone within the community.