Every now and then we get new practice members who get hurt over the weekend and they want to come in for a single chiropractic visit so that we can relieve pain and ‘fix it’. Sometimes they slept on their neck wrong, they hurt their back lifting something heavy, they had a slip and fall, or sometimes they just got checked from the side by their 50 lbs dog! Whatever the mechanism of injury, the thought process is that they were hurt because of a one-time incident, and they want a one-time solution. The truth is that we may think that getting injured is an isolated event, and sometimes it is, but often we see that the issue is much deeper than we might have originally thought, and it’s been around for much longer too!
The key to understanding true chiropractic is latency and consistency!
Let’s dive in!
In nature, structure gives rise to function. Let’s look at some examples:
• A bike having circular wheels makes traveling distances much easier compared to if it were to have square-shaped wheels.
• The shape of musical instruments such as a trumpet or the plates on a drum set are what allow instruments to produce beautiful and different sounds.
•The shape of a plane, from the wide wings to the thin and converging nose allow the aircraft to lift into the sky and to fly vast distances.
• When it comes to art, having a sharpened coloring pencil allows you to do line art with ease, but it won’t be as helpful when it comes to coloring or shading compared to a pencil with a blunt tip.
The same is true for our anatomy:
• Together, the vertebral bones and discs in your your low back form a curve in order to allow your body to better distribute the weight of your body and to provide shock absorption for the brunt of your movements and activities.
• The length, shape, size, and orientation of our muscles allow us to coordinate movements, strength, and have fine-motor control.
• The spinal cord is suspended by ligaments inside the vertebral bones in a way and orientation that allows it to remain protected from outside forces while still allowing it to branch nerves off to every piece of skin, tissue, muscle, ligament and organ in our body.
Okay, but why are we talking about structure again?
From the moment we are born, we’re exposed to external forces in our body. Labor involves compressive and pulling forces in the body of newborns. The first years of life involve endless trips and falls as we learn how to engage with the world. Once we start school or are employed we spend countless hours suffering from repetitive postures or movements (i.e. sitting at desks, lifting heavy objects). In addition, all of our body’s physiology is bombarded with life stressors (i.e. relationships, college, bills to pay, raising kids…etc.) and chemical stressors (i.e. what we eat, candles, lotions…etc.).
We experience these forces in one way or another. Every. Single. Day. In fact, we experience these forces year after year, decade after decade. This is huge because all these little things build up and they incrementally compromise the structure of our spine. Over time, the ability of our nervous system can become impeded, and this can have a global effect on our body and health. It not only makes us more prone to injuries and developing back or neck pain, numbness/tingling, and muscle spasms or weakness, it affects our body’s ability to communicate to our heart, lungs, digestive system, reproductive system, urinary system, and so much more!
And so, when we hurt our necks while sleeping or we hurt our back when lifting something heavy, the problem isn’t always the injury itself, it’s the fact that our body’s foundation was compromised to begin with. By working to correct these structural imbalances in our body we can do our best to optimize its functioning. We can support our body so that we’re better equipped to prevent injuries and get long standing pain relief while also working to keep our body healthy.
And now you might be thinking ‘Great, let’s do it! Let’s get that one adjustment to fix me!’ And therein lies another problem. Every process in life requires time and chiropractic care is no exception!
Let’s tackle this one last thing next!
In nature, order requires effort while chaos or entropy takes very, very little effort. It takes effort to fold and put away laundry, to clean and organize a house, and yet it takes almost no effort and time to throw a wet towel on the floor, to leave dishes in a sink, and for an outside patio to get dirty.
In a similar fashion, as we get older our body starts to break down and we get degeneration and we develop medical conditions. And while gradual wear and tear is normal, the good news is that, similar to realigning the wheels in your car and changing its oil, you can extend the life and quality of just about anything (including our body) if you take good care of it!
There are many ways that we may already provide maintenance care to our body:
• We brush our teeth and floss every day.
• We wash our hands and bathe our bodies.
• We eat healthy -or we try to- on most days.
• We exercise in some form or other several times a week.
• We go to annual health check-ups.
In this same manner, we should also make sure to further invest in our health by giving proper maintenance to our spine. Most of our practice members get a chiropractic adjustment once a week to combat the many forces that act on their body between those seven days so that these shifts and microtraumas can be caught and corrected before they become a bigger problem years down the road. The reason why you shouldn’t expect a single adjustment to permanently ‘do the job’, is because life is extremely dynamic and there are always going to forces waiting around the corner to continue to effortlessly bring chaos, dis-order and dysfunction to our body and health. Consistency and frequent adjustments is the only way to catch and correct these shifts as they happen.
Initially, a chiropractic treatment plan can be focused on addressing acute and chronic pain, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg to achieve maximum benefits! The biggest aim of chiropractic adjustments is to provide maintenance care, accelerate the healing process, and optimize your body’s function by fine-tuning its framework (the nervous system). A healthy nervous system allows your body to communicate, heal, and adapt to life. Because of this, Chiropractic is an investment in your health and it pays off in dividends so that you can be pain free while also enjoying the quality of life that you deserve.
If you’ve never considered spinal manipulation before, reach out to your local chiropractor!
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