Chiropractic: The Spinal Dentist?
Consider for a moment everything you did today. Almost every movement you made, from getting out of bed in the morning until you got back into bed at night, required your spine to work in very complex ways that you’ve probably never thought twice about. Not only did your spine perform delicate mechanical functions, but it also facilitated the majority of your nerve function, another aspect of proper spinal function that most people never consider … until there’s a problem.
If your spine were just one solid bone, it couldn’t perform any of the variety of body movements; but as a stack of 26 bones, your spinal column can twist and bend to accommodate your every activity. This is accomplished by each spinal segment doing its job. When your spine moves, each movement of your vertebrae is choreographed through the rest of your body via a wonderfully designed system of muscles and ligaments that work together.
Your spine also has 31 pairs of spinal nerves that exit at some point from your spinal column. These delicate spinal nerves can become irritated, or inflammation can occur, when your spine fails to function properly. These irritations or inflammation are thought to impact the nerve flow to the vital organs throughout your body.
In a healthy spine, each vertebra moves just a little each time you bend or twist. Even when you use your arms and legs, your spine plays a role. When you walk, your spine rotates just enough to allow your feet to move forward without tripping on the ground. The nerves inside and around your spine are protected and function comfortably when your vertebrae move within their normal range.
If you’re listening, your body usually will warn you when your spine is not functioning normally. This warning will come in the form of pain, discomfort, stiffness or a lack of function in your spine or extremities. Rather than address the problem, some people ignore their body’s warnings by taking pain relievers. Others just ignore the pain until their body adapts to the discomfort and the pain goes away.
The body puts the spine in a state of spasm to protect the delicate nerves and allow the inflammatory process to subside. Removing the pain often causes more problems because the body’s protective mechanism has been removed. It’s similar to pulling out the wire under the dashboard of your car when a warning light comes on. The light is no longer visible, but the problem remains and will continue to get worse.
Pain is your body’s way of telling you there’s a problem. Reducing the pain doesn’t necessarily address the problem. A problem ignored is a problem that will only become worse. The time to act is when you first begin to feel pain or discomfort, before it becomes chronic and much more serious.
When you do experience pain, recognize that your body is communicating a problem and address that problem immediately. Just as your teeth need regular brushing and a regular appointment with your dentist, your spine needs good nutrition, posture, flexibility and a periodic spinal checkup. It’s the way to your highest quality of life.