What happens if I have an unhealthy spine?
An unhealthy spine is characterized by bad posture, tight and tense muscles, “pinched nerves”, bone and disc degeneration, lowered resistance to disease, fatigue and overall body malfunction.
This state is also called dis-ease meaning “general lowered health.” When you have dis-ease you fall prey to all kinds of diseases and health conditions.
What causes spinal degeneration?
Spinal degeneration is usually caused by years of long-standing vertebral subluxations in your spine. What are vertebral subluxations? A Vertebral Subluxation occurs when spinal vertebrae shift from their proper places, or become misaligned and irritate the surrounding nerves, bones, discs, ligaments and other soft tissues. Although it is a complex phenomenon, a spinal subluxation is basically a problem with the movement or alignment of spinal bones that causes interference with the spinal nerves. The spine is in such an intimate relationship with our nervous system that the health of our spine is directly related to our whole body health. Subluxations, often painless, are common; they are a “hidden epidemic.”
How do we get Vertebral subluxations? We get vertebral subluxations from stress!
Stresses can be:
- Physical - Physical stress can involve injuries like motor vehicle collisions, falls, or lifting injuries. These types of physical trauma to the spine can easily injure spinal joints and cause subluxations. How about less obvious causes like birth trauma? Childbirth can be extremely stressful to an infants’ spine and nervous system. Poor posture, carrying items on one side, faulty foot arches, sitting on unsupportive chairs, sleeping on unsupportive beds, lying on the couch…etc, can also cause spinal subluxations over time.
- Emotional - Emotional stress, also known as autosuggestion is thought to be the greatest cause of spinal subluxations. When emotional or mental stress is taken on and there is no physical outlet to help deal with the stress, it causes increased tension on the nervous system and increased contraction of muscles along the spine, causing spinal subluxations.
- Chemical - Chemical stress is all around us, with toxins in our food, air and water. These impurities require energy to be expelled from the body and create stress on the nervous system. Also, inadequate nutrition may not give the body full potential for healing and rebuilding tissue, creating weakness in spinal tissues.
All of us have a history that has taken us to where we are today, and that history includes lots of past stresses. For example, the average child falls hundreds of times by the age of 10. It is the accumulation of these physical, emotional and chemical stressed that produce vertebral subluxations. Most spinal subluxations are therefore long term problems.
How can a vertebral subluxation affect my health?
- Alter the communication between your body and the wisdom that organizes it (innate intelligence)
- Creates dis-ease this altered harmony lessens your body's ability to adapt to stress
- Alter the function of your internal organs, glands, muscles, joints and discs
- Cause pain
- Stress your brain and meninges (nerve coverings)
- Accelerate joint aging
- Decrease your height
- Cause spinal degeneration (osteoarthritis)
- Drain your energy
- Decrease your resistance to disease
Are vertebral subluxations painful?
Where do symptoms come into the picture? The most common symptom of spinal subluxation is no symptom. It is like a cavity, it takes a certain amount of damage to the tissue, the tooth regarding cavities, before it creates symptoms. The same principle applies to a spinal subluxation. It takes a certain amount of damage to the tissues before symptoms are created. For that reason, a spinal subluxations may be present for years, creating interference with the nervous system before it produces symptoms.
Also, when we look at pain from direct nerve interference, only about 2 or 3 percent of the spinal nerves that exit between the vertebrae are involved with pain perception. Motor and sensory function makes up over 90% of the nerve, therefore, there may be considerable irritation or interference to a nerve taking place before the sensation of pain is perceived.
Symptoms are therefore not the best thing to judge our health with. The first symptoms of heart disease may be a heart attack and obviously that person had lost a lot of health prior to the crisis of a heart attack.
“Doctor, how long will it take for me to get better?”
Why do some people go to their doctor of chiropractic in severe discomfort and pain and find that after one visit their suffering is gone. We are not speaking of only neck and back pain; there are people who have suffered from sicknesses of all types (sometimes for years) and recovered after only one visit. And yet there are those who have gone to a doctor of chiropractic for a considerably longer time but have yet to recover. In some, the recovery may only be partial, in others it may never be realized at all.
Why.... it's because of your uniqueness
In reality, no two people who appear to be suffering from the same disorder are ever really suffering from exactly the same condition.
All people with the common cold, back pain, headache, fatigue, heart disease or the flu, for example, may have many things in common that contributed to the present disease, but other things special to themselves have contributed to their affliction as well.
As in the creation of disease, so in the healing of disease do we see that same unique combination of physical, emotional, spiritual, social, cultural, nutritional, genetic and other factors that make us unique.
No two people are alike, no two healing abilities are alike and no two spines are alike. Therefore no doctor can ever answer with precision: “How long will it take for me to get better?”
However, your doctor of Chiropractic will do her utmost to cater to your unique needs. Your degree of healing is based on three broad considerations:
- Your degree of spinal damage as determined from the findings from spinal, neurological, orthopedic and chiropractic examinations .
- Your many individual characteristics that make you uniquely you: your age, the duration of your illness; your lifestyle; your general health and energy level; your genetic predispositions or weaknesses; how you handle stress; and your diet including water intake.
- Your desire to be well and willingness to work with your doctor.
If you asked most people what chiropractors do they would say that chiropractors treat back and neck pain. Research has shown that a high percentage of people suffering from back or neck pain get relief with chiropractic adjustments. That is a blessing, but that is not what chiropractic was intended for. In fact, chiropractors do not treat symptoms or diseases.
The core philosophy or purpose of chiropractic is to correct and maintain the proper alignment and movement of the spinal bones to remove interference to the nervous systems so the body can heal itself.
Why does healing take time?
Why might it take many adjustments to make changes in the spine? There are very logical answers to these questions that are supported by research. As noted earlier, the majority of spinal subluxations that people walk in with are long term problems. Whether the symptoms are recent or been present for a long time, we all young and old have a history that has gotten us to where we are today. That history includes our bodies being bombarded with physical, chemical and emotional stresses from birth onward. The following explains why spinal healing may take time.
Scar Tissue makes healing take time
If subluxations have been present for years, the pattern becomes reinforced to the extent that it is like a bad habit. Spinal ligaments and other soft tissues around the subluxations become scarred. Scar tissue formation is the bodies natural response to try to heal or stabilize a joint that has been injured or is malfunctioning
This scar tissue further reinforces the abnormal pattern of improper position and motion of the spinal bones. Spinal adjustments help to remodel the scar tissue to allow the spinal bones to move and align properly, but that remodeling process takes months to years to change. Who doesn’t know how difficult it is to change a bad habit. It takes time and effort to make long term change. The nervous system has been shown to adapt around the spinal subluxation, which reinforces the bad habits in the spine. It takes time for adjustments to rewire the nervous system; to release the bad habits and rebuild on the good habits. Research shows that this process may take up to two years.
Four Essentials for Life
What are the four essentials that human beings need to live?
- Oxygen - Obviously essential as we can only survive for minutes without it.
- Water - Also needed by the human body to survive; we can only go a few days without it at most.
- Food - Although we can live for some time without we do require it to survive. So what is the fourth essential?....
- Nerve flow - All of the above essentials relay on nerve flow. It is the most important essential of life. Think of a paraplegic in a wheel chair with legs paralyzed. No nerve flow, no life energy to the legs.