By Bernadette Kathryn, LMT, IHLC


 

A Chiropractor can be an invaluable asset to your overall body wise program. A healthy back and good posture refer to the three natural curves that are present in your spine. Most people are born with 33 vertebrae. However, by the time you become an adult, you will most likely have only 24 vertebrae because some will fuse together during normal growth and development.

 


 

The spine is made up of:

 

  • Seven bones in the neck – the cervical spine
  • 12 bones in the rib-cage – the thoracic spine
  • Five bones in the lower back – the lumbar spine

 

The purpose of the spine is:

 

  • To protect the spinal cord and nerves, which is vitally important to our longevity
  • To provide structural support for the body, allowing us to stand upright
  • The spine supports about half the weight of the body
  • To act as a shock absorber for our bodies when we walk, run and exercise

 


 

The brain and spinal cord are the only two parts of the body completely enclosed in bone for a very good reason!

 

Because they are SO IMPORTANT to keep things going, you damage either of those and you have real physical problems.  The brain and spinal cord are our electrical system, much like the wiring in our houses.  When we have too much stress (which could be emotional, chemical or physical) the body cannot handle it well and there is a short circuit, much like in a house when we plug too many things into an outlet…. a fuse blows and you have to unplug something and reset the fuse.

So it is similar with the body and it’s electrical system.

 


 

Emotional Stress — we all know what that is — moving, changing jobs, married, babies, illness, etc…..

 

Chemical Stress — alcohol, drugs – prescription or otherwise, chemicals in the environment, chemicals in our foods, allergies, etc.

 

Physical Stress — too much exercise, not enough sleep, a trauma, etc.

 


 

The body can usually handle one type of stress pretty well, but when we start to pile up the layers of stress the body can’t handle it and will short circuit.  You will experience a ‘subluxation’ which is a movement of a spinal segment to cut off the excess energy through the nerve and reroute it.  Your body will still function, just not as well as it would have otherwise.  The body is very smart and has ways to compensate which is amazing — however, if your body is always having to compensate for stress from one thing or other, it will begin to create dis-ease over time, slowly and you will wake up one day and wondered what happened.

 

Ultimately what a traditional chiropractor will do is make sure the lines of communication between the brain and body are open and flowing freely so that the computer (brain) can operate the body optimally and efficiently allowing the body to repair itself during your precious restorative sleep each night.

 

Having said all of that —

 

The other thing that is very important is the body structure and the muscles of the body. The body structurally is much like a puppet with strings, the strings move the puppet and make it do what it does, right? Well, your strings are your muscles and they are responsible for moving your bones, getting you where you want to go, through your exercise classes, et.  If you get a kink in your muscles (the strings) then your bones will not move freely and you will develop deviations from optimal posture and movement, which will create stress on your musculature and joints causing pain and possibly damage over time. This part is almost like having a pair of panty hose on crooked, not comfortable, you can’t move freely until you straighten out the fabric.

 

The body is designed to move freely through gravity with minimal stress if all is lined up properly — the other main function of a chiropractor — to keep you lined up optimally so that you can do all the things you love to do with as little physical stress as possible.

 

Dr. John Schneider — the amazing chiropractor that I go to and trained with for Active Release Technique (ART) continuing education (massage) — looks at the whole body, muscularly and structurally.  He treats the muscles first, since they move the bones and then treats the structure for a more thorough approach.

 


 

ART is a patented, state of the art soft tissue system/movement based massage technique that treats problems with muscles, tendons, ligaments, fascia and nerves.

 

Headaches, back pain, carpal tunnel syndrome, shin splints, shoulder pain, sciatica, plantar fasciitis, knee problems, and tennis elbow are just a few of the many conditions that can be resolved quickly and permanently with ART. These conditions all have one important thing in common: they are often a result of overused muscles.

 

When the soft issue is damaged, its ability to function properly is affected. This could be weakness of a muscle/tendon, the inability of two structures to slide independently of one another, or a nerve entrapment that can cause numbness or tingling. Most sports injuries involve one or more of these issues. Often rest, ice, heat, medications, and physical therapy don’t resolve these conditions. Unless the bio-mechanical cause and the affected tissues are properly treated the injury will not resolve.

 

Soft tissue refers to muscles, tendons, ligaments, fascia and nerves. Soft tissue can be damaged in a variety of ways including:

 

  • A direct trauma or tear to a specific structure

  • Constant pressure or tension in an area can also have a negative impact on the soft tissue system

  • Soft tissues can also become tight and fibrotic from overuse or repetitive micro-traumas to the area

 


 

I personally go to the chiropractor because I believe that prevention is more important than waiting for things to go wrong…. catch the nagging pain before it becomes something bigger!

 


 

Share your favorite way to provide TLC to your body!