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The Doctors' Report (Volume I, Issue I)

The Doctors’ Report is a new joint (pun intended) venture between Dr. Natasha Vani (Naturopath) and I to write about health recovery and prevention topics from the “Doctors'” point of view.  A hard copy print out is available in our waiting room, but for those of you who do your reading online, I’m including these newsletters on my blog.  Dr. Vani and I will take turns writing about a topic that is important to your health and longevity.  In Volume I, Issue I, I write about “The Importance of Joint Health”.

Are you worried about arthritis?  If the answer is yes, read this report.  If the answer is no – because everyone gets arthritis and there is nothing you can do about – definitely read this report.

Is Arthritis Normal?

The health of our joints are vital to our functional life.  They are the foundation of movement.  Yes, muscles “move you”, like the commercial for muscle pain relief creams will teach you, but the joints are what allow for the movement.  The joints hinge, rotate, twist, and bend.  The healthier the joint, the easier those motions will be.  When we were babies and children, the joints moved freely through their entire range of motion.  Babies and toddlers can squat to the floor, roll around with ease, and we adults look on with amazement.  We seemingly long for the days when our bodies could replicate those youthful movements.  But, somewhere along the way we learned, or were told, that as we age it is normal to degenerate and lose the ability to move like kids.  Our joints will stiffen, develop arthritis, and the days of squatting and rolling around will be a distant memory.  Yet, at the same time, we also learned that it is important to “lift weights” to make sure our muscles stay strong – to offset the weakening of our muscles as we get older; We even learned, much later, that we had to do weight-bearing exercise to ensure our bones stayed strong.  But, for some reason, we seem to just accept that there is nothing we can do to offset the arthritic changes to our joints.  “Arthritis is normal aging”.  No it isn’t.

What is Arthritis?

Arthritis is a gradual degeneration of our joints that begins the moment we stop using the joint as it was intended to be used.  Once student life begins and evolves into a sedentary work life, many of our joints have stopped moving; hip and spine joints stiffen due to lack of use; your shoulder joints roll into an uncomfortable position and stay there, etc. Because they don’t move, your brain assumes you don’t need them.  So your brain begins the process of shutting them down.  Just because you go for a jog four days a week doesn’t mean you’re offsetting stiff joints.  Playing tennis, hockey, golf, or lifting weights doesn’t necessarily move the joints that desperately need moving either.  After all, what’s really moving when you run, or play a sport?  Well, it depends on which joints of yours are still moving.  Running, for example, makes use of the ankles and knees, some hip motion, and a bit of the shoulder joints.  The rest of you just comes along for the run. Running is excellent cardiovascular and leg muscular training.  But, those poor, stiff lumbar (low back) spinal joints are still stiff.  When you play tennis, there’s quite a bit more “stuff” in motion because of the twists, bends, and shoulder work to swing the racket.  Excellent.  But, if your lumbar spine, or thoracic spine, or already stiffening shoulder are already stiff, then playing tennis is not going to prevent arthritis of those joints.

Okay, what’s my point?

How to Prevent Arthritis

Just like brushing our teeth and flossing every day to ensure the health of our teeth, we have to actively ensure that our joints are moving on a daily basis.  So, play tennis, golf, or run, or be a triathlete, and play hockey, but also do your joint maintenance exercises.  Roll around on the floor with your kids, play as though you were a child, and learn how every joint in the body moves so that you can actively move it on a daily basis.

The Doctor’s Report

This is where I come into the picture.  The purpose of The Doctors’ Report is to illustrate the importance of looking after the health of your body from all, scientifically updated, points of fact on what we know works for creating and maintaining a healthy, functional you.  Most of us have a team of health professionals that we visit from time to time to check up on, and assist our health.  A medical physician, an optometrist, and dentist.  The specialization of these doctors became necessary to ensure proper health of the complicated human body.  But few have a doctor of chiropractic and a doctor of naturopathy.  Why?  The complexity and evolving science of the musculoskeletal system is so vital to healthy, functional living.  The fine balance of our hormones, diet, and sleep has significant impact on our day-to-day energy, functionality, and happiness.  Medical doctors are not doctors of these important elements of life; certainly optometrists and dentists are not either.  At Satori, Dr. Vani and I are here to serve these purposes to better your life.  Whether you’re suffering with pain, physical limitations, low energy, mood, or struggling with maintaining a healthy weight, we are here to not only help you with treatment, but to teach and train you.

Functional Range Conditioning (FRC) is a science.  A former classmate of mine scoured the scientific journals and pieced together a form of exercise that blended the facts of improving the body through exercise.  He called it Functional Range Conditioning.  At its basic levels, FRC incorporates exercises that promote restoration and preservation of healthy joint ranges of motion.  By regaining our full joint motions, we become proper, mobile humans.  Ensuring proper mobility of our joints prevents joint injury and enhances the capacity of our body to move well.  And, prevents the degeneration of our joints, commonly referred to as “normal aging”.  It is not about staying young forever.  We won’t.  It’s about living as functionally as we can for the entirety of our lives.  With healthy joints comes healthy motion.  With healthy motion comes strong, able muscles and bones.  And, when our neuro-musculoskeletal system works well, our mind works better too.

OK, What Now?

Each of my patients learns Functional Range Conditioning.  Whether I teach them full exercise programs, or simply show them a thing or two for a particular body part, I teach FRC every day, all day.  At the core of who I am as a chiropractor, you’ll find me teaching the proper way to train the body for the marathon of life.  I invite you, even implore you, to visit me to continue this conversation.

1 Join the Conversation

  1. says
    Nov 10, 2015 at 4:01 PM

    Letter to the Editor After each The Doctors’ Report, we welcome comments from our readers, either in written form or verbally through your Satori health practitioner. Comment One such comment made it to my desk this afternoon (Nov 10, 2015). The essence of the comment is that the Report, written by I, Dr. Michael Berenstein, makes it seem as though anyone suffering with arthritis has brought this debilitating condition on by themselves. And, suggesting that arthritis can be prevented makes the arthritis sufferer feel as though they failed at this aspect of health. Response To the anonymous commenter and anyone who feels similarly, I offer a sincere apology. This is, and was not, the intent of the The Report. “The Importance of Joint Health” was written to illuminate readers about the scientific advancements in musculoskeletal health prevention. Like brushing and flossing your teeth to prevent tooth and gum disease, wearing rubber gloves during surgery to prevent infection, we now know how to train the body to improve joint and muscle health to ward off ‘wear-and-tear’ joint damage, also known as osteoarthritis. The article is not speaking about the family of arthritides other than osteoarthritis. The inflammatory arthritides, such as Rheumatoid, Psoriatic, and other auto-immune caused arthritides are a completely different story. Osteoarthritis, also known as degenerative arthritis, is gradual break down of the health of a joint. It involves degradation of the cartilage of the joint, inflammation, stiffness, and a loss of range of motion and decreased muscle strength. The inflammatory arthritides, unfortunately, are an acquired illness and not the intended subject matter of the The Report. Some of the strategies discussed in the “The Importance of Joint Health” may still prove to be effective at combatting inflammatory arthritis, but I cannot and will not say so in general terms. Further, I should note that there are ‘other’ causes of osteoarthritis: One such example is trauma. In the unfortunate scenario whereby a traumatic injury causes damage to a joint, it is expected that that joint will succumb more likely, and earlier, to osteoarthritis. And, thus, it represents another example where arthritis was the result of bad luck, rather than a failure of the individual to stay healthy. I hope this response clears up the misunderstanding about which arthritis I was referring to in the “The Importance of Joint Health” article. And, as always, I welcome comments and questions.

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