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What Everyone Needs To Know About Their Body

Taking a history, performing a physical examination, and communicating a neuro-musculoskeletal diagnosis to patients are an everyday occurrence in my office. It has become second nature to compile the relevant data and formulate a working understanding of my patients’ physical complaints. As a result, I sometimes forget that my second nature took years to cultivate. In fact, truly understanding how our bodies function is a complicated science.

The human form and related function is highly evolved, sophisticated, and brilliant. Because of this, I often shake my head knowing how many people do next to nothing to uphold the complexity and importance of their bodies. These same individuals routinely brush and floss their teeth, visit the dentist, eye doctor, and medial doctor for check-ups to ensure proper mouth, eye, and heart health. And yet, when it comes to our nervous system, muscles, bones, and joints, the expectation is that they will take care of themselves. The purpose of this blog is to highlight the fact that our muscles, joints, and nervous system will not, in fact, simply take care of themselves. Hopefully this blog effectively teaches some of the core concepts of physical health.

The following list comprises some of my most important points about how the body works and why it is important for you to look after these aspects of your overall health and wellbeing.

•The brain and spinal cord represent your central nervous system – the most vital organ of your body. It controls everything in your body – thoughts, sensations, movement, and self-preservation. It is housed and protected by your skull and spinal column. Posture, repetitive habits, trauma, and all forms of stress (emotional, physical, chemical) will cause adaptations to the bones of our skull and the vertebrae of our spinal column. These adaptations represent the brilliance of the body – they occur to protect you from the stress. Unfortunately, they have consequences. These adaptations – whether they be restricted joints, misalignments, or the inevitable degeneration, transfer stress to the central nervous system. This, in turn, has countless effects to the way our body functions: Decreased organ function, nerve pain, numbness, and muscle tension to name just a few.
•Physical adaptations (twisted pelvis, torn muscle, sprained ligament, decreased joint range of motion) don’t exist in a vacuum. Once a singular adaptation has occurred, for whatever reason, a pattern of compensation will develop. A common example in my office is the development of a twisted pelvis. How and why the twist occurred is sometimes unknown. Yet, it exists. In fact, the twist itself may have been present for many years without obvious symptoms. Nevertheless, compensation patterns have cemented themselves in your body’s function. Compensatory muscle tightness, restricted spinal joints, and sub-par nervous system function creep in. Eventually, your body alerts you to these changes with an alarm system: PAIN!
•Even if physical adaptations have been present for years (symptomatic or not), manual medicine (chiropractic, osteopathy, massage, exercise) is able to improve and unwind these changes. Improvement can be easy, difficult, fast, slow, complete, or partial, but it can and does occur. Untwisting the pelvis relieves the body’s need to compensate decreasing back pain. Restoring joint alignment in the neck decreases the frequency and severity of headaches. Improved joint function, decreased muscle tightness, and improved strength helps the body function as it originally intended. Decreasing stress on the spinal column improves nervous system function which leads to overall health improvements.
•Degeneration will still occur in your body. Muscles will weaken over time. Muscle tightness will set in. Joints will stiffen causing a loss of range of motion. These changes are inevitable. But, improving and maintaining the quality of your physical tissue (nerves, muscles, joints) will slow down the degenerative process.
•Including good exercise into your routine will also off-set the wear and tear of the body by improving joint range of motion, muscle strength and flexibility, not to mention the neurological pathways that control the act of movement and proprioception.
•Take the same logic for why you brush your teeth and apply it to your physical body: a) It maintains your function and health; b) It makes you look better; and c) It improves the quality of your life.

You don’t have to brush your teeth to maintain your oral health. But, it’s a good idea. You don’t have to do cardiovascular exercise to improve your heart health. But, it’s a good idea. You don’t have to see a chiropractor and a massage therapist to maintain your neurological and physical health. But, as you have just read, it’s a good idea.

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