Your Spine is Critical for Your Overall Health
In order to understand if chiropractic is right for you and how we can potentially help you, let’s discuss some fundamental principles.
Let’s get very basic: YOUR SPINE IS IMPORTANT.
Now that’s not a controversial statement at all, and you might be saying, Of course I know that my spine is important.
But if you really understand the WHY behind this concept, it can really alter the way you view your health and deeply inform your healthcare choices and habits.
Think of your spine as having two main functions, or two important jobs.
1. Structural Strength and Stability
Like the pillars that hold up your house, your spine provides the strength and rigidity to support your body. Being at the center of your body, your spine is the core structure that your skull and other key body parts are attached to.
Your pelvis, which is connected to your lower spinal region, is in-turn connected to your legs, knees and feet. Your shoulders, arms and hands articulate with the upper area (thoracic) of your spine. Your whole body is structurally connected to this critical central pillar, known as your spinal column.
All of the forces, stresses, traumas, impacts and movements that you experience throughout your life translate towards your spinal column. This means that these stresses and forces move towards and can terminate at your spinal column.
Your spine has to be strong to withstand the pressures of life.
There is a very specific position or alignment your spine needs to have in order to have maximal strength.
From behind, your spine needs to be straight from top to bottom and your pelvis needs to be level.
As seen from the side, your spine needs to be curved. There should be a forward curve in your neck (cervical spine), an opposite backward curve in your mid back (thoracic spine), and another forward curve in your lower back (lumbar spine).
This position is ideal for optimal spinal health.
If your spine is not in this position, then you have a problem. And it’s a bigger problem than just having a lopsided spine. It’s more than merely a cosmetic problem.
Another way to look at this idea is to imagine that your spine is a series of blocks stacked one on top of the other. These blocks represent the individual bones of your spine and are highly moveable. They need to move well.
Yes that’s right: your spine has to be strong, rigid and durable like a support pillar; and your spine needs to be flexible so you can move with ease in your life. It may seem that these are opposing functions (strong and flexible), but that is why the human spine is such a marvel of engineering.
In order for your spine to be rigid and flexible, it has been designed to be comprised of a series of bones that connect to each other in a very specific way.
This leads us to your spine’s SECOND and really, the most important job.
2. Protection for Your Master POWER System.
Your spine’s most important job, aside from providing support for your life, is to house and protect your nervous system.
Think of your spine as a flexible (hopefully) container for your master POWER system—your nerve system
Have You Heard of Your Nerve System?
You might have some awareness of the critical nature of your nervous system, but understanding how your nerve system works is essential for understanding how chiropractic can enrich your life. Your nervous system is an intricate communication network comprised of:
- Your brain, which is like the boss of your body or the super computer that gathers, integrates and sends a million messages a second to your body parts
- Your spinal cord, which is your body’s essential life-line that runs down the center of your back
- Your spinal nerves, which act as wires sending and receiving the vital information to and from your brain to your body parts
The POWER that flows through your cells, tissues and organs that animate your life is conducted through this vast communication network or wiring system – your nerve system. Your brain, through your peripheral nerve system,coordinates and controls all of your body functions.
Everything you can think of:
- Your heart beating
- Lung function
- Muscle movement
- Balance and coordination
- Digestive function
- Kidney health
- Immune system coordination
- Liver function
- Your posture
- Growth and development in children
- Your ability to deal with stress,
- All of the healing that goes on inside of you
All body functions are controlled by your brain through your nerve system.
At the same time, your nerve system (brain, spinal cord and nerves) is very delicate; it can get damaged very easily if it is not protected properly. For example, a very small degree of pressure or stress can severely damage a nerve.
So again think of your spine as a series of highly moveable blocks that contains your delicate (but very intricate and interconnected) master communication network.
These two jobs complement each mother: protection of your nervous system and structural support for your life.
3. Your Spine Can Get Damaged
Well, why is this important? Because of the nature of your spine, it is fairly easy for your spine to get injured. Large traumas like slips and falls, carrying heavy objects, car accidents, sports injuries can cause spine injuries. But even small stresses over prolonged periods can cause your spine to misalign and damage your nerve system. We’ll discuss this in detail during future blog posts.
But for now, what I want you to really remember is that spinal injuries, mainly spinal misalignment conditions, are very serious because your spine is so closely associated with your nerve system. Spine injuries are also extremely common.
And the concern with this is that spine problems damage your nervous system. This damage can silently build up over many years, gradually robbing you of health and vitality, and eventually leading to significant pain and dysfunction as well as limitations in your life.
Your Spine is the Key to Your Health
Your spine is the structural core of your body and your spine protects your hugely important nervous system. Your spine needs to be strong, flexible and in proper alignment for your nervous system to be healthy.
This is the basis for how chiropractic can help you function better in your life—by improving the health and alignment of your spine.
Your nervous system governs your overall health, so if your nervous system is compromised you are not living life to its fullest!
We all want a great life. In order to have a great life, you need to experience vibrant health. In order for you to be as healthy as possible, taking care of your spine needs to be at the foundation of your health habits.