Dr. Glen Schaffer, chiropractor San Carlos Chiropractic
What is “proper structure” and what’s its importance related to your health? Proper structure is another one of our 6 pillars of vibrant life. For a quick review the 6 pillars are: Proper Nutrition, Proper Exercise, Proper Rest, Proper Mental/Emotional/Spiritual Wellbeing, Proper Structure and Elimination of Toxins. A simple explanation of Proper Structure is having the structures of the body in proper alignment and function. From and common sense standpoint, that makes sense, if structures of the body aren’t in proper alignment they won’t function properly and the chance for optimal health is greatly diminished. This is a very expansive topic that we’ll talk about in much greater detail in future posts. But for today, we’ll whittle it down and focus in on a couple of key areas: the musculoskeletal system including the spine. This pillar of the Vibrant Life is probably the least understood by most people and the most ignored when it comes to achieving optimal health.
I’m a practicing chiropractor with over 30 years of experience. From a chiropractic perspective, the spine is the key to proper structure, which I’ll explain in just a moment. But there is much more to this area!! First we need to understand a little bit about human anatomy. Let’s get started. Our computer, the part of our body that control everything else is our brain. The brain communicates with every system, organ and tissue of the body via our nervous system, which is analogous to a very vast and complicated network of wires. The brain not only sends signals out but also receives signals from the body telling it how things are going and what is happening in the body. I’m really simplifying this, but I just want you to understand the concept. The point here is that your brain and nervous system are responsible for controlling your health and its purpose is to keep you optimally healthy! Pretty amazing stuff!!
Here’s a common sense question, Would your health be better or worse if the signals going from your brain and coming back to your brain negatively impacted or interfered with? The answer is obvious, your health index would be lowered. There is no way for you to have optimal health!! This is an example of how your structure can dramatically impact your health. I’m going to give you two examples of how your structure can negatively impact your nervous system and negatively impact your overall health.
The first example is direct irritation on spinal nerves. This problem is the key foundation to the chiropractic philosophy. The brain stem comes off the base of your brain and extends down into your spine as your spinal cord. Off of your spinal cord come spinal nerves that exit the spine through small opens and go out to ALL of your systems, organs and tissues in your body. Misalignments occur in your spine which will irritate or pinch on these spinal nerves. This is what chiropractors call spinal subluxation. These pinched or irritated nerves cannot function at 100%, which means optimal health cannot be achieved. Most of the time spinal subluxations are not painful until they worsen. Most people walk around with spinal subluxations and aren’t aware of it!!
The second example is indirect irritation on your nervous system. As I mentioned previously, your brain not only send out signals, but also receives signals from your body telling it what is going on. There are many types of receptors throughout your body that tell your brain what’s happening. One type of receptors are called nociceptors. If I stick a needle in your arm or you stub your toe, nociceptors fire off telling your brain that something negative is happening. If you have a variety of aliments, bad knee, bad shoulder, stomach issue, etc., lots of nociceptors are firing signals to your brain and creating static or irritation in your entire nervous system. This will prevent your nervous system from functioning at 100%, thus lower your overall health index.
This was a focused explanation of the Proper Structure pillar of our Vibrant Lifestyle. Spinal subluxations can cause back or neck pain, but often don’t until they worsen, similar to how a cavity in a tooth won’t cause pain until it worsens. Spinal subluxation will almost always put irritation on your nervous system, which will always lower your overall health index and may indeed cause others health problems. Here’s a list of “other” health conditions I’ve personal seen in my practice that were related to spinal subluxation: migraine headaches, tension headaches, ADHD, asthma, carpal tunnel, irritable bowel syndrome and the list goes on. Other ongoing issues in your structure like a bad hip or knee, on-going digestive issue, etc., will also lower your health index by putting irritation or “static” into your nervous system preventing your nervous system from functioning at its best. Chiropractors are uniquely trained to treat spinal subluxations, which most people aren’t aware that they have. Don’t wait until you’re hurting! If you’re desiring optimal health, get checked by a chiropractor today for spinal subluxations!