The popularity of modern technology has lead to an increase in sedentary lifestyle and many people lack any kind of regular exercise. And all at a time when most of us are experiencing a constant chronic level of stress. Being proactive in your own health has never been more important. But did you know that chiropractic care can also play an important role in maintaining a healthy lifestyle?
When most people think of chiropractors, they think of someone to visit to help with problems such as back ache, neck pain and headaches. But chiropractic, as a healing art was actually founded on the principle of helping to keep the body functioning with optimal health and wellbeing, as opposed to waiting for it to fail in some way before intervention.
When chiropractic was founded in 1896, it introduced a new and different approach to the existing problems in healthcare at the time. Back then (as still today) treatment was centred on specific diseases. Chiropractic is based on the knowledge that good health is dependent in part on a properly functioning nervous system.
How important is our nervous system?
Our nervous system consists of an intricate and highly complex series of nerves that connect all our body processes, and functions as a messenger system to relay information across our body. The central nervous system, primarily the brain and spinal cord, are the body’s control system and function to control and coordinate our bodily organs, glands and tissues.
Given the importance of our brain and spinal cord for our body’s survival, they are protected by a layer of hard bone. But unlike our skull, our spine cannot be a continuous rod of bone, as we need our spinal column to be flexible to allow our body to move. Therefore, our spine is broken up into individual segments, known as vertebrae that are connected by flexible discs. Injury, repetitive mechanical pressure and everyday lifestyle stresses, can affect the biomechanics of these vertebral segments and affect proper movement. This can have a widespread affect on surrounding tissues.
Exiting from either side of the spinal column are 31 pairs of spinal nerves which relay information to and from the brain to the rest of the body. A vertebra not moving properly can affect the neurology at this level, in this way potentially causing referred pain and/or dysfunction to other parts of the body.
Chiropractic adjustments to the spine aim to restore aberrant vertebral motion thereby removing any neurological interference caused by this improper spinal movement. Without interference, the nervous system can function to its full potential of controlling and co-ordinating the body’s tissues and functions.
Chiropractic as a preventative health care measure
Many people find that with regular chiropractic care – as part of a proactive healthy lifestyle involving regular healthy exercise, good nutrition, hydration and adequate rest and stress reduction – allows them to function and perform at a higher potential.
If a spine is moving properly, it is far less likely to undergo age related spinal degeneration or wear and tear, a very common occurrence in middle aged men and women and a common cause of pain and lack of mobility.
People often comment that with regular chiropractic adjustments they tend to experience less of the common spinal symptoms of back, neck pain and headaches.
Regular chiropractic along with specific prescribed exercises can aid in improved posture. The importance of good posture will be discussed next.
How important is your posture?
Did you know that poor posture has an affect on overall health? You may be asking how whether you are standing up straight or hunched with rounded shoulders can have an effect on the function of your body systems. Below, we will discuss this important relationship.
Correct spinal position is needed for good posture. And good posture is essential for efficiency of movement, and comfort. But, more than that, because of the close relationship the spine, rib cage and pelvis have to the body’s organ systems, posture can actually influence your bodily processes. Poor posture over time can affect your health.
For example, poor posture compromises rib cage movement and therefore limits maximum expansion of the lungs for gas exchange, causing shallow breathing.
Your risk of shoulder injury increases with poor posture due to the increased mechanical stresses on the muscles and tendons.
Faulty digestion, constipation and poor circulation are just some of the problems that can manifest from long term poor posture.
Accelerated spinal degeneration of the joints and discs is also a risk factor with poor posture.
Correct posture not only improves your appearance, but reduces risk of injury, improves co-ordination, strength, stamina and balance.
So, if you are considering making changes in your life in order to achieve your ultimate potential of optimal health and wellbeing, then chiropractic care may be able to help you.
by Dr Emma Wilkinson
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