It is Spinal Awareness Week in May so we wanted to get a bit geeky this month and share just a few of the things about our favourite part of your body…your spine!
Whether you realise it or not, from the moment you walk in to the treatment room, your chiropractor is picking up lots of information from your spine.
Your posture is the window to your spine so every movement you make – sitting standing and exercising – allows us to see what is happening and why you are experiencing symptoms.
During your appointment, your spine will constantly be giving us information as we look at specific movements, your posture and symmetry, how you bend or flex, and where there are restrictions or pain.
By freeing these restrictions we are not only looking to reduce pain and inflammation but we are having a direct impact on your nervous system, which is your body’s internal communications channel. By improving its functionality, we can help you to express better health overall.
Reading your spine
Your spine has 4 defined areas that your chiropractor is looking at. Your cervical spine (neck), your thoracic spine (the middle part), your lumbar spine (low back) and your sacrum and coccyx (the end section).
Your spine isn’t there just to hold you up, it has a very important function and that is to protect your spinal cord which runs all through the middle of it. Your spinal cord sends information via your brain and nervous system to every cell, tissue and organ in your body as it is your master communication centre. If your nervous system is working well and able to function optimally, then the rest of your body is much more likely to be able to function optimally. This is the fundamental basis of your body feeling happy, healthy and strong.
Dr Sperry’s revelation tells us that it is really important to remain active and keep healthy movement of your spine and all of its individual joints, in order to stimulate activity in your brain and provide it with the nutrients it needs. This is why we often feel more tired and sluggish if we’ve been too sedentary. Lack of movement has a huge impact on us. That’s one of the reasons we work closely with you to identify appropriate exercises.
Sedentary living can lead to musculoskeletal aches, pains and stiffness, as well as reducing your overall brain function.
We specifically look for ways to adjust and correct any restriction in movement in your spinal system not just because they can cause back pain or discomfort, but because they can also affect the functionality of your nervous system and reduce nutrition and optimum communication to your brain. This in turn can affect your overall health and wellbeing.
Translating your aches and pains
Pain and other symptoms are your body’s way of telling you that something is wrong and they can show up in many different ways.
You may have a sharp, catching, stabbing or pinching pain when you go from sitting to standing, or you might feel a toothachy pain when you turn your neck, which could all be a result of having nerve irritation. Sometimes it could be a tight band of tension across the base of your spine, or even a deep, bruised feeling. Tingling, numbness, muscle weakness, shooting pains, pins and needles tell us that there is a nerve involved, which could be inflamed, irritated or compressed. These symptoms can change depending on which fibres of the nerves get irritated.
Whatever type of pain or symptoms you are experiencing, we can translate all of these messages into useful information about what is going on with your body structures and, more importantly, what we can do about it to improve your health.
If we need to take a deeper look, we can also take X-rays or organise a referral for an MRI to get clearer understanding of any damage.
Balancing your body
Persistent symptoms that span longer periods of time can result in headaches, brain fog, fatigue, heartburn, bloating, indigestion or maybe IBS symptoms in addition to your original problem.
Some people find that as their spine improves, these symptoms also get better. This could be due to the improved flow of nutrients through the spinal cord to the brain, and also the autonomic nervous system, which is split into two parts: sympathetic (freeze, fight and flight) and parasympathetic (rest, digest and heal).
Imagine a see-saw. On one side there’s the sympathetic nervous system. When you are under stress, that system will go into overdrive and release adrenaline and cortisol so that your body will be prepared for running or fighting. This increases tension, reduces your immune resistance, and can cause an increase in sensation to pain and fatigue. This also impedes your normal repair mechanisms, which can slow healing. Our busy modern lives often cause the fight, flight or freeze response in our body, which is why many of us struggle with long-term injuries.
On the other side of the see-saw is the parasympathetic nervous system. This is the part that should be most active. When it is working well, it allows you to feel energised, bright and happy as it stimulates a very different physiological response in the body.
The ideal would be to achieve balance between both. You can try to achieve that by consciously reducing stress through meditation and mindfulness, having chiropractic adjustments, or massage. These all help to increase the parasympathetic nervous system which enables your body to heal and repair better.
So, it’s good for you learn to listen to your body too. Stay active and be aware of how your body works and the responses you may have to your everyday lifestyle. Remember, we are here to help you.
Quick exercises to help keep your spine healthy
Here’s how Michelle benefited from spine whispering…
“Jason is an absolute miracle worker. Before being recommended to see him, I was living with back pain that was affecting my everyday life and hindering me from carrying out normal day activities. I feel like Jason has given me back my life as I am now able to live normally again pain free!
“I had previously tried physio, acupuncture and had been to see a private consultant but nothing else had worked. For anyone who may be nervous or apprehensive about chiropractic treatment, I couldn’t recommend Jason highly enough.
“He has an excellent bedside manner and for someone who was nervous, he made me feel completely at ease and we worked at a pace I was comfortable with. Jason is extremely knowledgeable in his field and is able to provide clear explanations. As mentioned above, I couldn’t recommend him highly enough. He has worked magic for the pain I was living with.”
– Michelle Corazzo’s review on Google
Celebrate Spinal Awareness Week
If you know someone who could benefit from this post, please share it with them. We offer a complimentary spine check to anyone that is interested in how chiropractic may be able to help them. You can book this online, or by calling 02082951733.
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