Tuesday, May 22, 2012

What Will You Do When Your Spine Wears Out?

Interesting question with no good answers. You would think by the way most people take care of their spine that they believe it will last forever.  Maybe its because they're used to thinking that you can replace almost anything including knees or hips or maybe it's because they think that their spine will never wear out and if it does they'll just need a surgical "tune up" if things get too bad....OR.... maybe most people don't give it much thought, because they can't see it.

I tend to believe the last reason is the real answer.  For the most part, we don't take care of the things we can't see.  Whether its the regular maintenance of a car (oil, filters, brakes, etc..) or the inner systems of our body (cardiovascular, immune, nervous system, etc....), these things tend to get neglected.  Although, sometimes I think people spend more time and energy on their cars than they do on their bodies. 

Plastic surgery is booming because if we can see it, we will usually work to improve it;  augmentations, liposuction, rhinoplasty, hair replacement, teeth whitening and teeth straightening, just to name a few, are all "outside" changes that for the most part have little to no affect on health. So what about the things inside your body that you cannot see that actually DO affect your health: your cardiovascular system, your immune system, your nervous system? Most people pay absolutely no attention to these parts until their bodies dope slap them & they experience a secondary symptom like a heart attack, an illness, or a pain that forces them to PAY ATTENTION. 

If you realized the most important system in your body is protected and energized by your spine would you think differently?  What if you knew "Wolve's Law"?  That bone remodels to stress, and when your spine is under abnormal stress due to poor alignment, the bones will remodel and slowly change shape.  AKA- osteoarthritis. This is NOT hereditary or due to aging, although it does get worse the longer the problem has been around.  This is simple physics and joint biomechanics. Abnormal alignment leads to abnormal wear, which FORCES your body to try & fix the problem by adding new bone. This can be  avoided if the affected joints are corrected and aligned properly because now the joint can function properly and better withstand the normal forces put upon it.  I never enjoy having to explain to a patient that their spine has deteriorated so badly that the problem cannot be corrected.  In these circumstance, their most likely path will be temporary relief of a secondary condition whether its by means of conservative care, medication, or surgery.

Albeit, most people come to our office with some type of secondary condition (Neck or Low Back Pain, Headaches, Disc herniations, Sciatica, Numbness or Tingling, Etc.....)  Many times these secondary conditions could have been avoided if they took better care of the Structure of their Spine. 

This is why we take special structural x-rays to asses the blueprint of your spine.  If you can't see it, then your guessing, and I don't like to guess with people's health.  Please don't treat your spine like it can be replaced, because it CANNOT!  Knowing the condition of your spine is valuable information and can help you make better decisions regarding your current health.

Have a Great Day!

Dr. Deane

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Which Part Sunk The Titanic?

Common conditions SECONDARY to an Abnormal Structure (the  short list) 

  • Headaches
  • Neck Pain and Stiffness
  • Muscle Tension / Spasms
  • Arm / Hand Pain or Numbness
  • Low Back Pain
  • Sciatica
  • Hip Pain
  • Plantar Fascitis
  • Rotator Cuff Issues
  • Degenrative Discs and Vertebra
  • Herniated or Bulging Discs

The tip of an iceberg is misleading as to its actual size beneath the water, just like symptoms are misleading as to their actual cause.  A structural imbalance is often the underlying cause of secondary conditions (symptoms) as listed above.  All too often we hear about various health care professionals attempting to address what is really a SYMPTOM of something more significant.  It's like someone who keeps discovering cracks in their dry wall.  They keep attempting to fill in the cracks, when what they SHOULD  be doing is focusing FIRST on the foundation and internal structure of the home.  Anything else is considered a temporary patch job.

There are FOUR signs that are absolute indicators of a structural imbalance. The first is a structural shift. The second is loss of the normal curves in the spine. The third is compressed discs.  And the fourth is degenerative bones.  If one or more of these INDICATORS reveals a Structural Issue or imbalance, then it stands to reason that your structural issue is likely to be the underlying primary cause of your secondary condition / symptom. What we often find is that other health care providers, who certainly mean well, will throw anything and everything at the secondary condition without ever considering the underlying structural issue. This is usually due to the fact that they are not trained in detecting and correcting structural issues...in the same way that I am not trained in mixing prescriptions. Does that make sense?

Hope your having a GREAT DAY!

Dr. Deane

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Training the CORE

Many times I run into people with back issues and they will ask me, or tell me, about "Core Exercises." Like this is THE ONE thing they need to do to solve their back issues.  Even though having "weak" core muscles can be part of the equation, it is a very incomplete picture.

What is the Core?

Core means center, the innermost part.  When it comes to the human body, the core is the spinal column.  The spinal column has a NORMAL configuration or alignment. Do you know yours?  If you look at it from the front or back, it should be straight and vertical.  Looking at a normal spine from the side, you will see "S" shaped curves.  Researchers have even figured out what the normal radius of those curves should be.  So just like measuring normal blood pressure, normal eye sight, normal temperature, etc..., we can measure normal structure of the spine with proper structural x-rays.  This is vital in figuring out if you have ABNORMAL shifts or deviations that can be causing Secondary Conditions (Symptoms). 

For example:
  • Neck & Back Pain
  • Sciatica & Hip Pain
  • Numbness & Tingling
  • Muscular Spasms & Tension
  • Headaches (Including Migraines)
  • Pinched Nerves
  • Herniated Discs
  • Degenerative Disc Disease
  • Degenerative Joint Disease
  • Decreased Range of Motion
  • Poor Posture
  • Dizziness / Vertigo
  • Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Again, those are commonly Secondary Conditions (symptoms) that are a result of a Primary issue (poor structure).

So, getting back to your core exercises.  Let's focus on the lower back for a minute.  If you have suffered with lower back pain, I'm sure you have gotten all sorts of advice from family, friends, trainers, therapists, and doctors as to "The Solution".  Kind of like getting rid of the hiccups; everyone has their favorite way.  I'm not here to tell you they are all wrong, just that back pain is a Secondary Condition to some other primary issue that is going on.  If we keep this conversation to just the musculoskeletal system in nature, then wouldn't it make sense to know what your core structure (spine) looks like before a prescribed treatment is given?   Just looking at your posture is NOT going to definitively tell us what's going on inside.  

Let me use another example.  Let's say your front right tire has some abnormal wear and tear on it & you bring it to the shop where they rotate the tires.  A few months go by and the right front tire now has the same wear and tear as the previous right front tire.  So you bring the car back and have the tires rotated again.  You keep doing this until it's time for new tires.  You notice that these tires did not last as long as they should have, so you buy some better tires and low and behold the front right tire starts that same abnormal wear pattern.  This time you go to a different tire shop and the first thing they ask you is   "have you had your tires aligned?"  The ding, ding, ding bell goes off in your head. 

Performing core muscular exercises with a spine that does not have normal structural alignment is like rotating tires on a car without aligning the front end.  You might have some temporary improvements with your secondary conditions, but your body is still less efficient with energy, movement, and strength.  This sets your body up for more injuries. Take that one step further and realize an out of aligned spine will wear out faster than one that is properly aligned.  The laws of physics and gravity will see to that.

Hopefully you're starting to see that even exercises for your core muscles could be harming your core structure!  At Moore Family Chiropractic we do a complete structural exam on each patient to determine there structural status.  This includes a complete set of Structural x-rays in a weight bearing position with proper set up as to not get a faulty picture.  We perform a digital foot analysis to determine the status of the feet and how they are supporting everything above it.  A digital postural analysis is done and compared to the inside structure as well as determine the outside degree of shifts and deviations from normal.  Functional tests are also included on the structure and nervous system to determine how your body is responding to its current state.  This exam gives us a very thorough picture of your structural status and then we are able to give you a treatment plan to best help you.  And you know what, you might  even receive some core structural care.  It all starts with a complementary consultation, which is a conversation not a commitment.

Have a Great Day!

Dr. Deane