Health Column: Why alignment could be key to good health

03/15/2011 5:34 PM |

Anatomy is the study of the structure of the human body. Physiology is the study of its function, how things work. Most are completely unaware that there’s an intricate relationship between structure and function. When the structure of the human body is altered, function suffers. Health is all about function.

The structure of the human body is altered by emotional, mental, chemical and physical trauma. Twisting and pulling on a baby’s neck during birth is often traumatic. Slips, falls, accidents, stress and tension are all traumatic. Stress and trauma cause weakness, sickness and diminished function through the spine and nervous system.

“The nervous system controls and regulates the activities of all the other systems of the body and determines their harmonious cooperation for the benefit of the organism as a whole,” according to Gray’s Anatomy, the major medical anatomy textbook,

The nervous system runs the show, and yet it’s the least considered and examined with almost every illness and disease. Disrupt the nervous system and organs, glands, immune function, body and brain chemistry, as well as everything else in the body, suffers.

The nervous system gets disrupted most commonly from spinal joint injuries. The 28 bones of the spine and pelvis are designed to support and protect the delicate nerve tissue of the spinal cord and spinal nerve roots. When these joints of the spine are injured even slightly, the central nervous system is weakened. This can lead to sickness and disease.

Take a look at some old-timers with really poor spines. They can hardly walk. Getting out of a chair is difficult. The hip and knee joints are shot or have been replaced. These people don’t enjoy vibrant health. They probably go to multiple doctors and take a dozen different medicines for all kinds of problems. They didn’t wake up on their 70th birthday and suddenly have arthritis in their backs, necks, hips and knees. It’s a gradual process that begins with the first spinal trauma, which could be at birth or from falling off a bicycle.

Injured joints deteriorate and eventually actually change their shape and position. If a child falls on her butt and slightly injures one of her sacroiliac joints, the joint may be a little stuck. Perhaps it only moves about 75 percent of its normal range of motion. No one notices that her right foot turns out a little bit, or that one hip is a little stiffer than the other. She has little or no pain, but the slightly diminished motion of the sacroiliac joint leads to gradual degenerative changes in the hips, knees and lumbar spine. This process continues for decades, often before symptoms develop, and at age 35 she is told she has some arthritis in her back.

Taking a painkiller to relieve symptoms of pain or stiffness in the neck or back, muscle relaxant or anti-inflammatory medicine to ease the symptoms misses the point. Pain is present to tell you something is wrong. Taking a pill and ignoring the body’s warning system only addresses the symptoms, not the problem. The vast majority of people who have endured spinal injections, back surgery and hip and knee joint replacements have grossly ignored their pelvic and spinal problems throughout their lives.

Chiropractic is the largest drug-free health profession in the world. Its major focus is on the relationship between the structure of the spine and pelvis and the function of the central nervous system. Correcting spinal and pelvic joint problems early in life not only allows you to move with more ease and grace, but keeps the nervous system functioning the way it was designed to function, freely and unrestricted.

Chiropractic benefits people mechanically and by protecting the central nervous system. When joints of the spine and pelvis are balanced and move in their normal, healthy and full ranges of motion, life is better. You move with more ease and have fewer aches and pains and take less medicine. You’re less likely to need hip and knee joint replacement surgery.

Common sense tells you that when your central nervous system works better, every aspect of life is better. Your thinking is clearer; your brain chemistry is better; your emotions are more balanced; and every organ, gland and system in your body functions better.

Chiropractic isn’t just about backaches. By the time you experience that first backache, there’s already damage to one or more spinal joints. Chiropractic is about correcting and maintaining a healthy spine and nervous system so the entire body and mind work better. It’s about deeply understanding the relationship between structure and function in the human body.

Dr. Rick Hall is a Southold chiropractor.