What does your spinal diagnosis say about you?

44785944 - attractive woman with back pain at home in the bedroomWhat does your spinal diagnosis say about you?  

There are hundreds of official diagnoses when it comes to spinal conditions.  People are most familiar with low back pain, disc herniations, cervical or lumbar radiculopathies, scoliosis, degenerative disc disease, spinal stenosis and arthritis of the spine.  Each one of these has a different mechanism for how it shows up in the body.  The aim of modern medicine is to determine which condition is present based on signs and symptoms so that proper procedure can be performed.

People with spinal conditions often turn to a chiropractor when they 1) don’t want to have a surgery that their physician has recommended or 2) their medical doctor has told them that there is nothing else they can do for them except for pain medications.

One of the reasons that chiropractors are successful at helping people in these situations is because we look at the entire spinal system, not just where it hurts or has a “problem”.  We also evaluate the biomechanics of the spine, posturing, behaviors, thoughts and emotions that contribute to what is showing up in your spine.

There are no quick fixes.  Even if you choose to have a spinal surgery, if you don’t simultaneously make some changes in your life, your situation will likely not improve.  I believe this is one reason why so many back surgeries are unsuccessful.  Secondly, when you fuse or alter one part of the spine it will produce changes in how other parts of the spine function, which is why people often develop pain in previously asymptomatic areas of the spine after a spinal surgery.

How can something so gentle and non-invasive help?

Debunking the force myth 

We tend to think that if something physical is expressing in our body than we need something really physical to fix it.  There is also the idea that the more aggressive we are in our approach the more likely we will be at getting rid of it.  In this way of thinking the more force, aggression, doing or invasiveness = better results.

A-P-103Have you ever had the experience when you were trying to accomplish something, but you just couldn’t figure out how to do it?  You tried all your old ways of accomplishing, but nothing was working.  After exhausting yourself doing things and stressing out about it you talked with a friend to share your frustration and perhaps get some advice.  Your friend did not offer any advice but instead held an “invisible” space for you to talk while they listened.  At the end of the conversation you did not have an answer but you felt more spacious, clearer, and relaxed.  Your frustrations were heard.  The next day you went back to your project and saw a new perspective that you had not seen before, and alas you made some forward progress.

Your body works in much the same way.  When someone is present with your body, without trying to fix it, your body changes how it functions, postures and holds itself.  Chiropractic may be less aggressive and forceful than surgery or chemical alteration through pharmaceuticals, however when applied with presence its effects are much more profound.  The amount of presence you have in any endeavor is inversely proportionally to the amount of force you need.  The spine and nervous system respond to presence and the body will self-organize, self-regulate and self-heal when in the presence of presence.

Dr. Amanda Hessel, DC, Network Spinal Analysis & Somato-Respiratory Integration

Posture & Joint Health: Don’t’ let Gravity Get the Best of You!

Have you ever been told you have poor posture?

Do you experience pain in your back, hips, knees or shoulders?

Have you noticed that your head is forward of your body?

Posture is more than standing or sitting up straight. Posture has to do with how well your body can work with stress, recover from injury or illness, heal, and function optimally. Imbalanced posture leads to numerous health concerns, including problems with your joints and even your internal organs.

Gravity can wreak havoc on your joints if your posture is not in the best alignment. This creates pain and poor biomechanics that can lead to early degeneration. A common sign of this is when people’s head come forward of their shoulders and body. This condition is called “Forward Head Carriage” and is epidemic in our society. Forward head carriage puts abnormal stress on different areas of the mid-back and low back creating pain, discomfort, muscle tension and sometimes even numbness and tingling down the arms or legs.

“Forward head posture leads to long-term muscle strain, disc herniations, arthritis and pinched nerves.” ~Mayo Clinic

Forward head posture also puts significant stress on your spinal cord. The spinal cord is the bundle of nerves that connects your brain to your body. When there is stress on the spinal cord it tightens and begins to physically fray. That means that messages that travel down that cord from your brain to body (and back up) get distorted and sometimes even lost. Imagine the significance of this if one of those messages that gets lost tells your heart to beat rhythmically or your lungs to breath.

 

Dr. Alf Breig, neurosurgeon & Noble Prize recipient, did extensive research in the area of spinal cord tension and found that, “Loss of the cervical (neck) curve stretches the spinal cord 5-7 cm and causes disease.” Loss of the neck curve occurs when the head comes forward of the body. Below is a list of causes of imbalanced posture and potential effects on your body.

What causes Imbalanced Posture? Imbalanced Posture contributes to:
·         Physical trauma & repetitive motions

·         Emotional & mental stress

·         Chemical toxins in foods & the environment

·         Spinal cord irritation & pull

·         Inflammation in your body

 

·         Wear and tear on your joints leading to degenerative arthritis

·         Muscular imbalances creating tightness in some muscles and weakness in others

·         Increased pain & chronic pain

·         Nerve irritation

·         Decreased blood flow to the brain and other vital organs

·         Poor adaptability

August is “Posture Awareness Month” at BodyMind Alchemy. I invite you to check out our free classes that we are providing to raise awareness of the importance of posture and its implications on your health. Please visit: https://bodymindalchemyboulder.com/events-calendar/in-office-talks/ to find out how to register. Anyone who comes to our talks this month will receive a free postural screening and computerized assessment!

Dr. Amanda Hessel, DC, MS, L.Ac