Our purpose is to provide a comprehensive solution to resolving problems related to structural abnormalities in the spine and nervous system, to allow your body to work at its highest capacity. We are proud to serve patients from all over Fairfield and New Haven County with our unique and gentle approach to health care.
Our focus is unique. Structural Optimization focuses on specifically addressing Structural Shifts in the spine that commonly cause secondary conditions such as back pain, neck pain, headaches, degeneration, sciatica, fibromyalgia, carpal tunnel, herniated discs, and ear infections as well as immune and digestive problems. Restoring and protecting your body’s normal structural alignment is of paramount importance in maintaining optimal health.
Dr. Peter Braglia has served people of all ages and many health conditions. Use our website to find the latest in health news in our blog, and find out if customized chiropractic care is right for you or your loved ones. Experience the Structural Difference.
Our body is an architectural masterpiece – designed to do extraordinary things when functioning optimally. As a Structural Chiropractor, my focus is on the design of your spine. When the spine’s structure matches the blue prints from your DNA, then it is designed to handle the stresses of gravity and a healthy level of activity. However, when the spine loses its proper structure, then those stressors (gravity and activity) can suddenly reveal its weakness. With that in mind, lets look at seven things you may not have known about your spine:
1. Your Spine is the “Lifeline of Your Body” It has the responsibility of carrying more than a million electrical nerve messages between your brain and your body every day. For you to digest food, move your arm, wiggle your toes, or perform a burpee, signals have to traverse from your brain to your spinal cord, which is inside your spine. You have more than 45 miles of nerves in your body, constantly communicating and coordinating all of your actions, whether you are consciously thinking about it or not. It even controls things like your immune system. In many ways, it’s like the electrical system of your house with your brainstem acting as the power source. Make sure your electrical system is working by getting all the necessary structural corrections.
2. We Lose Vertebrae As We Age When we are first born, we start off with 33 vertebrae, but we only end up with 24 by adulthood. As humans grow older, some of these vertebrae fuse together. The five vertebrae that form our sacrum become a single bone and the coccygeal vertebrae – which can vary from three to five bones – fuse together to become one. Thus, the tailbone is formed.
3. Your Body is Equipped with Shock Absorbers Pads of tough, fibrous cartilage, known as intervertebral discs, are sandwiched between your vertebrae. They cushion your vertebrae to absorb shock. The combination of these discs and your S-shaped spine prevent shock to your head when you walk or run. Normal structural alignment can help prevent compressed or degenerated discs from occurring.
4. Your Spinal Cord has an Exceptional Memory That’s why it’s essential to treat it right from an early age. The spinal cord has over 100 joints, at least 220 ligaments and over 120 total muscles. Muscles that attach to the spine are used to provide flexibility, movement, and power. The more aligned your spine is, the more efficiently your muscles can fire, producing more strength. Taking care of structural problems early in life can help prevent secondary conditions (symptoms) from occurring and reduce the amount of chiropractic care needed.
5. Gravity Affects Height Since the spinal cord is roughly 25 percent cartilage, this can affect our height. Astronauts returning from space can be up to 3 percent taller, gaining as much as two inches in height because their cartilage discs expand in microgravity. The rest of us are at our tallest when we first awaken, due to gravity’s shrinking effect throughout the day.
6. You have 71cm The average length of the vertebral column in men is about 71 cm. In women, the average is about 61 cm. The cervical part measures about 12.5 cm, the thoracic part about 28 cm, the lumbar part about 18 cm, and the sacrum and the coccyx about 12.5 cm.
7. The First Cervical Vertebra is also Called the Atlas. Atlas was one of the Titans in Greek mythology. After a fight with Perseus, Atlas was turned to stone and had to carry the weight of the Earth and heavens on his shoulders. Therefore, the first cervical vertebra was named the atlas because it carries the weight of the head. Along with the Axis (the 2nd vertebrae in your neck), these are what we call the Foundational segments of the spine. Many of the secondary conditions we see in our office are due to the structural alignment being off at these segments.
Headaches are a secondary condition almost everyone can attest to experiencing. But why are they so common?
Headaches are the number one reason for purchase of over-the-counter drugs. Understandably, these medications offer a temporary solution to get through the day, which is sometimes necessary in this fast-paced world. Unfortunately, it does not take care of the cause of the headaches.
There are four main types of headaches: tension, migraine, cluster and rebound. Tension is the most common, accounting for 90% of all headaches – these result in contraction of the muscles in the neck and skull, and are due to stress, poor posture and Anterior Head Syndrome (AHS). When it comes to migraines, there are often known triggers, such as dehydration, caffeine, red wine and chocolate – but avoiding these may not always help. We are now realizing why: many migraine sufferers have headaches that stem from the nerves in the neck.
A recent article at CBS News explains what structural chiropractors have always known – dysfunction in the joints of your neck (a structural shift) can irritate nerves and lead to all sorts of symptoms (including migraines). Dr. Houman Danesh of Mount Sinai Hospital explains, “Essentially the joints start rubbing against each other, and that irritates the nerve that goes from the back of your neck to the back of your head, and can offset and trigger a nightmare.”
“Essentially the joints start rubbing against each other, and that irritates the nerve that goes from the back of your neck to the back of your head, and can offset and trigger a nightmare.”
Medicine is now starting to recognize the science behind chiropractic. The difference is the medical answer to this is to inject anesthesia into the area and temporarily reduce symptoms, which can help BUT it can also lead to further degeneration and damage of the joint since it’s not addressing the underlying cause – a structural shift in the spine.
Wouldn’t it make more sense to just restore normal function to the shifted segment of the spine and alleviate the nerve irritation causing the symptoms? Good news – that’s what we do everyday at True Health through a specific, gentle chiropractic adjustment.
When it comes to maintaining your structural alignment, what you do outside our office can have a huge impact. Here are some of the ways you can help get the best results in the shortest amount of time AND ensure that you’re not undoing your progress.
Sleep: Your bed and pillow should both help keep your body in natural alignment. Aim to sleep on your side or back. Choose a pillow that supports the head so that the neck vertebrae are neutral (level with the rest of your spine) and use a good mattress that comfortably prevents your spine from dipping or sagging while you sleep.
Work: The spine is architecturally designed for walking. Sitting in a chair is a very unnatural position for the spine. Plan to break up your sitting every 45 minutes. Make sure you have a high quality chair that has adjustable arms, height, lumbar support and ample padding.
Movement: Ideally we should be spending a good portion of our days walking, standing and moving in general. Support your newly straightened spine by engaging in an exercise routine that encourages strengthening the core and back muscles. Be consistent with your WebExercises custom stretches/exercises.
Diet: When the body has the right nutrients it is better able to heal itself. A nutrient-rich diet with a diversity of plants, healthy proteins and high quality, healthy fats actually feed and nourish your genes, slowing the degenerative process.
Automobile Ergonomics: Bring the steering wheel down and towards you to minimize reach. Increase the lumbar support until it fits your back with no gaps. If your vehicle doesn’t have one, you can purchase a lumbar cushion or use a rolled up towel to give you more lower back support. Keep your head against the headrest on long drives to avoid anterior head syndrome.
Sleep: Avoid stomach sleeping. Having your head and neck turned to one side while sleeping can significantly strain the muscles and ligaments of the spine. This results in negating the work of the adjustments and adding pressure to the joints and nerves. Avoid using more than one pillow – which can push the neck too far forward.
Work: Sitting for long periods of time. The fascia (which connects muscles) begins to set when you stay in one position for too long. If you’re hunched over a keyboard all day with rounded shoulders, this eventually becomes your normal posture.
Movement: Having a sedentary lifestyle. If you spend the majority of the day sitting and not active, you are setting yourself up for muscle stiffness, poor balance and mobility, and lower-back, neck, and hip pain.
Diet: Bad dietary habits are often a contributing factor to delayed recovery from an injury. Diets high in processed vegetable oils, sugar, and flour, ALL promote inflammation in the body. Not drinking enough water – keeping the body well hydrated is important to nourish the spinal discs and help keep them healthy.
Think of the electrical system in your home. When a power surge stresses the system, a circuit breaker trips to prevent the house from burning down. Now, what if the circuit that was tripped powered the refrigerator? The food inside would start to spoil unless you could get the power turned on before it was too late. As you can see – the problem is not the refrigerator, but the power to the refrigerator.
The tripped circuit breaker OBSTRUCTS the refrigerator’s power source preventing the refrigerator from operating efficiently. In regard to your body, when a structural shift is present, your nervous system is underpowered.
Why is this important? Your nervous system connects to every system in your body. From your muscles and bones, down to your organs like your heart and stomach. It even controls things like your immune system. In many ways, it’s like the electrical system of your house with your brain stem acting as the power source.
When our body has stress beyond our ability to adapt properly (like too many Christmas light strands plugged into a circuit), then the breaker will keep tripping (a recurring shift in the spine and associated secondary conditions).
Make sure your electrical system is working by getting all the necessary structural corrections, at True Health Chiropractic.