Tag Archives: alignment

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Does Common = Normal?

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When it comes to health, what has become “normal” in our society is not necessarily the way our body is intended to be. Let’s face it – the world is getting sicker. Many people neglect their health, paying attention to it only when their symptoms become unmanageable. By then, problems can become severe, often becoming irreversible.

All you have to do is look around on your next shopping trip and you’ll see people are more overweight, diseased, and stressed out than ever before. I encounter people on a daily basis whose health is suffering in one way or another, and whose quality of life is suffering due to sickness. Somehow, this commonality has altered our belief of what is normal; we have forgotten that healthy is “normal”.

We have to realize that no one is coming to save us – this is our life, our responsibility. We are the product of our lifestyle choices. As you’ve heard me say time and time again, we are designed to heal – that is our default state. However, due to our current nutrition, movement (or lack thereof) and alignment habits – we’re seeing a huge increase in certain ailments (headaches, forward head posture, poor digestion, etc…).

Pain is not normal. Headaches are not normal. Poor posture, poor digestion, difficulty sleeping are not normal.

The main reason to understand that these things are common but not normal is so that you can get help. If we see them as normal, that infers that we need to suck it up and live with it. When we understand that it is common, but not at all optimal functionally, we can then decide to do something about it.

So, what can you do about it?

Your spine is the foundation of your body, and all of the organs, muscles, and connective tissue are built around it. Therefore, it is easy to understand the critical nature of maintaining structural alignment throughout your life. That is why I sometimes sound like a broken record, constantly suggesting preventive and wellness visits, instead of coming in only when pain is present. I realize that not everyone can afford to due that (side note: as we’ve discussed before – Chiropractic saves you money in the long term.)

Normal structural alignment coupled with a healthy lifestyle means that body is the best it can be to perform optimally. So, at True Health we we focus on the relationship between the nervous system and the spine, as we as incorporating practical help and education about “how we live, how we work, what we eat” and how we exercise. That’s prevention, pure and simple.

It is time to begin expecting health.

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Improve Your Yoga Practice

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Are you having trouble doing certain yoga poses on your list? It might not be just your balance or flexibility that’s holding you back – it could be a sign of a structural shift in your spine. Read on to learn how regular chiropractic care can enhance your yoga practice and have you saying “ohm” in no time.

chiropractic and yoga

Restoring Health and Balance

Your body craves alignment. When we are properly aligned – our bones – not our muscles, do the bulk of the work to support our weight, reducing effort and strain.

When the muscles around your spine tighten up, your first instinct may be to stretch or try things like yoga to loosen those muscles up. But the reality is that oftentimes, your muscles are tense because the joint itself is locked up and affecting your nerve roots that supply those muscles.

Chiropractic adjustments help to improve posture, range of motion, and flexibility.  These are all very important parts of a strong yoga practice, so one can see how routine adjustments are beneficial to practice. When the spine shifts out of place it can cause your muscles to hold themselves in tough positions in order to cushion what lies beneath. It’s your muscles’ way of protecting what is essentially an unstable joint.

When movement and alignment are restored, the muscle doesn’t have to be as tense anymore – that is, it doesn’t have to work to protect an unstable joint by holding everything locked into that position.

In this way, we find that chiropractic is complementary to restorative yoga. You can combine them to help you recover from injury, or even if you’re just trying to get yourself into positions that don’t seem to be working for your body. The problem may lie in your muscles, but it could also lie in your spine.

Yoga Practice

Yoga practice addresses the mind, body, breath and spirit. We live our lives through our nervous system, constantly assimilating and responding to internal and external stimuli. Whether our responses can be controlled or not, becoming aware of our body and mind stuff offers a means to take the reins and steer toward balance.  Removing impediments to the body’s natural flow of energy (whether it’s through movement, chiropractic care, breath, meditation, diet or otherwise) engenders vitality and a balanced state of health.

Like chiropractic, yoga is another tool to help realign the body.

What’s more, postural awareness is an important practice within yoga, both on and off the mat. Posture has an obvious impact on spinal health, but it also impacts our emotional and bio-physiological health. Through awareness, we can shift ingrained movement and holding patterns within our bodies (such as hunching over cell phones and computers), as well as learn to respond to external stressors in a more mindful way. Chiropractic care is one such way to realign the body and its nervous system thereby offering balance and health.

At True Health, we have countless patients who have combined yoga with chiropractic care. In doing so, they’ve found that they have become more flexible and limber over time. Joints that were typically stiff were now lubricated and moving more easily because of regular adjustments. Yoga poses that were once forced into completing have become more fluid to move through. Most importantly, their yoga practice has become that much more fun and fulfilling!

How has chiropractic care enhanced YOUR yoga practice? Share your story with us in the comments!

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7 Things You Didn’t Know About Your Spine

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7 Things You Didn't Know About Your Spine

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.

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Why Is Alignment Important?

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True Health starts with an aligned spine

The human body craves alignment. We work most efficiently when we are aligned. Ideally our bones should be supporting our weight (not our muscles) but when we lose normal alignment – the muscles pick up the slack which results in muscle strains, sprains, and tears. When we lose proper alignment we see joints begin to break down or wear out – due to uneven weight distribution.

Anyone who has ever driven and maintained an automobile for an extended period of time has likely dealt with an alignment problem. The effects of a simple curb nudge, fender-bender or direct collision may create a misalignment that is not immediately obvious. Our bodies are very much like automobiles – and we may not realize that our own alignment is off until an ankle sprain leads to knee trouble or the occasional ache develops into chronic pain or worse yet – we need a knee or hip replacement.

As chiropractors, we understand the human body is better able to deal with stressors when there is balance in the spine – allowing the nerve system to work free of any structural interference. The focus of chiropractic care is to keep the bones of the spine (vertebrae) in their proper relationships with each other, which enhances the function of the spine and nerve system in order to allow the body to fully express its maximum potential and work optimally.

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Is Your Spine in Line?

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Is Your Spine In Line?
15 Warning Signs of an Unhealthy Spine:

  1. Your Heels Wear Out Unevenly. This can be due to uneven leg length or stress along the length of the spine.
  2. You Can’t Take a Satisfying Deep Breath. Subluxations in the upper back and ribs can cause restricted breathing and/or expansion of the chest.
  3. Your Jaw “Clicks”. This can be caused by neck misalignment and severe tension in the upper neck.
  4. You Have to “Crack” Your Neck, Back, or Other Joints Often. This is your body telling you that something is out of alignment. It can be caused by areas of your spine that are locked or jammed.
  5. You Can’t Twist or Turn Your Head or Hips to Either Side Easily and Equally. Reduced range of motion comes from misaligned vertebrae.
  6. You Are Often Tired. An unbalanced spine drains your energy.
  7. You Have Poor Concentration. Misalignments in your spine affect the Brain-Body connection.
  8. You Have Low Resistance to Disease. Chiropractic adjustments to reduce nerve pressure have been shown to help increase white blood cells throughout the body. Studies show that every time you get adjusted, your Interleukin-2 (IL-2) levels go up immediately. IL-2 is what your body uses to kill viral and bacterial assaults.
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