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How Spinal and Structural Health Affects Your Overall Wellbeing

Spinal health is one of the largest indicators of long-term health, retained mobility, physical function and overall fitness.

There are a few important health factors that fall under the umbrella of preventative health and/or recovery that aren't commonly taken into account by mainstream medicine: mechanics, nervous system function, and posture.


Think of what happens to your tires when your car is out of alignment... if a moving part is out of alignment, misaligned, or functioning improperly, the part will wear faster and cause problems that may lead to early failure or even the need for replacement.

The same is true with the mechanics of the human body.

When your spine is misaligned, extra pressure is imposed on your joints and other areas of your nervous system, generating pain and other complications. If the misalignment is left uncorrected, your body will experience enhanced wear and tear over time.

Having your body's moving parts functioning properly is a big deal. As any athlete knows, your real movement and power comes from your core, which means your spine plays a huge role bio-mechanically. How your spine moves and interacts with your muscles impacts your health on a foundational and mechanical level.

Nervous System Function

The nervous system controls virtually every part of the body. Your nerves are extremely delicate, and can be altered by just the slightest amount of pressure.

Did you know that it only takes 1mm of mercury of pressure to elicit a response from a nerve? If you were to intentionally touch yourself, it is nearly impossible to imitate an amount of pressure that light. When the spine is out of alignment or there is a muscle fixation (a knot in your back), it inflicts pressure on the nervous system.

As a chiropractor, I have an admittedly decided view on the ability of what we call "spinal subluxations" (also known as spinal misalignments) and fixations to cause hyper- and hypo-function of various other organs. This viewpoint is not simply an ideology--it is based on what I see in my practice every day and what I have experienced myself when I receive chiropractic care.

When I make an adjustment to a patient's spine and their persistent headaches go away almost instantly (and this is very common, by the way), or their chronic ear infections are dramatically relieved, I have no doubt as to what happened. And, neither do the patients.

The fact of the matter is that life itself is enough to cause an imbalance in the spinal and nervous systems. Yoga teachers will tell you the same thing, as will professional trainers. If you are not doing something to counteract the stresses and strains of everyday living, you'll have some imbalances, which is why people need routine chiropractic treatment to keep their spine functioning properly.

This isn't to say that a perfectly healthy individual needs to see a chiropractor more than, let's say, every other month. But, a visit at least that often will help prevent misalignment and the problems that are associated with it.


In general, most readers know at least one person who has retained great posture in old age. And, almost without exception, that person has aged well, whereas an older person with poor posture will likely not have aged at this standard.

Part of this has to do with basic biomechanics and simple wear and tear. The other part of this has to do with how your internal organs react to poor posture. Your breathing is affected by posture. Your attitude can even be affected by your posture.

The body is a complex system of systems, and every individual system affects one another. If your posture is poor, your body will suffer, and your attitude will likely not be as good as it might be if you felt 100% healthy.

This is, of course, not to say that sitting up straight will cure all your problems. The point is that structural health, in all of its aspects -- bio-mechanics, nerve function, and somatics, is one of those big "missing pieces" of health that mainstream medicine largely ignores.

One of those missing pieces may turn out to be a key factor in regaining lost health when it has been impacted by one or more of those chronic conditions or minor illnesses that mainstream medicine just can't seem to help you overcome.


*This article includes excerpts from "Made Whole: Regaining the Health Your Body Was Born to Enjoy by Working With the Missing Pieces of Wellness" written by chiropractic physician, Dr. Douglas B. Cook, D.C. To purchase this book, visit the Nutrition Store inside the Oklahoma Health and Wellness Center.

**The information in this post is based on the opinion of the authors and is intended for general consumer understanding. Read our full disclaimer here.


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