By Dr. Stanton Hom
Whenever it comes around to do a theme of the month focused purely on chiropractic, it is always a challenge to decide what to talk about.
This month’s theme Degeneration/Regeneration Cascade is one of the most important conversations we need to have.
This quote by Henry Winsor sums it up:
“The disease appears to precede old age and to cause it. The spine becomes stiff first and old age follows. Therefore, we may say a man is as old as his spine.”
In our society, we have had decades of education surrounding ‘Dental Hygiene’.
We know unequivocally to brush our teeth.
We know unequivocally to floss our teeth.
For the most part, we know that our choices affect our dental health. We know that sugar causes cavities. We know that not taking care of our teeth, leads to decay, gingivitis, etc.
Over the past month, we have had three patients who have truly shown us the value of the model of care we provide.
We believe in the Infinity of Divinity. We know the body heals itself. We know the essential nature of a natural, holistic lifestyle. You must live well.
We also respect the grandeur of the nervous system. That nervous system function is EVERYTHING to healing.
I know for sure that you can heal yourself with…
But the one thing that separates chiropractic from the rest is our focus on the specificity of the structure of the body. We recognize the value of lifestyle – the environment the nervous system must live in. This is why we encourage our patients to live more naturally at every chapter of their journey with us. We value the function of the nervous system and use tools like our subluxation station scans as one way to measure physiologic adaptability.
When it comes to the structure, chiropractic has always had an invested interest in the structure of the spine and its relationship to the function of the body. I’ve heard some experts in the world of physical therapy and orthopedics claim that arthritis is NORMAL because 98% percent of the population have spinal arthritis.
My question is “why is it happening sooner?”.
When I was in chiropractic school, many of our professors would say that loss of normal cervical lordosis is growing more common in children – specifically teenagers.
When we installed our x-ray unit almost 4 years ago, I had several kids under the age of 6 come in with severe headaches. I knew there was a relationship to the neck so I decided to take some x-rays.
And what did we find?
A loss of normal curvature in the neck.
The degenerative nature of the spine begins with ALIGNMENT – or misalignment. Degeneration rarely occurs if the spine is in perfect structural integrity. Stiffness, rigidity, and lack of mobility are key factors of this.
So alignment/mobility or Kinesiopathology is the first step.
Once the alignment is off, the nerves are interfered with both functionally and mechanically – this is Neuropathology.
Following this stage is when the muscles begin to facilitate and memorize poor alignment – this is Myopathology.
As inflammatory proteins flood the region the structural components of the spine begin to breakdown at the cellular level – this is Histopathology.
Over time, the spine degenerates with bony deformation, bone spur formation, disc swelling and breakdown. All of the connective tissue is affected and it begins to be visible upon x-ray – This is actual disease formation and called Pathophysiology.
What is crazy to chiropractors is most medical providers actually normalize this process and thereby shackle people into the endless cycle of anti-inflammatories, muscle relaxers, physical therapy and finally, pain medications.
If you normalize the disease endstate, you will NEVER be able to prevent it. You will never truly know and understand Spinal Hygiene. Something chiropractors know is the key to a healthy body and mind.
When the spine degenerates, it does so by phase. See the photo below.
We have seen kids as young as 5 years old with phase one degeneration and teenagers with phase two. This is unequivocally one of the most significant public health issues facing modern society with seemingly more and more handheld devices causing “tech neck”.
But this is so much more than the ‘neck’ and spine. This is functionally neurologic with a chronically flexed posture leading to a sympathetic dominance that physiologically puts our society in a chronic state of fight/flight/freeze – a state where the body cannot heal at a root cause level.
Spinal hygiene is ever infinitely more significant than dental hygiene. You can get new teeth for crying out loud. By no means am I saying you or your kids should not brush your teeth. What I am saying is how about brushing while you are stretching your neck and then make your appointment for the whole family to see us!