by Dr. John Ratliff
People are rightly concerned about keeping their teeth healthy and maintaining a bright white smile. But I doubt most people give the spinal column a second thought, even though the spinal column is foundational for health and vitality.
It performs two extremely important functions. First, it holds us upright under gravity providing core strength. Secondly, it protects the spinal cord. However spinal displacements (subluxations) ruin those 2 functions like cavities ruin teeth.
If we plan on living life with health and vitality we need to pay attention to life. Is it impacting our spinal column and our health adversley? With that in mind lets review 2 critical functions and the one thing that destroys them.
Core strength determines how well the body interacts dynamicly with gravity. In a delicate balancing act the body is designed to push up against gravity as gravity pushes down on the body. All of our physical actions is an expression of how well we are interacting under the constant, sometimes brutal force of gravity. A ballerina interacts with gravity in perfect balance and harmony if she performs her dance well. She must practice and stay in excellent shape to do that. For many people even performing activities of daily living can be a serious struggle between the spine and gravity. If gravity gains an advantage in the dynamic interaction with the body, we lose and the body suffers. We look and feel like we are dragging an anchor behind us as gravity collapses the body down. Small movements like trying to get out of a chair or bending over to pick up a sock can become a major challenge. Pain at any level of the spine should warn of a pending crises.
The spinal cord is even more essential to health. Let me explain how it works. The brain controls function of the body. It sends energy down the spinal cord. The spinal cord is like a river of information or energy streaming through the nerves to all the organs and tissues of the body. These organs are totally dependent on this energy to keep you alive and healthy.
Because of different stresses in our lives, some sudden like a car crash or over time like sitting at a computer a bone or a section of bones or curves of the spine shift out of place. We call these shifts subluxations. When subluxations occur they block or change normal energy streams to the organs. The organs can weaken, degenerate and eventually cause disease. Subluxations will also weaken the whole structure of the spine, sap core strength and distort the body's posture. You may develop forward Head posture or a thoracic hump. The posture weakens, bones degenerate and disease follows. Poor form equals poor function.
Now this is really important. Subluxations of the spine don't always cause pain. By the time pain shows up, nerves and tissues are inflamed and in a crises.
So can we agree a better spine is important for better health, but how do we know if it is in trouble? There may be warnings from painful areas of the spine or maybe not. The best way to see if subluxations exist is for a spinal biophysics or CBP certified doctor to look for shifts in posture. Dr. Ratliff can do that with a simple visual screening of the spine and quantify it with X-ray films. Armed with knowledge of what is wrong with the spine we can take steps to help keep the spine vital and healthy for a lifetime.