Chronic Back PainA recent study published in the scientific journal ‘Spine’ by researchers from Dartmouth Medical centre, suggests that most health care providers have seriously underestimated the impact that spinal problems have on people’s quality of life. Importantly, those authors found that spinal problems detract more from quality of life than do having chronic lung disease, chronic heart failure or cancer. Because of the close relationship between the spine, nervous system and immune system, the high prevalence of spinal problems in general, is likely to leave many of us short of achieving our full potential in life.
Another often overlooked fact, is that many spinal problems start very early in life. By the time most youngsters have reached their mid-teens their spine has already undergone some of the most challenging experiences of a normal lifetime. These extreme challenges include: birth, learning to walk, spinal curve development, and the spinal strengthening that takes place during one of life’s most rapid periods of growth – The Adolescent growth spurt. In a number of surveys up to half of all children and teenagers had, at one time or another, experienced obvious spinal related problems.
Adding to the importance of us all having our spine checked, is the fact that spinal problems often start many years before signs and symptoms first appear. Unfortunately, because this information is not widely known, the well-being of many children and adults is being compromised by subtle spinal related problems. In fact, for a significant percentage of us, spinal decay will have already started by the time we enter early adulthood.
Your chiropractor’s approach, born out of a respect for the body’s inborn wisdom, believes that there are times when back pain, like many other symptoms, is a sign that the body is responding exactly as it was designed to. Pain is not an abnormality in and of itself. In fact, it is well known that people who are born without the ability to feel pain, usually die before they reach adulthood. Just as there are time when back problems indicate damage or an injury to the spine, there are also many occasions when the discomfort that you experience in your spine, is part of an appropriate message or adaptation by your body.
Whether you do or don’t have back pain, your chiropractor’s objective is the same – to help the body’s inborn wisdom better integrate and respond to the body’s messages.
Your chiropractor therefore chooses not to simply mask pain and other symptoms. Instead your chiropractor sees pain as one important way that your body and mind communicate. Those messages (symptoms) are relayed across the body’s communication network – the nervous system. When these messages are free from interference, the brain and immune system are more likely to generate the ideal healthy response.
This is where the role of the chiropractor comes into play.
The professional objective of your chiropractor is to reduce nervous system interference caused by subtle spinal misalignments (called vertebral subluxations). In this way, your chiropractor strives to ensure that the information traveling between your body and brain is accurate.
If you and the members of your family are going to reach your full potential in life, a good place to start is with optimising, and then maintaining, your spine and nervous system at their best.
Reflecting on the research discussed at the start of this booklet, it is certainly safe to conclude that it’s never too late, and never too early, to start caring for your spine. Moreover, your choices today shape your health and that of your children for life!