I recently decided to see a chiropractor for the first time. I had been in a chiropractic office once, many moons ago, when I shadowed a chiropractor for my final Advanced Placement Biology project my senior year of high school! After many massages and a handful of acupuncture treatments over the past few months, I decided it was time to find out if my neck and back pain were the result of an issue with my spine.
My meeting with Dr. Warhurst was not only interesting from a personal perspective, but also professionally. We chatted for a while about the woes of the American health care system, which would more appropriately be named the disease management system. The system is designed to cure our ills and treat symptoms with medications and surgeries sending us on our way until we fall sick again, rather than determining the source of the problem. While there are many great aspects of health care (I wouldn’t be here today if it wasn’t for my cardiologist and the stent that was placed in my artery), the system is unfortunately not designed for wellness/health. Dr. Warhurst recommended the documentary Escape Fire to learn more. From my day job, I’m already aware that we spend more than any other developed nation on health care (almost twice as much), but it’s alarming to realize that the U.S. barely makes the top 50 in terms of life expectancy.
I consider myself an optimistic realist so while I hope to see change in my lifetime (and hopefully be one of the renegades who starts the cog in motion); I know that to be well I have to take my health into my own hands. I do this everyday by eating a plant-based diet of mostly whole, organic foods and moving my body. But my recent pains have proven to me that there is more that I can do. I think I found my answer: I can start paying more attention to the health of my spine.
Our central nervous system, comprised of the brain, the spine and nerves, make sure everything in our body functions – and I mean everything. We couldn’t move a muscle, breath or have a beating heart without the nervous system telling our body what to do. When there is nerve interference or damage that impedes nerve flow (subluxation), our system is no longer functioning at 100%, which impacts our health, eventually leading to malfunction and disease. As an example, subluxation in the cervical spine at vertebra C1 or 2 impacts all structures within the head (brain, cranial nerves, eyes, ears, nose, throat, sinus). Some symptoms are dizziness, memory trouble, ADHD, sinus problems, sleep disorders, itchy eyes, and headaches.
It turns out that my lifetime of an exaggerated curve in my upper spine and slight tilt to the right may never be completely corrected but they can be improved, thereby also improving the function of the rest of my body. I signed up for six months of treatment and committed to doing my homework. No doubt my body will be happier and more balanced just by bringing my attention to these factors. I’m already trying to sit more centered in my car when driving vs. my usual laid back leaning to the right posture. The primary goal for me is to have a balanced body to allow me to practice yoga safely and without pain for the rest of my life, but helping my body function at 100% is a convincing reason to care for the nervous system.