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Tuesday, July 09, 2013

Know the Difference between Good Pressure and Bad Pressure

Published in this week's Citizen.  Enjoy!

There is a saying that pressure makes diamonds. Since that only applies to coal, pressure is not always a good thing. In the chiropractic world, however, pressure can be good or bad. It just depends on the situation.

A quick teaching point regarding spine health is that the weight of a dime pressing on the nerve root as it exits the spine can reduce its function by 60%. This is like a 100 watt light bulb working only at 40 watts. Studies performed by neurophysiologists in the early 1970’s showed how nerve function can be restored in a short amount of time but the damage becomes irreversible after a number of hours.

Other studies have demonstrated that nerves are the most fragile right at the point where the nerve is leaving the openings between two vertebral bones. It is very common for small veins in the same area to become compressed leading to inflammation and nerve injury. This can lead to radicular pain but the damaged area remains pain free for quite a long time before you notice it.

Researchers have noted a strong correlation linking Sudden Infant Death Syndrome with a misalignment of the first vertebral bone in infants. Traction and rotational stress of the spinal cord at the skull during the birth process are seen as common causes.

Mechanical distortions of the spine change how sensory pathways alert the immune system. This can interfere with the body’s ability to respond to infectious pathogens.   Since much of this spinal pressure does not illicit pain, autoimmune symptoms such as rashes, fevers, and fatigue may be the first warning signals.

These are examples of what bad pressure can do to your health. So to fight fire with fire, chiropractic uses good pressure to release the tension placed on these spinal areas. The ironic question is how can it be so beneficial if too much pressure can damage the body?

This is where the art and science of chiropractic merge. Every person has lived with a lifetime of stress. The chiropractor chooses an adjusting technique based on each person’s state of health and tension level at that moment.

Tension levels can be assessed by moving the joints passively, observing the patient’s active motion, and palpating spinal areas to note muscular differences.  An adjustment is a mild force applied to spinal joints in order to reset the mechanical receptors that influence how the brain controls nerve patterns and muscle reflexes.

Chiropractic adjustments have been shown to modulate pain perception, improve relaxation and reduce brain wave activity to more functional levels that induce healing and appropriate cognition.

The brain, spinal cord, nerves, and skeletal system perform many sophisticated tasks that keep us going throughout our day. While the body can take a licking and keep on ticking, we don’t want to let injuries, postural habits, or other stresses weigh us down.

Leave the diamonds to Mother Nature, but remember how heavy a dime feels in your hand.  Let chiropractic help you stay healthy.

--See you at the table...the adjusting table.
--Dr. Lisa

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