To Your Health
November, 2007 (Vol. 01, Issue 11)
Time for a Spinal Tuneup
By Dr. Kevin M. Wong
When you care about your car, you take it to the shop for the tuneups it needs - oil changes, tire rotations, new brakes, etc. Your spine is no different. It needs a regular "tuneup" as well, complete with chiropractic adjustments.
I bet most of you drive automobiles when running errands during a typical day. Whether we are driving to and from work, toting children to school or even going somewhere for a long weekend, our cars tend to play important roles in our lives. In an effort to make sure our cars run well, most of us try to take our vehicles in for regular "tuneups." At the typical auto shop, your car is seen by an expert who knows exactly how to keep all of the parts in working order. Thus, we can try to avoid any inconvenient breakdowns and keep up with the demands of our busy lives. We all know what happens when our cars break down: It can leave us feeling helpless!
Now that you're thinking about your car, realize there is another type of machine that works tirelessly every day to make sure you accomplish all of your tasks and duties - your body. Perhaps the most complicated machine on Earth is the human body. On a daily basis, you demand a lot from your body and it must respond to those demands, sometimes within seconds.
As chiropractors, we are well-trained to help keep your body running as smoothly as your vehicles do. One of the most interesting comments I hear from time to time is, "I don't need to go to the chiropractor because I feel fine." This is an interesting statement and can be compared to, "I don't need my car tuned up because it runs fine." Have you ever noticed that your car may run, but it won't start when you leave the shopping mall or it breaks down on the side of the road? Perhaps we should shoot for more than "running fine."
Regardless of your current age, if you look in the mirror and really observe your standing posture, you will likely notice changes that have occurred slowly over time. It is common for people to notice a bit of a hump in their upper back, their shoulders aren't level, their necks are tilted a bit to one side or one hip appears to be higher than the other. You may even notice that the way you walk or run is different than in your younger days.
These changes, and many others, can happen slowly over time, but that does not mean you should consider them normal or acceptable. They are silent indicators that down the road, you could have problems with your spine or other joints of the body. Compare this to the instrument panel in your car. When the "check engine" light comes on, unplugging the wire that lights it up won't help you address the problem; you are just ignoring the symptoms.
Like a car, much of the work of the human body happens without us even realizing what's going on. Our brain sends signals down the spinal cord to all parts of our body. When the body wants to move any of its parts, it contracts muscles, those muscles pull on the bones and movement happens. There cannot be muscular contraction without the bones moving in some way.
When you take your car in for a tuneup, the mechanic analyzes the inner workings of the engine and other aspects that make the car function well. The same happens when you bring your body into the chiropractor for a tuneup. Chiropractors are trained experts in the way the bones, muscles and nerves function together. We can analyze almost every single joint in your body and determine if each one is working as it should.