Structure: How Does It Affect the Body?
Structure refers to musculoskeletal system. For our purposes it also refers to interference to the proper operation of the nervous system housed deep within the spinal structure.
To properly evaluate structure, the body must be examined from head to toe, literally. Changes in the motion, posture, muscle function, nervous system function must be checked in addition to the function of the feet, knees, hips, shoulders, elbows wrists, gait, head, jaw and spine. Abnormal findings can from accidents, sports injuries, poor posture, degeneration, lack of conditioning, genetics or compensation from other interferences. The goal of examining and treating structure is to eliminate pain, return to normal function and prevent degeneration of the body.
The Most Intricate System
The most intricate of the body’s structural systems is the spine. It’s comprised of 24 movable vertebrae on adults and 9 more on children (which will fuse by the age of 25 into the coccyx and sacrum.) Between each of the vertebrae are 31 pairs of nerves that leave your spinal cord and supply brain communication with all cells, tissues, organs, muscles, bones and systems of the body. The spine has amazing flexibility and motion yet it still protects the delicate nerve tissue within. However, even minor irritations of the spinal nerves can poorly influence the end targets of those nerves, whether it’s the leg, the wrist, the heart or any other organs. This phenomenon is called a vertebral subluxation complex, ‘subluxation’ or VSC.
Studies have indicated that subluxations are related to 80% of health conditions and that correcting these subluxations can lead to improvement of these conditions. Structural injuries, chronic poor posture, congenital defects, muscle and connective tissue imbalances all can cause VSC. Clinically, only about half of subluxations cause pain; yet they all cause dysfunction which leads to ill health. So that means early detection requires professional examination. Structure is the one of six interferences that can lead to spinal subluxation.
Adjusting the spine is one method of treating vertebral subluxations. It is a very powerful procedure which helps injuries recover more quickly, to restore nerve function to organs and to eliminate pain. However, by itself, spinal adjusting can be just a band-aid approach to help.
The spine can develop VSC’s the way a house circuit breaker blows when an appliance short circuits. Direct injury to the spine can cause nerve dysfunction. Also, other factors can cause the spine to subluxate, just as an appliance can short and shut down power to the kitchen. Other causes are nutritional, emotional, toxicity, sensitivities and electromagnetics. So, merely adjusting the spine to address the structure is not always enough. Stabilizing the structure may involve addressing one of these other interferences.
Many a patient has had hip pain related to spinal subluxation. With some the subluxation was caused by an overgrowth of bad bacteria in the bowel (dysbiosis). Proper nutritional supplementation restored normal bacterial function, healing the bowel, and stabilizing the subluxation correcting the hip pain. Without, correcting the bowel, these people could be adjusted again and again. More often than not, patients have had shoulder pain due to a neck subluxation. For many a simple adjustment to the neck eliminated the pain. For many others the shoulder pain was from ‘carrying stressful responsibilities’ of caring for an elderly parent, child or loved one. The shoulder pain was related to spinal subluxation of the neck caused by emotional interference. By treating the emotional source, the shoulder pain was gone. Again, just treating the musculoskeletal system would have failed.
Most importantly, one must identify which interference, or multiple interferences is truly cause of the problem and treat the cause.
The spinal EMG (electromyography) is used to analyze the individual muscle function at each spinal joint. Every joint motion is measured from the foot, knee, hip, spine, neck, shoulder, arms and wrists. Connective tissue is examined for tight fascia, fibrous tissue surrounding each muscle and organ, often restricting motion like wearing really tight clothing. Neurologic testing of each muscle supplied by individual nerves determines which exact spinal nerve is dysfunctioning. Of course feet and posture are examined. Custom podiatric grade foot orthotics are utilize for over pronation (rolling in and dropping of the arches). Sports injury, taping and advanced rehabilitation protocols complement a specific course of treatment for each individual. Treatments are specific. They often involve state-of-the-art lasers, percussors to release fascia and variable adjustors in addition to expert manual treatments for those who prefer it. The variable adjustors are extremely comfortable and safe for all ages and those who are afraid of manual spinal adjusting.
The result is a comprehensive treatment addressing all aspects of structural function and rehabilitation. The treatments may take a bit longer than with other providers, however, they are usually fewer and have a defined end goal. Best of all, when structure is just a small part or not even part of the answer, the true cause of your pain, problem or illness can be identified and corrected.
The Vertebral Subluxation Complex Defined
By definition, subluxation describes a spinal joint (a joint between two vertebrae) or peripheral joint (a joint other than the vertebral joints, like one in your foot or wrist) that is relatively immobile (has restricted motion) or abnormally positioned. An analogy may be as follows: If you have a steering wheel that is stiff and that does not turn all the way, it is "subluxated" and can lead to an accident. The wheel needs to be oiled so that it is loose and moves to its full capacity, helping you to steer properly.
Subluxations can cause local pain and may interfere with or impede the function of the nervous system, joints and muscles. This may decrease the body's ability to heal and function optimally. There are generally five components of subluxation, which fall under the broader heading of the vertebral subluxation complex (VSC). These components generally occur sequentially in the following order:
1. Abnormal spinal mechanics
When a joint is not moving well relative to the joint above or below it, it is said to have abnormal spinal mechanics. This may result from trauma, like a fall, or from chronic mistreatment, like poor posture. If you have abnormal mechanics, you may notice a lack of mobility, such as difficulty moving your head to check your rearview mirror. If not cared for, this can lead to abnormal nerve function. Adjustments to resolve the restricted motion.
2. Abnormal nerve function
Whenever a subluxation does not heal properly there will be a pinched or irritated spinal nerve. That's because the spinal facet joint is located adjacent to the spinal nerve roots, and sprained spinal joints irritate the roots either by direct pressure (only about 10% to 15% of the time) or by irritation with inflammatory chemicals (85% to 90% of the time). In addition, when the joint is sprained or subluxated the tiny nerve endings in the joint's cartilage may become damaged. If this happens, it can alter the messages nerves send to the brain and affect the brain's ability to control the spinal muscles.
3. Abnormal muscle function
Whenever there are pinched or irritated spinal nerves there will usually be muscle problems. Pinched (impinged) nerves will cause muscle weakness, whereas irritated nerves may cause muscle strain or spasm. This can lead to muscle inflammation and eventually scar tissue formation or gristle in the muscle. To patients, this feels like tight or rope-like muscles, which are tender to touch. In addition, patients may notice that their muscles burn and tire easily. Left unchecked, this inflammation can spread throughout the spine.
4. Abnormal function of soft tissues around the spine
Inflammation that occurs in muscles and joints can cause further complications by spreading to all areas around the spine. With long-term swelling of structures, such as ligaments, discs and other soft tissues, calcium and fibrous materials are laid down. With repeated episodes of subluxation, the spine accumulates an increasingly larger number of abnormal sites. In fact, some MRI studies have shown areas of soft-tissue fibrosis and calcification up to one inch thick around the spine. At the same time, long-term swelling can increase due to improper vascular supply and drainage. From here, full-blown spinal disease is the likely outcome.
5. Disease at the spinal level and of the whole body
At this stage, irreversible disease or pathology can occur. This may manifest in the spinal area as bony spurs on the vertebrae, decreased disc height and roughened joint surfaces. Known as osteoarthritis or subluxation degeneration, it can occur at any age, but is increasingly common (not normal) as people get older. In addition, it can lead to disease or pathology away from the spine, in all body tissues, organs and systems.
If you want to discuss more details about your condition, please feel free to give us a call.