“Sit up straight!”, “Stop slouching”, “Stand with confidence!” my parents would shout when I was young. Like me, you probably felt all those commands were just a way for your parents to control you. However, our parents subconsciously were on to something. The large majority of neck and back problems are due to weak supportive (postural) muscles, and significant changes in the way spinal bones relate to each other due to poor posture. Let me paint the picture for you. As a child you carry a heavy backpack and sit in class for about 6 hours per day. When graduation time comes from undergraduate or graduate school you choose to be a Financial Analyst or IT Specialist and sit in front of a computer 8 hours per day. Not only that, but in order to get to and from work you sit on a bus, train, or in a car for 2 hours per day. At the end of an exhausting day your sectional couch begs you to sit, relax, and plop down. You can’t resist and watch TV for a couple hours. Before you know it you are experiencing dull pain and stiffness in your neck and back blaming it on stress and fatigue. You figure the pain will go away because typically in the morning you wake up with little or no discomfort. Suddenly, a day comes when you wake up and can’t move your neck because the pain is stifling, or you bend down to pick up something and you fall to your knees in pain.
Does some or all of this scenario sound familiar? Little by little your poor posture over the years has led you down a path of spinal destruction. The spine is innately meant to have 4 distinct curvatures in its structure. This keeps the body upright in its most stable and supported position. When we slouch, the reduction of the curve in the low back weakens our core postural muscles and puts a sustained abnormal force into the discs between the spinal bones. At the same time, the head shifts forward in relation to our shoulders compressing the vertebrae and nerves in the lower half of the neck and upper back. Disaster is almost inevitable.
Back and neck pain is, for the most part, easily preventable. By consciously sitting and standing straight, taking frequent breaks at work, and exercising your core muscles the chances of experiencing debilitating spine pain is minimal. Here is a great visuals to show you good posture in both the standing and sitting position…
Very often new patients come in and tell me they are afraid to be “cracked”. Naturally, people use the word “cracked” because of what other people have described they felt, and because there is an audible sound with some adjustments that has a bubble wrap kind of effect. As a result, as humans, we associated spine and snappy noises with violent action movies. In addition, there is a bit of professional disparity between out-of-date thinking medical practitioners and chiropractors. I often have patients tell me that their medical doctor told them that they could die or get injured by a chiropractic adjustment. These medical practitioners never responsibly use research to back up their opinion.
The reality is that chiropractic adjustments are very safe. The art of bone setting has been around for over 2,000 years, and the science behind chiropractic care was established in 1895. All of the research available indicates that the chance of a severe injury from chiropractic care is, on average, less than 1:8,060,000 chiropractic visits, or 1 incident per every 48 chiropractic careers. This was confirmed by researchers (Haldeman) who did an exhaustive search of malpractice claims over a 10 year period covering over 4,500 chiropractors in Canada. In fact, the chances of a serious adverse reaction to a neck adjustment is equivalent to the same chance while simply walking into your medical physicians office. This was documented in the journal SPINE in February or 2008. Malpractice insurance for chiropractors is very low at $2,000 annually which reflects the safe nature of the profession. Health insurance companies have been covering chiropractic care for over 35 years because it is the safest and most effective way to treat spine related pain conservatively.
Conversely, medical treatments are far more dangerous. An article from the Journal of the American Medical Association on July, 26 in the year 2000 indicated that at least 225,000 deaths occurred due to medical intervention annually. That included deaths from unnecessary surgery, medication errors and reactions, and hospital errors including infections. That’s equivalent to more than 3 jumbo jets crashing every day over a year period and, at the time of the article, was the third leading cause of death after heart disease and cancer.
My purpose here is not to bash the medical community. My son’s life, and millions of other people’s lives have been saved by modern medicine. But, the time of double standards should end and everyone should have an opportunity to incorporate lifestyle and quality of life saving chiropractic care into their lives. I urge everyone to not allow an opinion of others, or the sound of a treatment to discourage you from experiencing chiropractic care and its natural healing effects.