What is SPINAL HYGIENE??
Hygiene is defined as conditions or practices conducive to maintaining health and preventing disease, especially through cleanliness. So, spinal hygiene is defined as conditions or practices conducive to maintaining health and preventing disease as it relates to the spine. In dental hygiene we are taught to brush and floss our teeth daily with regular cleanings and evaluations for cavities, etc. If we did not follow this practice it is safe to say our dental hygiene will be worse rather than better. Spinal hygiene consists of regular spinal molding and range of motion exercises to maintain proper spinal alignment and range of motion with regular spinal evaluations for misalignment or subluxation.
Why is SPINAL HYGIENE important?
To answer this question, let’s ask a few questions. What is your greatest asset? You may initially think time or money but those are incorrect. If you plan on going on a vacation, you will need time to go on it, you will need money to go on it, but the one thing you must have is YOUR HEALTH. Our greatest asset is our health!! The next question is what do most people base their health on? If you answered how they feel you are correct. However, according to the world health organization’s definition of health, it does not say how you feel, or how you look, it says Health is 100% function of the body, the optimal state of physical, mental, and social well-being and NOT merely the absence of disease. So, HEALTH = FUNCTION. So, if health = function, the next question is what controls every function of our body? If you said our brain you are correct. So, if our brain and nervous system control EVERY function of our body and health is function, what should we take care of now and throughout life to maintain optimal health and function? Yes, our brain and nervous system! How many people should do that??… and, When should it start??… When should dental hygiene start?? Obviously, sooner than later. Since the spine is what houses and protects the brain and nervous system, this is what requires hygiene. So, if your spine isn’t healthy, you are not healthy, independent of how you feel. Why do we say this…because only about 10% of your nerves are pain nerves! So, just like you don’t usually feel a cavity until it’s too late, you don’t usually feel spinal misalignment or subluxation. SUBLUXATION is the condition that interferes with spinal alignment and proper nervous system function. Think about this…the top 2 killers in the U.S. today are heart disease and cancer. Do we usually feel heart disease or cancer?? Not usually, at least until the end stages or phases. So, the 2 conditions killing the most people in our country you don’t usually feel, but we continue to base health on how we feel! It’s not congruent and it doesn’t make any sense. On top of that, much research shows medicine as the 3rd leading cause of death in the U.S. So, why do we take medication? Because we have good function or bad function? Yes, because we have bad function. So, by maintaining better spinal hygiene and ultimately better nervous system function, I have to believe will lead to less medications being taken and less risk for heart disease and cancer! In fact a 7 year study from the journal JMPT May 2007; 30 (4): 263-269 comparing patients using a chiropractor for their PCP vs. a medical doctor showed exactly this. After 7 years, and 70,274 member months, this study showed those with a chiropractor for a PCP had: 60% less hospital admissions, 62% less surgeries, 59% less days in a hospital, and 85% less pharmaceutical costs!! (I hear this as 85% better function). This is why keeping the structure that houses the nervous system (the spine) that runs EVERY FUNCTION in your body healthy is important! Secondly, just like driving on a crooked tire makes it wear out faster, living with a crooked spine makes it wear out faster. We don’t get osteoarthritis because we are old, we get it because we have old misalignment! Osteoarthritis creates inflammation further impacting the function of your nervous system and your health. Good spinal hygiene will help prevent this!!