By Travis Robertson (6th trimester student – Palmer College)
If you have ever tried to break yourself of a bad habit, you know how hard it can be. You have to break it once then again and again and again. You have to do it many times at relatively close intervals. This helps your body to retrain itself to a new habit. Hopefully the new one is better than the old. We are creatures of habit. We find a pattern that we are comfortable with and follow it to a tee, often without conscious thought.
We merely revert to our programming, our pattern, our habit. Example: Have you ever driven somewhere and when you got there remembered very little, if any, of the trip? It really freaks you out. You think to yourself, was I paying attention? You were, but it’s just that you’ve done it so many times before that it is part of your program. It is an action that can be done without conscious thought. If any of you play sports of any sort, you know that sometimes you just get in the “zone.” It’s the same thing but with this you get a feeling on oneness with the game, an intense focus that conscious thot has little and/or no bearing on. You react quickly, reflexively, instinctively, and innately to your motor program.
Another example is kids. We know that kids are very impressionable at a young age. Usually this is from about birth to six or seven years of age. The programming or habits that they learn in this period may be with them for a long time, maybe even for life. The “bad” habits formed here are the HARDEST ones to break.
We get into these patterns or habits and some are good and some are “bad.” The “bad” ones, I believe, are good in that they offer the possessor a chance to learn and change and grow as a person. What we often see is that those early habits, those tough ones, are the ones that many people have trouble breaking on their own. The best way to stop these habits is to never let them start in the first place. It’s like trying to stop a snowball after it has been rolling down a snow-covered mountain for forty years, it isn’t gonna happen. It’s much easier to stop the snowball when it’s a mere marble size, then when it’s a boulder. Actually it is like we said before, easier to stop it from starting in the first place.
Now that we are all on the same page, I would like to talk about one of the worst habits I know of that a great deal of people have and, for the most part, don’t even know it. That habit is a subluxation. It’s a habit that can begin at, or even before, birth. If left uncorrected for years it just gets harder and harder to break as it becomes more and more ingrained into whom we are. A subluxation is a minor disruption of the normal structural orientation of the bones of the spine. This may not seem like a very bad thing but if we look at it a bit closer we find that it can have long lasting and devastating effects. The bones of the spine, 24 movable ones, serve two primary functions in our body. One of those functions is to allow all the movements that we do on a daily basis. It serves as the “anchor” for the attachment and movement of our arms, legs and head. The second function is the one that the Chiropractor is most concerned with. That function is to PROTECT the spinal cord. The bones of your neck and back form a ring around the spinal cord to provide this protection. Between each of the bones in your neck and back there is an opening on either side to allow the spinal cord to shoot off a branch of nerves to supply a part of the body. Now if the structure of your house wasn’t good, let’s say that you had a hole in the roof you’d probably get rained on right? The same is true of your spine. If the structure of the spine is not good then the function of the nervous system that it protects will not be 100%. And as we all know the nervous system is the system that regulates and coordinates all functions of the human body, so if the nervous system is at less than 100% everything else in the body will be less than 100%.
I’ll give you one more analogy. A subluxation of the bones of your neck and back is like taking a tire on a car and making it square. Changing a car tire to a square most definitely changes the function of the tire but if you look at it a little deeper you come to realize that it affects the overall function of the entire “vehicle.” Changing structure changes function, and it’s as simple as that.
There is one large difference between you and the car, you adapt and the car doesn’t. If the car has a square tire it simply will not go any where. If you have a subluxation (square tire) you adapt to it. Adaptability is one of the five signs of life that all organisms possess. If life didn’t possess adaptability, it wouldn’t last very long. When your body becomes subluxated in the spine, your body adapts to that state. That state is an abnormal one. It is a negative cycle that continually feeds upon itself causing an increased chance of more subluxation and thus more adaptation into a negative pattern. The longer this “habit” is there and the more compounded it gets the harder it is to break.
This negative cycle, this bad habit, I believe, begins many times at the birth due to trauma to the spine during the birth process. The more natural the birth the better your chances that this won’t happen but remember that it still is a possibility. These “habits” are easy to get rid of early by adjusting the spine so that the structure is consistent with optimal function. Left unchecked and compounded by years of altered structure and adaptation to a negative cycle more than one adjustment may be needed to correct the original problem. This is why Chiropractors may want to see you several times in the early going especially if you weren’t adjusted from birth. (The Chiropractors ultimate goal though should be to get you to a point where you value and take responsibility for your own health. Through this “mental” adjustment you realize the values of healthy living and you learn to avoid those things that cause the problems in the first place so that you don’t have to see the chiropractor every week for the rest of your life. When you attain this status as a patient, you can just come in when there is a problem or when you are coming in for your monthly, six months, or yearly checkups, whatever the case may be.) Children adjusted from the very beginning may rarely need to be adjusted as adults because they have adapted correctly to their surroundings with a structure and function that was optimal for them.
To sum it all up, I look at the spinal column as the great “resistor” of the body. It is where internal and external interference is broken in an attempt to keep the body functioning. Although through this attempt to maintain function the body slowly “overheats” and ultimately begins to break down. The body must then be retrained to what is optimal and the initial interference, or cause of the problem, removed. This must be done in order to let the healing begin from within. This process requires time. The longer the problem is there the longer the process of healing takes.
Kids bounce back quicker than adults, so get those kids checked for subluxation, before they have years of subluxation and finally a stupid backache brings them into the chiropractor. If you take them to the dentist before they have a cavity then take them to a chiropractor long before they get a “backache.” The Chiropractor, unlike the dentist, is dealing with the most important system of adaptation in the body, maybe on the planet, the nervous system. Remember if we fail to adapt appropriately in an ever-changing world we die.
In closing, Health is defined as: Optimal physical, mental, and social well being and NOT merely the absence of disease or infirmary. Medicine continues to seek to alleviate symptoms and control the natural processes of the body. Chiropractic seeks to reduce or remove interference to the nervous system thus allowing the individual optimal adaptation and balance with their environment. Now tell me, whose REALLY about HEALTH? I think you already know the answer to that question. Knowing that answer, give yourself, your family, and your kids, a chance to live with REAL health through Chiropractic Care.
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Travis Robertson was a 6th trimester chiropractic student at Palmer College in Davenport, Iowa when this article was published.