Take a moment to look at your body. Quickly glance at your arms, hands, hips, legs and feet. Do you realize that you have approximately 640 muscles that are responsible for moving the 206 bones in your body? How do you get these muscles to move those bones? It has to do with the way the spinal cord and the nerves send information out to the body. It might surprise you to know that many common ailments that we experience, like headaches, lower back pain and shoulder pain, can have links to the muscles, bones and spinal nerves.
The spine is made up of 29 vertebrae that are divided up by specific regions of the body: cervical, thoracic, lumbar and sacrum. Think of the spine as a protective housing for your spinal cord that lives in the center of the vertebrae. At every level of the spine, nerves branch off of the spinal cord, move past the vertebrae and outward to supply the different parts of the body.
Furthermore, as the nerves branch off from the spine, certain ones move out farther and farther, going all the way to the hands and feet. While a nerve is traveling, it must repeatedly pass by or around different bones. It stands to reason that the position of the bones is important. If the bones are not in correct position, or "out of alignment," the nerves will be compromised.
An easy way to remember how the body works is that the vertebrae, spinal cord and nerves affect everything from your toes all the way up to your nose. As an example, migraines and other headaches can be caused when the spinal vertebrae in the neck region are misaligned. This causes pressure on the nerves as they branch off of the spinal cord and move through the vertebrae out to the muscles of the neck and head. This compromised nerve flow also affects the circulation of blood to and from the area. All of these factors play an important role in headaches.
If our vertebrae are in good, proper alignment over time, then the spinal cord and nerves function without any interference. The simple idea of keeping the spine lined up as much as possible will keep our body healthy.
Regular chiropractic care, massage, acupuncture, exercise and a nutritious diet are all important facets of good spinal health. The key here is to realize that "an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure." Regular practices of spinal health will not only keep you feeling great, but also will help protect you in the future from many problems that could arise, including neck pain, headaches, shoulder pain, tennis / golfer's elbow, carpal tunnel syndrome, hip pain, sciatica, knee pain, and ankle and foot pain. Schedule an appointment today to stay at the top of your game!