3 Simple Steps That Will change the Lens Through Which You Manage Your Health

It is the why behind the decisions you make that determine…It is often debated what type of care someone should receive when they have an injury, fall, or ailment.   Back issues and unjuries are not uncommon, in fact, they are second only to the common cold as the most prominent ailment with which Americans suffer.  Lower back issues are the number one cause of disability in all Americans, and are one of the leaders in the cause of missed work, lost productivity, low energy, and overall disability.There is often debate on what you should do for your back when injured, or to keep it healthy.  The phrase ” If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” is something I hear quite often, second only to “I’m way too far gone to fix”.  I firmly believe that we suffer from information overload when it comes to taking care of ourselves.  A concept that should be so simple gets clouded among the recommendations of friends, doctors, countless internet search websites, and television commercials.  It would be easy if they all aligned to say, “You should specifically do this for a back problem, this for a herniated disc, this for chronic headaches, etc.  Unfortunately, this is not the case.  The decision is left to the individual, which again, can be all too difficult to make given the plethora of roads to travel.If there is one bit of advice I could offer, it is this.  3 steps.  It is almost the same concept you learned in 5th grade science:

1. Look for the cause of the problem.

2. Correct what is causing the problem.

3. Change your lifestyle so that problem does not reoccur.  I.e. be proactive and preventative, not reactive.

I am speaking specifically about the spine and back here, but this concept can be applied across the spectrum.

Anything you are doing that is not correcting what is causing your problem is wasting your time and money, not to mention not promoting proper function.  Any type of treatment that is targeted to simply relieving your symptoms or making you feel better temporarily is not addressing the cause of your problems.  The pain is not the problem, it is a warning signal, or an effect of dysfunction somewhere in your body.  You don’t hurt for no apparent reason, pain is a sensation to alert you of dysfunction in an area.  Masking it is just like placing duct tape over an engine warning light in your car.  The warning light is not the problem, it is the signal that you have a problem!

The easist way to be alerted of a problem in your body, especially your spine, is to have your central nervous system affected.  Your spine houses and protects this vital messaging system, and subluxations, or deviations in your spine from its normal position, can affect your nervous system, which causes an array of symptoms, from pain and discomfort, to weakness, atrophy, degeneration, and lowered immune system function.

Once you address the cause of your problem, the next step is to correct it.  We’ll discuss this later.  After that, changing your lifestyle, like learning how to strengthen your core, brace your spine when lifting, correcting office ergonomics, and maintaining your spinal health with regular checkups/adjustments, will keep you functioning at your healthiest, while preventing recurrence.

Preventative, or maintenance care provided by chiropractors is one of the factors that has them ranked as the best for restoring function to the spine and preventing disability, among all physicians.  I don’t like to spin research, so I will spell out the study that shows this, which was performed by Liberty Mutual Insurance Company’s Center for Disability Research.  The study was performed to find which method of care resulted in the lowest recurrence of disability in workers with Low Back Pain.

“Controlling for demographics and severity, the hazard ratio of disability recurrence for patients of physical therapists (Hazard Ratio 2.0) or physicians (Hazard Ratio 1.6) was higher than that of Chiropractors (1.0 Hazard Ratio) or no treatment at all (1.2 Hazard Ratio).”

Health Maintenance Care in Work Related Low Back Pain and Its Association With Disability Recurrence.  Manuel Cifuentes, MD, PhD, Joanna Willetts, MS, and Radoslaw Wasiak, PhD. MA, MSc. 2011 American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine. 

Lets sum that up:

1. Chiropractic (1.0)  Lowest events of recurrence

2. Nothing (1.2)

3. Physician (1.6)

4. Physical Therapist (2.0).  Highest events of recurrence.

All of these professions address the patient, but the difference, in the researchers’ opinions is this.

“Work related Low Back Pain is often treated by a number of providers, including chiropractors, physical therapists, and physicians.  Given that chiropractors are proponents of health maintenance care, we hypothesize that patients treated by chiropractors would have a lower risk of recurrent disability because that specific approach would be used.  Conversely, similar patients treated by other providers would have higher rates because the general approach did not include MAINTAINING health, which is a key concept to prevent recurrence.”

The two distinctly different phases of care offered by most Doctors of Chiropractic is what makes them unique.

The first phase, corrective care, addresses the root cause of the problem, spinal misalignment called subluxation, and looks to reduce the misalignments of the spine to return it to as close to its normal position as possible.  This helps the nervous system, housed and protected by the spine, to function with at its highest level, with the least impedance.

The second phase, maintenance care, aims to hold the spine in its correct position, and prevent reinjury.  Let’s face it, we are a culture now that, from sitting to driving, sitting the bench to the middle of the game, put strain and pressure on our backs daily.  It is always a good idea to stay ahead of this and keep yourself functioning at your best.  In fact, those using chiropractic maintenance care for 5+ years showed serum thiol levels, which are markers of immune system function, that were twice the level than that of the general population.  It is impressive how far preventative care has come.

And, as an ironic side note- insurance companies refuse to pay for mainetnance care, buy and large, though they have conducted the largest research article that shows its benefit.  Medicare actually has written it into its policy that care intended to prevent disease, or maintain health, is considered preventative, and thus does not apply to medicare policy.  Regardless, spending a little on prevention pays large dividends in the end.  It is our responsibility to keep ourselves healthy, not anyone else’s.

Dr. Thomas has received advanced training in spinal correction protocols from top clinics around the U.S. and Canada.  As a Maximized Living Doctor, he is also certified in nutrition, exercise and detoxification.  Having lost most of his family members early to preventable, chronic disease, he, along with his soon-to-be-wife, Tristan, have opened a state of the art clinic that’s goal is to empower families and athletes to live radically healthy lives.

Riverside Family Chiropractic- Chiropractor Columbus, Ohio

10248 Sawmill Pkwy.

Powell, OH 43065