Have you noticed that there are very few animals that stand, walk, and run on two legs the way we do? None of our closest primate cousins do this, and certainly none in the broader group of mammals. That’s because being on two legs isn’t exactly easy. There are quite a few specialized adaptations that occur to allow this. Being two legged frees up our hands for many of the skills that make us uniquely human. The tradeoff also involves some significant challenges for our spine.
Imagine a dog, cat, or other four-legged animal moving along our beautiful New England countryside. The invisible forces of gravity pull towards the earth evenly all along the length of that spine. Now, let’s take that horizontal design, and stand it up on end with the head at the top and the tail at the bottom. Gravity is still pulling toward the earth, but things have suddenly gotten a bit more complicated!
Chiropractic care requires an in-depth understanding of the way human beings balance their unique structure under the ever-present forces of gravity. If we treat a pet with a back problem, the subluxation (misalignment of a vertebra, enough to irritate a nerve) will be found right where the animal shows symptoms. If they present with neck pain, the problem will be in the neck. If they show a back problem, we will find the cause in the area that is bothering them.
However, it is not at all unusual to find that a person who experiences back pain is showing the result of a problem brewing elsewhere in the spine. Often the story is that Mr. Jones just bent to reach for a piece of paper, when suddenly the lower back “went out for no reason”. Perhaps there was no history of previous trouble in the low back, yet there is recall of “a fall skiing a couple of years ago that caused a really stiff neck”. The neck pain seemed to heal up after a while, but now “all of a sudden” there is a back problem from no known cause.
If a person has a subluxation (misalignment) anywhere in the spine that has not been corrected, their whole body will rebalance in order to stand upright. Over time, vertebrae in the neck, mid back or lower back must shift position to bring that ten to thirteen pound head over the shoulders again. These shifts bring excess stress causing wear and tear in other areas that may not have had a direct injury. This balancing actis an involuntary response essential to our two-legged way of life.
Your Doctor of Chiropractic has the training and experience to address the underlying causes of your back problem, not just cover up the symptoms. Our goal is for you to feel better now and prevent problems well into the future!
Beth Kamhi is chiropractic physician at Sojourns Community Health Clinic. For more information, please contact Sojourns at (802)722-4023, 4923 US Route 5, Westminster, VT, visit our website at www.sojourns.org, find us on Facebook.