How many visits does it take to have a well-adjusted spine? It depends on your definition of well-adjusted. For many patients who experience complete pain relief after their first adjustment, the answer might be one. But if you understand you can have a problem even without pain, you’ll see that it takes a lifetime of minor tune-up visits to be at your best. These minor tune-ups also prevent many of the problems that can show up in your 40s and 50s.
It‘s important to look at the big picture to understand what is going to take place during your lifetime. This can help you see how chiropractic can work to preserve many of your body’s functions and prevent degeneration of your spine.
Childhood and the Teen Years: In your first two decades of life, you will have indirect and direct stresses. Indirect stress is poor posture and direct stresses are sprains and strains from sports activities or other childhood traumas. These stresses, if left untreated, can lead to degeneration and other problems – such as arthritis – down the road.
Your 20s and 30s: This period of time is when your chiropractor can start to see the early stages of degeneration and arthritis that actually had its beginning in your childhood and teens. You may begin to experience diminished flexibility and joint aches and pains. Athletic performance typically begins to decline. The early signs of joint degeneration begin to appear on X-ray. These are all signs of long-standing physical decline, yet you still don’t have pain most of the time.
Your 40s and 50s: This is the time frame during which we start to see the effects of arthritis. Generally this is when your activities start to become limited because of reduced muscle flexibility and joint pain. Chronic pain is commonplace and destruction of cartilage in the knees and hips often results in joint replacement surgery.
How to Prevent or Slow the Damage: Using a combination of proper diet, exercise, regular chiropractic adjustments and custom orthotics if necessary, you can have an active role in preventing damage (or slowing down the wear-and-tear process). Your chiropractor or nutritionist can suggest what you should be eating, but it’s up to you to actually follow this plan and choose a healthy lifestyle. The five keys known to contribute to longevity are:
Getting exercise on a regular basis goes hand-in-hand with proper nutrition in maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Here are some easy tips to get you started:
Being evaluated by your chiropractor even when you are pain-free can have a very valuable payoff in the later years. Healthy joints, muscle flexibility and a healthy nervous system will allow you to continue to exercise and be active, which we all know contributes to overall health. The key to a well-adjusted spine is starting early and continuing to keep your body in balance. This is a lifetime’s approach to overall wellness and health.