We’re not made to live in pain, but people just get used to it. They think it’s part of the aging process. Often people can only turn their head slightly to one side or the other. And they think, “Oh it’s been like this for years! I thought it was just part of being 50 or 60.” It is not part of aging. You are designed to have a good range of motion for your entire life.
The average person has no idea how good they can feel. That they can live without pain in their bodies. That they can wake up refreshed in the morning and not feel so tired that they are searching to hit the snooze button.
The Quadrants of Wellbeing mean looking at your body’s Mechanical, Chemical, Energetic, and PsychoSpiritual health.
Mechanical Wellness focuses on how your body operates and at its core is focused on the functioning of the spine. The spine is so important because it houses the nervous system and we live our life through the nervous system.
Think about the nervous system like a tree. When we look at a tree it has roots, a trunk, it has bark, branches, and leaves. If you rip off a branch the leaves die. They die fast because they’re no longer connected to their source. If you pour oil into the roots, or the wrong nutrition, the whole tree dies. But it dies slowly, like suicide by lifestyle.
The body is no different. You’ve got this superhighway from the brain through the spinal column all the way out the spinal nerves. So in order for your body to do the things it needs to do, it needs to have two way communication. Just like the tree is affected by both the branches and the roots, our nervous system works the same way. Your brain has to be able to send a signal to your hand, and your hand has to send a signal back.
We can improve our Mechanical Wellness through exercise, sleep posture, massage, and chiropractic care. Each of these can be a small change that leads to a big shift in our bodies.
Our bodies are meant to move, but as our world has changed, many of us don’t move. To make a small shift in exercise, you can try to walk 10,000 steps. Make the small change of parking your car further from the office so that you are getting in extra steps. Take the stairs. Take breaks during the day and take the longest route to the restroom or the water fountain. Walk around the block with your family after dinner.
How often do you wake up with a pain in your neck? During the night, something happened, and you’re left with neck pain or a headache all day long. Our sleep posture can have a big impact. A small change to make is to get a pillow that properly supports your neck. This will make your sleeping and your waking more comfortable. When you are ready to tackle the next shift, think about the usual position you sleep in. The best thing for the spine is to sleep on the back or side with the arms down.
For many of us, getting a massage sounds like such a luxury item. We only consider it when we’ve accomplished something major or feel we deserve a special treat. But massage can help your spine by relaxing the muscles that hold your bones in place. It can help relieve that knot that forms in your shoulder that causes the pain in your neck. It can be one more small shift that we add to help our physical bodies.
Chiropractors can offer multi-faceted care. One of the things that they do for a patient is make sure that they are free of subluxations. Subluxation is a long, fancy word for a vertebrae that doesn’t have the right motion. If part of the spine doesn’t have the right motion, the information that is traveling from the brain, through the spinal column, to the spinal nerves can’t get where it needs to go. So the right information isn’t going back and forth on the superhighway.
Many things can cause the spine to not have proper motion. The first cause might be poor posture. It could also be caused by accidents or injuries. Many people have work-related injuries or sports-related injuries that can cause the spine to not have the right motion. And many of us deal with a sedentary lifestyle that can contribute to the fact that these joints don’t work well.
As Daphne Bascom, YMCA Senior VP of Community Integrated Health, says, “What’s good for the body is good for the mind, brain, and soul.”
The more you invest in your overall spinal hygiene, the healthier your whole body will be from a mechanical, chemical, energetic, and psycho-spiritual perspective. Each small change that you make to your habits and routines is an investment in your spinal hygiene and can lead to big shifts in your life.