The Importance of Communication
Communication to and from the Brain is perhaps THE most important aspect to consider when looking at a new patient.
Each time I start a consult with a patient in my practice the first thing I have people do (after filling out their requisite paperwork) is to tell me in their own words what is going on. Why? Well it is the best way to get insight into exactly what is affecting them most, and the basis of a Doctor-Patient communication.
Their insight into what is happening is what directs us to look deeper into different areas. At times the symptoms are a mixed bag and can seem rather 'confused' when looking at the small picture. I have found, however, that when you step back after listening to the whole story that the picture will often reveal itself. Much like the painting technique of Pointillism where a series of dots up close reveal a picture when viewed from a distance. The big picture is the key, the small points (or dots) help to make up the full clinical picture; but no point on their own will tell the full story.
Similarly, in the body, communication is equally important and where many of us seek to understand what is a miss.
Our bodies are continuously communicating. Back and forth messages from the body to the brain synapsing at speeds of 120m/s. Yes you read that right; 120 meters per second. FAST. It's how we know to pull our hand away from a hot oven burner so quickly, or how a goalie reacts to a slapshot traveling 100mph in a hockey game.
So what happens when communication is not functioning at it's fullest? Do we simply stop all communication? Does the communication become incorrect or 'muddy'? Does it simply slow down? Well the answer is a resounding... maybe. Depending on what is being affected and how, will cause different and unique outcomes in each patient.
Low back Spinal Unit
In the above picture is an example of how communication can change. That is a depiction of a 'Motor unit' of the spine, essentially it is composed of two vertebrae, a disc, the surrounding muscles and ligaments, and the nerves and blood vessels. When there is misalignment of the joints of the two adjacent vertebrae is where things start to go awry. In the past you may have been told by a Chiropractor about the nerve being pinched, which happens, but less frequently than you may think. Another theory that is still being explored is that the structural shift actually changes how our body reacts. With a structural shift we can have a variety of linked issues; such as: Stretched muscles/ligaments, compressed or impinged muscle/ligament, nerve entrapment, shortening of muscle/ligaments, blood vessels change in dilation, and more. What is interesting is that with any of those reactions the body has a direct link between the body and the brain to start the process of trying to correct it.
Let's look at an example
You lift a child out of their car seat, turn at the waist, and their 30 pounds being placed back on the ground and immediately you feel a stabbing pain in your lower back that runs down your left leg. You likely yelp, and immediately straighten up quickly as the muscles go into a spasm and the left leg throbs. So what is happening? A LOT.
When you lifted a child (squirming around likely!) and their weight of 30 pounds or so while twisting at the waist (a weak position for the back) you quickly changed the picture in your lower back. You may have done any/all of: shortened/strained muscles of the lower back, perhaps damaged the disc, shifted the joint out of position, or more. The body immediately sent an alert to the brain from multiple areas via different nerves. Some told the brain about a feeling going down that left leg, some spoke about the strain to the muscles/ligaments of the lower back, while others wanted the brain to know that the spine was misaligned.
Now it's 'the Brains problem'... right?
In a way, yes. The brain immediately puts into action certain protective reflexes, such as extending in the lower back and spasms in the low back to "protect" the structures... because they ARE VERY IMPORTANT to us. From here though, is the 'inner' reaction via the connection between the body and a part of the brain known as the Thalamus (the spinothalamic tract of the spinal cord). The inflammatory response will be initiated, often started due to a sense of tissue damage. And at times... this is where we feel the worst... as the inflammation starts to really bog down the system.
But what hasn't been addressed in this situation?
The structural shift. The body, at times, is unable to correct a structural shift when it occurs. This is where Chiropractic comes in.
With all the changes that have occurred from the simple act of lifting a youngster a proper adjustment will start to change a patient from day one. Re-aligning the shift, breaking the spasm cycle, reducing an impingement, restoring proper motion to the spine and allowing it to communicate again with the body. This is where we see improvements in not only symptoms, but in the functioning of the body. Getting it back to communicating at 120m/sec so that we are at our best.
Communication; just as important in your body as it is in your relationships!
Contact us to check your communication.