I was sitting in the dentist last week, waiting for my regular cleaning, and I started thinking….Although a dentist deals with oral health and a chiropractor deals with nerve system health, there are a LOT of similarities between our professions!
Why Regular Visits?
It’s a pretty well known fact that most people should visit their dentist every six months. This is the standard period for the average person to ensure things like tartar, plaque, and gum disease is dealt with by a professional, and to help prevent or ensure early detection of things like cavities, receding gums and oral cancers. There are individuals who might need a more frequent or a less frequent care plan, depending on their body’s individual needs. But this schedule helps catch and prevent most issues before they become major procedures or interventions, and keeps your teeth clean and healthy along the way!
It’s not as well known, but everyone with a spine should visit their chiropractor regularly as well. Stress on the body and the nerve system build up over time, very similarly to the way plaque does on the teeth. These stresses cause nerve irritation or nerve interference, depending on how your body holds onto and/or adapts to those stresses. Chiropractors call the effects of this stress a “subluxation”. We find the subluxation, adjust it, and remove the ramifications of the stress on your body. This allows your body’s nerve communication to improve, heal and function better. It might seem unimportant if you don’t have pain or any symptoms yet, but consider this: Just like neglected oral health, plaque and inflammation will inevitably lead to cavities and dental disease, so will untreated subluxation and joint inflammation inevitably lead to joint degeneration, arthritis, and other more serious spinal issues.
An Ounce of Prevention
You’ve probably all heard the saying “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”. Whoever came up with this statement was wise indeed. Prevention takes a little more effort NOW, but saves you time, headache, money, and regret in the FUTURE.
With your dental health, prevention takes its course in your daily habits: Brushing twice a day, using a soft toothbrush, rinsing with mouthwash, flossing daily, minimizing sugar intake, hydrating properly, getting regular dental checkups and alerting your dentist at the first sign of pain, issue or discomfort.
With chiropractic health, prevention is also important in your daily habits: proper nutrition, regular movement and exercise, good sleep and hydration, proper posture throughout your day. Where many people fall short in their spinal prevention routine is in keeping regularly scheduled chiropractic adjustments and paying attention to pain. Many times people will ignore or cover up pain for YEARS before even thinking of seeing a chiropractor. If you did this with your oral health, you’d probably have to get scheduled for a few root canals. Regular chiropractic adjustments prior to or at the first sign of having symptoms is the safest way to avoid problems in later years.
At our practice, we see people of all ages. This means we can start adjusting kids at birth. Regular adjustments in little ones help them develop properly and adapt to the micro traumas of falls, bumps, environmental stresses, dietary stresses and changes in their biomechanics that come with milestones and growth. As kids continue to get adjusted as they grow older and the additional physical stresses, chemical stresses, and emotional stresses start to increase in number and accumulate on their body, the adjustments make them more able to handle these changes.
Life, stress, and subluxation continue into adulthood, so adults also need regular adjustments to keep their nerve system subluxation minimized.
How Often Do You Need To Get Adjusted For Prevention?
This varies by person, lifestyle, habits and other health choices. Most people fall into either weekly or every other weekly adjustments to truly maintain and prevent future problems. Some people can get by with monthly adjustments. We never recommend getting adjusted LESS than monthly. But why? After approximately 4 weeks, the inflammation and nerve stress associated with a subluxation begins to cause irreversible damage, decay, and change to the nerve, joint and surrounding area. Too many of these left untreated is just as dangerous as having a mouth full of cavities – but instead, it’s a spine full of joint inflammation, nerve stress, and body dysfunction. The older you get, and the more untended subluxations pile up on the spine, the longer and harder you have to work to return your body to normal.
What’s the Biggest DIFFERENCE Between Dentistry and Chiropractic?
Well, for starters, your mouth is on your face. People tend to worry more about their oral health because they can see their smile in the mirror every day. Chiropractors sometimes joke that if everyone’s spine were on their face, people might be more serious about taking better care of it.
Surgery is available to replace teeth, drill out decay and fix problems in the mouth. There are even dentures for oral issues that go so far as to replace teeth if necessary. True, there are spinal and disc surgeries available to help treat degeneration and problems of the spine. But there is no such thing as a spine transplant, a spinal cord replacement or a substitute nerve. It really is important to take care of your spine throughout life, rather than waiting for a problem to arise and then hoping you can treat it.
Oral health relies on periodic professional cleanings amidst with at-home cleanings. Unfortunately, there is no way to “adjust” yourself at home, but you can practice good movement like stretching, yoga, and proper ergonomics.
I want to start my prevention routine … What can I do?
The good news is: No matter where you are at NOW, you can always slow or stop the progression of stress and degeneration, and in most cases you can improve your spinal and nerve health status. Call us to schedule your nerve exam today! 970-232-9258.
Let’s also take it another step and teach our kids that prevention matters. Ensure the little ones in your life get checked regularly by a family chiropractor so they don’t end up with the same problems many adults deal with today. We can change the health of future generations!
We all have to get older, but nothing says we have to age poorly! We can’t wait to see you in the office!
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