How To Demonstrate Proprioception
TRY THIS: Close your eyes and touch your nose with your index finger. Pretty easy right? How did you know where your arm was, where your nose was, and where to move your arm to place it on your nose without seeing them? It is these receptors that are constantly sending signals informing you of where “you” are 24/7. It seams like such a simple thing but its actually a complicated network of signals and structures that control this.
TRY THIS: Set a bottle on a desk in front of you. Close your eyes, back up and spin in 3 circles. While keeping your eyes closed try to touch the bottle on the desk. Little bit harder right? This is because unlike your nose you don’t have any neurological connection to that bottle, thus you have no awareness of where it is in space. It may seem trivial but it shows there is an active system monitoring your body 24/7 without you even knowing or thinking about it.
WHY THE SPINE CHANGES TO POOR POSTURE POSITIONS?
Ever notice the older people get the more hunched over they look? This is because the spine will structure itself based on the position you are in most often. Most people, especially now with cell phones and computers, spend a majority of there time with their head flexed forward over their bodies. The spine, just like everything in the body, will adapt to what we put it through. If we do a bunch of pushups, we get bigger pecs and arms. Stretch often, we get more flexible. If we are hunched over often, our spine stabilizes in that position regardless of the tension associated. As stated before, your subconscious controls your posture. Nobody ever feels their posture changing.
The Nervous System
PRESSURE + MOTION = PAIN
A joint in your body that has constant pressure built up in it will feel pain whenever there is motion in that joint.
Pressure builds up in joints in high tension positions. How does this happen? Two ways. First is the fast way such as a sprained ankle. Increased tension on the ankle joint from rolling it injures the joint and it swells. Second is chronically through prolonged improper posture. This is a slow process and often times we don’t even feel it happening.
Tension on a joint causes pain. Your body then instinctively and subconsciously creates pressure within the associated joint via swelling. This does 2 things. 1: pressure signals will override pain signals and 2: more pressure stabilizes the joint and prevents you from moving it. By increasing the pressure in the joint, the body will only feel pressure sensations, not pain so long as you don’t move the joint.
Apply pressure with your finger nail to another one of your finger joints. Notice how it feels when you keep that finger still. Maybe mild pain but not too bad right? Now, keep the same pressure on the joint and wiggle it up and down. What do you feel? More pain with motion right?
The only way to permanently relieve pain in a joint is to relieve the pressure. Guess what a chiropractic adjustment does? The pressure is a build up of gas within the joint. The chiropractic adjustment relieves that pressure. The audible crack you hear with adjustments is the release of gas from the joint. The same way a balloon makes a loud bang when you pop it.
PRESSURE + NO MOTION = IGNORED PAIN
This is how you can have a spinal condition and not even be aware of it. Go back to what we discussed above in “how we feel pressure.” When tension is constantly placed on joints in the spine from prolonged improper posture, pressure builds up within the joint complex. The function of added pressure is to restrict motion in the joint so your body doesn’t feel pain. When joints are not allowed to move, your body will not sense any pain coming from those joints and you are then able to sustain that poor posture position for longer periods of time. Though you cannot feel the pain, the problem is continuing to get worse and worse.
The relationship between poor posture, tension and pressure then becomes a positive feedback loop. Each one keeps contributing to an increase in the others. As body position and posture continues to worsen, tension continues to increase within the affected joints causing increased pressure within the joints to stabilize them. That increased pressure allows you to continue maintaining your poor posture without pain. This than puts your body in worse posture and the cycle continues. Eventually your body is unable to manage the situation and you experience a sharp, sudden and severe pain with a small movement. This is how the majority of people present to chiropractor offices.
NO MOTION + TIME = DEGENERATION AND ARTHRITIS
Ever heard of the phrase “if you don’t use it, you lose it?” That phrase cannot be more true when it comes to the function of your body. When a joint is constantly under pressure as your body instinctively restricts the motion to reduce the pain, you begin losing proper function of the joint. If left untreated, over time the joint will literally start fusing together. This is what arthritis is. The joint slowly degenerating and collapsing until there is no space between 2 bones and you get the “bone on bone” look on imaging.
Contrary to common belief, arthritis and degeneration is a condition of under use rather than over use when it comes to spinal joints. When we compare spinal X-rays of 2 people of virtually same demographics, the more active person almost always has a healthier spine. That just makes sense right? Motion is what keeps us young. Fortunately, whats the easiest way to introduce motion into a joint? A chiropractic adjustment.
There is 2 ways to maintain proper structure, motion and health of your spine. First is to be regularly active by following the recommended 30 min of vigorous activity 3X per week. We’ve noticed farmers typically have great looking spines so long as there’s no severe injuries. The Second and often easier and quicker way? A chiropractic adjustment.
NO PRESSURE + MOTION = OPTIMAL FUNCTION
Many people are surprised at how good their body feels when it relieved of chronic tension and pressure. Range of motion increases. Recovery time after workouts decreases. Immune function is optimized. Cognitive function is sharpened. Sleeping habits are regulated and improved. Fatigue is reduced. Bowel function becomes more regular. Most importantly, pain and discomfort are significantly reduced.