I sent out an email to my local folks last week asking what their favorite things are about the changing season. Here in the northern hemisphere we’re FINALLY moving into cooler weather, while I know that many of you in the south are moving into the warmth.
The words I got back were: relax, fireplaces, fall leaves, going deep into quiet, sweaters. I LOOOVE all of these, AND I love hearing back from you!
For those of you out further than my local peeps, I’d love to get one word from you that captures what you love about the season you’re moving into. Honestly, I do read your responses, and it helps keep me inspired to send these health tips out….I love hearing something more than crickets 🙂
For me this season brings the magic of the golden leaves, the smell of Pinon wood burning in fires and green chile roasting. I love sweaters, too and going outside and seeing the bright blue sky. I love the time to turn inward and connect with my higher self and the spirit world that I forget about often-times. I love a good book to curl up with. I love being quiet (yes, I know this may come as a surprise to those who know me).
What fills you up and brings you back into your center of joy?
Now onto this week’s metaphorical meat (or tofu for vegetarians)-and-potatoes is this: I would love to share the basics of spinal health as it relates to brain health.
Take a deep breath, grab a glass of water, jump up and down to get your brain ready to dive into A LOT of information that I’m sharing with you. This is a bit of a doozy, but if you hang in til the end, you’ll be really glad you did because this is really important stuff!
…..if you want to skip the written part of this and get the ‘Cliff notes’ version, you can jump to my video below.
Ready!? Let’s DO THIS!
You know that term ‘use it or lose it’? It actually has some serious validity. When I apply it to the body mechanics, it’s very important to understand what happens when you don’t use your joints or those joints are misaligned, and as a Chiropractor, it’s what I’m looking at when I’m working with my patients.
Every single joint in your body is important: from the end of your pinky finger, to the big hip joints. Every time you move your joint, it stimulates a specific area in your brain. In turn, that area of your brain lights up and sends impulses back down to that joint to tell it what to do: move, stop moving, move a specific way, pain signaling.
This looping goes faster than you can possibly imagine, it’s automatic, and it’s incredibly important to keep all of the body’s systems healthy and vital. When this loop slows down or stops due to injury, misalignment, lack of blood flow from overuse or compression, the communication channel between that part of the body and brain gets murky.
You know the party game ‘telephone’ where you sit in a line and the person at the start of the group whispers something in the next persons ear and then it goes down the line of party-goers. Inevitably by the last person, there’s not even a shred of similarity to what the originator of the words started with. Of course we all laugh and always amazed that one line of communication can change so drastically with just a few people in between.
When this happens, your brain isn’t getting the signaling it needs (let’s use your knee for example) to signal which muscles should turn on and when they should stop.
But this same thing happens in your body. If your knee joint is out of alignment, that means that the muscles surrounding it aren’t in alignment either. That means the start of the communication is already starting out poorly, but then that nervous impulse has a couple feet of other obstacles to pass through: your hips, lower back, mid back and neck (because your nervous system is your information highway system).
And remember, we’re always looking at nerves to send signals/electricity/communication to and from the body and brain.
If that communication reaches the brain but only 50% of it is accurate, the brain is only able to respond to 50% of the needs of the knees muscles and joints.
When that goes on for days/weeks/months/years, that part of the brain loses the stimulation and communication it needs. After some time, that part of the brain feels like it’s not needed any longer, so again, if it’s not being used, it just starts getting weaker and slower.
A good example of this is a body part that’s been casted. After weeks of a broken bone being in a cast, those muscles are small and puny and hard to move. That’s because that part of the brain hasn’t been stimulated in so long so it’s stopped sending signals down to the muscles.
I know this is a lot of information I’m throwing at you, but it’s important on so many levels:
1. If joints are misaligned or ‘subluxated’, and not corrected by a Chiropractor, there can be problems later on, not even necessarily in those joints, but also with brain health.
2. Subluxated joints can lead to problems not only in that joint, but the joints above and below.
3. When joints are subluxated, it can lead to imbalance, ‘clumsiness’, accidents because the joint’s proprioceptive awareness isn’t what it should be so it doesn’t see where it is in space.
What can you do?
As you know I love to give you things you can do at home, but this time, I’m going to say: Go see your Chiropractor.
If you’re here locally, come in to get your joints and spine aligned regularly. Even if you’re not in pain, most likely there are misalignments caused even by walking, sitting, tripping, stress. Your Chioropractor can help detect these spinal misalignments and correct them
Once you know your joints are aligned, KEEP MOVING! I can’t stress this enough.
If you’re unable to walk, swim, hike, bike, mountain climb, dance, do yoga, I’m pretty sure you can bend your fingers and toes, rotate your wrists and ankles, do some chair yoga…..all of these things contribute to joint health and then to brain health.
Move, move move my friend!
….more later but for now, I laid a lot on you for the next couple of weeks. Let me know what you’re doing for your joint/brain health!
Thanks for coming along this adventure of life with me and allowing me to be a part of it. I’m grateful.
Always, in healing,