It may be as elusive as the Loch Ness monster or Bigfoot. But I saw it.
When I first started in practice 15 years ago, I used to do spinal screenings at the local GNC store. I would happily check the spines of interested customers and give them a consultation about what I found. Usually people who wanted to be checked had some sort of pain or symptom. But not always. I remember one young guy in his early 20s came in and asked to be checked. He didn’t have any symptoms. He was just curious about his spine.
The reality is that life takes its toll on most of us. As a chiropractor so much of what I do is to compensate for the wear and tear of life. All those childhood falls, hours with the neck craned forward on the computer or school desk and, of course, the more dramatic injuries such as car accidents do affect the spine. The body will always heal as best it can. But it can only heal with some form of scar tissue. Scar tissue by its very nature has less mobility than regular tissue. This is why, as a chiropractor, I’m very focused on finding and releasing fixations. In chiropractic speak, we call these subluxations. When the joints in the spine stop moving properly they become more susceptible to pain and, over time, degenerative changes. That lack of motion will also affect the nerves going through that area to the vital organs of the body. If I can restore proper motion to those joints, the segments will be healthier and less painful. As a fringe benefit, a spinal joint that is moving properly results in healthier nerve flow through that area.
As I checked this guy’s spine, I expected to find some sort of fixation or muscle spasm indicating less than ideal movement or misalignment. Even though many people don’t have symptoms of neck pain or low back pain, it is very unusual to find a perfect spine. As I examined this guy’s spine, I could find absolutely nothing wrong: his legs were even, normal motion throughout the spine, no muscle spasms, perfect range of motion in the neck and the low back. As he got up I told him that I could find nothing wrong. His spine was perfect. Knowing about the connection between spinal health and nervous system health, I told him that he was probably a pretty healthy guy. He responded by saying that he had never been sick a day in his life. I shook his hand and wished him well.
I hope he is still doing well and has managed to continue to dodge the stresses and strains of life. If he hasn’t, I hope he went to see a chiropractor.