3 simple solutions for maintaining your chiropractic adjustments

The question which arises frequently in chiropractic offices is:

“I feel better now, how long do I have to keep coming for spinal care?”

The simple answer is: “As long as you would like to have a healthy spine.” A similar question I asked when I first started going to the gym ten years ago. I am still going because I like the benefits.

What I find people really want to know, the hidden secret behind the question. Which is; how can I hold my spinal correction for a longer period of time?

There are many ways to do this but there are 3 very potent and very simple solutions for this:

  1. Keep moving.
    I could not put more important emphasis on this one subject. If you don’t use it, you loose it, as the saying goes. That is very applicable here. Joints and discs are avascular, meaning they have no direct blood supply. So how do they get their nutrients for regenerating? Well, when we move the spine and its joints and discs we move the fluids in and out. This is the only way we can ensure proper healing of the spinal structures and a much greater ability to hold (or maintain) your chiropractic adjustments longer. Go on, get up and move your body around.
  1. Stretch.
    Our body has what we call a ‘postural memory.’ So, if you have been crooked for a long time (decades possibly), then your postural memory is not working in favour of your spinal corrective care. Stretching is a very easy and simple way of changing this memory so you can hold your chiropractic adjustments longer. Stretch!!
  1. Stay away from toxic foods.
    If our body always has to put energy to battle and get rid of toxins you put in you mouth (sugars, sweeteners, preservatives, pesticides…) then you will be robbing your body of the opportunity to recover optimally. Stay away as much as possible!!

One simple secret to a fantastic spine!

This week we have had an influx of patients with rigidity of the spinal column. It has really surprised me that most people know that exercise is extremely important for your health, but don’t know that stretching is just as important.

Stretching and just moving your body through its normal ranges of motion prevents so much muscular and articular (joint) tension, it could save you a lot of money and trips to the massage therapist and even the chiropractor!

I give the analogy to my patients – chiropractic care is like going to the dentist to get your teeth checked. They clean you teeth with a super-washer to get them perfect and you leave feeling fantastic in your mouth – it is then our job to go home, brush and floss our teeth to prevent future problems.

Flossing and brushing your spine comes in two forms. EXERCISE AND STRETCHING.

Overnight, the discs in your back refill with fluid, which make you feel stiffer. Stretching help to start moving the fluid and nuture the joint. That´s why we stretch when we wake up: it´s an instinctive thing we do for our joints, muscles and circulation. It also sets the muscles up for the day after they have been stuck in the same position after being a curled up while asleep. So, start with a basic stretching routing every morning and evening. It doesn’t have to take long. Focus on the spine and moving it in all ranges (one movement at a time works best i.e. forward bending only followed by sideward bending). Stretching recallbrates the muscle spindles (the muscle sensors) which detect how short or long a muscle should be. Take the muscles gently to the extreme, outside of its ususal length, so it can get back to normal again. Alos our heart rate slows down while we sleep and stretching stimulates it – helping to move blood around the body.

Also, make it a habit of moving your body; dance, swimming, walking, sports… pick your choice.  Avoid rough twisting movements and powerwalking is generally better for you back than jogging. If you enjoy running do it on soft surfaces, like a treadmill or in nature. Enjoy!

Sleep with a good posture

Good posture is of vital importance to maintain a healthy spine preventing disc damage and vertebral degeneration.

Good posture is also of vital importance for symptomatic recovery and to maximize structural correction while undergoing chiropractic treatment. It allows the patient to hold adjustments for longer periods of time and it helps creating new and better muscle memory in our body.

Often people think good posture concerns solely the active or awake part of their day. This couldn’t be farther from the truth. Sleep posture is just as important as our daily posture and more. Good normal posture helps us distributing daily weights and stresses on our spine in the most efficient way, preventing injuries to our discs. Good sleep posture allows our spine, and in particular our discs to recover, regenerate and rehydrate and our muscles to rest and relax.

A tangible sign of the daily nocturnal rehydration of our intervertebral discs is our height in the morning, which on average is 1 cm taller than before we go to bed!

So what is good sleep posture and how can we achieve it? The first and most important thing we must consider is that when we sleep we are not actively controlling our posture as we do during the day, hence we must rely on the quality, firmness and shape of our mattress and pillow to help us maintain it.

We personally recommend the Tempur brand as we have used it for many years and we know it offers products, which are reliable and of consistent quality. However, any product featuring the following specifications will be appropriate:

  • The mattress needs to be firm, yet accommodate for the normal curves in our spine.
  • The pillow on the other hand, needs to be of the appropriate size for one’s body frame and feature the correct cervical support curve depending of the person’s preferred sleeping position.

This brings us to the second ingredient to good sleep posture: sleeping position. The most ideal sleeping position for our spine, especially for people who need to restore their cervical curve, is supine (face up). However, sleeping on the side is equally acceptable, provided that the pillow correctly maintains our neck in a neutral straight position.

Last, but not least, we must think of the quality of our sleep. How long does it take us to fall asleep? Do we wake up during the night? How rested do we feel when we get up in the morning? Modern life often disrupts our normal sleeping cycle and people struggle to find a balance, resorting to sleeping medication and the numerous side effects that come with them. If you have the same problem, a melatonin supplement is a very effective natural alternative, which helps restore the natural sleeping cycle and improve the quality of our sleep.

With these tips in mind I wish you a good night sleep

Written by Pietro Mariani – Chiropractor at Advanced Chiropractic