We often think of health in individual aspects, blood work, our weight, or individual parts of our body like our knees or back. However the body is much more sophisticated than that. The body is a complex object that has many moving parts and chemical reactions happening at all times to allow us to function and stay alive to do all the fun things we love to do here in Montana. The triad of health is just that, a triad that must remain in balance if we want to be healthy. The triad consists of structural, physiological, and psychological health. In other words, you must think well, move well, and eat well to be healthy.
Health doesn’t come easy. Paradoxically most things that make life more convenient actually are not healthy for us; like fast food, escalators, or microwaves. The truth is we have a constant battle against nature to stay alive and to keep nature from recycling us back into the food chain. We are much better at avoiding the recycling bin these days thanks to technology and our understanding of hygiene and sanitation but it hasn’t always been so. With our modern day conveniences we often take our health for granted. Often it takes severe symptoms or diseases for us to become aware of our health at which time it can often be to late. Such is the case with arthritis, diabetes, cancer and Alzheimer’s disease.
I am going to start with the structural system, and the structural health of our body. Movement is the key to life. We are moving all the time, even when we are sleeping. Your heart has to beat, your diaphragm has to work to allow you to breath, and there are many muscles in your digestive tract moving to allow you to properly digest and absorb the nutrients from the food you consumed throughout the day. You may try and argue that this is not moving but it does all relate to the proper structural health of the body.
Movement happens because of the contraction of muscles. Muscles move bones, nerves control muscles, and if bones are not aligned properly they can pinch nerves, especially in your spine. It’s the ultimate game of rock, paper, scissors. Structural problems can be puzzling like a rubrics cube, trying to unwind the problem can often reveal other problems. When we have trouble with our structural system we often have a very severe decrease in our quality of life. You can sympathize if you ever broke a bone or sprained an ankle; quickly you realize you can no longer do the things you want to do. Neurological problems have an even more severe affect on movement like if you have a stroke.
However structural problems are not always associated with trauma. Often structural problems are more a result of repetitive use. In our computer age many of us find ourselves sitting at a desk for most of the day. Here again technology has made business more convenient but less healthy. Sitting for long periods of time creates short tight muscles that can develop fascial adhesions causing muscles to stick together and not move through their normal range of motion, this will ultimately lead to pain too.
Arthritis is another structural problems and leads to the inability to move well. Arthritis is when calcium deposits in joints creating deformities and limiting the range of motion of the joint. Arthritis is often very painful, but it does not necessarily have to be. Unfortunately the arthritis is affecting the bodies overall health and can affect a person’s quality of life too.
As much as arthritis is causing structural problems it is actually a result of a physiological process due to inflammation. Arthritis is caused by an altered pH of the joint fluids. This altered fluid pH causes calcium to precipitate out of solution and is then deposited in the joint. The altered pH of the joints is caused by inflammation, which can be due to trauma to the joint or from a more whole body pH problem that is caused by poor diet. Yes that’s right your diet affects your structure. A very easy way to help balance the body’s pH and prevent arthritis from starting is to avoid processed foods and sugar, and to drink raw apple cider vinegar every day. 2tsp of raw apple cider vinegar diluted in a ¼ glass of water in the morning and at night will makes a big difference in your health. If needed you can add honey or grape juice to cut the vinegar taste.
The most important part of our structure however is its affect on our nervous system. Our nervous system is designed for movement. We take sensory information from the world around us and create movement responses based on those stimuli. If you touch something hot, you pull your hand away, if you smell dinner cooking you move to the kitchen, if you see a saber tooth tiger you run away. As we move however we are actually recharging our nervous system. The nervous system develops from our cross crawl motions we do when we are babies. It is very important that children spend as much time crawling as possible to help their brains develop. The better we move the better our brains work. This is constantly proven over and over again by the intellectual capabilities of elite athletes. People who move well learn faster.
Regaining movement after injury or lack of movement based on lifestyle can be hard to overcome sometimes, and can be aided by knowledge and expertise of body workers. This includes Chiropractors, Physical Therapists and Massage Therapists, as well as movement instructors like coaches, personal trainers, yoga, qi gong, and Pilate’s instructors too. Each discipline looks at the body movements a little differently from their own perspective, but the bottom line is anything you can do to move better will help you to be healthier. When studying science we learn structure determines function. The better our structure is, the better our physiology works. In next months article we will look at the importance of balanced physiology and its relationship to health. Stay tuned.
Dr. Phil Cameron DC is the owner of the Bozeman Wellness Center. He is a Chiropractic Physician and Professional Applied Kinesiologist. He treats every patient based on his or her individual health care needs and strives to help each patient Live Healthy, Live Naturally, and Live Optimally. Visit www.bozemanwellnesscenter.com for more information.