The first step in living a pain free life is to get your body mechanics working properly without interference through chiropractic adjustments of the spine. Eating a healthy diet with protein and amino acids and exercising regularly are other ways to help your body to function pain free.
Some common painful conditions people suffer from include headaches, back pain and knee pain. In terms of body function, what are the common underlying causes of the aches and pains we feel?
Dr. Gregg Rubinstein: Well, for many people, the common cause that we can help them with is aberrant mechanics, body mechanics or spinal misalignments and that is specifically what chiropractors call a vertebral subluxation. Very simply, vertebral subluxation is when one or more of the segments of the spinal column are misaligned. When the vertebrae misalign, they actually irritate the same nerves that they are designed to protect.
If you every really look at the design of the spine, it is a bunch of segments, and then in between the two bony segments, there is a little notch in the vertebrae above and a little notch in the vertebrae below. That is where the spinal nerves exit, directly off the spinal cord which is protected by the rest of the bones in the column. When those bones misalign, they can pinch and irritate the nerves.
Now, if those nerves travel form the upper part of the neck and go into the head, then headaches might be a very common, painful effect that people might see with that. If those nerves leave from the lower back and go down into the leg, they might see sciatic or leg pain or knee pain as well as lower back pain. Obviously if you irritate the nerves that are exiting from the spine, it can cause back pain.
Those things are very common to see, but chiropractic isn’t just about back pain because when those nerves are irritated, it can also affect the way the organs function. Understanding that the brain sends messages down through the spinal cord, out through those spinal nerves that exit the spine and then go to your heart, your lungs, your kidney, your spleen and your intestines, and even your immune system. If you have irritation to those nerves, it can affect the way those organs function and then create other problems as well.
It is so important to understand that chiropractic isn’t just about pain, although we can help many people with many of their painful conditions just by correcting those misalignments, getting the pressure off the nerves and allow the body to heal properly the way it was designed to do.
How can chiropractic treatment help people get their bodies in the best shape?
Dr. Gregg Rubinstein: Really very simply, chiropractic works on a wholistic premise. It is really about clearing the interference or pressure on the nerve system. I’ve said probably a million times before, the better your nerve system works, the better you work. By clearing out pressure, irritation on the nerves, it improves communication from the brain to the rest of the body. With clear communication, the function of your organs and organ system is going to be faster, clearer and more efficient, which will help you be healthier.
The other thing it does is, it improves body mechanics and if things are moving smoother, you are less likely to see degenerative changes and arthritic changes, the better your spine moves and the cleaner the alignment. It is kind of like the car analogy which I’ve probably talked about ad nauseam in some of our previous interviews, but if I hit that pothole and knocked the front end out of alignment, I’m going to start to wear the tires funny. If my spine is misaligned, the joints are going to wear funny, it is going to create arthritis and inflammation and pain and if that doesn’t get corrected, those things will continue to degenerate over time.
We’ve all seen that 70 or 80 year old guy who is all hunched over. He didn’t just wake up one day, look at the mirror and say, “Oh gee, what happened to my spine?” It happened slowly over time, so chiropractic is all about prevention. To keep your body in the best shape and not allow it to degenerate.
What role does diet and nutrition have in living a pain free life?
Dr. Gregg Rubinstein: That’s a great question Liz, and I know that a lot of chiropractors really do a lot of nutrition. It is not my area of expertise. I really do more pure chiropractic care, but proper nutrition is important to make sure that your body has all the necessary building blocks to do tissue repair. Your body is constantly regenerating itself. The way the body heals and continues to go on is that if your body’s healing, it is replacing damaged cells with healthy new ones.
When your body is constantly renewing and regenerating, it is replacing the old, tired, worn out cells with healthy new ones. In order to do that, it’s got to have the right building blocks. If you’re not taking in the proper nutrition and the proper proteins and the proper amount of amino acids, your body might not be able to build really strong, healthy proteins. The proteins are what make the enzymes and direct your body to do the tissue repair, so even just missing a couple of amino acids can create protein deficiencies, which then will create enzyme deficiencies and slow down the body’s ability to heal or make good quality tissue which stay healthy and last longer. It is so important that you have the proper nutrition to make sure that your body has the proper building blocks to repair and regenerate healthy tissues to keep the body going on.
We know exercise keeps you in shape, but can it also prevent painful conditions from developing?
Dr. Gregg Rubinstein: Absolutely. Exercise is a great thing, but one of the things I tell my patients is that exercising on a misaligned or subluxated spine will actually make your problems worse. Once you get your spine corrected and you have proper mechanics, then you can exercise. The importance of exercise, and I’ve probably talked about this in previous podcasts as well, is that when you move a joint, it swirls up the synovial fluid, which then allows the nutrients to diffuse across the blood barrier, which is really the joint capsule.
The blood vessels are attached to the joint capsule, but inside the joint, there is no blood. They don’t get any nutrition unless you swirl up that synovial fluid, which then allows the body and the joint to absorb the nutrients from the blood and the tissue building blocks for repair into the joint to keep the joint and the cartilage healthy. Understand, when you don’t move a joint, the faster it is going to degenerate and that’s why exercise is so important. It allows the nutrition to transfer from the blood vessels, into the joint, and keep that joint healthy.
You might’ve even seen sometimes when you have an older adult, they start to get pain and the move less. The less they move, the faster arthritis and the degenerating of those joints continues. That’s why it is important to keep the joints moving with exercise and with chiropractic care.
There are many medications we can take to help make the pain go away, but we know they don’t address the cause of the pain. How do you get people to try other alternatives to alleviate their pain?
Dr. Gregg Rubinstein: Well, that I think is pretty much a one word answer and that is education. In our office, we try to educate people. We’re using these blogs. We do podcasts. I do healthcare classes in my office. Ultimately, it comes down to a very simple thing, that I am here and I have something that I can offer to help people. My job as I see it is to explain what we do, essentially just throw the life preserver.
The person who I throw it to, they actually need to grab onto it if they want the help. Some people want to take the easy way. I know it is very easy to stay at home and just take a couple of pills and see if your pain goes away, but usually those pills only cover up the symptoms and never really address the core problem. Chiropractic is more likely to address the core problem, which is most likely aberrant mechanics or misalignment, which causes pain and pinching of the nerves.
A pill isn’t going to fix that. If you have inflammation, you’re going to get an anti-inflammatory. If you have a muscle spasm, you’re going to get a muscle relaxer. If you have pain, they’re going to give you a pain killer. It just does the opposite of what the symptoms are, but the symptoms are really there to let you know that something is wrong, and that you need to make a lifestyle change, not just cover up the symptoms.
Covering up the symptoms with medication is like if my house is on fire and the smoke alarm is going off, I can go and take the battery out of the smoke alarm. I don’t hear that blaring noise, but the house is still on fire. When you take pills to cover up the pain, the cause of the problem is still there. You never addressed the cause. As a doctor of chiropractic, we like to say we are doctors of cause. If we can eliminate the aberrant mechanics causing the pain and correct the alignment, get the pressure off the nerves, allow your body to function properly and heal itself properly, then everything is going to go well and you don’t have to take the medications.
The other thing about medications, there’s always side effects to all the medications. If you ever listen to the commercials on television, as soon as they’re done telling you what the drug does, then there is usually a list of five or 10 pretty significant side effects that in some cases I think are almost worse than the disease process they are trying to treat.
To speak with Dr. Gregg Rubinstein, visit www.ChiropractorMidtown.com or call 917-534-6484 to schedule an appointment