Spinal alignment affects the immune system, body function and overall wellness. It is important to get your spine checked by a chiropractor who can identify any misalignments and correct them.
Could you start by explaining what it means to have your spine aligned?
Dr. Gregg Rubinstein: Absolutely. So, I’m going to change one thing. It’s really what it means to have your spine adjusted. So, let’s talk a little bit about what a chiropractor does. If you boil everything down and make it as simple as possible, chiropractors detect and remove something called a vertebral subluxation.
A vertebral subluxation, I’ve defined probably 100 times with you. You could probably do it for me, but I will take the wheel since I’m supposed to be driving this bus. So, a subluxation is when one vertebra is misaligned with respect to the vertebrae above and below. A subluxation can be caused by stress, tension, accidents, falls, and poor posture. A myriad of different things can cause the bones to misalign, but usually it is some type of stress whether it be physical, chemical, or emotional stress, they all contribute. The muscles tighten up and they can pull the bones out of alignment. It can get fixed or stuck in that position. And the whole time the vertebra is misaligned or subluxated it’s causing pinching or irritation to the spinal nerves themselves.
That irritation to the spinal nerves changes the communication from the brain to the body. The whole nerve system is just a communication system to get information from the brain to the body and information from the body to the brain. And if you obstruct or limit that communication, your body’s not functioning optimally. Much like a computer working on dial-up internet versus one on a DSL or a T1 line. If I gave you a choice to pick which computer you’d use, you would always pick the DSL or the T1 line because dial-up is slow. And when you have a lot of information, you need that to go fast.
So, a chiropractor will detect where that misaligned or subluxated vertebra is and introduce a small force, just enough to break up that fixation and allow that vertebra to reposition with the rest of his friends. When the proper alignment is there, there’s no pressure or less irritation to the nerves and then the communication is cleared up and then your body can heal, run, and regulate itself.
Because your body is wicked smart. It has an intelligence that took two half cells and made a perfect body. And that same intelligence that created the body is what heals, runs, and regulates it. And that is communicated across the nerve system. So, the better that communication, the healthier you are in your mind and body.
What is the best way for someone to check if their spine is aligned?
Dr. Gregg Rubinstein: Well, that’s a nice softball question. That one’s easy. See a chiropractor, right? There’s really no one else out there that specifically detects and removes those misalignments or subluxations to improve nerve system function. That is the job of a chiropractor. So, a chiropractor would do an assessment of your posture, your alignment. He would look at, or she would look at the range of motion, do some orthopedic and neurological tests to make sure that you’re within the scope of chiropractic and there’s no other disease process or anything that could be going on that could confound the results or make chiropractic maybe not safe for that patient. But really a chiropractic examination and x-ray is the ideal way. We also use some thermography to kind of determine how well the nerve system is functioning and a few other tools in our chest that we can use to make sure that the spine is healthy, but the best way to do it is to see a licensed chiropractor who is trained and learned in the ways of detecting and correcting vertebral subluxation.
Does your spinal alignment affect your body development and your overall body movement?
Dr. Gregg Rubinstein: Body development, yes. If you have misalignments in the spine at a very early age, and the birth process in and of itself can actually cause misalignments in an infant. Sometimes they’re sitting in the womb with their head down and the head is flex forward for weeks or months at a time. And sometimes it takes a little bit of help in the very beginning to get that neck straightened out because it’s been in an odd position for a long time. I mean, I can’t tell you how many times an adult comes into my office and says, I slept wrong for a couple hours and now my neck is jammed up. Could you imagine being upside down with your neck flexed inside the wound for several weeks? Then when you come out it might affect the alignment there.
It’s important to know that if there’s irritation to the nerve system, which controls every stage of growth and development, it could affect the way the body develops. Also, if the spine is misaligned and there’s uneven pressure on the growth plates of the vertebrae, that can cause wedging of the vertebrae and that can lead to a type of scoliosis as well. And then talking about overall body movement, all 33 segments of the spine stack up on top of each other, 23 of those segments are designed to move. And if they’re fixed or stuck in an abnormal position or what we call subluxated, it’s going to affect the way your body moves and how smooth the mechanics are.
We know that if the front end of our car isn’t lined up, it’s going to wear the tires funny. Well, if the spine isn’t lined up and it continues to move in those abnormal ways, it’s going to cause wear and tear on the spine or what a lot of people call arthritis. So, both the body’s development and its overall movement can be affected by those vertebral subluxations or misalignments as you call them.
How does your spinal alignment affect your immune system and your overall wellness?
Dr. Gregg Rubinstein: Now, that’s a great question. And that is the biggest question in chiropractic and, I feel, which is one of the most important, because again, there seems to be a disconnect where people just think chiropractic is about back pain and neck pain. But when we talk about what the nerve system does, because chiropractic isn’t about the back, it’s about the nerve system, which is protected by those spinal bones.
The spinal cord runs down all the way through inside the spinal column, which are the column of bones, and then exiting from in between adjacent vertebrae are the delicate spinal nerves. Now they carry information from the brain. Your immune system is 100% neuro regulated, meaning it is controlled by your brain and your nervous system and the innate intelligence or the inborn wisdom of your body controls it and tells it what to do. That communication happens over those spinal nerves.
If you have a spinal misalignment or what we call subluxation, it’s going to interfere with that communication. And if the message that your brain is sending to the liver, or to the heart, or to the spleen where you’re making immune system cells doesn’t get through or it’s distorted, or it’s less than the original message and they don’t get the full message, the body is going to make mistakes, or it’s going to be slowed down. And the immune system won’t be as efficient. Today, with all this COVID madness, your individual nerve system and your individual immune system determines how well you can fight this thing off.
Chiropractic stacks the deck in your favor and allows your nerve system to be optimized. It optimizes your immune system and all the other systems in your body. You have the best chance of fighting off anything that comes your way. And that’s how it really affects your overall health because the body’s intelligence is communicated over the nerve system. If you stop the flow of that intelligence, it’s game over, right? If you stop that flow of nerve energy completely, you’re dead. If you limit it or interfere with it, 50%, you end up like Chris Reeves or a paraplegic or anything in between. But really the clearer that nerve system is, the better your spinal alignment is, the better your nerve system works, the better the immune system works and the healthier the individual is. That’s why it’s so important to keep your spine healthy, it is not just about back pain or neck pain.
What are some other important reasons people should get their spinal alignment corrected?
Dr. Gregg Rubinstein: Well, I feel like we covered a lot of them. One is to help your nerve system stay optimized and keep you healthy, which I think is the most important reason. It certainly helps people with back pain, and neck pain, and sciatica, and headaches, and vertigo, because those are all conditions where you may have pressure or irritation to the nerve system. Those types of symptoms show up because they’re related to the nerve system. They seem like neurological problems where people will go see doctors and take different medications. But sometimes the simple and more natural way, by just getting pressure off the nerve, you can have the same or even a better effect. So, it’s so important to keep the spine in proper alignment because it’s going to keep the nerve system functioning optimally.
But the other thing that is important is when you have good spinal mechanics, there’s less wear and tear on the spine and less arthritis. We all know if we keep our cars in good alignment and keep the engine oiled up that it’s going to function properly. So proper maintenance to the spine will help your spine last longer, last a lifetime. And that’s another reason that people should be getting checked regularly, from birth well into your old age, because that’s what’s going to keep the proper alignment and make sure that the vertebrae don’t degenerate over time and the disc don’t degenerate.
Proper movement, proper function, proper nerve supply – those are the other reasons to keep your spine and nerve system healthy. It’s not just about getting rid of back pain or neck pain, but really about having good posture, better health, and an optimized nerve system.
To speak with Dr. Gregg Rubinstein, visit www.ChiropractorMidtown.com or call (212) 977-7094 to schedule an appointment.