By Dr. Ryan Lee
What's the first thing you typically blame for your everyday aches and pains?
Stress? Sleeping wrong? Yesterday's game of tennis?
While you may be right in assuming that any one of these simple actions could have initiated the ache or pain that's currently bothering you, what most people overlook are the things they did as kids or even in adolescence that are the real root of their pain.
This is something I see commonly with my patients.
Often, as I'm going through a patient's health history, asking them questions about previous injuries and falls, they will respond, "Oh yeah, I forgot that I had a hard fall when I was 6," or "I didn't mention it earlier, but I was in a car wreck when I was younger. I didn't think of it because it wasn't a huge hit."
As kids, we are often able to shake off hard hits a bit more easily because our bodies are still very resilient.
Obviously, our bodies tend to lose some of that natural resilience over time, but something that adds to our decline in durability is the repetitive nature we adapt as adults.
As we get older, we tend to lean towards very repetitive jobs that may only require motion from a few areas, leaving other areas of our bodies largely unused. And after work, we don't have the time to go "play" or even work out anymore, so we lose the strength our spine once had.
While this repetitive nature of slight movements and bad posture may be the cause of several of the aches and pains you're experiencing, the root cause of that pain probably goes back several decades.
So, what could I have done as a kid to lead to these aches and pains?
It doesn't take too much.
In childhood, for example, if you rolled your ankle, that can frequently result in an imbalance of the hips, where either one hip is higher than the other or where one side is rolled forward/backwards, both of which can then put stress on the lower back and spine.
To relieve this stress in the lower back, it is common to slouch forward - leading to bad posture of the spine, which can of course lead to even more back pain in the future.
And all of this could have stemmed from a rolled ankle.
Starting to connect some of the dots?
Let's give a few more examples.
If you ever injured your shoulder, which is common from sports like baseball, tennis, or even carrying a heavy backpack/purse on one shoulder, it can lead to neck pain. This is caused from having placed an abnormal amount of stress on one side.
The same injury could have easily occured in present day. If you go to the gym, especially with resistance workouts, you will notice that you tend to be stronger on one side. The tendency then is to work that side out more, which of course can put more of an unnecessary strain on one side. So even while we think we are doing something good for our spine, we can actually be doing something detrimental.
Car accidents are also a major cause of future aches and pains.
This is because any collision is a transfer of forces. When 2 machines collide, it's not just the car that absorbs the opposing forces, but the bodies inside as well.
To illustrate this, I often think of the ripples in water that move outward after you've dropped a rock in.
Now think about those ripples instead moving in towards you.
Newton's 3rd law of motion states that, "For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction."
To apply this to a car wreck, whatever force came against your car was absorbed by your spine and must then have an equal "reaction" in damage done to your spine.
People often think it takes a car accident of 50-60 mph to cause significant damage, but a recent study from Yale University showed that a car only has to be going 8.2 mph to cause spinal damage!
It's these common injuries or accidents that we often overlook or think that we came through with no significant damage that can lead to serious pain down the road.
So, how can I know how much damage has been done to my spine?
The answer is simpler than you may think!
Seeing a Chiropractor is one of the easiest and least invasive ways you can find out what's really going on with your spine!
We will always complete a thorough health history with every new patient along with a spinal exam and digital motion x-rays before we ever adjust! We do this to become experts on your spine and any past traumas it may have undergone.
Most patients are surprised when they first see their x-rays! They may be feeling pain in their back and neck, but because they can't see their spine in the mirror, they had no idea how misaligned it had become!
The best thing about chiropractic care is that when we adjust, we are treating the Causes rather than just the symptoms of your pain!
That's why it's also a great idea to bring you kiddos in to get adjusted as well! It's never too early to get your spine checked out and prevent future pain!
If you're curious about some of the aches and pains you're experiencing and what the underlying causes could be connected to, give us a call at (423)-498-3400 today!
Or click the link below to schedule your first appointment!
Reach Health and Wellness Chiropractic is located in the Chattanooga, Tennessee area specifically in Collegedale, TN, a short distance from Ooltewah, Cleveland, East Brainerd, East Ridge, Ringgold, Apison, and Harrison.
Dr. Ryan Lee is the practicing chiropractic physician at Reach Health and Wellness Chiropractic. For his full bio, click here. *This content is strictly the opinion of Dr. Ryan Lee and is for informational and educational purposes only. It is not intended to provide medical advice or to take the place of medical advice or treatment from a personal physician. All readers/viewers of this content are advised to consult their doctors or qualified health professionals regarding specific health questions. Dr. Lee does not take responsibility for possible health consequences of any person or persons reading or following the information in this educational content. All viewers of this content, especially those taking prescription or over-the-counter medications, should consult their physicians before beginning any nutrition, supplement or lifestyle program