You’re busy. We get it. It’s hard to tune into your body and what it’s trying to tell you. So how do we avoid cruising along then suddenly, bang. The airbags gone off, we’re in broken and in pain, we’ve run head first into the wall wondering, “how did this happen? I thought I was fine.” Like the airbag in the car, pain is a terrible indicator of having a problem. There’s a couple of signs to be aware of that might just help you tap the breaks and avoid the pain collision in the first place. Here’s 3 signs for you to focus your attention on. Keep your eyes peeled, chances are, if you notice any of these, you’ll be able to make time for your wellness, before your illness makes you.
Out of Balance
Let’s face it, we’ve all walked into a wall or two. Had to grab at a stair rail, lean on the wall for support or my personal favourite, lean on the desk to help “hold up the furniture.” In a distant past life, you may have had one too many drinks and taken a tumble. You’ve probably also noticed how hard it is for the toddler and for the elderly suffering from dementia to maintain an upright balance. Simply put, when you’re tired and fatigued balance goes right out the window.
Balance = Stability. Over 90% of balance comes from the body, particularly the spine. Every weight bearing muscle, tendon ligament and joint has some input into the brain concerning balance. In technical terms, balance is the bodies own internal recognition of where it is in space. Also known as proprioception.
If for some reason your spine is out of alignment, if tension & irritation is building up, the messages travelling from the body to the brain concerning its balance can be confused. These confused signals makes it hard for the body to orient itself and to maintain balance. The first compensation for a lack of balance is using more and more muscular force. Standing, walking and holding ourselves upright requires more effort.
An adjustment helps reset the proprioceptive input from the muscles, tendons, ligaments, joints and discs. Particularly at those areas where the density of the receptors are at their greatest- the upper neck and lower back. So maybe, always feeling clumsy, out of balance and uncoordinated has an excuse, you’re in need of an adjustment.
Cranky Bear Syndrome
Credit goes to “Dave” for this one. Dave is a long time client and although Dave sticks to a regular frequency of care, in his words he “knows it’s time” when he’s feeling “cranky again.” When the margins of tolerance get smaller and emotional volatility increases it’s a sure sign our irritation is slowly building up on the inside. Pain isn’t too far away.
Cranky Bear syndrome is directly related to pain because of the way the brain receives information from the body. The body has special receptors that work in a similar way to the balance centres already mentioned. Throughout the joints, muscles, tendons and discs, specialised cells known as nociceptors are located to recognise signs of injury and damage. They shoot this message right to the brain, and those signals of damage and injury are transferred into pain.
The reason why pain and crankiness are related is because the mood controlling parts of the brain are the ultimate traffic cop, directing all the pain traffic that’s firing from the body to the brain. These mood control centres are known as the limbic system, or in popular literature lately, have been called the primate or monkey brain, reptilian or lizard brain.
These mood centres get overloaded by information from the body screaming something’s wrong. It’s only after this signal is it received may it then be directed to continue it’s journey into the parts of the brain feeling pain.
Pain is too late. Once cranky bear syndrome has kicked in and emotional control has gone out the window, you’re more than ready for your next adjustment.
An adjustment directly changes the nociceptive input, the damaging input from the muscles, tendons, discs and ligaments. Resetting the cranky bear, calming the mood before the body’s even aware of pain.
It’s hard to sleep when you’re sore. That’s my ‘Captain Obvious’ statement for today. But what about sleep disturbance as a prequel to pain? It happens for a couple of very good reasons.
Before we hit pain, we lose our mobility. The stiffness and distinct lack of suppleness can make it very hard to find a comfortable position at night. Check out how your kids sleep: in every single different direction possible. Left, right, on the pillow, below it, upside down, it makes zero difference. When we start being really picky about the mattress or pillow, needing the goldilocks of sleeping positions, chances are our mobility has crept out of the room.
Sometimes it’s our mind that’s keeping us awake. Yes, the big work project or worrying event may have us up all night thinking. However, if the body is over stimulated and the receptors (nociceptors) are already recognising signs of damage, tension, tightness or injury, they will bombard the brain even when it’s time to switch off.
So if sleep is an issue, potentially from a comfort or a mind on overdrive, consider Chiropractic. Both that altered ability to find a comfortable spot, or the brain that won’t switch off are signs of a deep physiological problem. A problem that the body is recognising and it’s up to us to compute. To make time for our wellness, before the illness makes us make time.