Puzzles

I have been thinking quite a bit about how much I enjoy my work. I love it when I get to the office and the schedule is full. My fulfillment comes when my patient and I can collaborate about a plan to help them improve their health and raise the level of enjoyment in their life.

This morning I was expecially glad to work with a patient that felt she was losing her edge and the joy she is so used to experiencing. Getting to know my patients at that level and listening to their stories really helps me see what is affecting those areas of their health that I can help to influence.

It is like a big puzzle, with lots of the pieces hiding under other parts, and the goal is to connect the edge pieces in the right order so the patient can fill in the tapestry in the middle. Great stuff!

Tidbits

My patients are an endless source of information and inspiration for me. I am, in many ways, grateful to them and their willingness to allow me to be a part of their lives.

A few days ago, one of my long term patients told me about using licorice powder on the sores on his lips. He said it worked really well. How cool is that?! And fascinating, I think.

Also, just so you know, the top vertebra in your neck (C-1) can and often does effect the blood supply to the head, scalp, and brain and effects the pituitary gland, bones of the face and middle ear. Which means it could contribute to headaches, insomnia, high blood pressure, migraines, nervousness, fatigue and dizziness. Wow! What an important spinal segment!

Spinal health affects other functions

I have been reminded lately of  the importance of maintaining excellent spinal health as it relates to the function of other body systems.  Functions such as bladder control, digestion, elimination processes are all influenced by the coondition of the spine.  For those folks who are experiencing bladder control problems, constipation or chronic diarrhea, the spinal nerves in the lumbar area may be at issue.

I have had a large number of patients that have seen improvement in these areas when they pay attention to spinal health, including regular adjustments and being consistent with their core exercises.  And since bladder and bowel problems are the most frequent issues that require admittance to a nursing-home facility, it behooves all of us to pay attention to the maintainance required.  Core exercises and monthly spinal adjustments are effective and easy in most cases.  And well worth the time and effort.

Balanced exercise activity

I have recently had more opportunities to talk with patients about the importance of a balanced exercise program.  Most folks are aware of the benefits of cardio activities and will opt for that type when starting a new exercise routine.  What I think is important, is to include exercises for strength and flexibility. 

Adding regular yoga practice, or Pilates is a terrific way to help protect bone density as we age and to improve and support our ability to control our bodies in space, maintaining balance, thus reducing the risk of falling. 

Along with good nutrition, participating in regular weight-bearing, resistance and stretching type exercise activities will contribute a great deal to keeping us strong, healthy and out of the nursing home.

Spinal health and digestion

I am frequently reminded of the close relationship between the middle of the spine and the health of the digestive system.  Often, when a patient complains of indigestion, we can help to improve the symptoms with proper alignment of the thoracic spine and adding some digestive enzymes.  We also try to address lifestyle issues that may be contributing to the situation.  High stress, eating large meals, diets high in simple carbohydrates, not drinking enough water, eating late at night are a few of the possible contributing factors over which we have control. 

Exercise, oddly enough, also has an effect on digestion.  Using the muscles in the abdomen helps to increase blood flow to abdominal organs and creates a massaging effect on the digestive organs, which encourages proper movement of food through the system.