Living in alignment with your core beliefs and values is critical to living a healthy and successful life. This is a natural law. When you choose a lifestyle full of action that supports your core values, you will be set for success. However, if you fail to prioritize the things that matter most to you or you choose actions that are contradictory to your values, this leads to destruction.
This natural law is evident in all areas of life. If you do not invest in your health with things like good food, good sleep, and plenty of movement, over time your health will break down and problems will arise. If you fail to spend time building a strong relationship with your spouse, your marriage will deteriorate over time. The same thing is true for your friendships. Stop putting in the time and energy to improve and there will naturally be deterioration.
So, from a high level point of view, living in alignment means recognizing your core beliefs and choosing the lifestyle and actions that support and nurture these values.
Now, let’s talk about living with a body and spine that are properly aligned. Many have heard of the “mind-body connection” but did you know that the nervous system is actually the connector? It’s true, the nervous system is known as the “master control system” in medical textbooks and it’s responsible for every part of our health and wellness.
If there is a disruption in the nervous system that prevents it from properly communicating between the brain and body, then health problems can arise both mentally and physically. Since living with pain, reduced range of motion, and stress are never ideal, let’s talk about several ways to avoid disruptions and stress on the nervous system.
Our bodies are intelligently designed to stand in alignment with our weight being balanced over our center of gravity. When we’re in good posture, our weight is placed on our bones instead of our muscles. This allows us to move well and feel more energetic and healthy.
When we have poor posture, we rely on our muscles, tendons, and joints to pull us up. This puts a lot of stress on our bodies and can cause physical pain such as headaches, low back pain, reduced lung function, fatigue, decreased oxygen to the brain, reduced mental alertness, and less productivity. It’s not surprising that this can also result in disrupted emotional and mental health as well.
In order to really grasp this concept, imagine having to carry your grocery bags out in front of your body. Do you think you could make it into your house without your arms, shoulders, and
back feeling tired and stressed? It’s much easier to carry the grocery bags hanging down by our sides with our skeleton supporting the weight. This is a more exaggerated version of what is
happening when we live with our heads projected forward, our shoulders hunched, and our hips jutted out to the side.
Poor posture can be corrected by reducing the habitual stressors placed upon the body. Correct your workstation for better alignment, adjust the seat in your car, stop carrying heavy purses and bags (instead get roller bags or decrease the items you bring with you).
Poor posture can also be corrected by applying good stress on the body. Exercising, stretching, chiropractic adjustments, and improvements in your environment can all be helpful.
Move, Move, Move
We are designed to move and when we stop moving, there is usually a quick, negative impact on the mind and body. Often people who come to us with severe low back pain feel that it was a sudden onset from one bad movement. What they haven’t recognized are their habits that have contributed to tension, joint stiffness, and lack of mobility. These things contribute to imbalances that stress the body and lead to pain.
It’s interesting that most people consider decreased mobility a natural part of aging, when in fact, it has much more to do with our habits rather than our age. There are many patients we see who are more agile, flexible, and mobile in their 60’s, 70’s, and beyond, than people in their 20’s and 30’s.
So this one is an easy fix, move more! Many people also find chiropractic adjustments helpful because they help to keep the joints mobile.
We’re not talking about body building here, unless that’s your thing. What we mean is having strong muscles to support your posture and movement. Our muscles are very responsive and will get stronger or weaker depending on the demands we place on them.
If we are in the habit of sitting at a desk all day then going home to sit in front of the TV, our muscles will become unbalanced. Muscles in the front of our body become strong while our backside becomes weak. Overtime, these back muscles can actually shut down! As you can imagine, this leads to poor posture, pain, and muscle spasms.
You can practice walking on a beam if you’d like, but we’re more so referring to balance throughout your body. Working with Dr. Schulte can help to reduce stress on the nerves that connect your mind and your body. Doing proper strength and flexibility exercises can ensure that your muscles are coordinated properly. If you’re interested in exercises specific for your needs, ask Dr. Schulte – he has a wide array of suggestions. In general however, walking, swimming, yoga, biking, and martial arts are all great for improving your alignment. Pair these healthy movements with an awareness of and decrease in the time you’re sedentary and you’ll be feeling great!
What Will You Choose?
These four pillars are essential to good alignment which is essential for overall health and happiness. Which pillar needs your attention? What actions are you ready to take to support and align your spine and your core beliefs?