How Chiropractic Care Can Help Men Today and as They Age

Chiropractors can help keep men healthy and active as they age by adjusting the spine to remove any interference with the nervous system. This allows the body to function as it should with full range of motion in the joints which helps with flexibility and sports performance.

Dr. Luke Stringer: Yeah, great question, Liz. We call it the 360 Degrees of Wellness in our practice. Essentially it involves three sets, eat well, think well, move well. If you’re follow through on those, you’re going to be in a lot better shape than someone who isn’t doing that.

In regards to move well, make sure you’re moving. Motion is lotion; by moving it does so much for the spine and the body. It releases endorphins, makes you feel good. Then obviously when we’re moving, it’s keeping joints moving and lubricated. The baseline is 20 minutes of movement a day, you really should try to get it up to 40 minutes of movement a day, that’s going to be great to assist you feeling good and functioning good.

The other one is eating well, so obviously not a diet that is high in inflammatory foods and processed foods. Medication creates stress in the nervous system, stress in the nervous system manifests as symptoms and conditions, so a myriad of issues. So try to get a nice even balance. Make sure you’re eating lots of dark, leafy green vegetables to take care of those free radicals that can break down cells. Make sure you’re getting a good balanced macro diet, carbs, protein, and fat. Make sure you’re getting those micronutrients in to clean those cells and obviously limit your intake of all the things that are going to create stress and damage the body, so medication, alcohol, things of that nature.

The last one is managing your stress. There are several forms of stress, but a big one, particularly in corporate America, is the environmental stress that we’re under. Just coming up with ways to cope with stress that comes with working a corporate job or taking care of the family for example. There’s a bunch of different things you can do for that. My favorite is getting down to the beach, going for a 20-minute walk with my shoes off, barefoot. Just a great way to earth yourself and de-stress. I found that really helps me in my lifestyle.

But if you’re working on all those boxes, eating good, thinking good, moving good, you’re going to be in far better shape than someone who’s not following through and doing those.

Dr. Luke Stringer: Yeah, great question. A prerequisite for any joint, particularly a healthy joint, is full range of motion. We want our joints to move with freedom and stability. Once we start losing flexibility within a joint, that in turn increases the load within the joint. Then we’re on the hamster wheel, we’ve got limited range of motion, it increases load. So, if it increases load, that’s more stress essentially on the joint, the muscle, the bone, ligaments, tendons or soft tissue nerves. Then if we’re creating more stress on the joint, that joint’s going to break down faster to give you something called adhesion, it’s like fibrous collagenous tissue. It’s essentially scar tissue that forms in joints that could be in the knee, in the shoulder, or in the spine. Once we start seeing adhesion, it sticks to things, movement becomes kind of viscous, it limits our range of motion.

The next thing you know, we lose more range of motion. Then we increase the load again and then we form more adhesion. The lack of range of motion in the joint increases and compounds the stress that was put into the joint, which essentially breaks the joint down. The joint that is full of scar tissue and degeneration is not going to move well, then we’re on that compound effect. Once you start moving or losing the ability to move, it’s really going to have a detrimental effect on the joint itself and then our physiology too. Once we start losing our mobility, and flexibility is part of mobility, we really start to break down quickly.

Dr. Luke Stringer: Yeah, coming back to the load compensation conversation we just had, if joints aren’t moving well, Liz, they’re increasing the stress on the bone, the soft tissue, and the nerve. So then if you are running or you’re out playing intramural sports and things aren’t moving well, then that’s going to increase the load in the joint. The more stress in the joint, the more chance it has for breaking down and becoming injured. Having a joint that moves well with stability, full range of motion, healthy muscle tissue with good movement patterns and stability patterns is obviously going to have less chance of someone who’s really fixated, restricted in their range of motion, has poor movement patterns, has weak kind of muscle balance. Then if we’re out running a marathon, compare one person to the other, the person who’s really limited is going to have a far greater risk of injury and compensation in their body than someone who’s not that essentially.

Dr. Luke Stringer: The biggest spinal issue per se, or issue within the spine and or any joint, particularly a big movable joint like the hip, the knee, the shoulder, it’s OA, osteoarthritis. Osteoarthritis is essentially degeneration within a joint. Obviously within the spine specifically you’ve got DDD, degenerative disc disease. Degeneration is the biggest issue that we’re going to get as we are aging. Again, that comes back to what we were discussing. Once we start losing range of motion, we have postural changes due to the aging effect, increases the stress in the spine, that increases the degeneration process.

What we can do is, make sure we are taking care of our spinal health, so see a chiropractor. When you’re getting your spine adjusted, it stimulates the joint, fills the disc up with fluid, they act like shock-absorbers to the spine, help your discs and the less degeneration you’re going to have. It also stimulates all the movement receptors in the joint, which is critical for good posture. It also stimulates the physiological effect, the stimulation in your brain puts the movement in your spine, so it’s going to be aiding your physiology.

And supplement that with a good spinal health rehab program, so taking your spine through range of motion. If the neck goes forwards, backwards, side to side and rotates, let’s take the neck through those planes of motion specifically and repetitively throughout the week to make sure those joints are moving. Then to supplement that, get in the gym and supplement that with some physical therapy or some, we call it pre-hab or rehab, depending if you rehabbing back from an injury. But the rehab should be based on, if we’re talking about the neck, engaging those neck flexors that keep your neck back, and then obviously the muscles that sit between your shoulder blades, keep your shoulder blades back, that’s going to prevent that. We’re all imagining an older gentleman with his head shifted forwards and his shoulders round, that stoop forward posture. In the low back make sure you engage in the core, because that creates stability in the hip and the lower back. Make sure the big muscles in the back of your leg, the glutes and the hamstrings are switched on. Then we’re not compensating, so then when we’re upright and we are moving, we should be doing, we’ve got the right muscles engaging to create stability.

Importantly, I think it’s probably the most important thing, I’d say with the mobility of the spine, getting it moving, motion is lotion, particularly as we age, we do not want to lose that, is to create stress within the joint. Old hack was, when you get old, get off your feet, go to water aerobics and chair yoga. Unfortunately, when you are not stressing the joint through load, so if we’re in the gym and we were on the leg press machine for example, that’s creating stress. Because when you’re creating stress within the joint spine or movable joints, so knee, hip for example, it creates osteoblastic activity. Osteoblastic activity is where the bone creates red blood cells and obviously that keeps the bone nice and healthy, stops it from being brittle and forming osteopenia, which is where the bone really thins out and gets quite brittle and weak as we age. Make sure we’re doing some resistance training to create some stress in the bone, that’s going to keep your bones nice and healthy.

Dr. Luke Stringer: I think men, women, kids, you name it, everyone should be under chiropractic care. As a chiropractor, I’m biased. But it’d be great if we ran a study of the health outcomes of a control group with chiropractic care and without chiropractic care. I tend to lean into stress. Stress is a silent killer. Our practice downtown in the middle of Chicago, we treat the corporate athlete. With the corporate athlete, they’re dealing with those corporate lifestyle diseases, so we have poor sleep cycles, low energy level, we’re fatigued, we’re irritable, we’ve got no libido, we’ve got inability to gain or lose weight. Essentially when we’re in a stress state, stress increases cortisol within the body. Cortisol blocks insulin, so we are less insulin receptive. This spikes our blood sugar, obviously blood sugar in the blood system’s no good, and it just rolls into all these lifestyle diseases. Then that feeds into those metabolic diseases that arise, type two diabetes, chronic heart disease, pulmonary dysfunction, etc.

My 2 cents to anyone is, if you are getting adjusted, you are taking stress off the nervous system, which is going to likely feel good. If you came in with neck pain, you’re going to have less neck pain. But also, it’s going to allow you to physiologically function better. The spine or nervous system is designed to let you function as you should optimally without pain and or dysfunction. By de-stressing your nervous system, and you can count in the lifestyle stresses, so work environment or stress from posture being pinned to your desk 50 hours a week, or just poor habits. The less stress you have in your life, means the less stress your nervous system is under. The less stress your nervous system is under, you’re going to feel better, you’re going to function better in every way, shape or form.

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