Update the Apps in Your Body
How many unused apps do you have on your iPhone? Have you ever noticed that when you go a significant amount of time without using a particular app that your phone essentially has to re-download it before you can open it? Same is somewhat true of older PC’s. On older versions of windows, if you hadn’t opened a particular file or network in a good amount of time there was a good chance it would take the computer awhile to restore the connection before it could use the app or network.
You’ll have to pardon my over simplification of this explanation, but even with today’s high speed super computers that fit in our pockets, we sometimes have to shut the phone off and turn it back on to fix hidden glitches in background programs that are running. If you haven’t used a particular app in awhile it is likely that there is a new update that must be refreshed, or sometimes as is the case with your iTunes music library if you haven’t listened to a song for awhile your phone may simply ignore it and “undownloaded” it.
Your spine and it’s relationship to your nervous system function in a similar way. Think of your spine not as one solid unit but as an interconnected system of 24 different vertebra and a sacrum and coccyx which comprise part of your pelvis. These bones are all held together by joints made up of discs, ligaments, and muscles. These discs, ligaments, and muscles all contained highly specialized nerve endings that are constantly receiving and sending information to and from the spinal cord and brain about the positional sense of each joint. In other words, they are receiving information from the brain and spinal cord about how to move and are sending information back to the brain and spinal cord about where they are in space and what is going on in that area, similar to a quick status update telling the “sensorimotor cortex” of the brain “this is what is currently happening with this joint.” The brain takes this information and interprets movement (both good and bad), injury, inflammation, reflexes, and much more. This communication is happening every second of every day and is involved in normal function of your spine and nervous system and is very involved in pain and discomfort pathways.
When joints in your spine have subuxated they lose their normal movement. When one or more joints in the spine have become misaligned or subluxated, not only does it make that area more vulnerable to physical injury, it also effects those nerves that are constantly relaying movement information. At first, it may cause the signals to strongly intensify (pain). Many times people will treat that pain with OTC medications that will effectively blunt that pain by interfering with those signals. Eventually, if you blunt the signals or ignore them long enough, the intense signals will ultimately go away even though the physical problem still exists. This happens because your brain and spinal cord effectively stopped listening to that particular segment of the spine, similar to your iPhone no longer recognizing an app, a song in your iTunes, or a particular network. When the brain stops listening we tend to forget that there is a problem in the area even though the issue still exists, this is sometimes referred to as subclinical nociception (pain you don’t necessarily feel). As the issue gets worse, your spine will continue to lose motion and get stiff and “freeze” in this position until movement of the joints is re-established. If this immobility persists for long enough you become vulnerable not just to a more significant injury, but also to chronic pain.
When we adjust that area of the spine and reintroduce movement to that joint, we are essentially re-awakening that communication pathway and resetting your operating system. Unfortunately, unlike your iPhone, this is rarely ever accomplished with one adjustment in the same way we can just turn the computer off or re-download the app one time. It takes numerous different attempts at resetting that connection. The longer the problem has manifested itself and the more chronic it has become, the more “resets” (adjustments) it takes to restore your body’s network connectivity.