Ebb and Flow
Contract. Relax. This is the basic mechanism of muscular action. Problems develop when there's too much of one or the other. In most cases, too much contraction is the culprit.
Persistent muscular contraction in the lower back or neck, for example, leads to a cascade of troublesome effects. Toxic metabolic end-products - including lactic acid - accumulate. These small molecules irritate local nerve endings and cause ongoing pain. Muscle spasm results which narrows local blood vessels. Too little blood reaching the area deprives tissues of oxygen and other important nutrients. Cellular damage results with further build-up of noxious metabolites.
Chiropractic treatment encourages a return to normal sinusoidal balance by restoring normal spinal alignment. Spasmodic muscles are enabled to relax. Blood vessels can now supply appropriate amounts of oxygen and nutrients. Metabolic waste is removed. Vitality is restored and pain resolves. Spinal muscles and spinal joints return to operating in a natural ebb-and-flow rhythm.
Ancient peoples closely observed and interacted with the rhythms of their immediate environment. The sun rose in the East and set in the West. Day followed night, and approximately 12 hours later night followed day. The seasons progressed through a more leisurely, although no less regular, rhythm. A season of rebirth and new growth followed a season of restriction and retrenchment. A season of increasing sunshine, longer days, and bounteous expansion was succeeded by a season of harvest, transformation, and preparation for the next round of seasonal change. The moon waxed and waned. Tides rose and tides fell. The life cycles of all creatures - humans, animals, fish, birds, insects, and plants - were precisely attuned to the natural rhythms of the complex world in which they survived and thrived.
Life flows and life ebbs. The rhythm of life is sinusoidal. Rise to a peak. Rest momentarily. Return to baseline, then descend to a trough. Rest momentarily. Return to baseline, then ascend again to a peak. Breath in, breath out. Heart beats, heart relaxes. Muscles contract, muscles relax. Plough a field. Sow a crop. Reap the harvest. Allow the land to recover. A year or two later, plough the field again. Cyclical, rhythmical, sinusoidal activities.
When a person is healthy, all aspects of her physical functioning are aligned with these ancient rhythms.1,2 Disease always reflects an aberration - a defect - in the cyclical, sinusoidal patterns of normal physiology.3 Persistent low back muscle contractions without corresponding relaxation cause pain. Persistent muscle contractions in small arterial blood vessels cause high blood pressure. Persistent abnormal cellular growth without corresponding cellular death results in cancer. Persistently elevated or depressed hormonal levels cause specific forms of disease. The list of these ebb-and-flow abnormalities - the named diseases - is extensive.
The nervous system is also affected by defects in normal rhythm. Epilepsy reflects an extreme of rhythmical aberration - jagged, compressed peaks of electrical discharge suddenly traversing large areas of a person's brain. On a subtler scale, small groups of nerve cells may fire inappropriately due to distortions in normal ebb-and-flow patterns. If such an altered pattern persists, these groups of nerve cells may transmit incorrect information to other important systems. Pain, symptoms, and even disease may result from such faulty connections.
Honoring the deep nature of how our bodies work goes far toward alleviating many disease states. Getting back into the natural rhythms of being human certainly helps many conditions involving back pain, neck pain, and headaches. Chiropractic care is an important part of helping reestablish the normal ebb and flow. Contact our office today and set an appointment to further discuss how chiropractic care may help reestablish your ebb and flow.
1Bowen RS, et al: Sex hormone effects on physical activity levels: Why doesn't Jane run as much as Dick? Sports Med 41(1):73-86, 2011
2Mazzoccoli G: The timing clockwork oflife. R Biol Regul Homeost Agents 25(1):137-143, 2011
3Hansen TW,, et al: Predictive role of the nighttime blood pressure. Hypertension 57(1):3-10, 2011