Of Beef and Bent Joints
January 08, 2019
Submitted by Frederick Schurger, DC, Upper Cervical Springfield
I’ve become fascinated by the slow cooking process. Whether I use a smoker, crock-pot, or Dutch oven, there are certain cuts of meat that respond better to a long, low, slow-cooking process. I love a good steak, and a ribeye takes just minutes to cook to perfection. But, I have enjoyed a smoked beef rib in Texas that was as flavorful as a good ribeye and unbelievably tender! When it comes to cooking, understanding the make-up of certain cuts of meat and how to properly cook them makes all the difference in the world! At one point, I was hungry for an eight-ounce steak and had only a roast available to me at the time. Let’s just say cutting a “steak” from a roast and throwing it on the grill like that ribeye isn’t the same. I finished that “steak” but my jaw was sore for the next day from all the chewing I did! This is where your butcher can help you choose the right cut of meat for the meal you want. I have come to appreciate my local butchers for helping me understand how to cook certain cuts of meat for the best meals I can have, often at a budget friendly price point!
So, what does my enjoyment of cooking and eating meat have to do with your spine and overall health? Just like certain foods will have different cooking times, different parts of your body heals in different ways. A small scratch on your skin may only take a few hours to heal whereas some cuts and scrapes take up to a week. Age certainly plays a factor, as young children tend to heal faster than older individuals. In fact, all body tissues take time to grow and heal, and it’s almost always a set time that our modern science hasn’t made any faster. Just remember, it still takes nine months for baby to fully develop, even in the 21st century!
Where healing is concerned, there seems to be a disconnect in our minds about broken bones versus strained muscles and sprained or torn ligaments. The cast we receive for a broken bone somehow makes us feel it’s worse than a sprain or strain. The reality is quite the opposite. With a broken bone, it usually takes about eight weeks for the bone to heal. Certainly, the severity of the break makes a difference, but the good news is that bone heals very well because it has a great blood supply and will be back to normal in a short time. Tendons and ligaments aren’t quite as lucky. They tend to have poor blood supply, which means their healing time is much slower, on the order of months to years for some areas to be fully stabilized, but it’s almost never as strong as it was before the injury.
Most of us have twisted our ankle at least once as a child. There are two reasons why we tend to twist our ankles.* The one we are most familiar with is the weak ligament structure on our ankle. The area at the base of your neck, the craniocervical junction, is very much like this as well. It’s just held in place by muscles and ligaments, making it the weakest area of the spine. It is also the most mobile area of the spine, which adds another level of complexity due to the myriad of ways it can move. Place on top of that the most vital part of your nervous system — your brain stem and upper spinal cord — and it makes it the most complicated area in your body! This is why our priority is correcting neurostructural shifts in this area.
The traumas that affect this area are many. Simple accidents like slips and falls can create a neurostructural shift (NSS), but so can more severe accidents like whiplash. Even birth trauma can lead to NSS! The problem comes down to how the damage affected the various tissues of your spine. Ligaments, muscles, and nerves can all be damaged in different ways to varying degrees of severity. As such, they all heal at different rates. Tendons at the end of muscles heal slowly like ligaments, even though muscles tend to heal more quickly because of better blood supply. Nerves have varying degrees of healing and can take either a long time to heal or turn back on as if they were a switch. In fact, there’s a phenomenon called the penumbra effect which allows for “just enough” blood supply to reach a nerve to keep it alive, but not enough to let it activate properly. Once the blood supply is restored, the nerve operates like normal. These are the cases where people have a “miraculous” recovery, often in minutes from the correction of their neurostructural shift. This only accounts for 1 out of 10 individuals in our office, so be patient if you don’t respond this fast! The other side of the nerve damage, is when the myelin sheath is damaged. This slows down the nerves ability to send electrical impulses, and can also cause increased pain response.
Ultimately, the body’s response to healing is unique for each and every person who comes in to our office. Some people have a simple shift that responds quickly whereas others have more complicated shifts. This could mean their secondary conditions resolve quickly or linger for a period of time. It may also mean that there’s some level of damage that may resolve poorly too. Or, they could be unstable, requiring more visits than anticipated because the static stabilizers (muscles and ligaments) are not able to heal quickly due to the trauma(s) involved. In an ideal world, everyone would hold their first correction for years on end with full resolution of symptoms! This is why we see people who suffer from neck pain have lingering neck pain, wondering when its going to get better, and other cases where a post-stroke case can start picking up their foot in less than a week of holding the first correction!
We are so much more than a piece of meat — “fearfully and wonderfully made” comes to mind regularly. We just need to remove any interference that would cause us to not have our electrical signals wired up properly. As with all processes, healing takes time. Perhaps that’s part of the reason we call the people who come into our office “patients” to help remind us that it takes time to get the results desired. The good news is that with the right correction and understanding of the human structure, this can be achieved.
Next month, Dr. Schurger will delve into diets, and how they can support your health, just like a properly aligned upper cervical spine!
As an engineer, Dr. Schurger looks at the whole body as a system to determine what is best for each patient. Custom spinal imaging is performed for each patient in order to create a custom correction. Dr. Schurger has transformed himself through the ketogenic diet and offers nutritional advice to help patients improve their overall health (weight loss being a side effect). His practice, Upper Cervical Springfield is at 450 S. Durkin Drive, Ste. B, Springfield. Call 217-698-7900 to setup a complementary consultation to see if he can help you with a neurostructural shift in your spine.
*Second reason for twisted ankle — body asymmetry from a neurostructural shift at the atlas.
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